Category: Babblings

I Have Exciting News to Share!

My next blog post was SUPPOSED to be “All About my Vintage Diva Skirt” – but I must interrupt this planned series about my custom made Victorian Bustle Dress Designs to share some exciting news with you…

We finally bought a house!

We’ve been looking for quite a while! For a variety of reasons – the fact that we really wanted to purchase a historical home, the state of the housing market in the area of New England that we live in, the amount of space we would need for my business, and admittedly my own pickiness, it’s been quite difficult to find something within our price range.

But we finally found something! It’s technically a Colonial-era home, but it was updated and expanded during the late-Victorian era, thus there are a lot of historical details to it that I absolutely love! It’s an extreme fixer-upper, and I’ll be sharing photos of our projects here as we undertake them – the ones that relate to my business or the Steampunk/Victorian themed ones, that is!

There’s a standalone garage building – with a story and a half over top that will will be utterly amazing for my business since it’s 100% separate from our home. Any home-based business owners out there will be very familiar with the challenges – it can be hard to separate working-time and relaxation-time well enough to truly be able to relax when you work from home. The over-garage studio is a long-and-involved project for the future, however. Like – it needs more than just paint, it needs non-plywood floors!

The house has a walk-up attic that’s finished, however, and it’s really a neat-looking spot! Eventually I’ve promised the kids that it will be their “video gaming room” – but for now, I can store most of what I keep ready-to-ship in my business up there. Our first project was to repaint the steeply sloped ceiling and the dormer walls to white:

The existing paint job was in good shape, but it was yellowish beige, which is very bad for taking photos! It makes silver accents look tarnished, turns purple shades to plum, and gives reds this weird orange sheen. It’s SO much better if I have the option to take a quick photo to show someone something (or to share on social media) with accurate colors, and without having to set up a lightbox!

My favorite part – even now in this temporary setup, my dress form mannequin is able to have a permanent location where I can put things on it to take pictures:

I used to have to pull it out from a corner behind other things and set up a temporary backdrop to be able to take pictures!

My sewing room is going to be our spare bedroom for now, and that’s the next project on our list. The people who lived in our house before attached a bunch of stuff to the walls and ceilings with a staple gun! I’ve already gone over every square inch of the spare bedroom with a variety of tools (pliers, a flathead screwdriver, and a paint scraper) in order to remove an absolute cubic butt ton of staples and broken staple bits – but that left behind a landscape of scratchy poky plaster. AKA death to lace. ☠️

I put all my fabric rolls inside heavy duty long bags to move them, and they’ve gotta stay in the bags until that room is safe!

Until my husband and I are able to set aside enough time to complete the sanding, hole-filling, and painting, I’ve been catching up on computer work – both for my business, and for the Indie Sellers Guild – the nonprofit advocacy organization for creative small businesses that I helped found.

And I’ve done some sewing from my dining room, which is honestly what I’m used to, as that’s where I used to sew when we lived in the apartment.

I will be ecstatic to finally have truly dedicated space for my very space-intensive business!

Custom Orders are Coming Soon!

…For real this time!

I actually made this announcement (and shared this photo) the first time back in June of 2020. Now here I am, two and a half years later, making it again!


The whole story (14 parts! O.O) is posted here – but here’s a short explanation of why I stopped offering custom orders for so long – just in case you don’t have hours to read my babblings!

Since mid 2020, Etsy has a mandatory ads program. They force me to participate, and randomly take an extra 12% out in fees for any sale “attributed” to one of these ads. I can’t choose what to advertise. And yes, it can apply to a private listing that I make for a customer, if that customer clicked on an Etsy ad for any of my listings at any time in the last 30 days. Or if Etsy’s bots think they have for some reason!

ALL of my custom orders used to come from Etsy. And there’s another policy on Etsy, where if I ask a customer in a message to purchase from me off the platform, I can get banned.

What should I do? That was the question running through my head for the last two and a half years. Do I overcharge everyone, or sometimes take a paycut?

It’s a big paycut. The fee is 12% of the order total, and I still have to pay for everything else – materials, shipping, all Etsy’s other fees. When I get an offsite ads order, it works out to about a 25% paycut. A fancy custom gown can take me weeks to make.

A LOT has happened in 2022, and I wound up taking a long break from Etsy. It gave me the time to really think of how to get around the problem.

