Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Most Rare Blue Moon Sale and New Releases


A Blue Moon is rare, but a Blue Moon on New Year's Eve only happens once every 19 years or so! This Thursday half the world will greet a new year and a new decade under a Blue Moon. How mystical, how magical, and how very special. I've been humming this song all morning, which is one of my favorites.

I don't do sales but once a year. The last time I held one was in October of 2008. So it is time for a very rare Blue Moon Sale. Every vendor at Blisswood, the main store, has been set to give a 25% discount. That's on all vendors, old and new releases. This is your once in a Blue Moon chance to get GreenWood Design items at such a discount. The sale will end at midnight on Saturday, January 2nd, 2010.

I make no promises about the next sale, because I don't believe in holding them constantly! So do take advantage while you can!

Now one more thing. I've started a new line of clothing. Sea Pearls Vintage bathing suits! The suits are whatever I find pretty from 1920's to 1960's swim and play suits! So far I have two 1950's style suits. I've a few others in mind, and a third suit will be out this afternoon. Yes, I'm having great fun with this! These are not butt flossers, Ladies. These are modest but sexy suits. Our grandmothers knew what they were doing. A recent study said that men prefer to see no more than about 40% of a woman's body revealed by a swimsuit. See? Rita Hayworth, Brigitte Bardot, Marilyn Monroe, these women knew that sometimes revealing all isn't nearly as sensual.

So, we have "Mango Honey" and "Sex Kitten" available, but only at Blisswood! I hope you'll take a look, they're upstairs in their own little vendor.

So sexy! You wouldn't believe how pretty these are in person. I did them because I've recently taken up sailing in SL and couldn't find anything sexy AND low lag that didn't leave my virtual fanny hanging out in the wind! So of course, I had to make it! I hope you enjoy them too!

And that's it for this . . . year! This decade even! Thank you ALL, each and every one of you, for supporting me this year. I've enjoyed talking to some of you in person, though I will warn you I do tend to be a little shy in person. Yes, I really do. :) I hope you'll come visit Blisswood, and I wish you ALL a Blessed and Magical New Year.

I hope you have someone special to be with under the most Enchanted of Blue Moons.

Cordially yours,

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Two New Releases . . . One for Men!

Greetings Gentle Reader!

I have two new offerings for you today. One is a gorgeous, stunning, wowza scarlet 1920's evening gown! Holly Berry is based on a real 1925 evening gown and quite sexy for those upcoming holiday dances! I really do love this gown, and picked it for both its beautiful color and its intricate beadwork. It comes with a resizable head piece, period bra and tap panties, as well as black stockings, but not with gloves or shoes.

I explain where the gloves come from in the notecard that accompanies the gown, and have listed landmarks for the store that carries them. Sometimes I feel it's better to support other SL merchants and buy what I want to use. In this manner, I hope to encourage you, the client, to also purchase gloves from the designer who made them. She's most talented! No I do not know her, but I know I appreciate her work.

The next offering is for the men out there. It is the New Babbage Greatcoat! A Victorian Greatcoat based on a real 1890's garment made of curly lamb's wool. The toggle and braid work on the front is awesome, and the collar and cuffs are prim and adjustable.

This greatcoat is Mod/No Copy/Trans and costs $350 lindens at any of the Curious Seamstress stores. Or you could visit us at Blisswood and snag one there. Ladies, since it is transfer, you can buy it for your man as a warm holiday gift! It can also, as always, be purchased on SLex.

Now, I have some other items in the works. One is a gorgeous Bonbon Rococo style gown, Kindness, which will be out later this evening. I can give you a little peek here . . .

Kindness is one of the 7 Virtues series of gowns. This is probably one of the more prim intricate designs I've ever made. There's lots of bows, flowers, ruffles, even on the back drape, but they are all true to the period. This is not an exact replica of a specific gown, but rather my own creation using the Rococo ideals as a guide. Though the stays and drawers included in the undergarments are real enough!

The other pre-peek I'll let you see is a brand new line of items from me. This is the "Little Egypt Victorian Dance Finery" line. For now I have two debute outfits, with as always, more in the wings. Please do remember this is what I consider a draft picture. The outfits are nearly ready to go and should be out by Friday. I'll only show one for now, but the other outfit, Sister Nuit, is in black, gold and red.

The first up is 'Mother Isis', done in tribute to the Egyptian Mother Goddess Isis. A card with her story will come with the silks. I do consider these dancing silks. There's several layers. When all are worn together you have a very modest dancing outfit. But you can take away layers and have a more risque outfit. These silks will not have strip scripting, but rather resizing scripting so that they can be fitted to the dancer.

Mother Isis -

This is a mock up ad, and there is some change that may happen to the final product. I can tell you that there is a heavily beaded headdress that matches the outfit, that the long draping scarves come off with one of the prim tops. There are two prim tops. One has fabric tassels that hang down to cover a good deal of the mid-drift, while the other tassled chest piece is topless and could be used if you were in an Adult Egyptian sim and playing a dancer. By the way, there are two skirts. One is long, the other is very short and just barely covers what it should! Both can be worn together, and if you look closely at the picture, you'll see the shorter, darker blue panels. Overall, this is a very detailed outfit and one that I am quite happy to offer.

This is also another outfit that's been lingering in my folders for well over a year now. Miss Breezy Carver told me to stop being so protective and let the little dears fly free, and so I am. I hope when you finally have them in YOUR closet, you cherish them and have fun with them!

That's all for the moment. Please remember "Kindness" and "Mother Isis" are not yet released, but will be soon!

Cordially yours,

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Four Recent Releases . . .


Yes, I've been busier than I can believe lately, and totally spaced blogging about the newer releases. So I'll slap those dears up right now. Please forgive any fuzziness in the pictures. I'm having to stretch them to odd shapes because the blog is giving me tiny little fits and I'm too tired to play with it more tonight! Now, without further caveats or whimpers, here are the four newest offerings from The Curious Seamstress!

