Sunday, 27 December 2015

1880s Sheer Print Summer Dress

Patterns: TV #201 Underskirt for the skirt lining. TV #400 Day Bodice for the bodice, minus sleeves.
Fabric: A sheer printed chiffon or georgette (I can't decide which description is more appropriate). The fabric is very light and flowing, dull finish, with a noticeable directional grain. It does NOT have that moire wiggle so common in polyester sheers. I purchased it with the dreaded "content unknown" label of clearance items. I believe it to be a cotton/poly blend.
**The sheer print is over solid ivory lining for the bodice and skirt.
Available on Etsy
Available on Ebay
Chest: 36"
Waist: 27"
Hip: Free
Hem: 40" at front
Back width: 14.5"
Center back length: 15.5"

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

1870s Evening Gown - Gold on White

Patterns: Truly Victorian #202 "Grand Parlor Skirt".
                Truly Victorian #400 "Day Bodice"
Fabrics: 100% Cotton, printed gold pattern. Metallic thread lace.
Available on Ebay HERE
Available on Etsy HERE SOLD
Alterations: Yes, on both skirt and bodice. See below for alteration details.
Chest: 41"
Waist: 32"
Hip: free
Hem: 39" at front

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Extended Lobster Bustle - Truly Victorian #163

Pattern: Truly Victorian #163, "Imperial Bustle"
Fabrics: Polyester. A serge type material, thick and very silky. Otherwise difficult to describe.
Alterations: I have extended the bustle by about 12".
Available on Etsy HERE
Available on ebay HERE
I made the size "G" of the pattern.
The fronts meet with a waist of 32.5".

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

1795 Stays - Blue Silk Brocade

Pattern: 1795 Stays from the Margot Hill book, The Evolution of Fashion.
Fabrics: 100% silk, brocade for the main body. 100% silk dupioni for the binding. Lining and interfacing layers both 100% linen, heavy weight.
Available on Etsy HERE
Available on ebay HERE
Alterations?: The book pattern calls for pom-poms positioned at the back of the stays to hold up empire waist skirts. I chose not to add them so the stays could suit a wide fashion range. Also, such pom-poms and high rolls are better suited attacked to petticoats, in my opinion.
Construction: Done entirely with hand stitching, including the boning channels. 1/4" flat steel and spiral steel used for boning.
With back and front lacing fully closed and touching;
Chest: 40"
Waist: 33"
*The Hill book is particularly wonderful because the patterns have all been scaled for the same measurements, roughly, so you know what you're getting into before you even draft them out =)

Friday, 11 December 2015

1950s Burgundy Ensemble, with Simplicity 1460

Patterns: Simplicity 1460, view C for blouse. The skirt has no pattern, just a simple box pleated panel.
Fabrics: Burgundy broadcloth for blouse and skirt lining. Embroidered organza for skirt overlay.
Available on Etsy HERE
Available on Ebay HERE SOLD
Chest: 36-38"
Waist: 28/29"
Hip: Free
Hem: 27"

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

1870s Dinner Dress - Black Velvet & Burgundy Organza

Pattern: Bodice is a combination of TV #405 "Vest Basque" and TV #463 "French Vest Bodice"
Fabric: Black velvet (rayon/poly blend), embroidered organza (polyester), and burgundy broadcloth (cotton).
Available on Etsy HERE
Available on Ebay HERE SOLD
Chest: 44"
Waist: 34/35"
Hip: <55"
Hem: 41" at front
Sleeves are 3/4 length.

Why, why, WHY DOES IT LOOK MAGENTA?! I don't know what was up with my camera today, but it's seriously not magenta. It's like a burgundy red.  

Sunday, 6 December 2015

1880s Plaid Three-Piece Suit - Fashion Plate inspired

                Self drafting for the rest.
Fabrics: Plaid is 100% cotton, homespun weave. 
               Solid blue is 100% cotton, standard weave.
               Blouse is a fine cotton semi-sheer with a floral pattern woven in (not printed).
               Blue lining is 100% rayon "super silky" (Not historically accurate, but it's my favorite).
Inspiration?: An 1863 fashion plate featured in the collage book Victorian Fashions: A Pictorial Archive. While the design is from 1863, I reshaped it below the waist to accommodate the bustle eras. 
Available on Etsy HERE
Available on Ebay HERE
Chest: 38"
Waist: 29"
Hip: Free (The skirt is pleated at the waist and the jacket peplums allow for full movement)
Hem: 41" at front. 