I would leave Etsy in a heartbeat if I could – but I can’t, and since founding the Indie Sellers Guild I’ve discovered that nearly every other creative indie seller is in the same boat with me. Tiny online shops simply don’t have the power to dominate Google searches like a giant tech platform. But there are a lot of ways I can make sure my Etsy shoppers know how to get a custom order that aren’t likely to get me banned – mainly in my images!

As I reopen my Etsy shop, I’ve been careful to create multiple images to let people know I have a website, and on the things I make that tend to inspire people to ask for custom made, I make sure one of the photos specifically says that custom orders are only available at

If anyone contacts me on Etsy to ask about a custom order, I will have to turn them down entirely so that I’m not breaking Etsy’s terms of service. But I’ve always received a few more custom requests than I have time to fill.

With this plan, I’m finally feeling confident enough to open custom orders again. I feel like I won’t spend TOO much time turning people down because they reached out on Etsy. I hate saying no, and it would be particularly aggravating if I had to keep doing so while my schedule was open!

On my website I have options for custom orders that aren’t possible on Etsy! I’ve started by creating a page on my site for pre-orders – that is, where you can see what’s next on my sewing schedule and order a rotating selection of my skirts or shrugs made just for you. I’m still working on this, but I think I can add a “Request Made-to-Order” button on everything I post here, so you can sign up to be notified the next time I make a batch of any of my skirts or jackets.

I’ve run out of a lot of my most popular skirts and underpinnings – so my plan is to restock those first. Next, I’ll work on getting options for made-to-order costumes, and the made-to-order gowns I offer that take less time to make. Haha, dress jacket gowns will have to come last!

Dress jacket gowns… Oh so pretty… But oh so much sewing!!

I have updated the custom orders page on my site with commonly asked questions, and I anticipate that they will be fully available again by spring of 2023.

I’m looking forward to creating one-of-a-kind creations again!


Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

I’ve held out for as long as I possibly can. I’m reopening my Etsy shop today. Even though I spearheaded an internet based activism movement that grew to 82 thousand people in 4 weeks time, somehow I can’t figure out how to earn enough on a standalone website to keep from being forced to return to Etsy — at least, not yet. Maybe that says more about the state of the world than it says about me.

I had to register a “throwaway” bank account to reopen my shop. Etsy’s latest anti-creator policy is to require each and every one of us (in the US at least) to give our bank account info to what’s been described as a “legal phishing” service in order to keep getting paid.

We tried everything to fight back against being forced to sign up for Plaid and agree to their privacy policy, which states that Plaid can do whatever the heck they want with financial data from our bank account. We filed formal FTC complaints, and some of us took it to our state attorney generals too.

Just last Friday, we received a reprieve of an extra 72 days to verify. We think it’s likely that so many sellers were upset by the policy that Etsy was worried about it cutting into holiday season profits. The reprieve came too late for me — as I had already connected Plaid to my “throwaway” bank account.

And now here I am, back on Etsy. Back to being on call for messages every single weekend so I don’t lose Star Seller status. Back to sending hundreds of dollars every month to a platform that does not care about me or the success of my business. Back to waiting for the next anti-creator change I’ll have to spend unpaid time adapting to.

For every 100 dollars I earn in sales in my shop, Etsy fees could cost me anything from $10 to $22. Not knowing how much I’ll pay per sale really sucks. I’m adding a 15% surcharge to my Etsy prices in comparison to the prices on my website — but I know that if there is a week or month when too many of my sales are attributed to their offsite ads program, I won’t be charging enough to cover their fees, and they will come out of my income instead.

I became a leader of the Etsy strike movement on February 28th. My indie online business has a social media following of nearly 17 thousand people on Facebook. The first time they heard about the Etsy strike was on April 1st. Together with many other people in our movement, I shared this image:

Image by Etsy Strike image team

For 4 years, while I watched Etsy kill my online business, I was that woman in the photo. I felt like I couldn’t speak out about the things happening on the platform. I felt like no one would listen, like no one would care.

I am so glad to have been so incredibly wrong about that.

Our customers shop on Etsy to support US. They are universally not-happy to learn of all the ways Etsy is screwing over its sellers. And so, until Etsy decides to stop screwing over its sellers, our customers will know.

I will continue to sell on Etsy, as I have no other choice, no other way to reach enough people in this tech-platform-dominated world. But that doesn’t mean I have to suffer in silence.

