A Mirror Clear



Jade Littlechild


(click images to to enlarge)

Outline the story …

Looking longingly through a window at the forbidden world outside is something I feel is very relatable over the past year. Tennyson’s "The Lady of Shallot" stood out to me from the beginning when thinking about what story I wanted to design for. From her being stuck inside with no end in sight, to her desire to see things in the flesh instead of only through reflection.

Whilst there are many interpretations of the poem, there is one that suggests it could perhaps symbolise Tennyson’s own feelings of distance from society. This is the one that drove my design. Pre-Raphaelite paintings have an abundance of interpretations but I decided to stay away from the traditional Arthurian portrayal. With Tennyson’s poem written in 1833 and rewritten 1842, I felt compelled to have the silhouette loosely based in this era but wanted there to be enough differences for it to appear as if she had been disconnected from current fashions for a while.

I wanted to create an outfit that represents the time spent looking out of a window, desiring the world outside but unable to reach it so I chose materials that represent the dressing of a window. The underdress and sleeves are made from a cotton calico; a similar colour and weight to the curtains in my living room. The cuffs are an antique curtain tape attached with gathers to represent the drawn back quality of a curtain when its being looked out of.

Outline the construction…

The corset is pattern F from Atelier Sylphe that I slightly altered. It is the first corset I have ever made and I had the corsetry pages on Foundations Revealed open every step of the way! I wanted to create a dramatic curve at the busk so it would flow down into the gathered edge of the lace skirt to add body and shape.

I found I lowered the neckline of the dress a bit more than my original design to give a softer shape of the shoulders in contrast to the puffy sleeves. Whilst the use of all white and cream was a purposeful choice (as the original poems mention her dressed being white) the subtle pops of colour on the corset against the cream draws your eye towards them. Almost as if you are looking at flowers through a window that is dressed by curtains and netting.

Deciding whether to dye or stain the cotton and lace to a tarnished, ageing colour came down to a matter of storytelling. I felt compelled to age the fabric to show the timeless transcendence of the narrative of medieval arthurian legend, to Victorian poetry and into the present, but I felt the breaking down process may have destroyed the overall effect of the costume, so I refrained.

Materials Used:
Upholstery floral fabric remnant, cotton calico, bias binding, crochet lace, waist tape, metal busk, 7mm pre-cut spiral bones, 5mm eyelets, corset lacing, polyester curtaining lace, reused curtain tape and cream crochet lace.




  1. Avatar Rebecca Azevedo on March 11, 2021 at 7:08 pm

    Wow, wonderful!

  2. Avatar Carole M Pluckrose on March 11, 2021 at 9:21 pm

    Simply stunning.

  3. Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 12, 2021 at 9:59 am

    Absolutely beautiful

    • Avatar Sammyra on March 12, 2021 at 7:54 pm

      so beautiful ♡ love the colour choices and the silhouette. this looks so good, and really must be applauded if it’s your first corset!

      • Avatar Anne Spence on March 28, 2021 at 8:01 pm

        Stunning I wish I could wear it
        Absolutely gorgeous

  4. Avatar Kait on March 12, 2021 at 6:19 pm

    Absolutely beautiful!!

  5. Avatar Amy Sakovich on March 13, 2021 at 12:57 am

    Clever concept; I really feel your interpretation.

  6. Avatar Melissa on March 13, 2021 at 2:33 am

    The corset, the flowers, the lace, everything is perfect 👌

  7. Avatar Kate Danvers on March 13, 2021 at 3:31 am

    So lovely! That is one of my favorite poems!

  8. Avatar Annie Marshall on March 13, 2021 at 12:27 pm

    Beautiful corset!

  9. Avatar Lorna on March 13, 2021 at 2:41 pm

    I totally love your corset

  10. Avatar Judi Jones on March 13, 2021 at 5:23 pm

    Oh my gosh, this is glorious ! You did a fabulous job of bringing about the vision you had in your head. I love the contrast of the corset over the subdued hues of the gown and you did a fabulous job on the corset. Bravo !!

  11. Sophia Khan Sophia Khan on March 13, 2021 at 10:55 pm

    The fit on the corset is wonderful.

  12. Avatar Camille on March 14, 2021 at 11:34 am

    the shape of the corset is really great and it goes pretty well with the rest of the costume 😀

  13. Avatar Monica Gregory on March 14, 2021 at 1:26 pm

    That is utterly beautiful! I love the way you’ve used the material to evoke the story and mood – past and present. The corset is amazing too!

  14. Avatar Hilary Donaldson on March 14, 2021 at 7:11 pm

    Apart from the corset being absolutely beautiful, your planning process is quite fascinating 👍😄

  15. Avatar Brenda on March 14, 2021 at 7:20 pm

    Absolutely stunning, good use of unconventional materials, and awesome fit.

  16. Avatar JAYE SUDAR on March 15, 2021 at 3:46 am

    Beautiful. Simply beautiful.

  17. Avatar Alison on March 15, 2021 at 7:00 am

    Amazing work! Congratulations Jade!

    • Avatar Vanessa Knobel on March 20, 2021 at 9:41 am

      Absolutely gorgeous!! I love how you used so much symbolism in your fabric choices. Wonderful job!

  18. Avatar Deborah Melo on March 24, 2021 at 12:29 am

    That is such a ethereal combination of patterns and textures! I love it!

  19. Avatar AnnaCatherine Sendgikoski on March 24, 2021 at 5:14 am

    That corset is stunning! I really love that fabric. The dress is beautiful as well. Thank you!

  20. Avatar Teri Plemel on March 25, 2021 at 11:58 pm

    I would never have guessed it is your first corset. Very nice!

  21. Avatar Benigna on March 26, 2021 at 11:02 am

    This is very beautiful! I especially like the fabric you chose for your corset, I wouldn´t have noticed that it is your first one.

  22. Avatar Angela Dennis on April 8, 2021 at 10:05 am

    Oh wow absolutely stunning especially as it s your first corset, love the fabric and loved reading your reason to make the garments.

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