The Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekender 2014 & My Vegas Visit


Apologies in advance to those not interested in burlesque, you may or may not know I hung up my performing shoes in December but still remain a part of the community as a burlesque blogger over at and I still co-run the North West Burlesque Society. One of the reasons I stopped performing was because I loved making the costumes much more than being on stage so sewing for me goes hand in hand with burlesque, without one I wouldn’t have the other. I hope you enjoy this post.


I know it’s taken me a little while to write this blog but I have been mulling things over for the past couple of weeks.

Walking down to the bar before the first show on the Thursday was like a surreal dream, attendees in gorgeous, outrageous and stunning outfits, dressed up to the nines, interspersed between the regular joes in their comfies sat at the slots and wondering what exactly the hell was happening.  I’ve never been so far but felt so much at home.

Before I give the lowdown on what I did and who I saw and where I went (expect something a wee bit lengthy), I’d just like to say this:

The weekend really made me feel the amazing power of burlesque community spirit. Everyone was friendly, happy, supportive and happy to share their love of this fantastic art form with the others they met. Everyone was an ambassador for burlesque and proved themselves a worthy one by being welcoming, open and honest, hearts were on sleeves, laughter was in the air and I loved every second of it.

To anyone in the UK who hasn’t been: Go. Book the plane ticket when you can and the rest will fall into place. Go with your peers, the cost is minimal when 4 share a room (around £130 for 7 nights each). It will be the best decision you have ever made, and the stories you hear, the people you meet, the burlesque you immerse yourself into will be an invaluable experience.

I’d also like to send a big smooch to the lovely gals and guys I spent my time with. Roomies: my bed-mate Havana Hurricane, Daisy Cutter and Trixie Passion. I have honestly not laughed that much in YEARS. Big love to my Manchester NWBS missy with the mostest Ginger La Rouge and her fab chap Andy. HIYA to Nez Kendal and Violet Wray, and lovely meeting  and hanging out with Lili La Scala, The Boy with Tape on His Face and Aurora Galore. UK REPRAZENT!

So here we go, day by day….(hang on folks – lots of pics I promise and don’t expect you to read all of the text – cardinal rule of too long a blog about to be broken!)

Full set of photos can be found here on my flickr if you want to skip the rest of this post



After 23 hours travelling (delayed flights) I got into Vegas and stumbled into a cab for the ride to the Orleans, I had a good old chat with the driver who told me that he’d been to the UK in the 70s and he liked everything but the food.

Daisy & Trixie had already checked in, so after a shower and unpacking I collapsed into bed only to be awoke by the loud chirrup of a cricket that had hitched a ride on my suitcase and was loudly rubbing his legs near my head. After sitting up like Regan from The Exorcist me and Daisy found it and Trixie let it go outside.

Then it really was time to sleep, and sleep I did.


I woke up early, far too early and couldn’t get back to sleep. So I peeked out of the window and admired our poolside view and gasped as I noted the sun was beating down relentlessly already (English roses are not so great in the desert heart). Got ready and went for breakfast (humongous).


After a jaunt round the pool and a little meet up with Nez, Violet and Ginger we decided to wander down to the strip and check some of it out.


We ended up in Paris and up to the top of the tower, which was pretty scary for me (terrified of heights) but I was glad I went up to the top. After some walking about, finding a zolar machine and doing a little shopping (check out my gorgeous bag) we trundled back to the hotel to get ready for the first night of shows. By the time we got back Havana had landed but she was exhausted after travelling so decided to say in for the evening to unpack and relax.


All dolled up, off we went to the Movers, Shakers and Innovators Showcase, a great way to kick off an exceptional weekend. The standard was so high but I especially loved Bella Blue (who danced to a cover of Depeche Mode’s Stripped), Darlinda Just Darlinda who really showed what you could do with one costume and a chair and Rubenesque Burlesque who brought the house down.

Ray Gunn’s Jabberwocky performance at the end of the show left is all with dropped jaws and drooling gobs! Powerhouse, physically and performance wise.


Friday morning we met up with the UK collective and made a little pilgrimage to DuBarry’s (or the stripper bling shop if you’d rather) where we all pretty much bought the place up.



Following this we went downtown, had a wander down Freemont Street and then onto the BHoF Museum.