Each and every time an order comes through from an Offsite Ad, and I find myself with 78% instead of 90% of the funds from the sale, that package will contain a note to the customer, something like:

Hi! Thank you so much for supporting my handmade business. I want you to know that I have a website (, where I’m able to offer you much better prices, as Etsy fees more than doubled in less than 4 years, and I had to raise prices to compensate! For instance, since your order came though with an extra advertising fee, 22% of your payment went straight to Etsy.

I appreciate every single order from every single beautiful customer, including the ones who shop from me through Etsy — but over the past year, I’ve learned that you all don’t want to be kept in the dark about this! Knowledge is power. Thus this note. 🙂

Thanks again for your patronage, and happy costumed adventures!

Each and every time I receive a message on the weekend or on a day off, there will be an auto-reply:

Hi! This is an auto-reply. Sorry to do this, I swear I am a real person who offers individualized customer service! Etsy has this Star Seller Program that forces me to either be on call for messages 24/7, or set an autoreply every single time I want to take a full day or a weekend off. Since I like to unplug and be with my family from time to time, autoreply it is!

Thank you for your patience, and I will get back to you ASAP!

Other guild members have come up with creative ways to let shoppers know, like these labels by Lightbringer Designs:

Labels by Lightbringer Designs

During our fight not to be forced to share our bank account history with Plaid, we learned that the US government doesn’t consider us to be consumers, and so, consumer laws don’t apply to us. While setting up our labor organization, we learned that US labor law doesn’t consider us to be employees, and therefore labor laws don’t apply to us. Every law that exists to protect individuals against the excesses of giant corporations does not protect us.

There is nothing out there to help us. The only answer is for us to start helping ourselves.

Luckily, we’re doing just that, with the Indie Sellers Guild, our all-volunteer, free-to-join union for online sellers.

Before the Etsy Strike, I was alone, and I was powerless.

Today, I have no idea what the future holds. But I feel so much stronger now that I have found camaraderie, and community, with other members of the guild.

Individually, we are one drop.

Together, we are an ocean.

Image from Indie Sellers Guild home page.

I’m closing this article with a note for all the lovely customers who have supported me on my website during this time. Thank you! Thank you all, so much. There have been moments since August when I thought I’d have to re-open my Etsy shop – but each time, I’d get a new order or two, and be able to hold out for that much longer!

Because of all of you, I feel confident that I will be able to keep custom orders and really limited edition things off Etsy (those are the types of things that their anti-creator policies hurt worst), and that will make things much easier.

Now that I’m finally done with the Etsy Strike series, I’ll be glad to be able to go back to my usual light-hearted style and babble about pretty things!

This post is part of a series telling the story behind the 2022 Etsy Strike. Click here to start at the beginning.

A Whirlwind of Media Interviews

I knew what was coming. I was dreading it. It was the one part of my role in the Etsy Strike movement that I was not comfortable with, in the slightest.

I would need to appear in interviews to talk to people. On video. In front of a camera. I would need to talk to people without tripping over my tongue. Or giggling like a fool. Or any number of other things I was certain I would do.

I’ve always known that video is a medium I should REALLY try to figure out if I want to be successful in my business. I mean, I make stuff that looks like this:

And I get photographs of it by dolling myself (and friends) up, and wandering around various public parks. That’s like, perfect fodder for Youtube or Tiktok!

I’ve tried to video tape photoshoots multiple times. I’m always shy to spend the time clipping and turning them into something to post… because, well, I’m an idiot. A funny idiot, but still an idiot.

For example – tripping across a greenspace seeing how much lift I can get under a wide hoopskirt with each step, while saying “bouncy bouncy bouncy bouncy…” yep, that’s me.

I know that idiocy is very entertaining – so it probably WOULD be very good as a channel of some sort. But there’s a line between entertaining fool and just plain fool – and I’m never entirely certain if I’ve crossed it! Video terrifies me, on principle. And I really couldn’t be an idiot on an actual real life news media interview.

It was coming, and I was going to have to step up. And so, I overprepared. Before my first interview, I spent probably about 5 hours memorizing responses to the questions I thought reporters would be most likely to ask.

I didn’t think of everything they would ask. Thus, I learned something very important during my first interview. Afterwards, I watched it, and I realized, I did significantly better on the questions I hadn’t prepared for!

Ah. Don’t overthink it. The thing I have to tell myself with almost everything I attempt.

It didn’t take long to realize that I really enjoyed media interviews. It’s a special combination of getting to talk to grown ups (work at home moms feel me on this one!), and feeling important/official. On April 7, 2022, came an opportunity to realize that I wasn’t half bad at it.

