Stunning Ellie Cashman Floral Linen

No ones opening the door… guess it’s clear she’s gone. 

I have found true fabric love with Ellie Cashman and her moody dark floral designs. I recently made a ball gown (here) that is a digital print silk charmuse. The fabric I chose for the Chardon skirt was a printed linen because if you are going to spend that amount of money on one piece of fabric and postage from overseas, you should always make the cost of postage more reasonable by ordering additional fabric. That, dear readers, is logic!Ellie’s designs are exquisite and the underlying darkness in her design ensures it stands apart from that prettiness that is so often found in florals. Her designs are a mix of over sized blooms with digital enhancement and the odd butterfly floating in a sea of petals that give it a strong edge.

This is my Dirty Dancing moment, much to the horror of B1 and B2. I was, after all, having the time of my life. The water lilies were in fine form. And my death pose. May my inner gothling always be present.
The top is the Tiny Pocket tank (OOP) from Grainline Studio which I believe has now been updated to a similar pattern called  Willow. I find this top very flattering with the addition of some shaping in the side seams. I stumbled upon the cotton lace overlay and silk remnant at The Fabric Store and was down to the millimetre to cut the Tiny Pocket out. The silk hangs below the lace which I’m quite pleased with when it is sitting over the skirt but I think it will be more likely tucked in. I used some black silk bias to finish the neck and arms that I’d made many moons ago to add some contrast. The the ribbon was originally threaded around the waist however it didn’t sit well so I’ve left it at the back to give a little extra gather and definition to the waist. The linen I used for the Chardon skirt was the Dark Floral II light by Ellie Cashman and it was heaven to sew with. No fading with washing and it retained its original beautiful structure which held the pleats of the Chardon skirt so well whilst providing a little pouf. The pleats seemed to give the flowers even more depth as they overlapped. The skirt went together beautifully and having sized down from my previous version, is now more fitted around the waist. And of course it has pockets. As this is such a special skirt, I hemmed it with vintage lace gifted to me by Marjorie. She was kind enough to send me a collection of vintage laces from her personal collection last year that I could incorporate into my sewing. My mantra remains the same after all these years: Liberty, Linen and Lace. I hand picked the zip  due the thickness of the fabric and to ensure greater control over where it was placed. It sits flatly across the derriere and has all the good curves in just the right places.That centre flower looks so three dimensional within the folds of the pleats. Even when laying out the fabric it looked magical. I also caught a reclusive bug and lonely cute butterfly on the front skirt piece.

Thank you also to Chuleenan who convinced me with her versions of the Deer and Doe Chardon skirt that it is a fabulous pattern.

I suspect I may have enough left fabric over to make some beautiful cushions as well for my bedroom. Or should I try a top? Too many decisions for the poor brain today.

On the health front, my recent surgery was a complete success however surgical menopausal shock is about as much fun as it sounds. Hopefully with some more adjustments I’ll be back to work in a week or so and can get back to this wonderful thing called life. And my belly can deflate again. The poor little thing is still swollen. The scaring has healed beautifully but the poufiness of the tummy remains. In the meantime it’s rest, sew, and keep up fluids. And try not to complain too much. How do women not talk about what a horrendous thing menopause is! It’s really rather horrid. And I’ve been through many horrid things. But I now have this beautiful dark floral skirt for which I am most grateful.

Photos by Bruce. Location at Deakin University Waurn Ponds. Dark floral II fabric purchased from Ellie Cashman. (I’m saving up to purchase another piece to make a bed head…). Chardon skirt pattern by Deer and Doe. Tiny pocket tank by Grainline Studio, now reissued as the Willow.  Shoes from Camper. Tights from Wolford. Vintage jewellery from JeanJeanVintage. Flower crown by Gardens of Whimsy.


Belle of her own Ball

Death Dress

Death Dress

Death Dress

Death Dress

This dress was purchased from a witchy little store down an alley way off Smith Street in Fitzroy circa 1998. I fell in love with the autumnal colours, the soft worn silk  and that it had been a wedding dress in a previous incarnation. It was $120 and I paid it off over several weeks whilst studying at uni and working two jobs. bd19

Death Dress

Death Dress

Sadly, as this dress is extra tiny, it only ever fit when I was really ill. And I’m too old to be really ill just to wear my favourite dress. Over the past 17 years I’ve worn it a handful of times, christmas lunch, an airline fancy dress (domestic flying faerie) and in the bathtub. So it’s been hanging in my wardrobe waiting for the day I die, marked as my death dress to be buried with me. Morbid, yes. But also thinking of others. One thing they needn’t worry about for my funeral. I also have a play list of my favourite songs (eclectic of course with Tori, Trent, The Muppets, A Seated Craft) and a door list of who is not allowed. Again, my party and I’ll do it my way.