First is this gorgeous gown by John Redfern's Maison Redfern. This black wool gown, named "Redfern in Black Wool", is Edwardian and dates from about 1907. I believe it is now in a private collection, but I wish it was one I had in my real closet! This is a sleekly tailored, elegant day suit and I personally enjoy wearing it quite often in Second Life. It comes with period undergarments as always, and the hat pictured. However, this outfit could go with just about any hat you chose to use.

Next up we have a gown made for those of a nautical mind, "Deep Sea Blues". This blue wool gown and its jaunty, natural straw boater is perfect for a fall or winter visit to the shore. It was made for New Bababage's Fleet Week and is based on an 1890 era woolen gown. It really is quite a lovely gown.

After that, and continuing in the theme of blue here, I have an earlier Victorian period gown named "Blue Belle". Based in the Romantic Victorian Period of about 1856, this crinoline ballgown is perfect for any upcoming winter party. There is a long sleeved modesty blouse for anyone so inclined to wear one, though it is not part of the original gown. Undergarments include a period corset and pantaloons. However, you may wish to take the corset off as the lace peeks over the edge of the bodice. If that doesn't bother you, then enjoy! There are also two head pieces, both with resizing scripts. One is blue daylilies and ribbons, the other is white roses and blue ribbons. Black lace work edges the gown, and a black lace overskirt is also part of the ensemble. Period length white silk gloves complete the outfit.

A word about the Romantic Period, there are actually three periods in the long Victorian Era. The earliest with its crinolines is usually refered to as the Romantic period. The middle period, after the crinoline collapsed, is usually dubbed High Victorian, and the last couple of decades as Late Victorian. Who knew? I learn something new every day and that's almost always great fun! Onwards!

Last we have a boudoir robe, "Night Fires". This special gown is the first one I've put out in about a year. There is a rhinstone studded panties and top, as well as a prim top. It has specially written scripted messaging for all the prims except the sexy little hip scarves. Since that silken rope needs to fit any pair of lovely hips, it has a resizing script in it instead of a messaging script. You'll just have to wing it on your own! I think by the time you and your significant other get to that point, you'll be fine!

This is also an awesome outfit to dance in for your lover. I would recommend Animazoo bellydances for some really smokin' hot moves that can set a heart afire. This outfit is a treat when you're whirling and dancing in it with those seductive moves.

That's the four offerings that came out over the weekend before Thanksgiving. I have a few amazing winter garments coming out shortly. One is for the men, and the other two are for the ladies. But I've a few extras that I'm working on as well. I've also got another two Bonbon Rococo gowns in the wings. One is called 'Kindness' and is part of the 7 Virtue's set, and the other is called 'Grace'. Those will be out in another week or so. Then, I have one more very special treat. It's a gown that I never thought would be released to the public, but I have been given permission to so do. That gown will be out next weekend.

Until then, take care!

Cordially yours,

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Creative Conversations 2 - Perms and Coloring


No, this isn't a hair blog! The perms and coloring I'm talking about are the permissions given on SL items, and ladies asking me to recolor gowns I've made.

I thought about a lot of topics to blog on this week. It seems to me there are a variety of them concerning Second Life and fashion, as well as the business end of fashion. This time I'm going to talk a bit about recoloring items and the use of permissions.

Permissions are those things that a designer assigns a product defining the usage available to the next person, usually a client. There are heated debates among designers and buyers as to what are the best permissions to issue. I personally think it depends to a great extent on what you're giving permission on. For example, I do some limited amount of men's clothing. On them, and only on them, I allow mod (modification) rights on the pants. Men often need to lengthen or shorten the pants depending on what shoe they will be wearing. Let's face it ladies, we rarely have that issue with gowns, since our shoes are most usually ankle or lower. The men may wear knee high boots or low cut shoes, either way they need a choice. So that is one reason to offer mod rights.

I do not offer mod rights in general because they're not needed if resizing scripts are in the prim pieces. Those scripts can be deleted once you've set the item to the size you wish. there's not one good reason on this pixel earth for you to be adjusting any other texture. There just isn't. If you did not like the length of the sleeves or depth of neckline to begin with, then don't buy the outfit. It's pretty simple.

Another, more personal reason for my stance on mod perms. I was about a year into designing when I offered a newly finished gown to a friend of mine. At that time I had mod/copy/no trans. She took the gown, and then came back the next day, having totally changed every texture on that gown. She then happily showed me how she'd improved it. I was stunned and hurt, though I said not a word to her about my feelings. Why bother to take a gown I made and change it into something you made? Make your own. That was my thought then and now. At that point, I decided no more mod gowns ever again, because that person now had a gown with my name as creator, and not one bit of the work was mine any longer except for the prims. And so it goes.

Let's talk about copy. Why? No really, why? Every outfit I sell is a completed gown. If you need to resize a piece, then it probably has a resizing script in it. If it doesn't, contact me! I had a lady recently contact me, expressing a need for larger head pieces on the 20's gowns she had bought. I happily gave her new head pieces with resizing scripts in them, AND changed them out on stock that would go out in the future. Because of her expressed desire, a lot of other customers will benefit. There really is no reason to have copy in an outfit.

Now, transfer or trans. Why, oh why, did I make the majority of my gowns no mod/no copy/trans? Well, after two years of shopping in SL, I got sick to death of not being able to transfer copies of gowns out of my nearly 80k inventory. Yes it is that high, yes I do try to prune often. But I'm a designer and I have all my stock in my inventory. Not everything I have made makes it to a server to be distributed. But let us not digress, back to why I use trans. Basically, I've wasted real money on gowns because I do not wish to wear them any longer, but they still clutter up my inventory. So what choices do I have? I can delete them or keep them if they are no trans. I gotta tell you, after two years of shopping, that's a LOT of gowns. That is also a lot of real life wasted money, since I cannot resell a gown nor can I give it away. To me that's just idiocy. Also, there is the lost sales chances. There are many times my sister and I have gone out shopping, only to spot some gorgeous outfit we'd like to gift someone we know. But it's no trans. So then we have a choice, try to find out how that particular merchant gifts stuff, or give linden to the person and have them go buy it. Those are just not good options in my opinion. I like knowing the reaction of the person I'm giving a gift too!