The Museum is small but perfectly formed, with only a few of the vast collection on show it did a great job of guiding you through burlesque and Exotic World. It was especially touching that one of Sparkly Devil’s costumes was featured when the weekender was on.

I bought a few postcards and a book of matches from the Helendale ranch. I am planning on mounting and framing them so they’ll go in my sewing room when we move house next year.


We headed back to the Orleans for the Barecats Bowling Tournament. Having names ourselves “the British Invasion” we decided tweed, bowler hats, braces ad lots of jolly good shows were in order. I was (as usual) crap at bowling (damn my brachydactyly type d).


After much fun and laughter we snuck off early to get changed and eat before the Friday night show.


The 57th Annual Titans of Tease Reunion Showcase was a highlight of the weekend for me. Not only did I get to see some amazing legends of burlesque, we were treated to World Famous *BOB* as the host. ‘Create the future you want by giving the Legends the love they deserve’ never a truer word spoken. It was amazing to see these women, a few old enough to be my Nana, on stage, still with amazing presence, style and musicality; life and love shining out o them for the audience to see and feel. These are warrior women, who campaigned to make burlesque a legitimate art form and we can all learn so much from them.

I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house when Pearle Noir presented Toni Elling with her Legend of the Year Award either, moving, touching and beautiful.

If you’d like to read more about this evening, please see the article by 21:CB here


On Saturday we went to the Fantastik shop, which is this brilliant indoor flea marker type place, where I realised I can wear fake hair now it’s brown again (Yeah!) so I bought some. It’s my new favourite thing EVER.

Then we wandered about the Burlesque Bazaar, I entered the raffle to win one of Gypsy Louise’s robes, and we chatted to the legends and got some signed pics. They’re all amazing wonderful ladies but it was so lovely to chat to April March who had performed at the Legends show. She’s an amazing lady and more than anything I loved that she’d coloured in the top of her hair with a black marker when it had been cut off when the photos printed.


After a bit of milling around we went for dinner and off to glam ourselves up for the evening and I got to wear the dress I made.


The Tournament of Tease was breath-taking from start to finish. We all knew we’d be in for the cream of the crop but the talent just blew me away.

My personal favourites: Jeez Loueez’s Rufio, Aurora Galore and Bonnie Fix scooping well deserved prizes, Kitten N Lou’s last dance, the Ruby Review (who are complete sweethearts and who didn’t get to pick their favourite colours if you were wondering), Eddie Van Glam’s Macho Man Randy Savage was awesome (although prob lost on those who don’t love WWE), Don’t Blink Burlesque, Ginger Valentine, Melody Manger and of course Midnite Martini.

Congratulations to all of the winners and all hail the new Queen Midnite Martini who gave an absolutely stunning performance.

I had a wonderful surprise of the Gypsy Louise robe waiting for me when I got back to me room, although but less wonderful when your husband looks better in it than you do….



The pool party was a go go for the Sunday day and after finding a space in the sun as soon as the shadows rolled around we were all boiling and trying to find the spot with the least sun of all.


After a bit of time lazing about, another visit to the bazaar and a quick visit to book a trip out for my birthday the next day we headed off to get ready for the Icons and All Stars show, which was amazing, so happy that I got to see a lot of the people I’ve been watching through my laptop live in front of me for the first time. All amazing, all singing, all dancing, all stripping. A perfect end to the perfect four days of dazzling burlesque.


My birthday! The day I turned *gulp* 34. Off we all went on a coach trip to the Hoover Dam, got to love those big man made structures, no? Just me? It was pretty awesome. And hot. And funny. And hot. Did I mention it was hot?



We also got this pretty horrific souvenir photo, in which I look like a quizzical owl. It was so bad I had to get it. This may also be going in a frame in my new sewing room!


We went on to have a little wander around downtown, went to a few shops and headed back to the hotel to get ready for my birthday fun night, via a stop at the pool where the girls surprised me with an ice cream cake which may just have been the best birthday cake I’ve ever had (bar the one my Auntie made me which looked like a beehive when I was a kid).

I slipped into my gorgeous new 60s maxi dress and accessorised with the jewels I’d bought from DuBarrys (and a scorpion ring Nez had given me) and we were ready to go off to the Peppermill where Ginger and Andy met us for dinner (and where a whole host of scenes form films were shot including Casino).