Death Dress Deconstructed

Death Dress Deconstructed

I took the step of deconstructing the dress with an unpick and a cup of tea. I don’t know why but I find it soothing to pull things apart and break them down to their smallest parts. It’s also lovely to look at another seamstresses work and find how they constructed and which sections were completed by hand and which were machined.

Crimson Peak Costuming

Crimson Peak Costuming – I need to recreate that belt!

Continuing with my theme of inspiration from film and literature, I recently fell for Crimson Peak. I love gothic tales, and the costuming was breathtaking. I was sorely tempted by some of those sleeves… with the added bonus of #manrepeller. And that belt. Inspired. This film comes second to Pans Labyrinth, my favourite film. It scares me silly as it’s like someone took a peek into my nightmares and put them on the screen. Disturbing on both accounts.

After the deconstruction, I decided on a cami top with Irish Lace work that I found at Lilypond, and a Brumby midi skirt again with vintage lace purchased from same. I reused the silk lining that had been dyed with the original dress. Already I’ve worn both pieces more often than the original dress. And creating two outfits for two birthday outings makes me smile and my heart sing. Except for below, because I am also serious in my quest for gothling.

I’ve not too many words today, so I shall leave you with these pictures of the day before and the actual birth date. Post to follow for the Elisalex dress and High Tea Adventures.

A quick note on the day before. Bruce and I watched James Bond at the cinema (first time in many years going to the pictures together) and when we came out the question was posed from Bruce: So what did you think? My response: Pattern matching! Why would they do that?! 2cm off on the back right bodice panel. What were they thinking???? The horror! Some things cannot be unseen. And that villain really reminded me of Dr Evil….

Day One:
bd7 bd9 bd10


Day Two:

bd2 bd3 bd4 bd5

Photo’s by Bruce. Straight hair by The Jim. Black skirt: Gabriola from Sewaholic. Parasol from Gallery Serpentine. Hair flowers from Garden of Whimsy. Black top: repurposed Trelise Cooper silk dress shortened and worn in reverse. Shoes from Duckfeet. Lace from Lilypond.


Outakes: Lady girl and ouch my  finger.

Dress Interupted

This is a sponsored post – my first!

Gallery Serpentine is a unique corsetry & alternative fashion emporium in Sydney, Australia. They carry a huge range of alternative clothing and accessories and curate an eclectic mix of gothic and steampunk wear. The following product was gifted to me in exchange for review after they happened upon my blog earlier this year. All opinions expressed are my own.

Corset Refresher

Corset Refresher

Hello and Greetings!

How is it that the first half of this year dragged its sorry feet for sooooo long and then July hit and the year is almost over! I missed August completely, although my personal records indicate I did participate in a number of activities. I’m still trying to adjust to it being the end of September…

Which leads me to my next elaborate project. A dress for my upcoming high tea to celebrate a little milestone birthday. Fifteen of the most lovely ladies sipping Pimms, eating cucumber sandwiches and devouring eclairs will gather and celebrate what is now no longer considered middle age.

Pana Wine Approves of the Outcome

Panda Wine Approves of the Outcome

I’ve been pondering this dress for a good six months, and finally inspiration was forthcoming. I’m decommissioning a 1950s cream lace dress that, even after alterations, didn’t quite have the right fit. I will combine it with a contrasting lace bodice using the Elisalex bodice from By Hand London. The challenge was finding a vintage fabric that would contrast as a bodice and be of an age that complimented the original skirt.

Lovely Lace

Lovely Lace

I found the perfect fabric at the bottom of a remnants bin in a store at the end of an alley way. After getting lost several times (true story). All for the (unmarked, unfolded, scrunched up, powerfully scented) price of $20. Lovely.

