Friday, February 25, 2011

Creating the new Autumn Collection Part 4: The Assymetric Black Silk Emilie Blouse

One of the very latest Penelope Red designs has been handmade from a black silk, and a stunning vintage metallic braid. Above you can see me cutting the silk out. I decided to create this design on the bias- so the fabric moulds and falls around the body.

The neckline is assymetrical. When I think of Egyptian costumes, for some reason a one shoulder number jumps out at me. I wanted to create a blouse that had a one-shoulder feel to it, but you could still easily wear a bra with. The metallic braid has that eastern look, and a little Klimt included as well! The colours in the braid are very bright, and they include: purple, bright blue, gold, and brown.

Above I am sewing the braid onto the silk. The photos truly do not do the braid any justice... it looks ten times better in real life.

And here are a few snap shots of the blouse- not professional photos, but at least the show you the idea. I am very happy with this blouse... very different to anything I have created before, but still very elegant!

This blouse looks great tucked into a high waisted pair of pants too! (more on those at a later stage!)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My visit to the Ballet Russes Exhibition in Canberra

Last weekend I visited Canberra, to see the stunning Ballet Russes costume exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia. I was certainly not disappointed!

So many beautiful masterpieces in one exhibition and so very inspiring. Anyone who knows me well will know that I love over the top decadence! I love lots of colours and textures mixed into the one design, I love metallics and sequins and embroidery and lace... just thinking about it all makes me want to get back in that sewing room and sew sew sew!

I was surprised to see so much detail and work in each of the costumes- since I would have thought they would be seen from far away on a stage, and no one would see the craftsmanship.

It was hard to imagine how many people would have created each piece, and how many hours it would have taken to make it, let alone all of the restoration involved. Most of the designs are around 80 to 100 years old, so they had been badly damaged- they even had a few still to be restored pieces on display to show you the difference.

I have been considering to design a Winter Collection, inspired by a Russian- Australian theme, as this is my family culture. Now I am very excited to start it- but first I need to finish the Autumn collection!!!

Now these designs have encouraged me to explore even more mixes of colours, textures and embellishments in my designs!

You can view all of these costumes and many more on the National Gallery of Australia website.

I encourage anyone who loves design; loves colour; loves anything over-the-top, and wants to be inspired; to visit this collection. There have been some fantastic exhibitions in Australia recently, and out of the ones I have seen, I include the Ballet Russes exhibition.

My other favourite exhibitions: Valentino in Brisbane; Islamic Art in Sydney; and Monet in Sydney.

We decided to make a whole weekend of the visit to Canberra. We visited two markets (one on each day), the Handmade Market on Saturday, and the Old Bus Depot Markets. We also discovered this beautiful restaurant, Flint. We both had the French Onion Soup (to die for!!!), and I had the duck... YUM!

Basically, I couldn't ask for more from a weekend!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Penelope Red at The Rocks Market: 26th & 27th February 2011

The Penelope Red boutique stand will be at the Rocks Markets on the 26th and 27th of February, 2011.

The photos included in this post were taken a few weeks ago when I had my stand set up at the Rocks Markets. It was fairly quiet, so I decided t0 continue hand sewing the gold sequinned silk top I am creating for the new Autumn Collection.

I love giving my garments that handmade appeal, and even though hand sewing sequinned lace onto a top is time consuming, I know this design will be stunning! Already people were wanting to take a look at the unfinished piece, let alone the finished piece. I can't wait to see this in the photo shoot!

The Rocks Markets, Sydney is open from 10am til 5pm, both Saturday and Sunday. Please note that the Penelope Red boutique is not at the markets every week, and if you take a look at the official Penelope Red website, there is a notice of the next time I am there.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ms. Red Flashback Part 3: photos of my work from previous years.

The following designs were photographed by my good friend and I a few years ago. We had lots of fun taking photos, creating the look, and playing around with the jewellery. All of these photos were taken in my home.

This is where my designs really started to evolve, I believe. I started to drift away from the corsets, and started experimenting with adding the contrasting panels into other designs.

Included in the above images:
1. Vintage Hounds-tooth Vest and Black and Ivory Check Wool Fluted Skirt.

2. Black and Ivory Decadance Corset with the Navy and Black Organza Squiggle Skirt.

3. Vintage Hounds-tooth Vest and Black and Ivory Check Wool Fluted Skirt.

4. Black and Ivory Decadance Corset with the Navy and Black Organza Squiggle Skirt.

More Customer Photos!

One of my customers has been very kind to give me a copy of a few photos from her trip to New Zealand. She wore a few of my designs while she was there, including the Liberty Flowers Wool Jacket Bolero as seen above.

Above, the Vesper Kimono and below the Kir Royale Halter.