We then wandered back up the strip to the Cosmopolitan, had a drink in the Chandelier bar and tried to gamble. Still don’t get it. Then it was off to bed once 2am rolled around.



Our last day in Vegas, so we hit the streets and pounded some pavement. On advice from Havana we went to Williams Costume Company. MY WORD. It is a treasure trove in there, so I went a little crazy and bought lots of beads and crystals. And I also bought a fair few yards of some amazing fabric. A bright pink shear fabric with pink glitter bits on it and some gold satin. I can’t wait to get stitching!



Then we went down to the strip. I bought the MOST AWESOME rouge squadron top with a hood that looks like flight helmet. There were guys that made wookie noises at me in a tattoo shop, there were beers that were bigger than Daisy’s head, there were lots of M&Ms.


And that was it. Bags packed (and then packed with more of Daisy’s stuff when she was over at the airport), checked and on the way back to the UK.

Perfect holiday with perfect friends in a perfect place. Two weeks on and it all feels like the most sparkliest of dreams.

Arrived Stateside: Vegas

I woke up to the news that my flight was delayed which added a further five hours to my travels beacuse I missed my original connection.

Overall the journey was equally fun and hellish. The latter part being stuck right next to the toilet for five hours meaning I couldn’t get any sleep because of the toilet traffic, but I did get to meet a lovely couple who were off to see Guns N Roses for their 11th wedding anniversary, so all wasn’t lost.

Checked into the hotel, unpacked, showered, caught up with the girls and then tried to get some sleep.  I woke up about an hour later as somehow a little black cricket was in our room chirrup-ing away by my suitcase! Cricket was caught and let free and then sleep came willingly.





7 hours later I was wide awake, I figured it was probably best to try and get back to sleep but there was no chance. So I crept and took this photo while the girls were asleep. We have a poolside room and it looks gorgeous!

After a massive brekkie, registration and a bit of a chill by the pool we wandered down to the strip.

It’s hot here, hotter than usual in Vegas too, so we spent the time going in between the casinos and we went up the (not real) eiffel tower. I am terrified of heights so it was a bit of an achievement going up there.












The first show (Movers, Shakers and Innovators) was amazing, special shout out to Bella Blue who was amazing and danced to a cover of Stripped by Depeche Mode. She blew me away!

I’m havig an amazing time, BHoF is excellent and the people here are lovely!

Craftsy: Sew Retro – The Gertie Bombshell Dress Complete

Three days before I got Vegas, finally finished my dress this afternoon. Yikes!

Sometimes I think I am either incredibly lucky when I get things done so quickly, or incredibly silly for procrastinating in the first place!

Last week a gave an update of how this dress was going, which I’d started after signing up my my first craftsy course when I was looking for something an extra special to take off to Vegas as I would be out there celebrating my (gulp) 34th birthday.

I’ll pick up where I left off.

The bodice made, I started with the skirt, which is a faux sarong (which doesn’t have the extra flap underneath). It was relatively easy to put together with a lot of gathering to one side to give it the sarong look.

After sewing up the sides  I pinned it to the bodice to see how it would look and I was so happy to see it looking gorgeous.

I have to say this is always my favourite part of sewing, when I can finally look at what the garment will become.

I don’t know why but it always does surprise me that I have managed to actually make something that looks like it’s meant to. You would have thought that almost a year in I’d be over it, but apparently not.

That’s the joy of making your own clothes though, isn’t it?


After this it was time to sew it in. Now, I know it was going to be a bit of a struggle with that amount of gathering to one side but armed with my seam ripper I knew that it might be a case of taking it apart and putting it back together again.

Which I did have to, as I got half way round (after holding my breath and hoping for the best) the doorbell went and local campaigners were asking if I have voted (which I had – at 7.30 that morning).

I look flustered, they apologised and I went back to the skirt, finished it then realised I’d not sewing in the sarong part properly and had to start over again.

Which I did and when I had finished (round 2) it looked a little like this.


I’m not sure it even does it justice, there is a lot of material in that side gather!

It was then time to insert the zip. Now Gertie shows you how to do a lapped zip, something which I have done before but much to my own dismay it didn’t work out as neat as it could have done, so it was nice to go through this stage step by step.

