TARDIS Corset/Skirt Diary

It is done. After years (and years) of talking about it, I finally pulled my finger out and made it: my TARDIS corset. As many of you know, I am a big Doctor Who fan and have been regularly watching it since Jon Pertwee days (and irregularly before that). A few years back friend (and fellow writer), George Ivanoff unveiled his TARDIS jacket (made by his dear wife). I was a tad jealous. Now I have my own TARDIS corset (and skirt). And this is how I made it.
  1. Pin and cut out pattern on material, and also cut the corset pieces from cotton duck (two layers to sandwich the boning later). Sew the pieces together. (Left side blue pieces together/ left double layer of cotton duck together/ right side blue pieces together/ right double layer of cotton duck together. So you have four separate pieces at the end of this step.)
  2. Pin one side of material to duck layers (right sides together) and sew in the busk (this was an 8 inch one). Size will vary depending on how long the front of your corset is.
  3. Turn right way out. Add other side of busk. (You will need to use an awl to make holes in the material to push the 'lugs' through.)
  4. I added twill tape along the waist. This will help reduce the pull on the corset when laced up. Next I sewed the boning channels in the two layers of duck. A zipper foot is ideal for this. 
  5. Now for the pretty decoration. I made windows from white cotton and hand stitch ribbon to create window panes.
  6. I bought the police box sign from Fandom Fabric's etsy store. (You can also get versions from Spoonflower). I used HeatnBond Ultrahold (double sided iron-on - from Spotlight) to fuse the windows and police box sign to the material, then hand sewed each item in place.
  7. To make bias - cut 5cm wide strips on the diagonal of the material. Use iron and this neat little gadget to create the bias.
  8. The bias was pinned on the front edges - top and bottom - then machine-sewed, folded over to the back of the corset and hand stitched in place.
  9.  Mark up the lacing holes (approx 1.5 inches apart), with the two at the waist closer together to allow for the lacing loops.  I make the holes with an awl to minimise thread breakage, keeping maximum structural integrity. I use larger grommets. I wear my corsets at costume, steampunk events and conventions; the larger grommets have outlasted smaller versions (for me). I bought the grommets and tool from Farthingale's corset supplies.
  10. I needed 5m of corset lacing for this under the bust version. I use 8m for full length corsets. Tie a knot in the middle of the length, crimp on a metal aglet or handsew the ends to form one. The knot is at the centre (between two top eyelets). Lace to the bottom and tie off lacing. Pull a loop out at the two (closer) waist eyelets. These loops are used to pull the lacing tight, then is tied and tucked under the corset.
  11. The finished corset:
  12. For the skirt, I purchased one yard of 'Police Box' print from Spoonflower (ID:767279) There are many versions. I cut every second line of print (to allow enough fold over) and created a 'non-bias' strip using the bias making gadget.
  13. I pinned and sewed the strip along the bottom of the skirt (after hemming).
And here is the final outfit, complete with purple Docs - one happy Doctor Who fan!

 

[A big thanks to Lynne Cook (President Australian Costumers' Guild) who helped with the fitting of the toile for the pattern for this corset.]

photos ©2017 Karen Carlisle and ©2017 D Carlisle. All rights reserved.

Photo Friday: It’s all about the Convention

This week has been all about preparing for year's Adelaide Oz Comic Con. There's books to be organised, banners, posters and displays to be sorted. I'be been packing up mugs, t-shirts and my remaining octoscarf for sale (It's red), and making more badges and bookmarks.

 

And ironing... lots of ironing.

For those who visit my booth (#31), there are also free key rings (while they last) when you sign up for my newsletter and, if you purchase a copy of both paperbacks, you get a free ebook download of Doctor Jack.