I am so thrilled to see people wearing my designs! One time I hope to be walking down the road, and I bump into someone wearing my work, and I can tell them that I made that!

Above, Leanne, Lorelle and I had dinner at the Spanish Fly (Spanish Restaurant) a few months ago. I really like this photo as we are all so happy, and we are wearing our Penelope Red! Leanne wears the Pop Dress, I wear the Venus Floral Bolero and Lorelle wears the Caipirinha Y-Bar Top.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ms. Red Flashback Part 2: photos of my work from previous years.

A few days ago, I added some photos of my work from previous years (part 1). I had a few positive comments from a some friends and customers, so I thought I might continue to add more "Ms. Red Flashbacks".

Above, the model wears the Summer Brights Corset and Bright Green Flared Pants.

I always loved creating flared pants and corsets, but the Be My Baby Dress above was a completely new style for me when it came out. A very 60's inspired style, and since the waist line finished just under the bust, it made the wearer's legs long very long!

All of these photos were taken by Milena from I Love Wednesdays, and make up was done by Nat Biller.

I now sell my latest designs at the Rocks Markets, Sydney or you can buy Penelope Red online. To find out more information, please visit the Penelope Red website.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

More Photos of the Red and Navy Paris Bow Dress

I added the latest Penelope Red design to the etsy shop today, the Red and Navy Paris Bow Dress.

I believe, when buying online, it is always nice to have as many photos as possible of the design/product, so I have added a few more to this blog posting.

The Paris Bow Dress has been handmade from rayon elastane jersey knit fabric in two beautiful colours, a bright red and a navy blue. The rayon (viscose) makes it very comfortable and soft, the elastane helps it to hold its shape and creates such a beautiful drape.

The large red bow at the bust and colouring makes people think its a little bit French, and a little bit nautical. I wore my own copy of this design on the weekend, and many comments were made about the French feel to this design.

The Paris Bow Dress is based on a mixture of two of my most popular designs; the Paris Bow Top (below) and the Black Rose Red Dress (above).

I love having a full skirt, and a nipped in waist, so I made the dress to have 6 pleats on front waist, 6 pleats on back waist, and one large pleat at centre front under the bow. The pleats accentuate the waist, and fall out to reveal a full skirt at hem.

This dress is perfect to just slip on over your head (no zip or fastening), put on some red lipstick, grab a pair of red shoes and your favourite summer hat, and you are ready to go!

Another great aspect of this dress is that you can easily dress it up with a cute heel, some jewellery and a clutch bag and wear it to a party.

I have already created a US size 4, 6 and 8. More sizes will be available. If you would like to purchase a copy of this handmade, unique design, please contact me at or take a look at the Penelope Red etsy online shop.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Customers wearing Penelope Red Corset Dresses

In December I featured a posting about creating a pink and black one-shouldered corset dress. It was a custom order for a lady who wanted to wear it to a wedding. Lorelle's sister, Leanne, had already purchased the Penelope Red Silver Floral Corset Dress, and I designed the pink one-shoulder dress specifically for Lorelle.

Well, I now have some lovely photos from the wedding day, of the ladies wearing their Penelope Red!

Don't they look so sophisticated and elegant!?

If you would like to take a look at the making of the Pink and Black One shouldered Corset Dress, the posting is here.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Ms. Red Flashback: photos of my work from previous years.

The following photos are of designs I created a few years back. I think it is fun to look back and see how much my designs have evolved, how much the photo shoot process has changed, and remember the happy customers who bought these designs.

Above, the Pocahontas Bustier and Poppy Jeans. Below: the Mucha Pants and Jade Nouveau Corset.

The Pocahontas Catsuit and the Bright Swirls Catsuit.

Around Paddington Markets, I was known for my corsets and catsuits. I have always loved wearing both styles and when I first decided to sell my designs I wanted to sell items that no one else was making. I wanted show stoppers!

The various Penelope Red corsets have made it many different countries by now: Germany, England, France, Brasil, America, Canada, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and more.

The Penelope Red catsuits are a little more exclusive, so not many have been made. The Bright Swirls Catsuit (RHS) has been taken back to to Tokyo, and I simply had to keep one of these catsuits so the Pocahontas Catsuit (LHS) is mine, and I still receive comments on it whenever I wear it even now- 4 years later.

The White corset was very popular- one of my best corsets. I sold 4 copies of this in the one day!

The Carmen corset was all about having lots of fun, and experimenting with fabrics. They were quite a hit!

It is crazy to think that I have handmade so many pieces over the years! There will be more Penelope Red flashbacks to follow.

I now sell my latest designs at the Rocks Markets, Sydney. To find out more information, please visit the Penelope Red website.