Half the Zip in – success! When I went to sew the other side in however I nearly had a little cry. Zip woes!


I tried twice to do it by machine but I just could not get it right, and to be honest, I really prefer the hand picked technique for this, so in the end this is what I did. I think it just gives the outside a much better look that the row of stitching.

The next morning I had a little try on as I was super excited to see what it looks like, and I wasn’t disappointed.


We were told at the beginning of this class that it would fit like a glove and it really, really does. So if anyone is about to embark on this class please make sure you measure it correctly.

The boning and lining was still to go on but I was so happy that I made the cups that little bit bigger because I was sure at this point that I would have been boobs out!

So on with the internal structure, lining and boning.

I normally don’t line my dresses, I don’t really know why, maybe laziness or more because when I have picked up vintage dresses many of them haven’t been lined, so all of this was new to me.

I went for a cotton lawn for the lining in a light blue with white polka dots. I cut out my pieces and spent an evening sewing them all together.

I have to say this was mildly frustrating as the cotton is so light I found it a bit tricky when it came to sewing the cups in.

They aren’t as perfect as I’d like them to be but I was tight on time by this point. A few hours later the lining was complete.


The next step was to add the boning. I was, by this stage, watching bits of the tutorial and stopping to do a bit of work, going back and pressing play.

I would say for anyone who would be taking this class to watch it through once at this stage and then go back from the start and sew along, as the instructions are a tiny bit higgeldy piggeldy and there are things you could do with knowing (or things it would make it easier to know) if you watched it all the way through to begin with.

Anyhoo, the boning channels were pinned and sewn in.


Then it was time to cut the boning down to size. I had chosen a variety of thickness and I thought I might need a little extra support around the bust area and I was glad that I did, but I did have a job cutting the larger pieces down to size (the chance of you getting any more than a couple of pieces pre-cut to the correct size is slim!).

This is fun, I thought when I first started snipping with much struggle with the wire cutters. I actually had to get Tim come and help me with the thicker bits I was no where near strong enough to get those bad boys done. Oh, and I didn’t purchase any extra end covers but I did manage to remove the ones already on the bits I had clipped and re-used them so all was not lost.


Boning clipped and in it was time to pin the lining into the bodice.

I was careful when I did pin it in not to pin right through the bodice (learnt my lesson from a long time of steaming and pressing out the puncture marks on the top of the bodice when I was making that up!) and ensured that everything lined up.

It this point Gertie mentioned using a piece of grosgrain ribbon for a zipper guard, which is a welcome finishing touch to the dress but I would have liked to know earlier that I would need an extra piece of ribbon which is double the size of that which I have for the waist stay.

I improvised and did the best I could with what I had and it did work out well.

This is a little bone of contention for this course.

There are times when things are not mentioned in the materials (such as this) or times when little tips are mentioned after the event.

Maybe it’s my ordered ind which getting a bit miffed when these things occur but as I am planning on making another couple of dresses based on this pattern then it is useful to add little notes at these stages reminding yourself of tips that would have been handier to know earlier.


I hand picked the zipper guard as I had done with the zip, being careful not to go through to the outside of the dress.

I then sewed the lining into the bodice and voila it was almost complete. Just the waist stay and hemming to go.


Doesn’t it look pretty! I did at this point stop for the day as my wonderfully patient husband had been waiting to hang out with me as he’s off to do newt based stuff on Monday so we won’t see each other until I get back from Vegas.

Now the structure is inside the dress I could see how much better it was going to fit and support me. Before this point I had had some serious misgivings about whether or not my juicy chest fruit would be particularly supported but now I had no qualms.

Next was inserting the waist stay and attaching buttons for the detachable halter strap. The strap is completely optional and this dress does hold up beatifully without it but if, like me, you plan on using this dress for other occasions where it might be better to add a little for more of a day wear look then straps are a perfect option. I do plan on wearing this dress to a wedding this year too, so a halter seemed a good way to go.

Unfortunately my buttons didn’t exactly match, I went for the thinnest ones I had due to the dress being so close to my skin so I had to go for these clear yellow ones – they will be replaced at some point.



All that was left to do after this was the hemming and finishing the skirt vent.

The instructions were relatively easy but I would have liked to know that I could finish the seams a little earlier where the zip is concerned as this caused me a lot of fiddling about.