So when sitting down to decide on a final set of perms for all my garments, I decided that no copy (you do not need five copies of a bodice!), no mod (you do not need to resew that bodice!), trans (pass it on if you're tired of it!) was the way to go! Now you know my feelings and reasons behind the perms I give. I won't change it. I see no reason too.

Now about recolors. I've had a few clients approach me and say, 'if only you'd recolor this gown in screaming taupe, I'd buy it!" I can't do that. Recoloring simply does not work well in most cases. I've seen 'five lovely shades' of the same original gown. It was sad. That's just Photo Shop or GIMP doing a recolor. That doesn't do the gown any justice. It changes the shading of lace and cloth and the whole tone and feel of the gown.

You see, when I'm working with an original piece, I think of the designers. Whether it's a Worth gown, or a gown with no known designer, someone went to a boat load of trouble to create that specific gown in that manner. They picked those fabrics, with those colors and textures and that particular trim or sets of trim. They didn't think, 'wow, ok now let's do this exact same thing in ten other shades!' No, they were creating a piece of artwork for an individual client.

Couture is ARTwork. Haute Couture is a garment made for ONE person, by others. Literally, at this time in history, there are about 300 women in the world who can afford real haute couture garments. They will tell you, haute couture is art in fabric form. We're speaking of gowns that cost upwards of $100,000 for one evening gown. In the middle to late 1800's, when Worth was reinventing fashion, a very wealthy woman might go spend a million 1890 era dollars on her wardrobe for a season. The cost today would be much greater than that. Worth and his peers made gowns for royalty. When I work with a Worth gown and bring it to you in SL, you're getting a chance to wear a version of a haute couture gown. A real one, not one hyped to be one. I do use other designers as well, and am constantly learning of other period designers who have done amazing work.

You do not recolor a Rembrandt or a Monet . . . or a Worth. I have seen a lovely Worth gown recolored into five or six other shades. It made me cringe, because they did not look nearly as good as the original. I was also frankly surprised that some person some place with a computer program thought they could do better than the original designer. I don't know if it was arrogance or ignorance or greed, but the gowns were not appealing.

I will not recolor any gown I have done that is based on an original piece. Don't ask, and don't be offended if I say the same thing in person. Just get a gown that suits you and your style and coloring. If you don't like the coloring on the gown, than change your avatar. What, is that more outrageous? This is Second Life, don't get stuck in a rut! If you really love a gown and want to wear it, then figure out a complimentary look and go for it. I venture into blonde territory now and then. I go between red head and brunette and raven black hair as well. The real beauty of SL is all about having the ability to look any way we wish at almost any given moment.

Now to clear up one or two things before anyone screams offended. If a designer makes a garment from scratch, and then wants to offer 20 colors of it, go them. I've done that recently with the Devil's Cloth gowns. It's the first time I've issued five colors of one style of gown, and chances are it won't happen again any time soon! Savor it while you can ladies!

It's now rather early, and I need to work on some other things. There were four new releases over the past weekend. I'll blog on those tomorrow most probably. In the meantime, I wish you all a lovely Thanksgiving. I hope you make it home to your families, but if you don't, then I hope you spend the day with friends and folks you enjoy.

Many bright blessings on you and yours.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Creative conversations

Greetings again!

I was talking to my dear friend, Miss Breezy Carver, about a commission gone wrong last week. She suggested perhaps I should tell the world at large what it's like being a creative genius in SL. All right maybe not genius, but at least brilliantly talented, awesomely modest digital seamstress. No? Well, let us speak about design then, and what it takes to bring a gown to life in Second Life.

I am going into my third year of designing in Second Life. I started out with a hunger to make gowns that didn't look like overturned Tupperware bowls that flapped in the wind. Omar the Tent maker would have been proud of some the very ghastly things I saw in the summer of 2007. Add to that blingy stilettos, and it made me cringe. Try as I might, I could not find virtual clothing that suited my own personal style and taste. So I set out to make my own.

My very first gown was called, 'Dark Fires'. It was made with a full perm skirt and freebie textures. Even then I tended towards strong, contrasting colors in the warm hues. The skirt texture was a glass texture, and in using it, I felt the first sharp pull of what it meant to be a creator in SL.

My personal real life background includes over 30 years of sewing experience, as well as all the little skills that go with that. Bead work, embroidery, needlepoint, painting on fabrics, making costumes, and more. I have made Ren faire and Halloween costumes for family and friends, as well as strangers who emailed me measurements! The upshot of that is I know how all kinds of cloth moves and flows in the real world.

Then I found SL. The first year was spent learning the skills needed to make gowns. I wanted my gowns to move like real cloth, not flapping in the 'wind' or standing stiffly. Then there was the matter of design. It's not just a matter of slapping pretty textures on prims. I once heard another person say she'd spent the weekend making 200 gowns. That is not a typo. The gowns were all the same, but with different textures. That to me is not designing gowns. That is a desperate attempt to wring lindens from folks with no sense of style. She no longer sells gowns or anything else, having moved on out of SL. This is not a get rich quick way to make money.

But back to how to do what I do. I went to every building class I could find. Out of the two or three hundred classes I've done over the years, only about six were clothing. But what I was learning to do was manipulate prims. Making a house or a set of furniture or a necklace all teach different things. So I did that, and made gowns. Mostly my gowns were made in appearance and were what I still call slider clothing. That's because of the slider you use to move the lengths around. I finally made my own skirts, first with looprez, then on my own. It is all a matter of practice and focus. Oh and passion!

My skills grew, but I had one major stumbling block. I knew I would never reach the next level of design until I could make my own textures. Specifically, I needed to be able to make bodices, corsets, glitch skirts, and better textures for skirts. In short, I needed to be able to manufacture the textures to my standards.