I had an interview with Yahoo Finance. Yes, I know, Yahoo Finance. I somehow didn’t put two and two together, until I was in the breakout room in a zoom call waiting to go on live television. I wasn’t live yet, but I could see what was currently being broadcasted in the call. The broadcaster introduced the segment that would include my interview. He started talking about Etsy’s stock. I saw a huge graph of Etsy’s stock price doing a nosedive.

And I thought, Oh. Shit. Yahoo Finance. Finance as in stocks! As in, a show meant for a bunch of people who aren’t particularly fond of these pesky Etsy strikers having a negative effect on their portfolios! Oh boy…

I was scared to watch that interview afterwards, until it got shared by someone who I was pretty sure wasn’t trying to make fun of me. So two days after it aired, I watched it. My eyes got bigger as I did.

I could see places where the reporter was trying to trap me into a bad answer – places I didn’t fall! For a work-at-home mom with with no professional media training, I think I did pretty damn good.

By 4/11, we were joking about how the interviews were coming in too quickly to keep up. By 4/12, we were too busy for joking! That day alone we posted 13 calls to Discord asking people to reach out to the reporters for interviews. Even with four of us on the core team doing nearly back-to-back interviews, we couldn’t keep up.

I had to download What’sApp, because reporters from other countries wanted to call me. My most epic moment occurred during a phone interview with someone from BBC. He asked what I sell on Etsy. I answered “I’m a gothic Victorian fashion designer!” He replied, “Oh. Wow! I wasn’t expecting that!” in a delighted tone – and I should add that he had the absolute smoothest British accent I have yet to hear. In that moment, I thought, “That’s it. I’ve peaked…”

There are a lot of ways to reach me. I discovered that, when there was a sea of reporters using each and every one of them all at once. My Etsy inbox. Facebook and Instagram inboxes both for my business and for the Etsy Strike project. The chat system, and message system on Reddit. The mod message system for our subreddit. The contact form attached to our petition. The contact form on my business website. Our Discord server. Private messages on Discord. The email I set up for media interviews and linked on My cellphone, eventually. One time a reporter called my husband looking for me. We still have no idea how that happened!

Every day during the strike, evening would come, and the Etsy Strike organizers would take a collective breath. Maybe the media frenzy would die down now. The following day we would think it had, until it started back up again late morning.

I really do love appearing on media interviews. By the end of the strike on 4/18, I wanted to turn into a turtle and hide in a shell for a very long time.

I couldn’t do that though. 82 thousand people had signed up for our cause, and the strike was done, but we weren’t done.

The strike was only the beginning.

This post is part of a series telling the story behind the 2022 Etsy Strike. Click here to start at the beginning.

A Petition To Josh Silverman

A screenshot of our petition, taken 72 hours after it was posted online.

March 8, 2022. The day Mattie swooped in and saved my life.

It sounds like an exaggeration, but that’s really what it felt like. Mattie joined Discord and introduced themself with this message, which I would see the following morning on March 9th:

I’m here because as individuals, Etsy sellers are completely at the mercy of a corporate structure that wants to squeeze out every bit of profit it can from makers and buyers alike. But if we organize (and maybe someday collectively bargain?!) we can win ourselves a better, fairer deal. I’m in it for the long haul, well beyond the end of the strike this April.

It’s hard to describe how I felt when I read Mattie’s statement about being “in it for the long haul”. I’m quite sure I made an excited sound into the cup of coffee I was drinking, in the dark, at 5AM just after my husband left for work. I responded:

Welcome! 😄 I’m so happy to have you. I have grand after-strike ideas/plans — but avoiding talking too much about them now because must! focus! So glad you’re in it for the long run too!

From that day on, Mattie jumped in, and just did stuff, which was exactly what we needed. Mattie found and reached out to them about helping us with this project. Mattie wrote about 80–90% of the petition itself.

Although I’m exceptional in many areas, I make up for it by being exceptionally incompetent in others. Essentially it’s a split between things that are creative (in which I’m mostly exceptional) and things that are practical (in which I’m exceptionally incompetent). Petition writing is a practical skill. And so, color me incompetent.

We decided that I would be the face of the movement, since I’m a walking stereotype of an Etsy seller. Work at home mom, and all that. I’m also slightly more secure in the face of potential retaliation, for various reasons. I have a website and a decent social media following at least on Facebook. If Etsy deleted my shop as a result of my strike related actions — it would REALLY suck, but I wouldn’t be destitute.

