Neener Neener Neeeeeeennnerrrr

Before I do my massive post about the Burnley and Trowbridge Stays Workshop (photos are on their facebook page now) I have to get something something really massive off my chest.

....Ready? sure?

Ok. Here it goes....

Neener Neener Neeener I have the Napoleon and Empire of Fashion (1795-1815) catalouge book and you (probably) doo nooottttt!!!


It. Is. Awesome.


Be jealous.
 Angela from Burnley & Trowbridge got her copies in yesterday. Being present while the UPS guy dropped them off, I immediately picked one up, opened the plastic and went "Mine!" It is totally worth it. It is a beautiful book with a great concept.

From what I've understood and by how the book is laid out, this collection/exhibition has been based off of finding extant garments that are similar to the French fashion plates at the same time. So on almost every page you have a fabulous fashion plate and then on the next page is the correlating gown/suit/etc.



LOVED IT.  It's ah-mazing.  They're also trying to get the exhibition to tour in the US, since it is in Europe right now, and talks are apparently about Washington DC and Chicago and probably west coast city too.

Anyways. My point is it.

Buy. The. Freaking. Book. 



You'll thank me.

(Lauren of Portland House I am especially talking to you my dear).


  1. Looking forward to your step by step stay-making. I esp. like the picture of you being fitted, and using a pair of scissors for a busk.

  2. Hey Susan!

    I wont be doing any step by steps for the stays. There has been a problem of some people lifting the information that was given to them at the B&T workshops, blogging about it and making it like it's their own. It's been a real problem and Angela now requires all participants to sign release forms stating they wont share the patterns or information they receive at the workshops. Even with that, the problem still persists, sadly...

    But I will post some of my pictures and talk about how much I hate sewing stays (har har) and if I decide to use baleen for boning or not... :)

    Are you going to get the book? Cause you should. :) And everything is in bloom in Williamsburg, I think it's time for a visit! :D

  3. I will bow to you in wonder and awe if you truly do decide to use baleen! It would certainly make for an epic series of blog posts! :-)

  4. hahaha! the only reason I'm considering it is because 1. it's my birthday and the baleen would be my gift and my family owns copper boilers that are big enough for the baleen and we have a big bonfire pit that we are always using anyways. So, it's one of those things where I think I can actually do it at home, and the blogging possibilities would be ah-mazing.

    Have you started your channels yet? :) Oh and if you want to give me your email I'll pass along some pictures for you. :)

  5. Hehehe, I just emailed the link to hubs saying "order me please" :D

  6. Yes, the book is first on my list. The exhibition site made it an immediate favorite and Natalie Garbett's recountings on her blog of her experience setting it up make it even more interesting. Did you see her post about the cut steel buttons that fell out of a glove next to the mannequin they were needing such for? Wild.

    Very best,

    Natalie (Ferguson)

  7. Hahaha good! :) I feel at peace knowing you're getting the book...:)

  8. How many people would express a desire for baleen for their birthday?! Just be sure to request the non-"hairy" kind! :-)That would be ridiculously cool if you do it!

    Sadly, no channels begun yet. How about you? I have a dissertation chapter due in a couple of weeks, so alas, "real" work must interfere. I just might break down and start a little tomorrow night, though, because the stays are sitting on the floor staring reproachfully at me...

    Thanks! We've got pictures for you as well - is the email info on the contact sheet a good place to send them?

  9. Natalie- I didn't realize Natalie G. had a blog...makes me feel a bit silly since I had the opportunity to meet her last month at the symposium! Thank you for pointing it out to me! It's a great blog! The book is truly fantastic and I feel so inspired towards the early 19th century, which for the longest time I was bored with. This book helped change all that.

    Rebecca: yeah the abbyelyn at gmail is the best way to contact me. :) and i know how you feel about the reproachful stays saying pa pa pa paleesseee sew me. I shoved mine into my luggage with the excuse that I didn't want the scissors to be an annoyance with airport security. I'll start tomorrow. Good luck with the chapter...the stays will be a good 'mind clearer' for you and your writing. Rhythmic sewing, etc. :) And I think the baleen on top of me bringing in a fashion plate with a female "cheveux a la titus" hairstyle and requesting my stylist cut it in that way makes me certifiably crazy. ;)

  10. From where can you get baleen today???
    I have some sticks that are in a 1910's waist, and since years I can't decide if I should take them out of it and use them for short stays...