I learned GIMP. It sucked. It took me three months to do the classes, which were a gift from my sister, Ghilayne. Did I mention it sucked? I had all these ideas in my head, but I couldn't get them from head to SL! Then I had a falling off the fence learning moment and suddenly GIMP made sense! I started making things! They were clumsy at first, then my sister gifted me with the second great gift. For Christmas she gave me a Wacom pad. Now if you don't know what that is, it is a pen tablet that hooks up to your computer. By using that I could do even more detailed work in GIMP on textures. I suddenly found out what I wanted to do in SL, reproduce historical gowns.

My first gown was inspired by Charles F. Worth. Here is the original gown, which took my breath away when I saw it the first time!

from that, came this:

That, from the moment I found the pictures and made the textures, until the product was boxed, the ad made, and everything set out, took about a week. I've had lots of practice since that first Worth gown, which came out a year ago this month. But it can still take up to a full week for a gown, depending on details and prim work that might be needed.

Now, let's return to dear Miss Breezy and the commission gone wrong. The lady I was to do the gown for asked for a dance hall girl's gown in pink with low cut bodice and under bust corset. Can do! I set a price for her, then told her I thought I could have it ready the next evening. Now usually I don't move that quickly on a commission, but this seemed simple enough. I spent several hours on the gown, finding the cloth textures, working up the main textures and then doing the prim work to complete the gown. In total there was about 8-9 hours into it. From that effort came this:

Lovely isn't it? She didn't want it. It wasn't deeply enough cut in the cleavage, it wasn't her style, but she did find the corset stunning and offered to buy that.

My temper flared, my blood pressure shot up, but I said nothing. Instead I just thanked her and closed out the IM. Then I started taking deep breaths to calm down. I had just spent 8 hours on a commission just to be told 'nah, not really my style, but I'll take the corset'. I try to cut people slack, they have no clue what's on my side of the screen, the work involved with making even the simplest textures. But it is thoughtless and rude to commission a gown and then not pay for it. I don't really care if it was her style or not. I had pointed out the gowns on the shop walls around us and asked her if she was sure she wished me to do a gown. This was when she first approached me about it. She said yes, she was sure. What she really wanted though was a copy of the gown she was wearing, but in pink. I'm convinced it was a man, playing a female, playing a lady of the evening in a Western sim. Why? Because her bosom was hanging out like a cow begging to be milked. What she wanted was a gown that had nothing between the hanging mounds of flesh on her chest. I did point out that the black lace on the gown is transparent, and that the cloth part edges the nipple, but it still wasn't what she wanted.

I'm ranting again, poor Breezy, she had to listen to me the first time! So did my sister, who just shook her head, patted my clenched fist, and pointed out that I could now sell the gown on the open market. That cheered me a little bit, but really after a while I just had to laugh and move on. The gown now sits on the open market, and I will make more in that line so that the dance hall girls of the Western sims have something to wear!

I am not the only designer this kind of commission fiasco has ever happened too, and it is because of things like that that most designers reach a point where they refuse any more commission work.

In conclusion, don't commission a gown and then not pay for it. Be aware that the person making that gown is doing some fairly serious work. Textures don't just fall off the internet and onto an avatar. There are many time consuming steps between point A and YOU.

If you want to do this kind of thing, if you want to be a clothing designer in SL, be prepared to practice, practice, practice. Again, textures do not just fall out of thin air. You must put time, effort, thought and WORK into designing good clothing in SL. To design magnificently detailed clothing, you really must work your tush off. There is no free ride, except for copybots and that ilk. I cannot infuse you with knowledge. I can only tell you my journey to this point in time has taken two years of long hours and obsessive attention to detail. I study clothing of the era, I've learned about designers like Worth, Redfern, Paquin, Lucille, Felix, and others. I've spent hours reading and researching, buying real books to add to a growing reference library on period fashions. I also try to stretch myself creatively. That might mean taking jaunts off into unexpected design directions, and only in that way can I find what makes me smile.

I am following my Bliss. Because of that my life has gone in unexpected directions on occasion. I hope that you, too, will find and follow your own Bliss. It is a very worthwhile journey, believe me!

Cordially yours,

Monday, November 2, 2009

Devil's Cloth and Halloween


yes, I know I'm late in posting for Halloween! I was so busy designing and such that I forgot to post this last weekend. I'll admit, blogging isn't always at the top of my to-do list! I've so many projects right now, ones I want to start, some that I have started, others that need to be finished or started ... or ... or ... yes. THAT is my life most days. One would think that there would be enough hours in the day, but more often than not, I end up falling into bed with less finished than I had hoped!

A couple of things to comment on, tonight is the Hunter's Moon. How cool is that? Full moons are always magical times. The other thing is about the silks I spoke of last time. I've been working on them, but the freak perfectionist in me wants a few changes before I release them. So it'll be a wee bit longer. However, I will have some new boudoir robes out at the end of the week. Also, a group gift for those who are members of the GWD Hippogroup. This will be a first, but I hope not a last. I've a few future gifts in mind, so we'll see!

So let us move on and discuss a little fashion history.

There are five new releases this week. I'm cleaning out my folders and finding many things that I did and then put away for one reason or another. The Devil's Cloth gowns are a good example of items put by for another time. When I created the first one over a year ago, it was for fun. When I pulled that gown out a week ago, I thought it was cute, but needed a little help. So into GIMP I went to create a new bodice for it. For anyone that wants to design clothing, let me tell ya that 'just one more little bit' usually turns into a whole new outfit! And so it was with these gowns. One more little bit turned into five new gowns.

The name, Devil's Cloth, refers to stripes and a fantastic book my sister told me about. It might not interest most folks, but in case you're interested, it is "The Devil's Cloth: A History of Stripes and Striped Fabric" by Michel Pastoureau.

Did I mention my sister, Ghilayne, is a textile and history geek like me? Well, she is! Anyway, after telling me about that, I finally had a name for the new gowns released on Sunday morning. Below are the ads for all five gowns. Yes, it's been a very long time since I released one gown in multiple colors. As I said, I'm cleaning out folders so you all may see all kinds of things over the next month!