The hem was finished with seam binding and then sewing on the back for an invisible finish.

I found some matching the light blue of my lining and waist stay in a box that my Nana had gifted to me, and I have to say the finish does   look very pretty.



After this, there it was, my lovely dress, all complete.

There’s no final photo in this post as I plan on doing a few posts from Vegas so you’ll have to see the complete outfit post then, I don’t want to ruin everything, and me at the end of a two day sewing marathon to get this finished, in my scruffs, with my hair all pinned back would not have done it justice!



So in summary, I have really enjoyed this craftsy course and I am hooked!

I will definitely be taking more classes, there aren’t so many local ones around my neck of the woods so I’m really looking forward to bettering my skills and making this dress in different variations again soon.

If anyone is considering it I’d say go for it, you can do it, and I’d really like to see what you make!

Craftsy: Sew Retro – The Gertie Bombshell Dress So Far

I thought I’d give a little update on my Sewing for Vegas Sew Retro bombshell dress and my experience of using Craftsy for the first time.

I signed up for this course with a little trepidation, boning? yikes! But you never get anywhere unless you push yourself do you? And in some respects I have all too easily become used to doing what I can do and sticking with the “safe” stuff.

So first things first:

When I found out about craftsy I thought it would be marvellous for me. As you may know I am dyslexic, so looking at instructions in the written word are usually quite confusing.

Add with that mild dyspraxia and you have a whole heap of confusion when it comes to things such as left and right.

I learn so well when people show me physically how to do something rather than from reading instructions, hence the idea of video classes which I can access at any point seemed perfect.

So sign up I did.

I downloaded the course materials and pattern (easy enough) ensuring that the test square was the right size and then ordered everything I needed to make up the dress (apart from the boning – you really need to measure your bodice pieces for that).

I decided on a cerise medium weight cotton for the main fabric with the lining in a lightweight light blue and white polka dot.

I cracked on with making up the pattern.

Now, I know this should have been easy and it was up to a certain point but honestly, being told that it’s “fun, like doing a puzzle” doesn’t actually make it any more fun and less fiddly.

Oh, and if you’re like me and don’t have a table big enough, prepare for some backache.

This was however soothed by watching the amazingly trashy cultness of Showgirls while I was doing it.


Next up was marking the pattern pieces on calico for the toile of the bodice.

When I first discovered that the pattern had no seam allowance I was struck by a little bit of fear, I completely didn’t understand how beneficial this actually would be and how easy it would make the whole process. Thread tracing is a new one on me but I feel like it’s something that might change my sewing life!


After a short time I had my cups made and decided it was time to leave it for the night.


The next day I began stitching the rest of the pieces together. It took me about 40 minutes of not understanding why the cups weren’t fitting into the bodice sections before I realised I’d sewn them on the wrong way round (dylexia-dyspraxia strikes again!). Once they were un-picked and re-sewn I had a bodice which looked pretty fantastic.

I just made a few adjustments to the height of the cups (these would make me blush in their original form, and I’m not shy by any means) which Gertie talks you through every step of the way, There’s also a section on a full bust adjustment, which I didn’t use but I did watch and it was very thorough. It will be a great reference if I make something for someone in the future who is bustier than me.

I added a little height to the back of the bodice too, in line with the height I’d added to the cups and then I graded this down towards the closure section where the zip will be inserted.


After this I made the changes to my pattern pieces to incorporate the extra material and I cut more calico for the interlining, marked it up and used these pieces as a pattern for the main bodice material, which I then cut and tacked together.


Then I made up the bodice as instructed, step by step, including inserting a bit of padding to the cups and a few other tailoring techniques as shown (I don’t want to give everything away).

This where I’m up to, an almost complete bodice. I am so happy with how it looks.



My thoughts on the class and on craftsy:

I am really loving doing something new and more challenging with guidance from others who have completed the course and from the instructor. I would definitely recommend this type of learning to anyone who is talking up sewing. The instructions are clear and concise and it is invaluable to be able to see in motion what you can only read about in other respects. The little tailoring and hand sewing techniques and finishes and shared experiences from Gertie are well worth signing up for, never mind the fact you’ll have a gorgeous dress at the end of it.