  11. What's "neener"? :O

    Also, thanks for pointing out to me that it's a travelling exhibition. Why can't it come to Prague? Or BRNO?! (:D) On the exhibition's site I voted for it to come to Vienna, that's close enough. Sadly, only 15 of us voted...

  12. Dear Abby,

    You met Natalie Garbett? You lucky duck. She has got to have the best job on two continents, for my taste, anyhow.

    And now, a shameless, SHAMELESS plug and beg. You're excellent at passing on news, and I desperately want to get rid of some really nice vintage clothes from my collection. Having loved them enough to tote them through 5-9 moves over 30 years, it would be cool if they went to people who love clothes. If no one buys, I take them to an upscale consignment sho for I can hang on to them no longer. They are in a basement, with all the horror that implies. The idea of someone dumping my brilliant-bedecked Mad Men dress in the washer is giving me the willies, so please, might you be willing to tell folks to at least have a look at what I have for sale or barter?

    Very best,


  13. This clinches it; I'm ordering the book this morning. I had it checked off on my wish list on Amazon already. I too met Natalie at the Symposium, and sat with her at our 18th C dinner at King's Arms, and just realized THAT was the exhibit she posted about.

  14. I drooled over the book at Angela's last night then got home to find my copy. Soooo many lovely things! Gah, must find more time to sew. And I actually discovered that exhibit from Natalie's blog. Stumbled on her blog and developed an instant costumer's crush. She makes such fabulous costumes! (If I ever see her blue velvet pelisse just hangin around, it might well end up coming home with me. Luv!) She mentioned at the accessories conference that they are trying to get the exhibit to the Met. If so, I see a road trip in my future!

  15. I just had to comment. I don't usually say much, but I've been following for a while. And...

    I am completely and utterly jealous that you were at the staymaking workshop last weekend. I tried so hard, months ago, to get out of class last Friday, but couldn't. I really need a new pair of stays, and want to make my next set, but am nervous about how to go about it.

    I was slightly mollified about getting to tromp, pretending to be someone else, with a 5-month-pregnant-pillow under my current ones. It was jolly fun.

    But now I can't wait to see what you post about the workshop!

  16. Cecile: You can get baleen in America from Alaska. The indigenous people of Alaska have special whaling permits and they can sell the baleen on ebay to the mainland (it used to be you had to be in Alaska to buy it). There's no international shipping/exporting. I don't think using the 100 yr old baleen would be wise, it's probably way too dried out and would crack on you and least, that's what I would be really worried about.

    Hana: Neener is a spelling of a sound that children make when taunting others. (Neener Neener Neeener I have (insert something of childhood want) and you do not. in a sing song like voice). ...that must be a clear as mud explanation...sorry about that...the internet is so restrictive in some ways. I think it's in Belgium right now? Maybe hop a Ryanair flight for a fun weekend?

    Natalie: Um. YES. Where are you advertising? Etsy? Ebay? What? Can I come rummage through your basement and give your vintage clothes a good home? Just give me the info dear :)

    And the other Natalie was lovely and I really enjoyed talking to her. She's also one of those that she looks perfect for the time period she dresses up in. Ah-mazing!

    Val: Have you gotten the book yet? Do you LOVE IT?

    Barbee: I want that pink and white striped thingy. I love the book...and the wide variety of fashion plates that are in the book. And I'm really sad I missed sewing circle last week. :( Hopefully I'll be able to attend sooner rather than later...

    Misslesliesprentice: I'm sorry you couldn't come! Learning the trade of tailoring/stay making just totally changes how you look at stays and work with them..and I can't share any of that information! When I was in your position with my last set of stays, I used Corsets by Jill Salen (sp) and I wanted to use Corsets and Crinolines by Norah Waugh (I couldn't get a hold of it where I was at, for whatever insane reason, the University of Glasgow Library did not have the book. Insanity.) and I would scale your pattern to your needs and do a good mock up to see how it fits and feels and then go from there. You can do it and get yourself a decent set of stays. And then in a couple of years when they have the workshop again, you can attend and get yourself the last pair of your life...because you'll never want to make stays again after all that handsewing... :)

  17. Ooooh yes, I received it yesterday!! Pure costume porn. The accessories on the dressforms with the gowns are perfect, and so colorful. They make them feel so much more real.

  18. Abby, you know, I'm Czech, and the Czech equivalent of that word is "heč", so... not exactly the same. :-)
    Apparently, their site is not very up-to-date... I guess I'll skip it, as much as I'd love not to. I want to go to Estonia, remember?


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