I’m the one whose face and name is on the petition that got us tens of thousands of supporting sellers in only a few weeks time. The one who could truly take most of the credit for our petition is Mattie.

The strategy that got it in front of as many early-on eyeballs as possible — that was me.

My strategy was simple. Recruit people. Get those people to recruit more people. Get those people to recruit more people. Use every skill possessed by the people in our growing movement to help it grow even more. And so on, and so forth, until we multiplied into a massive, unstoppable force.

A simple strategy, but a lot of technical expertise was needed to pull it off. We needed to be everywhere — on every social media platform. We needed content to share to keep people engaged and hyped up about the strike. We needed somewhere to send people to find out more information about our movement than what can be shared in a social media post. People needed easy/low effort ways to help us spread the word. And finally, for those we reached that wanted to get more involved, we needed to make it easy for them to join our working teams.

I created accounts for us on every social media platform. I created a WordPress website for us at to send people to for more information about the movement. I created content to share to spread the word about what had been happening with Etsy. Content about our planned strike. Content about why it was important. Content about how we needed help.

Eventually, the help started rolling in. I created systems that would work for organizing the people helping us. In Discord, you can give people “roles” and later, you can ping everyone who has a specific role, all at once.

A request for infographics posted on Discord

We recruited people who could do things that are beyond me. We recruited someone who understood Discord bots, and they set it so that people could choose their own Discord helper roles by clicking on emoji images.

We recruited graphic designers and digital artists who helped us up our image game. This set of infographics by Kittynaut was our most popular post during the time leading up to the strike:

Infographic set by Kittynaut. OMIGOSH GO CHECK OUT THEIR SHOP!

We recruited people who could make videos as well as photos. Eventually there were videos about us circulating around, as well as the image-only social media campaigns that I had started. We recruited people who could write blog posts. Our blog became more interesting as my voice was joined by others on the team.

And finally, we recruited people with actual real experience in labor union organizing.

Yes, this whole thing had started (for me) with a Reddit post about how we needed “an Etsy sellers union.” How to create it? Completely beyond me.

But luckily, I wasn’t alone any more. I had Mattie, and a growing team of incredibly talented people who, like Mattie, were in it for the long haul.

It was starting to feel like there were no limits to the things we could accomplish.

This post is part of a series telling the story behind the 2022 Etsy Strike. Click here to start at the beginning.

Our First Real Breakthrough

Photo by Tom Barrett on Unsplash

I’ve mentioned before how online communities for Etsy sellers tend to not be very supportive if you’re having issues with Etsy. When I tried to spearhead an Etsy Seller strike, I discovered these spaces are not supportive of striking Etsy sellers either.

Wait. Did I say “not supportive”? That’s an understatement of laughable proportions. If we put pro-strike vs anti-strike sentiment on a scale, they’d be off the scale at the negative end. They believed we were all idiots for trying to plan a strike. They weren’t at all shy about telling us.

As of March 3rd, 2022, I had only tried making posts to share info about the strike in spaces with “Etsy Seller” in the name. It was a rather demoralizing activity.

And it didn’t match real life experience. I knew quite a few Etsy sellers. All supporters of the strike. All in complete agreement with every one of our demands. All completely fed up with Etsy’s corporate greed.

And I mean, logic. Our basic fees to use the platform had more than doubled in less than four years. On top of those basic fees, we were paying out the nose every time one of our items sold through an Offsite Ad. All this while objectively, the platform is much worse now than it was four short years ago.

Were people really happy about that?

Things were starting to look a little hopeless. How could our movement gain any traction if all the online communities ostensibly by and for Etsy sellers were so rabidly against what we were trying to do?

On March 3rd, 2022, something changed. A random series of events that resulted in our first major breakthrough. Value Added Resource (an online blog that posts “Ecommerce News, By Sellers, For Sellers”) wrote an article about us.

Even though Value Added Resource is a small publication, I was still very excited to discover they had featured us! I went to Reddit, and started to post it to r/EtsyStrike. Then I thought, wait, this article looks newsy. It’s pretty similar to the type of content I see posted to r/News. What would happen if I posted instead to r/News?

My post was removed from r/news. For being from a “disreputable source”. It happened at exactly 100 upvotes, so I think it was an action taken by a bot. Still, it was the first real breakthrough of the Etsy Strike project.