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

1880s Plaid Suit - TV428 Pattern (altered)

Patterns: Truly Victorian #432, "1880 Jacket Bodice" (altered)
                 Truly Victorian #263, "1887 Imperial Skirt", view A
                 Truly Victorian #368, "1887 Waterfall Overskirt" (partial, and altered)

Fabric: 100% cotton, homespun. Plaid in shades of blue, gray, and black. Light weight.
             Medium weight cotton for interfacing. Blue rayon "super silky" for jacket lining.
Available on Etsy HERE
Available on Ebay HERE
Alterations: Many. See below for specifics.
Chest: 44"
Waist: 35"
Hip: <55"
Hem: 40" at front
Back width: 16"
Sleeve: 23" from top of shoulder.

Foundation/undergarments: Shown over Cane Hoop Bustle and one cotton petticoat.

Friday, 20 November 2015

1750 Riding Habit - Waugh Diagram XXXI

Pattern: Norah Waugh diagram XXXI, "Riding Coat 1750-70. Victoria & Albert Museum."
Fabric: Wool, medium coat weight. Color best described as a heather lavender? Lavender shot through with gray.
Black cotton poplin for petticoat.
White heavy weight linen for lining.
Black cotton crochet thread for Dorset buttons.
Available on Etsy HERE
Available on ebay HERE
Alterations: I added mariner's cuffs, which are not part of the Waugh pattern but are part of one of the suspected extant coats (see below)
I also brought up the waist by eliminating the "dropped waist" angle that lets it curve out over the hips a bit before reaching the horizontal seam. I'll tell you why I did that further down.

Measurements: *unaltered from pattern. As is.
Chest: 39"
Waist: 32"
Hip: Free
Back width (arm socket to arm socket, across shoulder blades): 13"
Torso (bottom of armhole to natural waist): 9.5"
Upper sleeve circumference: 15"
Petticoat hem: 40" at center front and back.
18th century stays often had the effect of increasing the wearer's final waist size rather than reducing it, depending on the style(and especially if the stays had an inflexible busk at the front). A flat barrel or V below the bustline were the desired shapes, not the hourglass of the 19th century. =)

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Truly Victorian #364 "1886 Autumn Overskirt" Ensemble

Patterns: TV364, "1886 Autumn Overkirt." 
                TV104, "Late Victorian Collars & Cuffs"
Fabrics: Polyester duchess satin (sharkskin gray). Rayon/polyester faille (gold)
Available on Etsy HERE
Available on Ebay HERE
Alterations: Minor collar alteration to the chemisette pattern.

I have made this long draped over-skirt several times, but too often I forget the rule I made for myself the last time: Don't use artificial fabric! I say that only because I had a bear of a time ironing the the seams flat and the edges of the back where the lining is turned.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

The Cane Hoop Bustle - An Experiment

Pattern: None. Built right on the form.
Materials: #8 Round Reed (about 1/4" diameter). Cotton ribbon. Cotton string
Benefits: Very cost effective. Super lightweight, yet strong. Bustle collapses completely on itself and take up a storage space only 14" square, and barely 2" high. 
Down Side: Incredibly labor intensive. All hand work, and must be done on the form. 
Available on etsy HERE
This thing was a NIGHTMARE. The end result worked and I think the idea is sound, but the amount of labor that went into making it means I won't be reproducing this. Ever. In order to justify making these in any regular way, they would have to sell for like $250 each, which is an absurd price for a bustle. C'est la vie.