That's about it for now. I do have some fun things coming out. I hope you'll stop by Blisswood on Northern Lights to check it out. I also hope you take a moment and step outside to enjoy the beautiful skies!

Cordially yours,

Thursday, October 22, 2009

More New Stuff!


Well, yes, I did it again, there's more gowns out gracing the vendors. One new gown is based on a real world 1907 gown, that's 'Moon Shadow'. It's really a gorgeous ensemble! I love the lace and the hints of Art Deco design with the black velvet strips. It was difficult to do, I have to tell you. However, it was well worth the time and effort involved.

The next gown out is what I considered a created gown. That is some bits of it are taken from the real world, like the bodice, shirt, and undergarments. However the skirt and other textures are created. Black Roses is a mourning gown from the Victorian period and I have to say, I really love the textures! I also admit to adoring the stand up collar on this one. It's very lacy and pretty.

So those two gowns were made to go with the October theme. However, I was on a roll and cleaning out folders! After completing those two gowns, we have *FIVE* costume gowns! Yes, I know, you're totally blown away right? Right?! Ok, maybe not, but they're fun and inexpensive!

I started making the Bonbon Rococo gowns in June of 2008, did a slew, then tucked them away. I loved them but wasn't really looking to break into the 18th century market. Now the thing about most designers is we have idea gowns we've made and then put away as perhaps not quite up to our standards. I can also tell you that any designer who's been around for a while usually has insanely high standards. My sister, Ghilayne, has smacked me upside the head more than once, telling me to stop being so fussy about gowns and release a few more! This time I actually listened to her and released the five Bonbons and will have a sixth out shortly. Eventually I'll add a few more as well. These gowns are really for masked balls, Carnival, Mardi Gras, that kind of thing. I enjoy making them as they're kind of fast and fun to do. Kind of! They do not have undergarments, they do not have extensively detailed bodices and such, but they are great fun to wear. They are just bits of fluffy fun!
Here are the five current Bonbons.

A steampunky version of a gown! The lace is actually a rusty grating texture, among other things. My sister, Ghilayne Andrew, made the mask that is with this gown! She actually had it out for Steam:The Hunt. But it went so well with this outfit that it's part of the package now. If I can talk her into it, she'll make more masks in the future!

Sweet Cherry... lots of pink and fuscia and girly fun!

Lemon Drop candies have been some of my very favorite since I was a kid. This gown is based on those, yellow on the outside, white and sweet on the inside!

Another little trip down memory lane for candy, my grandmother used to make a candy called divinity every Christmas and send us a batch of it. It was always a sweet treat, and so is this fluffy, lacy gown.

Last is Black Licorice. Yes, another favorite candy of mine! There are no safe black jelly beans in my house around Easter! This gown is a sinful little treat of sexy black lace, sequins, and satin, with a red satin underskirt. I'm sure you'll enjoy this one as well!

Now, each Bonbon has a card in it listing where the mask, hair ornament, and hair came from. Be sure to read the cards!

I do have other things coming out shortly, among them, some silks that have been hiding in folders for well over a year. I do want to make a disclaimer here, I do not focus solely on making silks as some designers do. I just wanted some dancing silks that were actually good for dancing and not just tiny strips of fabric stuck in impossible places! :) There are other gowns planned as well. It will be a very busy fall and holiday season!

I hope you have a Happy Halloween! Oh, and one of my favorite songs, one I listened to while creating "Moon Shadow". Enjoy!

Cordially yours,

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Updates and fun stuff

Greetings again!

Yes, I have new releases! Of course! This time there's two that are very pretty. The first is a Victorian Day gown named 'Daisy'. It's all lawn and lace, with a standing collar which I adore. I'm not sure why such things look so elegant to me, but they do. When I saw this gown I decided that was a main factor in making it.

See? It really is very pretty, and the back has a secret quality, you can just see the corset under the lacy openings! Yes, yes that WAS done on purpose. Though you do have to look closely to see it.

The next gown is a 1920 evening gown in orange velvet and gold lame lace. It is simply a stunning gown and took me a while to finish. After I got the initial gown done, I realized I needed a head piece. Well, that put me off for a week while I thought about what I wanted and how I'd do it. Next came the hand fan, and the realization that I didn't want just any old fan. Though between the two, the head piece was a lot harder! It has a resizing script because it's tough to tell what hair an avatar will be wearing.

I know the color might be a bit startling, but I swear it really is gorgeous and fantastic in person.

So, how do I pick a project? I spend hours going through pictures and websites, I've been all over the world online looking at clothing. I've several files, and probably about 500 seperate files worth of gowns. I seperate by season and then by other criteria, then I work on them in stages. Some I have in the 'yes I want to do that some day' stage. Some are in the cleaning stage where I'm readying the texture for use. Some are uploaded to SL already and awaiting prim work. That can be as time consuming as the texture work out of SL. After all that is done and I'm satisfied with the final gown and its accessories, then comes the photo shoot. I do my own, and I do not ever use outside models. I tried that once, I wanted to kill them off. So I figured in order to save the life of other hapless and waaay too skinny avatars, I would do it myself. After the photos poses are taken, those are saved to my hard drive and I go back to GIMP and do the ads. After that, it's back into SL to uplaod the ads, package the gown and ad, then write a note to go with said gown, then deposit all that into a server to be uploaded to the vendors. But wait! I'm not done yet! After that I have to enter it into the website, boxed gown and ad, then set it into the appropriate vendors. Then, I send you all notecards in the group, send out more notecards to other fashion groups, then, then...... I start working on the next set of gowns. :-) I try to put out two gowns at a time.

And that, my dear flock, is the week in the life of this SL clothing designer.

Someone once asked me if I really put in 40 hours on a gown. Well, from concept to the time you get to slip into it, yup! Some take even longer, depending on the details. Now, I've been working through the night on a new Edwardian evening gown which I absolutely adore, and I'm sure you will too, in about a week. But until then I think it's time to go get some rest and dream about new projects.

Take care!


Friday, September 11, 2009

About last month . . .