When I got home, I laid out the new addition to my stash, and found it to be rather more pungent than originally thought. I washed it three times in wool mix and hung it outside so it could enjoy the sunshine and a brisk breeze. Unfortunately the mustiness permeating the fabric was entrenched and stubbornly resisted fading.

Corset Refresher with Vintage Singer

Corset Refresher with Vintage Singer

So I turned to the Corset Refresher which had been sent to me by Gallery Serpentine. It’s true purpose is to refresh corsetry that cannot be washed due to boning and construction. A light spray is applied after every 3-4 wears to give it a little refresh. It can also be used on bed linen to liven things up between washes. It was designed by Cult of Scent exclusively for Gallery Serpentine and is based on an eau de cologne recipe. Plus it has antibacterial properties which really effects the the scent of your clothes, unlike spraying with perfume. I like to employ my lateral thinking from time to time and as my corset collection stands at a total of one and I don’t wear it regularly, I had to wait a while until an opportunity presented itself.

Corset Refresher

Corset Refresher

It specifically warns against using on lighter coloured fabrics, but I’d found myself at the point of employing the scent to see what the results were, participate in some research on the interwebs for treating vintage fabrics (which I didn’t have the time or inclination to do) or dispose of it. I took the radical path.

I used the parisian method of application. That is: spray the mist into the air at ankle, knee and waist height and pass the fabric though the mist to avoid concentrated areas of liquid forming on the fabric. If it was perfume I was applying to myself, I would use the same principal: spray at several heights in front of the body, and with a certain graceful and dignified élan walk through the mist and finish off with a little hand flapping once the passage had been completed. Dramatic, but effective as I don’t like to apply perfume directly to my skin. Does anyone else apart from Boo and me do this?

The Dress Post Treatment

The Dress Post Treatment with Outfit Accessories

Once treated, I allowed an hour for it to be draped inside and then again let it out on the line in for the brisk breeze to do its work.

Surprisingly, it lifted the pungent mustiness which had been persisting as part of the distinctive character of this fabric. I didn’t think anything would shift the odour, which I assumed would persist until the end of creation. The scent of the corset refresher is fresh and not at all floral or sweet. The bottle describes the essential oil ingredients as being organic lime, organic tea tree and cedar oil in an alcohol base. And that’s exactly what my fabric now smells like. There is still the tiniest hint of must, but it is now ready for cutting and stitching up. And possibly another treatment before the big day.

Dress Interupted

Dress Interupted

I also have several other pieces of clothing that I don’t wash due to the age of the fabric or the fact they would otherwise have to be dry-cleaned. This includes my frocktails dress. It will only be worn occasionally and I like to think that I wear my clothes lightly, leading to a longer life span. I’m not a big fan of dry cleaning, and often with my everyday wear I find that a good airing sees them through several wears. I try to be kind to my clothes and the environment and not overwash, especially when I don’t have to. All the smalls, delicates and B1 and B2’s do get washed regularly though. There is no avoiding that!

Corset Refresher

Corset Refresher

So I managed to rescue what I though was doomed  fabric using the corset refresher. And I figure that if it worked so well on a piece of fabric I was about to give up on, it will work wonderfully on my clothes that need a little scented lift and not the full cleaning experience. And as I said before, it’s not just for corsetry. It is destined to be used on a few other items I have lazing around in my wardrobe. I think it will brighten (or darken, depending on your goth status) the scent on a variety of different fabrics. And it’s perfect when you don’t need to do a full clean, or can get away with spot cleaning. So if you have some special clothing that you avoid washing for fear of damage, I would recommend this. A little scent goes a long way. I will certainly be using it again, but next time will be sizing up for the refill from Gallery Serpentine.

To have a further read or to explore the Gallery Serpentine website, you can peruse at your leisure here. There is a world of gothic goodness, parasols and corsetry ready to discover.








Photo’s by Pips, Corset Refresher supplied by Gallery Serpentine, original lace dress purchased from Dear Golden, vintage Singer purchased from A Piece of Cloth.

Post Script: Gallery Serpentine actually found my post here when I went on my adventure to the Antipodean Steam Punk Exhibition last year. Some of their corsetry and garments had been curated in the exhibition along with a number of other amazingly talented gothic and steampunk artisans. I was a little honoured they read my post as I have made several parasol purchases from them, stalked them online for several years and have always intended to visit their store. I just need to get to Sydney. And I’m sure I could get away with wearing this to work…