Of course I've also been sewing (and have the holes in my fingers to prove it!) and sorting out the costumes and ensuring there was tea! Here's a sneak preview at my secret costume project. (Come visit on Sunday and find out what it is.)   The old carboard boxes were starting to fall apart so I bought new storage. And just enough time to smell the roses before we head off to bump in this afternoon. Bluemoon has the most glorious, heady scent (and they're purple-ish).   I'll be posting pics on Facebook and twitter over the weekend. If you are in Adelaide and attending the convention, I'll be in Artists' Alley all weekend (booth #31) and, on Sunday, I'll be on the Community stage with fellow indie authors, KE Fraser, Kylie Leane, Matt Pike and Alex James - at 3.00 pm. Find out more by listening to Katie's interview on local radio, pbafm.

Photos: ©2017 Karen J Carlisle / ©2017 David Carlisle.

Writing through Writers’ Block

"What?" you ask. "How can you write through writers' block? Doesn't it mean you're stuck, and can't write?"

Well, yes... and no.

Here's how Cambridge dictionary defines writers block: the condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing.

I'm currently in the middle of writing the third (and last book) in the Adventures of Viola Stewart, The Illusioneer & Other Tales. The first story rolled onto the page. In From the Depths, Viola is in Scotland, recovering at a beach resort after her ordeals in Eye of the Beholder.  Of course, she is swept up in a series of unexpected events. We meet a new character. This story ended up twice as long as previous shorts. I didn't want it to end.

I started on the next short story, Tomorrow, When I Die. This is a more convoluted story, requiring fiddling of ... (spoilers!) and some fun research on Victorian Christmas traditions. Then it happened. It crept up on me, taking me by surprise; the realisation that this was to be Viola's last set of (traditional) adventures. ("Gasp!" I hear you say.

Never fear, dear Reader, I have a few plans up my sleeve - but that's for another time, another blog.)

About this time, a late bout of dust-induced summer bronchitis hit. I felt like shite. Being ill is certainly not helpful when trying to build up the will-power to wade through the dreaded marshland I designate Writers' Block. I see it as a marshland as it is inconvenient, an impediment to moving forward and I must plan my way to proceed or sink further down.

First find the cause: why do I get writers' block?

I've thought about this in depth (perhaps way too much!). It seems to strike me at two different stages:

  1. When I'm staring at a blank page. I know the gist of the story. I can usually see the end scene in my head, the mood I want to create. But the words refuse to flow from my brain onto the screen. At this point, I am usually working pen on paper; words seem to flow better with a pen or pencil in my hand.
  2. when I am nearing the end of a story. I'm finally having fun. The characters are co-operating, even enjoying themselves. Then the penny drops; it has to end. I panic. I don't want it to end. I don't want to leave my characters behind. But I must. Perhaps if I don't write those final words...?

These are things I have to deal with. They are not new. In 2014, I had almost finished the first draft of what I thought would be my first novel, The Department of Curiosities. I had about four scenes to write. Crunch, the writers' block hit me.  What was I to do? I started on a short story, (reviving) a character from An Eye to Detail, short listed the year before in Australian Literature Review's murder and mystery short story competition.

The block shifted. I kept writing Viola's s adventures with gusto (There were minor blocks but nothing as long-lasting as that with DOC.)  I'm now ready - and can't wait - to return to The Department of Curiosity - my next project after The Illusioneer. 

How do I Tackle Writers' Block?

I have a box of story ideas. I keep getting them. Not all are worthy of a full story, but they are there. I usually have at least three (sometimes four or five) stories on the go. When I hit the wall, I redirect my energies toward another story and let the original one bubble away in the background - ensuring I move forward, and not wallow.

This time I was side-tracked onto a story to submit to a (absent) Sherlock Holmes anthology: write a story in the Holmes mileaux, sans Sherlock himself.

Bang! The main character was there. Her enthusiasm was contagious. I could see, hear, smell the final scene. This short is now being polished with final edits and about to be submitted. Wish me luck. (And another series is born. I can't wait to write another story with my new detective and her soon-to-be-drafted side-kick. Though I need to finish The Illusioneer and the DOC first.)

Short stories are fantastic. They give me a brief holiday from my main project, just enough time to let the original story gurgle back up to the surface.

April is Camp NaNoWriMo and I'm ready to plunge Viola back into her adventures. I hope you'll join the ride.

Photo © 2017 Karen J Carlisle. All rights reserved.