Well, I was gone for nearly three weeks until about the middle of August. Once I got home I hugged my computer, whispered sweet nothings to my Wacom pad, and started working again. I found on my journey that I adore designing clothing for Second Life. I love finding uniquely beautiful gowns to bring to life in our virtual world. I should probably get a 'real' job at some point, but the fact of the matter is that I consider designing digital clothing my 'real' job. It speaks to my heart and soul, it is my passion and my bliss. Because of that, I will continue working on this things for as long as I'm able too!

Now onto what's new! Around Blisswood, the big store, are several treasure chests with clothing items in them that are free. Though you are limited to one. Among the items are a pink boudoir robe, a Bejeweled gown in emerald, a Bejeweled gown in Onyx, and uhm, a modern little flirty thing. So, visit Blisswood on Northern Lights, hunt around the store and outside, and you'll find the treats. It's reallly just for fun and they're not tiny motes of sand. The chests should be fairly easy to find. Also, STEAM: The Hunt, has started. There's a gear hidden around Blisswood as well as the two Curious Seamstress stores. Each has a different prize, and one of them is a set of mens clothing. Now about that set of mens clothing, it is made so that a woman can wear it too. There's a cute little top hat, two for the ladies and one for the men, and there's a skirt for the ladies. A very sleek glitch type skirt. Just pop by the Port Babbage Curious Seamstress store and find the gear. You'll see what I'm talking about!

Now, for the last few items that went out recently, I do have pictures!

This first is a sweet 1920's summer dress. No, our great-grandmothers did not all run around in flapping boots and beads all day! I loved the color of this dress, and that's why I've added it to the collection.

The second is a gorgeous Edwardian military cut walking dress, complete as always with period undergarments.

It also has a resizable hat. I'm quite pleased with this gown, and if I didn't have to be working on the next one, I'd be wearing this one!

Butterflies is such a summer treat, I know. It's based on a real Edwardian gown, and was so crisp and delicate looking that I had to make it. I've also got my first parasol here. I don't totally care for the fact that the animation doesn't override all AO's, but if you're standing around chatting, it works just fine!

This is a request piece. Or pieces as it were. New Babbage has many folks that were intersted in wearing their tartan while working. I think these can be worn by anyone really, and would do well in an urban Victorian setting. Or a cow town if you were really brave!

There are a couple of other gowns that should be out today, heaven willing and I manage to get everything done fast enough! I also have several, yes, that is several, gowns on the planning board. Or in my case, in the folders. You see, I sort gowns according to month/season/holiday period. I've already got several gowns waiting to be worked on, it's just a matter of getting to them!

I hope that you all have had a lovely summer. If you have children, I hope you're loving the back to school time! I am happily looking forward to the holidays and my personal favorite, Halloween! I ADORE that holiday for many reasons. Not the least of which is it kicks off the holiday season in my mind!

I wish you all bright blessings and much laughter.
Cordially yours,

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

New July Releases!

Greetings all!

So first some news. I had intended to take a long leave of absence starting on July 11th, but the world did not see it in the same light, and so I will be postponing my trip for 2 weeks or so. That works just as well for me because it gives me time to do more gowns!

Next, my sister, Ghilayne Andrew, is now acting CEO for GreenWood Designs and The Curious Seamstress branches. This means she's taking care of the business side of things while I concentrate on trims and fabrics. If anyone wishes to offer stalls, market spaces, stores, shops, fashion shows, or anything else in that vein, please contact Ghilayne Andrew in Second Life. Drop a card to her if you please, as there's a lot going on in her life and an IM would get lost!

Now, my offerings for July are four in number so far, though I do have four more in the wings. There are two Edwardian gowns and two Victorian. Let's start with the Victorian gowns.

This gown is Redfern in Rust, based on a John Redfern gown. He was quite popular with wealthy Victorian women from about 1890 to 1920. It's a lovely gown and quite stylish.

This gown is all about being stylish by the seashore for a summer holiday!

Next our Edwardian gems. The first is a sassy little black and white number called "Peep's Pride":

Last is the gem of the bunch in my opinion. It is such a beautiful gown that I enjoy wearing it often. There are find points you cannot see in the ad, like some lovely prim roses and other details.

The Curious Seamstress now has a third branch in the New Toulouse sim. It is a fantastic New Orleans flavored sim, complete with the occasional zombie or crocodile! I hope you'll drop by at some point and visit. I've got the LM in my picks.

Now, I've some free time and I have another sweet summer gown to finish! Take care, and I hope the summer days where you are, are idyllic in every way!

Cordially yours,

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Primgraph Article and new clothing


Yes, real life has been insanely busy for me! I hope the first days of summer find you all well and happy.

I have recently written and had published an article on Victorian clothing. It was in issue 6 of the Primgraph. I'm putting it here for anyone to read who might wish too. It is at the end of this post.

There's also some new clothing on the way that I want to tell you all about. One is a gown called "Shepherdess". It is gorgeous, and it is a one of a kind gown. It has been purchased by a long time customer for an RFL auction. The odd thing to me was the timing, she caught me literally 2 hours before I was releasing the gown for public sale. I do hope you will all take a moment to look at it and consider bidding. All proceeds will go to RFL, and the gown comes packed in a special musical dress trunk, which plays the theme from 'Somewhere in Time'. The gown will be auctioned off on June 20th at the Illusions Grand Tour ball at Piedmont Landing. For more details please check for signs at The Curious Seamstress in New Babbage or Blisswood.

This is a very informal shot of the top of the gown! Yes, that is my home behind me.

Next is a new RFL gown done by request. It is done using the New Babbage dress tartan. I have it out for sale at Blisswood and The Curious Seamstress in New Babbage.

It can be worn several ways, and has resizing scripts in the hard bustle part of the gown.

Then I heard a great new (to me) song, 'Say Hey I love you' by Michael Franti and Spearhead. It was such a cheerful and fun summery song that I put this little outfit together!

Now that one was fun, and I highly recommend it for those nights out dancing!