That post made it to 100 upvotes in only a few minutes. It also got quite a few comments in that time. 100% positive comments. From Etsy buyers who were fed up with the platform being full of the same mass-produced junk you find on Amazon, Ebay or Aliexpress. And even a few from Etsy sellers who completely agreed that we needed to band together and try to fight back.

A lightbulb went off in my head. I realized if I wanted the Etsy Strike to reach enough people, we needed to find a way to reach Etsy sellers outside of communities with “Etsy” in the name. I had no idea what was going on with those spaces — but obviously those weren’t the people we needed to reach.

I also realized I needed help — lots of it — if I was going to come anywhere close to the number of people I needed to reach. 5.2 million active Etsy sellers is a lot of people. So that meant the people I needed to focus on reaching were the people most likely to jump in and help.

Who were those people? People like me. People fed up with the bullshit.

When Etsy killed my online business, in a way, it made me lose faith in America. Like many people in my country, I used to believe America was this magical place where anyone can make it, if they work hard and never give up.

I had worked so fucking hard. I never gave up. I poured more than a decade of my life into a platform that had chewed me up and spit me out, just as soon as businesses like mine were no longer the ones they found most profitable. I was so fucking angry, and still, I wasn’t giving up. I was fighting back.

I needed to find other people like me — people disenchanted with the system, and ready to fight back. I knew exactly which subreddits to find them in. They were the same ones I’d been hanging out in myself, trolling for snarky memes about “Late Stage Capitalism” and similar topics.

My primary disadvantage was that 5.2 million Etsy sellers is a lot of people. It was also my main advantage. I could throw a rock into nearly any online space, and if I didn’t hit an Etsy seller, I’d probably hit someone who knows one.

I finally had a strategy, and I would see where it would take me.

This post is part of a series telling the story behind the 2022 Etsy Strike. Click here to start at the beginning.

Let’s try to help some Ukranian Etsy Sellers

Isn’t that quote incredible? It went viral, because an old Ukrainian lady walked right up to Russian soldiers, and said that to them as she handed them the seeds.

That’s some serious crone energy right there.

It’s a horribly helpless feeling watching what’s happening to our sisters and brothers in Ukraine. I don’t normally talk about current events, but this is too important.

My favorite Ukrainian Etsy Seller is Dress Art Mystery. I went there yesterday to look, and it told me she was taking a “short break” – which means she put her shop in “Vacation Mode” on Etsy.

You probably don’t know this, but Etsy punishes you for going on vacation. When you put your shop on hold like that, they’ll completely reset your place in the search algorithm. Your items will all be on the very last page, and you’ll have to work so hard to get them back up again. It can take a few weeks, or even a few months to recover and start making regular sales again.

I assumed there would be lots of Ukrainian sellers on vacation mode, and I had the thought of some things we could do to help them get their search rankings back. I posted about it on my blog yesterday. And then I went and sent an email newsletter to everyone on my list without checking if Dress Art Mystery’s shop had come online again!

She’s back online on Etsy now though as of Thursday morning, so everything must be less bad than I thought. So I’m simply going to share her shop on social media today. And I remembered a second awesome Ukrainian shop that I can share tomorrow (who is also online). If you have a favorite shop from Ukraine, send it to me via email/comment/etc, and I will share it too!

When have shared all the shops you send me, I will also add a gallery with links to them here. 🙂

Introducing: Choose your color hairpieces!

I sold this outfit to a customer recently:

And along with it she wrote me a cute little note. She had searched my shop, and couldn’t find anything, but did I maybe have some kind of matching hair piece?  She really wanted something – anything – to match her new look.

I searched my stock room – and predictably, I was sold out of every single piece in burgundy. I’m not sure if it’s my luck, or lack of organization, but despite the fact that making things that match is literally my favorite part of what I do, I fail at having matching looks ready to ship pretty often!

This is a piece I made (and sold) a couple years ago: 

If you take a peacock feather, and first bleach it to remove most of the color, then dye it black, you get that pretty dark iridescent look.  I selected it for this piece because some of the iridescence is close to the deep plum color of the rose.

After reading my customer’s note, I thought of that piece from years ago, and wished I had made more.  I could have easily pulled off the plum rose and replaced it with a burgundy one to match her dress!

And so, a new idea was born:

The new version of the fascinator is bigger than the old.  I don’t know about you – but when I think Saloon girl hairpiece, I want big, and over the top!  So I did a full “fan” of 5 ostrich plumes, and accented each with three black peacock feathers.