I fully intend to carry on doing more craftsy courses after I have finished this one. What I have learned so far is so much more than I thought I would, and it’s great to find out little tips and tricks so that if (like me) you’re learning as you go, and on your own, you find speedier and more accurate ways to make garments.







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Butterick B5895: The Gertie Capris – 3 Different Ways

You probably all sat there thinking “c’mawn…where’s the sewing?!” lately didn’t you?

Well, I have indeed been Sewing for Vegas as I promised a few weeks back, it’s just been terrible weather here and combined with Timothy working away, and out of town visits to friends and family, I haven’t been able to get some photos until now.

So where did I start? 4 metres of stretch slub denim going for a song on ebay. Perfect, I thought, this will be a good foundation for my day wear when I’m pounding the pavement and looking at the wonders the strip has to offer.

So I got out my Gertie capri pattern and cut out the pieces (in a bigger size than my test pattern a few months ago) and got to sewing. I found the tips over at Handmade Jane’s blog on denim sewing tips a great help and before you knew it (and in a day) I had a pair of denim capris.

Gertie Pedal Pushers - 3 ways

Following this I decided to make up another pair for shorts, because it’s an easily to chop some length off a pattern, and the day after voila! A pair of high waisted denim shorts to be roaming about in.

Gertie Pedal Pushers - 3 ways

Then I got all cocky with myself and made the decision to adapt the pattern and make a skirt.

Now, this might not seem like a lot of bother for some readers of this blog but I have never attempted anything like this.

I made the adjustment to the front parts of the pattern, ensuring I took the seam allowance off the centre as this would be placed on the fold.

I made a few other adjustments to the back side of the legs to taper in more and made a toile with some stretch cotton, before using that toile to cut the pieces of denim for the final skirt.

Gertie Pedal Pushers - 3 ways

I have to say I’m so happy with how it all turned out and now I have my day wear for Vegas.

I just have to find something for my top half as however liberal Vegas may be I’m sure they don’t want me flouncing about topless in the streets.

So what’s next? Well, I’ve been joining in on Gertie’s slip sew along as I have never sewn any undercrackers or used that type of slinky material.

I am also starting my Gerties Sew Retro Bombshell Dress class on Craftsy to make my birthday dress for Vegas. So much to do and only 30 days to go!


If you liked this blog please vote for me in the NVA as  I’ve been nominated under the Best Vintage Fashion/Lifestyle Blog category. Voting is open throughout May and it’s a simple click to select Stacey Stitch and then enter your email address to confirm the vote. Clicking on the photo or links above should take you straight to the website. It’ll only take a few minutes of your time if you have it spare! Thank you!

Sewing for Vegas!

Well I had a little good fortune a couple of weeks back (thanks to a big PPI refund) leading the very excited announcement that:

*drumroll please*


That’s right! In June I will be going to Vegas to attend the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend, with a few of my burlesque pals. Not only will I be out there surrounded by super amazing talented folk, some of the best showgirls and guys in the business, some of the legends from the old days and everyone will be super sparkly, I will also be there for MY BIRTHDAY.

For anyone who is used to jetting off to the States or anywhere further than a field in England for their holidays, you probably aren’t as excited as me, but as I have haven’t been abroad for a holiday since we spent 3 weeks in Vietnam in 2010 as my husband is studying full time, this is all kinds of awesome.

Now, foolishly or not, I have decided that most of the things I take away with me will be home made. I really can’t afford to go away and spend a tonne of cash on new threads for the trip. I would like to look as lovely as possible though so for the next few months I’ll be Sewing for Vegas.

Sew Retro

 Now I did have a little money left over (once we’d bought and insured a second hand car – yippee  – we are mobile again!). So I bought a little equipment (self-healing cutting board rotary cutter plus a few other little bits) and enrolled in a couple of Craftsy courses, one of them being the Gertie Sew Retro class.

Sew Retro

I’ve picked a lovely cerise medium weight cotton, with a contrasting pale blue for the trimmings. This will be my birthday evening out dress.

Has anyone else taken this class? Any tips?

I’ve also bought a few metres of stretch denim so I can make the Butterick B5895 Capris, in full length and have a go at making them into shorts. Hopefully I’ll have enough left over to make a pencil skirt too.

I’m planning on making a start this week, progress to follow!

Anyone else got any holiday plans yet?