Finally, I'm working on two other outfits that will be out shortly. The first is a Victorian Walking gown, the second is a man's outfit with New Babbage dress tartan. I will put those pictures up the next time I wander over this way.

I hope you all enjoy the article!

Bright blessings,


A Lady's Dressing Room – The Wardrobe
By Lady Kembri Tomsen

Greetings, Dear Reader!

Today we shall speak of a Lady's wardrobe and some of the types of dress worn during a typical day. Now the ladies of high fashion and deep pockets have been known to change up to eight times in a day. With such a plethora of gowns, one begins to wonder what to wear and when. This little bit of article is meant to help a Lady with such choices so that she is always dressed to suit the occasion. You would not wish to wear an Evening Gown to an afternoon tea, or a Ball gown to a breakfast! Therefore, let us begin at the beginning with which garment is appropriate at what time of day.

In the morning when you are still at home, you may wish to put on a house dress. This dress is meant to be seen only by the servants and family and is fairly simple. In this gown a woman would take her breakfast and tend to her household chores. Later in the morning one might wish to change into a more formal Toilette de Reception. Such an elaborate gown as the one pictured below would more probably be worn by a wealthy woman in case visitors should drop in.

An Elaborate Morning Gown

Some ladies change instead into the Toilette de Visite or Visiting Dress to make the rounds of morning visits. For this ensemble a Lady should dress with refined elegance so as not to overshadow her hostess. Hats and short gloves are a must, and the gown is usually done in various patterns and colors which reflect the season. Sleeves should be long and the neckline high. As a polite aside, no visit should last more than twenty minutes, no matter how well you know your hostess!
An 1875 Visiting Dress

After a Lady finishes with her visits, she might return home and change again. Should she be in the city and wish to take an afternoon walk, she would change again into a Walking Dress , also known as a Promenade Dress or her Toilette de Promenade. This gown is shorter for ease of walking, and very much reflects the season in which it is worn. A winter promenade dress would be of heavier materials with such things as a coat or mantilla as part of the design for warmth. However, a summer walking gown would be of lighter fabrics and meant to be seen without such outwear. A parasol would be a must in the summer time, and a hat or bonnet should be worn in any season. A Lady never leaves the house with bare head or hands!

Tea Gowns are a whole subject unto themselves. However, for the sake of brevity, a tea gown is usually worn uncorseted and most often at home around family and close friends. It is highly elaborate, very romantic with soft lines and colors, lots of ribbons and lace, and a very feminine feel. This gown is truly a confection, meant to be a feast for the eyes! No hat or gloves are needed if one is inside. However, if one is out in the garden, then of course a hat and gloves are needed.

Next we shall speak about traveling dresses. The Carriage Dress or Traveling Dress, sometimes also known as Toilette de Voyage, this outfit is meant to stand up to the rigors of traveling. It is again seasonal to some extent, reflecting the weather one will be traveling in. The garment should be sturdy and practical. This is not the time for excessive bows and lace. Colors should be such that they do not easily show dirt or stains, and fabrics should be those which are easily cleaned. Hats or bonnets are always worn, sometimes with veiling so as to protect the complexion from dirt and dust. Again, gloves are a must as well for much the same reason.

Instead of walking or traveling, a Lady might wish to take a ride. In that case a Riding Habit or Equestrian Dress would be the gown of choice. Such garments are usually made of sturdy wools so they are not easily torn. Colors are usually forest colors, dark blues, grays or blacks, and reds are favored. Occasionally a Lady may decide on a bright fuchsia or pink riding habit. The dress itself is unstructured as a bustle would be silly when sitting a horse! Breeches are usually worn beneath for modesty. Boots, a crop, riding gloves, and a jaunty top hat complete such an ensemble. A military cut is quite common for this style of dress.

In the afternoon, a Lady might change into an Afternoon Gown. This garment would be more refined and elegant than the Morning gown or Visiting dress. This gown didn't really appear until about 1910. Before that a Lady would have stayed in her Visiting dress or perhaps changed into a less formal garment to do afternoon chores at home.

As the day winds down to dinner, a Lady would change again in the very late afternoon for dinners in public. The Reception gown would be very formal and elegant, showing off the wearer's wealth and the seamstress's skill. The neckline on this gown could be lower than day time gowns, but not too low. Sometimes short sleeves were worn in order to show a softly rounded arm. Gloves were a must, if going outdoors, but no hat or bonnet is worn. Hair ornaments would be acceptable however.

For more formal evenings, one would wear an Evening Dress or Toilette de Soiree. This gown is one of high elegance, emphasizing the Lady's beauty, wealth and taste. It would have a low neckline, perhaps short sleeves and possibly off the shoulder, lots of decoration, and perhaps a train, depending on the gown and what you would wish to do. This type of gown is worn to evening events such as operas, dinners, concerts, theatre parties and the like.

If a Lady has the obligation to attend a ball, then she will want her best gown for the occasion. It is meant to show off her beauty, wealth, and to attract possible matches if the Lady is unmarried. There would be a low neckline, short or no sleeves, lots of decoration, and a tight bodice. This gown is the setting for the jewel, and should reflect such with the best that one can afford. Gloves are always worn with a ball gown or dress. Depending on the outfit, the glove can be either shorter, wrist length or in some cases all the way to the top of the upper arm. Hair decorations are as fashionable as one can afford, with jewels, feathers, ribbons or bows. In short, this is the time to show off one's best finery!

One last gown needs to be discussed. The Wedding Gown. This most important of gowns is usually a Lady's best gown, but never a ball gown. It should have a higher neckline and long sleeves, and can have a train as well. The very wealthy often dress in white, but really any color or pattern is acceptable as long as it is your best gown. If a Lady should decide on a white wedding gown, the cut and style need not be anything different than the fashionable style of the day. After all, one can wear this gown again on other occasions!