The roses come in a ton of colors – but for starters, I’m offering the 6 shown in the above photo.

And me being me, and never short on ideas (haha too many to be practical most of the time!) I also have plans to take this same idea and turn it into a crown!

Back in June I posted this photo on Facebook:

And one of the comments said “Purple and black!”

I thought, hmmm, could I make it in purple and black?  The beads and rhinestones, I couldn’t do in purple (they likely wouldn’t match eachother!) but I can get the roses in several gorgeous shades of purple.

Adding the roses is the last step to making the crowns too – and it’s a quick, easy step that I often wait on since the crowns can be stored in a much more space-saving way before I add them.

But to do this, I will need to purchase more satin roses from my supplier – so far I only have black, white, ivory and red.

And I’d really want to make sure the colors match my fabric too – so that would mean trying to see if I can negotiate to get them to use ribbon I provide to make the roses too…

So many ideas, so little time!

But the fascinator hairpiece is available right now. If you’re in the US and you’re seeing this post right away, you can enter to win your very own here!

Or, I offer the piece for sale in my shop:

Exciting news about Custom Wedding Dresses!

This is totally silly. But I like to think of all the things I’ve made over the years as little bits of me, wandering around, spreading cheer and adding a bit of pretty to the scenery…

At Steampunk festivals, renaissance faires, pirate festivals, and more!

And when I make new things, I always daydream a bit.  Who will have the pretty thing that I’m hand crafting right now?  Where will they wear it?  I think of how it feels when you’re out in public wearing something amazing, and someone stops you and says “OMG I love your costume!” and I smile.

But now, all those chances to prance around in costume have disappeared.  I hope they’re returning soon.  I hope that all the amazing vendors that support these events will weather the storm, and be able to jump back in once things open back up.  But to expect that everything will return exactly to normal once this is over is – well, a bit delusional.

Pre-pandemic, I was heading in a direction that I’m not sure about now!  I was going to steer away from weddings in favor of ready-to-ship costumes.  And now, after having several months where brides were my only customers, I’m second guessing that decision.

I’ll be frank.  I love making custom wedding dresses. I discontinued them only for practical reasons.  The main one being that I haven’t been able to figure out how to earn a livable wage while making them!

Why?  A couple reasons.  One: I am an eternal optimist.  It’s a great thing when it comes to my mood – but not so great when it comes to estimating sewing time on a new design (or even a design that I haven’t made a zillion times yet.)

Two: I am an exacting perfectionist.  Lol again, it’s amazing for the quality of my work!  But not so great for custom sewing.  The slightest mistake (even one a customer would never notice) will be unstitched, and re-sewn.  It’s even fairly common for me to throw out a custom project (or sell it in my store) and start over again to be sure the one I send to the customer is 120% perfect.

You can probably imagine that this results in amazing, gorgeous gowns, made unsustainably!

But I need to (and I want to) offer them again.  I know that my over-the-top fancy dresses are what many of you love most about my designs!  And when someone tells me that I’ve made their dreams come true (in making the perfect dress for their special day) it really is the BEST feeling.

So, let me announce (drumroll please):

But there are a couple caveats.  The first is that I won’t be able to accept every request that comes my way.  Custom gowns will be very limited – to the tune of exactly one per month!  I am only one insanely perfectionistic seamstress, after all.

The second caveat is: Custom gowns will cost more than they used to.  I think many of you will still find them to be awesomely affordable – I tend to design things with a high pretty-to-cost ratio!

And that’s all I can say for now!  I’ve gotten rather backed up in my sewing schedule over the pandemic, so I’m currently booked thru the beginning of August.  I should hopefully have more information on custom made gowns available by mid July.

If you’d like to be the first to know about custom made gown availability, please sign up for my newsletter at the bottom of this page.

My First Photoshoot

How bout this for a throwback Thursday?  These pics are from my first EVER photoshoot!

Gold Renaissance Belly Dance Costume

If you have ever been curious about what I was making back in 2007 – here it is!

I made these renaissance bodices out of saris.  I had managed to find a small sari weaver in India who had a simple website with paypal buttons to sell their wares.  They had some seriously gorgeous metallic saris, for amazing prices. 

Renaissance Belly Dance Bodice

I’m not sure what became of them – sadly their website is no more.  I still have a few saris – I’ve been squirreling them away for personal projects.