The Cane Hoop Bustle. The white pad on the dress form is not part of the bustle and should not be needed during regular wear. It is there just to make up for the fact that the dress form really doesn't have much of a butt, LOL
Here you see the silhouette this bustle creates under a petticoat

Saturday, 31 October 2015

1871 Harper's Bazar Jacket - Black Velvet

Patterns: Sleeveless Jacket from Harper's Bazar, Vol.IV, No. 34, pattern No.IX.
Bodice from Truly Victorian #400 "1871 Day Bodice" & sleeves from Truly Victorian #441 "Garibaldi Blouse"
Skirt from Truly Victorian #202 "1869 Grand Parlor Skirt"
Fabric:  Cotton velvet, black. Polyester taffeta, flocked with black velvet.
Available on etsy HERE
Available on ebay HERE
Alterations: I combined patterns for the bodice, taking the sleeves from a Garibaldi blouse pattern. I also shortened the bodice and added a collar.
Chest: 38"
Waist: 30.5
Hip: <45"
Hem: 40" at front

(1871) Harper's Bazar, Vol. IV, No. 34 - Pattern No. IX, "Velvet Jacket with Basque"

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Stash Busting! 18th century Caraco Jacket & Petticoat

Pattern: Robe a l'Anglaise pattern from Norah Waugh, used as the base for drafting the jacket.
Fabrics: Stash busting and, unfortunately, not historically accurate in fiber content. The jacket is a linen blend and the petticoat is polyester/rayon taffeta with heavily machine embroidery throughout.
Available on ebay HERE
Available on etsy HERE
Finished Measurements:
Chest: 42"
Waist: 35"
Hip: Free
Hem: 39"
Bicep: 15"

Sunday, 18 October 2015

1870s Polonaise in Ivory Satin - Truly Victorian #410

Pattern: Truly Victorian #410, "1873 Polonaise".
Fabric: Matte Duchess Satin, blush-ivory, 100% Polyester.

Alterations: I extended the hem of the front-side pieces to allow the center fronts to meet all the way down to the hem. The sleeves are NOT from this pattern. I took the sleeves flounces from an 1871 Harper's Bazar blouse pattern, which I have made once before (see HERE)
Available on Etsy HERE
Available on Ebay HERE
I have made this polonaise several times over the years, but since this blog is new and I have not yet made any references to it here, I decided to make another one. Now, I came up with this dress is rather a "backward" manner. I had 12 yards a very nice tassel trim that I wanted to use, and then built the rest of the dress around that. Kind of like dressing to match your new shoes instead of buying shoes to match the dress, eh? LOL

Thursday, 15 October 2015

1760 Jacket & Petticoat - Norah Waugh XXX

Pattern: Diagram XXX, "1760 Jacket" from Norah Waugh, The Cut of Women's Clothes
Fabric: 100% Silk, brick red/orange color. 100% linen for the lining. 100% cotton for the vintage lace trims.
Available on ebay HERE
Available on Etsy HERE
Alterations: Size increased from the original using the "shift" method. I graded up each piece (front, side, back, skirt section) by 5/8", resulting a in an overall garment increase of 3.75". Also, I did not exactly copy the trimming in the original
Measurements of original pattern:
Chest: 35"
Waist: 26"
Torso quite short, definitely petite range. 
Measurements of my reproduction:
Chest: 38"
Waist: 30.5
Torso still slightly shorter than average.
Hem: 39" at front.

Early Regency Transition Stays

Pattern: N/A. Self drafting. 
Fabric: 100% Linen

A few years ago I was trying to whip up stays that would be suitable to a late 1790s silhouette, that very specific period when it wasn't 18th century anymore, but it still wasn't quite Regency. What I really wanted was the Transition Stays pattern from Past Patterns, but I was broke at the time, lol.

Available on ebay HERE
So, I whipped up a sort of short stay with no gussets or cups to speak of, so you still get that pressed shelf look of the 18th century without the breast definition of the regency. I finished making them, and never wore them anywhere! So much is the life of someone who lives in rural Florida and doesn't get the travel much for events (and "much" is being generous. Try never.)

As you can see, they are essentially a loosely flat bodice with full boning in the front. The front portion are "tilted forward" as with 18th century stays, so that they create a shelf rather than a just a flat press.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Making 18th Century Shank Buttons - Metal Ring Method

I  saw an extant dress in a traveling exhibit in Tampa, and one of the 1790s gowns featured fabric covered shank buttons with metal ring backs/shanks. Of course, I was unable to examine the buttons too closely, but I think I have devised a great way to recreate them with modern stuff. Plus, this is a much better alternative for people who dislike the thickness that comes with "fabric mound" shanks comprised of all the cinched up fabric.

