August 26, 2016

Dear Period Corsets, Just a little letter from a satisfied customer

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Positive feedback from our clients is the wonderful norm here at Period Corsets, but rarely do we get to hear from a client with such depth of feeling and with such eloquence. We were bowled over and tears came to our eyes. So I've decided to set up a new category here on our blog devoted to our wonderful fans' stories so we can share them with all of you... so here you go, grab your box of tissues. This story was 13 years in the making and we're just so grateful to be part of it.
So without further ado......
Sandra Palmer "dancing with joy" in her Julia Corset at the
historic Britannia Panopticon Music Hall in Glasgow 
for the finale of the Moisture Festival's 8 Red Garters Shimmy and Shake.
  photo by Elizabeth Ann Duffy

"Dear Period Corsets,
Just a little letter from a satisfied customer here!

I got to perform recently in a prized-possession Julia corset and I am still in raptures, so I wanted to send a thank you!

You’ve heard similar stories before, I’m sure. When I was growing up I loved books about 1800’s girls -- when Laura Ingalls Wilder described corseting, hoops and bustles, I was so envious!  Little kid me used to draw pictures of 1800’s dresses and sculpted my blankies into skirts and bustles, secured with a belt so tight to feel like stays.

Then when I was a business lady in Seattle in the oughts, I happened upon an article about how an authentic corsetry studio was situated in Seattle and I said, “Childhood me, I’m buying you a real corset!” At the time you guys said that you weren’t really a shop, it was the work studio, but you were kind enough to let me stop by anyway and try some on to make my selection.

I am a co-founder of the Moisture Festival of comedy/variete in Seattle and earlier this month we hit a milestone - our first international shows. They were benefit shows to support the restoration of the world’s oldest surviving music hall, The Britannia Panopticon in Glasgow, Scotland.

It was built in 1857 and the late shows featured some scandalous acts, such as women showing their legs - gasp!  So I recreated that with a rendition of Rosemary Clooney’s 1954 “Red Garters” song. Her version is on Youtube, it’s a charming little “peel” act with funny lyrics.

So - it was MEGA-dream come true to be a real vaudeville lady, in a real vaudeville 1860's theatre, in a real 1860’s corset, and I feel I got to share my love of yester-year clothing in a hilarious way - peeling the layers shawl, gloves, dress, petticoats, hoops, to my Julia corset with chemise, all while singing with a live band.  I died and went to heaven!

Below are the pictures at the Britannia Panopticon,
The last picture of me is taking a bow - surely about as happy as I could ever possibly be! *sniff*

Thank you!!
Sandy "

Well, Sandy, you made our day! It's so wonderful of you to share with us your dream come true. I never would have suspected, back in 2003, that the seeds we'd sewn when you came in for your corset fitting would come to such fruition.

We're looking forward to seeing you in the fall in the Moisture Festival in Seattle.
-- Gratefully,
the Period Corsets team

Shimmy Shake

Finale of the Moisture Festival at the Britannia Panopticon, Photos by Dov Rob

About our guest blogger, the venue and the show:
Sandra Palmer is the co-founder of the Moisture Festival of comedy-varieté in Seattle, now in it's 14th year. Earlier this month they hit a milestone, their first international set of shows. They were to benefit and support the restoration of the world's oldest surviving music hall, located in Glasgow, Scotland, the Britannia Panopticon Music Hall. Europe's music halls inspired American vaudeville, which, in turn, is the inspiration for many performers involved in the Moisture Festival. Palmer's fellow performers in this show were the astoundingly talented Mark Ettinger on piano, David Salonen on fiddle, and Chris Anderson on drums. The dancing girls- " the beauties", were John Celestus, Caela Bailey, Cathy Sutherland and Martha Enson. They all were beside themselves to tread on the same stage that had once held such legends as Stan Laurel. (His very first appearance was here in 1906) A young Cary Grant had a turn here, also!
The Britannia Panopticon was built in 1857. It is now in the hands of a charitable trust. Should you find yourself lucky enough to be in Glasgow, a visit is highly suggested. You may glimpse images ( and perhaps a few ghosts??) of tight-lacing stars of yore that played there. The restoration is led by Judith Bowers Mclay, and she and her staff are a wealth of historical facts and funny stories.

This article by Peter Swindon for Herald Scotland is nice background piece on the history, re-opening and benefit shows of The Britannia Panopticon.

August 23, 2016

Visit the Renaissance Faire with Period Corsets®

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At Period Corsets®, we're always looking for a good reason to dress up! No matter what part of the country you live in, there is a Renaissance Faire occurring at some point in the year, giving us all a wonderful excuse to don a costume with like-minded adventurers.  Whether you're a seasoned professional or someone totally fresh to the idea of outfitting yourself in a historical costume, your local Festival will welcome you with open arms.
Sam and Kim Specht at the Maryland Renaissance Festival
She wears the Period Corsets wench cinch

By dressing in ready made pieces, or having ones custom made for you out of special fabrics, the Ren Fest can be a place to showcase your individual style with fun, theatrical flair. For some, it provides the opportunity to release their inner thespian while partaking in a time long since past.  It's a way to leave the troubles of modern life behind and celebrate together with food and festivities.

 custom c. 1560 Anna corset constructed from striped material paired with black 3/4 chemise

 Caitlin Lowther and Leah Hunsicker wear Period Corsets Ren Fest bodice in Windsor and Primrose 
So, where does one start when building the perfect festival ensemble? The classic silhouette can be as simple as three easy pieces, a skirt, an undershirt and a wench bodice:

The Wench Bodice- This lightly boned bodice has front and back lacing allowing for maximum adjustment, as well as providing a saucy look. Made in any color of the rainbow with minimal boning throughout and with adjustable tied straps.

Period Corsets classic Wench Bodice, available in any color, with front and back lacing

The Chemise- A white or colored cotton or linen chemise worn underneath your bodice. This lightweight undershirt has a low neckline, providing just a touch of modesty while still framing the décolletage with delicate gathers. Most common is the 3/4 sleeve style with slightly puffed gathered sleeves. By choosing a style in 100% cotton you'll remain cool while walking in the hot sun. 

Period Corsets 3/4 Chemise in white or black, in breathable 100% cotton

The Peasant Skirt- A simple full skirt with a wide ruffle at the hem that hits at mid-calf or longer at the ankle, made in a rainbow of colors. The Period Corsets Peasant Skirt has a comfortable yoked waistband providing for less bulk when worn with a bodice or corset. This style is wonderful for dancing, as it has such fantastic movement and twirl. 

Our mid-calf length Peasant Petticoat provides a proper curtsy

A skirt in any color
Camlann Medieval Village, where authentic interpreters meet with the modern public. Here our May Day Period Corsets Wench is wearing our underbust waist cinch, (with her two kids in tow) they watch the village potter Jo in action.  
Fun for all ages- ourWench Waist cinchwith Romantic Chemise at Camlann Medieval Village

The wonders of imagination and creative dressing

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