Renaissance Belly Dance Costume Side
Renaissance Belly Dance Costume Front

The bodice and belt were reversible!  The other side looked like this:

Red Renaissance Belly Dance Costume

So when I switched the white skirt out for a red skirt, it became a whole new outfit.

Sitting in Red Renaissance Belly Dance Costume

I’m three months pregnant in these photos, lol.  You can kind of tell in a few of the poses, but I was really sucking it in!

Red Renaissance Bellydance costume at rocks
Belly dancer with light house

I haven’t designed anything reversible since this little renaissance vest.  I should totally bring that idea back sometime!

Renaissance Belly Dancer

What is Steampunk? The answer might surprise you!

What is Steampunk, really? I’ve seen a lot of definitions out there. And, for at least 5 years, all of them left me thinking that Steampunk wasn’t for me – until I finally attended a Steampunk festival. It converted me –  instantly – into a raging (let’s face it, rabid) Steampunker!

The thing is, I’d seen so much “Steampunk” over the years – and all that brown and all those gears – well, yes, it’s Steampunk, but it’s not REALLY Steampunk.  It’s not all there is to Steampunk.

Stereotypical Steampunk
Image by prettysleepy1 from Pixabay

Let me explain, lol. If I’m hanging out with someone brand new to Steampunk, and I’m asked to define it, here’s what I say:

“Have you ever been to a Renaissance Festival? Do you know how, at a Ren Fest, you see people in historical costumes, but you also see fairies and elves, because, why not? And you see Medieval and pirates and belly dancers and all sorts of things because it’s all about having fun!

Now imagine that, but replace the Renaissance with Victorian.

It started with books. Sci Fi books with these amazing worlds based on the question, what would the world be like if the Age of Steam never ended?

People read these books, and their imaginations were so captivated that they wanted to see it! And so they created it, in magical pop up events around the world.

That is Steampunk.”

For years, I thought Steampunk was all gears and industrial looking accents, and all in shades of brown and ivory. And sure, that is your stereotypically Steampunk look. But – what Steampunk really IS, is this amazing community of artists that are all inspired by the Victorian Era, by steam powered technology, or just generally like to create cool looking things that fit in in a steam powered, Victorian inspired world! You can be a Steampunk, and have a wardrobe that does not contain a single item in any shade of brown. You can be a Steampunk, and have a massive collection of props that do not contain one single gear.

My first ever Steampunk convention was in 2014.  I wore this:

And I thought I was going to stick out like a sore thumb!  I was shocked when I realized that I fit right in.

The truth about Steampunk is, as far as inspiration goes, it’s very nearly a free for all!  The Victorian era lasted for quite a long time (1837-1901) – and most Steampunks also include the Edwardian era (1901-1910).  Aaaaand most people agree that Lovecraftian (H. P. Lovecraft, horror author and inventor of Cthulhu, the winged tentacled ancient god/alien being) ideas belong in a Steampunk universe – and those didn’t come out until the 1920’s!

That’s rather a lot of history – a lot of fashion, a lot of inventions, a lot of styles – to draw from, and combine with things from your own imagination.

What is Steampunk?  It’s a community.  That’s truly the best answer.  And communities are made of people, and we vary!  So while some of us are going to follow the ivory and brown exposed gears aesthetic – not all of us will!

So if you’ve been holding out on Steampunk because you like Victorian things but aren’t fond of the “Stereotypical Steampunk” you see everywhere – stop holding out and come join us!  😉 We’d love to have you!

My Sweet 16 Sketchbook

I present this picture as proof positive that I haven’t changed much: 

Victorian Lady in Red and Black

At least, what I like hasn’t changed much!  Yes, Kristina Post is me – my maiden name in the muggle world.  I found this folder marked “Really OLD!” while I was going thru stuff – and lo and behold, it contained my artbook from 98-99, when I was only 16.

A lot of them were drawings, like the one above.  Based on my current artistic eye, I think the best one was this:

Victorian Era Hiking

And another honorable mention:

Victorian Lady in Blue Bustle Dress

But the coolest thing about this find is that it also contained a bunch of my fashion sketches from even earlier – when I first started sewing – like these:

And this one was even cooler – because I found both the sketch: 

Two Regency Ladies

And my doodles when I was thinking of how I would draft the pattern for the jacket!

Spencer Jacket Pattern Plan

I really haven’t changed much, lol.  Although I definitely design sexier things now!  All in all, I think that if 16 year old me were to meet 36 year old me, she would approve.  ^.^  And that’s kind of an awesome thing to be able to say!

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