*regular flat, sew-through, buttons.
*small metal rings. I used jump rings that are sold in the jewelry craft section.

Step One: Sewing the a metal ring to the back of the button. If using jump rings, be sure not to stitch right over the split in the metal, as the ring might come off.

1790s Robe a l'Anglaise - Waugh Diagram XXVI

Pattern: 1790s Robe a l'Anglaise, diagram XXVI from The Cut of Women's Clothes, by Norah Waugh.
Fabrics: 100% Silk, Dupioni, in antique gold color. **Dupioni weave silk did not exist in the 18th century, but I was in love with the color so I don't really care** ;) lol
Available on Etsy HERE
Available on Ebay HERE
Alterations: MASSIVE. This pattern in original form is very oddly shaped, especially for modern figures. The original waist/chest difference was almost 14 inches, and the torso is quite long. My alterations for size required me to make alterations to how the pleating on the torso sides was to lay (more on that later).

Friday, 2 October 2015

Butterick 4792 - Retro 50s Dress Done in Halloween Bats!

Pattern: Butterick 4792, Retro Butterick '57
Fabric: 100% Cotton print. Realistic bats on orange, fiery background. 100% cotton velvet on belt.

Alterations: The original pattern calls for a size zipper. I do not like zippers, so I added a placket to the center back and made a closure with buttons. I also did not make the belt in the pattern, but merely drafted my own.
Available on Etsy HERE
Available on Ebay HERE
Chest: 45" max
Waist:  36"
Hip: Free
Hem: 29" from waist.

Monday, 28 September 2015

1880s Four Piece Suit - Autumn Colors

Patterns: Truly Victorian #364 "1886 Autumn Overskirt"
                Truly Victorian #303 "1872 Side Drape Overskirt"
                Self Drafting on jacket and vest.
Fabrics: 100% cotton print. 100% silk, dupioni weave.
Chest...44" max
Hem....41" at front.
Available on ebay HERE
This is a pretty simple ensemble I put together from 7.5 yards of green cotton and one yard of silk dupioni I had left over from another project. The notable pattern usage is in the over skirt. I mixed parts from two different patterns.

I used the front apron from TV364, but used the back "sashes" from TV303. I also shortened the sashes by about 12" from what is on the pattern. The back sashes cover up the ribbon that is used to pull the apron sides up and keep them in place (see photo somewhere below).

Friday, 25 September 2015

Reproducing the Kyoto Institute's 1790 Pink Taffeta Gathered Jacket

Patterns used: Norah Waugh's "1775 Robe a l'Anglaise", diagram XXII from The Cut of Women's Clothes (altered) 
   Also the sleeves from diagram XXVI of the same book.
Fabrics: 100% Silk Satin, mulberry color. The skirt is very lightweight striped weave, polyester (it's amazing how real some polyesters can look).
Chest: 38-42" (gathered top allows for quite a wide adjustment
Waist: 34-36 (Due to nature of belt tabs, the adjustment range on the waist is not as high as the chest)
Bicep Circumference: 14"
Write Circumference, buttoned: 8"
Hem: 40"
Available on etsy HERE
Available on ebay HERE

Friday, 18 September 2015

1950s Pleated Skirt - Embroidered Tulle over Cotton

Pattern: None. Drafted as a simple panel pleated to a waistband.
Fabrics: Pink tulle netting, embroidered throughout with rose ribbons, soutache, and metallic silver. Plain pink cotton for lining.
Waist: 28"
Hem length: 31"
Hem circumference: 120"
Available on Etsy HERE
Available on ebay HERE

**I'm sorry about the width of the web page. I wanted to show these images at the their full size and resolution, which will probably force your web browser to go wide.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

1890s Belle Epoque Suit - Gothic/Fantasy Styling

Patterns: Truly Victorian #496 "1896 Ripple Bodice"
                Butterick #3418 (altered)

Fabrics: Definitely not historically accurate. Polyester/rayon blend. The fabric is a two-tone red metallic and black. This puts it closer to the realm of fantasy or goth Victorian. It makes me think of something pseudo historical, like Dracula or the New Orleans Vampire Ball, LOL.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