Well, dear Reader, we have reached the end of this conversation! There are other types of garments we have not yet discussed, but perhaps we can discuss them at another time. Remember, no matter the time of day or year, your clothing should be neat, clean, and appropriate to you and your needs and status. If you feel lovely in a gown, then it is the gown for you. A true Lady defines her own style and taste within the boundaries of the current fashions. A kind heart, charity to the less fortunate, and a gracious demeanor can outshine any couture outfit in the lands.

I wish you a lovely day.

Cordially yours,
Lady Kembri Tomsen
The Curious Seamstress
of New Babbage

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Spring Fever


I have been MIA lately in Second Life. Call it Spring Fever with a vengence! I live in a Northern state that is under snow 8 months of the year, sometimes more. We're really only promised three months a year with no snow. This winter was especially long, hard, and cold. But now the snow has melted and I find myself outside as much as possible! A sunny 60 degree day here is a dreamy treat after windchills in the sub-zero ranges, believe me. I'm using this time to rejuvenate and recharge a bit. I'll have more designs out soon, but until then, I'm enjoying my time with family and the glorious days of spring! I hope you are all well, and I wish you a gorgeous day!

Cordially yours,

Monday, March 23, 2009

Lust and Charity and RFL, Oh My!

Well greetings again!

The RFL Clothing Fair is done for this year. It was a tremendous effort by, and for, all involved. I had the great privilege of listening to some of the reasons other designers participate just this morning as we chatted about the events of the last week. I won't use names, as I think privacy is paramount, but I can tell you a couple of stories. There's the designer who, like myself, is watching her sister-in-law struggle with cancer. Only that designer has watched it for five years, much longer than I have. Another designer watches her father fight breast cancer, yes it does happen to men, though it is much rarer. Another designer has lost family members and friends. This horrid disease takes many forms. Some folks survive to live long, productive lives. Others don't. Designers talking this morning all had stories about how cancer has touched their lives in one way or another. I have to mention that my own mother had breast cancer, and is a survivor of over five years now. It can be beaten. Cancer isn't always the death sentence that it was 10 years ago. Research is the key to a cure, and funding that research is part of what RFL is all about. I do not know the totals for this year just yet. Fund raising efforts will continue until July 19th, 2009. This was just the opening volley for this year. If you wish to donate, there are kiosks in many stores, including my store of Blisswood.

Now on to other things! There were two new releases during the Fair besides "Mary's Grace". One was "Charity", which you all have already seen. The other one was Vice's "Lust". The first in a new line of men's clothing. I am not the first designer to do men's clothing. I have always thought they were a bit boring, truth be told. However, I decided to go for the historical men's clothing that is more colorful. So... without too much more verbage, let me present, "Lust".

As I said, the first in a line of men's clothing, it is based on the Vices. I know I'll do six more outfits, however I do not know if I will do more after that. A lot will depend on the reception of this batch!

The tails of the coat have a resizing script to make fitting easier. The flow and movement of the tails had to be adjusted as we don't want them flitting around like a ladies skirt! There is also another set of tails set onto the skirt layer for a smoother, no flap at all, fit. In the case of the men's clothing line, modify will be one of the permissions for most of the parts. The exception will be the tails as those have the sizing script.

It has been a very long, busy day for me so far. You will also see the "Charity" dress in SL's Vain, Inc. magazine in April! One of the editors saw it at the RFL Fair and asked to use it in her article.

In May the SL magazine 'Primgraph' will have an article written by myself about types of Victorian gowns. It will be a busy few months as things continue to happen for Greenwood Designs and myself. I hope you all will join me on the journey, and that you enjoy the clothing that will be coming out in the months to come!

Take care, and may your day be one filled with little moments of unexpected joy.

Cordially yours,

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

RFL Fair!


and oh good heavens! I'm really bad about blogging, but I'll try to get better I swear! Right now the Relay for a Life Clothing Fair is going on. I'm so excited and busy it's just amazing to me. Really! I've got some new items out, I'll put the ads here for you all to see. I've been expanding my lines of clothing into areas that interest me, and there are times when I just do not have enough hours in the day or night combined!

The ad above is for the gown, 'Mary's Grace'. If you do not know, my sister-in-law, Mary Ann, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer last fall. She is just finishing some very aggressive chemo, hopefully to be done by the end of April. To let you know just how aggressive the treatment is, most people only make it through one or two of the six. She's on number six. She has been my friend and family member for near 25 years. I admire her courage and strength more than I can say. I designed the gown with her in mind, though she really doesn't have any idea what Second Life is! All proceeds for this gown will go to RFL and the American Cancer Society. The gown is only available right now at the RFL Clothing Fair, at the GreenWood Designs Store on Sim #2, The Caspian Sea sim. If you buy nothing else from me, please buy this gown to support RFL and people like my sister-in-law.

This second gown is a gorgeous, gorgeous Flapper gown! It is the first in a new line of gowns I'll be doing. This gown has a real life twin, and it is the kind of gown I would love to own and wear myself. Just look at the back on it! This is such a sexy gown in person and the pictures really can't do it justice!

When I found out some designers were tackling the 7 Deadly Sins for one of a kind gowns for RFL, I started thinking, what could I do? I decided that the females should be Virtues, and sexy, and went to work on it. The males would be the Vices, after all when these first came to the public view several hundred years ago, both Virtures and Vices were depicted as male!

"Charity" is first out the gate, followed soon not only by more female gowns or dresses, but also by a new line of men's clothing! Ok, I say that and kind of shudder a little bit! Men's clothing, to my eye and mind, is rather drab and dull, so I have gone back in time to the 18th century for inspiration! The clothing, as always, is mostly based on real pieces. I adore the coat jackets and vests from that century and so expect to see some offerings from that era for our gentlemen friends!

All right, enough babbling for today! I have the Edwardian gown "Temperance" to finish up and put out there! There's also a Rococo style gown, "Kindness" that should see the light this evening! I hope you enjoy the Fair, and as always, I wish you all well!

Bright blessings!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Under Construction

For some reason my other blog got borked so that I could not see it. I'll be putting this one up over the next day or so. Until then the gown above is the newest addition to GWD's Edwardian line of gowns.

Kembri Tomsen