1780 Robe a l'Anglaise - Norah Waugh XXII

Pattern: 1775-80 Robe a l'Anglaise, from The Cut of Women's Clothes, by Norah Waugh. Diagram XXII.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. I love this pattern and will definitely be making it up again =)
Fabric: 100% Cotton, drapery weight. Pattern is a dark blue background with a pattern of orchids and small birds in shades of blue, grey, and white.
Alterations: None. I added seam allowances to the pieces (which you have to do for all the Waugh patterns, but otherwise this is made true to the size and specifications in the book. The gown is surprisingly large for an extant piece *see size below

Finished Measurements:
Chest: 39"
Waist: 34"
Hip: Free
Hem: 45" at back, drag length.
Upper arm circumference: 13"

Monday, 7 September 2015

Butterick B4513 - Halloween Dress

Pattern: Butterick #4513, from the "Retro Butterick" reissue collection.
Fabric: Polyester chiffon, velvet flocked with little bats.
Available on ebay HERE

Alterations: General fit alterations recommended, especially to the waist/bust ratio. The pattern seems to assume the wearer will utilize a girdle or other forming underwear, because the waist/bust ratio is rather wide. Bust also rides high.
*I added a matching sash to tie around the waist instead of a belt.

Alterations I will make next time: I don't really like the elastic portion at the center back. It creates gathered puffiness at the back, which doesn't make the nicest silhouette. Next time, I will alter the back to a smooth fit and add a zipper closure to the side seam under the arm.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

1770s Polonaise from The Cut of Women's Clothes - Striped Silk Taffeta

Pattern: Diagram XXI, "1770s Polonaise" from Norah Waugh's The Cut of Women's Clothes. I was unable to locate any images of the extant garment.
Fabrics: 100% Silk Taffeta, striped. 100% silk dupioni for the petticoat.
Alterations: MANY alterations, yes, mostly relating to making the garment suitable for a modern figure. See below for specifics.

Friday, 28 August 2015


A few days ago I had posted several patterns from the Waugh book and planned to post many more. But, a good fellow costumer informed me that the publishers of the Waugh book are planning a new addition soon, which definitely keeps the book "alive" and within the realm of copyright protects. So, I have decided to remove those pattern diagrams from this blog. Thanks again for the heads up. No one wants legal troubles! LOL


Wednesday, 26 August 2015

1879 Natural Form "Monochrome" Dress - Truly Victorian Patterns

Patterns: Bodice>TV422 "1881 Dinner Bodice"
                Over-Skirt> TV324 "1878 Long Draped Overskirt"
                Skirt> TV221 "1878 Tie-Back Underskirt"
Fabrics: 100% Silk Dupioni, silver grey. 100% Cotton, grey print on black.
Chest: 40" across bust.
Waist: 31"
Hip: <50"
Hem: 41"

I did not take any progress photos for this dress because none of the patterns are confusing or have special construction issues. The over-skirt I made "out of the box", with no alterations to the pattern. The skirt is also unaltered, with only hem ruffles added. I altered the bodice in the back by splitting it to form tails.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

1950s Novelty Print Skirt

Pattern: None. Simple panel skirt.
Meaurements: 29" Waist (US 8, roughly). 28" long, mid-calf.
Available on ebay HERE
I ran across this beautiful Japanese them fabric some years ago, but could never decide what to do with it. It's a bold repeat print of Japanese traditional figures, such as Geishas, Samurai, courtesans, and Kabuki actors. Obviously not very appropriate to any of my more historical applications. So, I decided to make something in the current 1950s novelty print skirt fad that's been going on.

It is just two panels (the patterns ran one way), with the closure at the side with a planet and glass buttons, also vintage.

1880s Seaside Costume

Patterns: TV 367 Over-skirt. the bodice and under-skirt are my own drafting.
Fabrics: 100% Cotton print, Cotton eyelet, Egyptian cotton lining.
Measurements: Chest 41", Waist 35", Hip Free, Hem 39"
Available on ebay HERE

I got some inspiration for the bodice from a fashion plate, circa 1888. The center portion is like a stomacher, detaching completely from buttons on either wise. The collar is in one pieces with the front pieces,forming a rolled collar.