Planning and Dreaming…

In a few weeks time, I am planning on starting the challenging process of doubling my inventory by the end of the year.  This summer has been wonderfully busy, yet has left my clothing stock thin and sparse.  One of my favorite parts of the whole dressmaking process is planning and drafting up various looks and styles of gowns I want to make.  The majority of gowns will still be from the 1860’s, yet I plan on adding some 1850’s gowns, and perhaps dipping back into some Regency.  I am going to be on the hunt for fabrics, trims, and accessories for these gowns, and would love some help in making the “difficult” choice of narrowing down various styles.

So….what are your thoughts?  Any particular era you would like to see?  Any colors that would be wonderful to use?  What about looks of sleeves or trim?

I would love to hear from you all as I begin planning and dreaming! :-0

Pop that collar!

Collars are a very attractive and inexpensive way to change the look of a gown.  In fact, when purchasing a dress, check to see if you can also have a removable collar made at the same time.  A removable collar means just that…it comes off for easy cleaning and is attached to the neckline of the bodice by buttons, snaps, or lightly basted.  Not all bodices are designed to have a collar (v-necked), but if the neckline is high, any type of collar can be attached.  One can have a collar made out of handkerchief linen, muslin, cotton, or lace.

There are three most common types of collars used in the 1850’s and 60’s: the Peter Pan collar, the jabot, and the less common straight collar.  Here are some examples:

The Peter Pan Collar

Read More

Something shiny to grace the neck…

I am continuing the series of different types of jewelry worn during the 1850’s and 60’s.  I have already created a post on earrings , and now am moving on to necklaces.

As a result of my research, I have decided to combine necklaces and brooches into a collection of “items of jewelry worn around or at the base of the neck.”  And for this particular post, I tried to restrict my examples to daywear, as there are (just like today) different types of jewelry worn for different occasions.


For the most part, if necklaces were worn during the day, they tended to be long gold chain, perhaps several strands that draped down the front of the bodice.  Many women also appeared to have worn brooches as well.  Here are some examples:




Read More

1860’s Color Combinations

Daydreaming and obsessing over fashion plates can lead to the discovery of some pretty unique color combinations.  I mean, when all you see are black and white photographs, one just assumes that the color tones chosen were just as blah.  But let me tell you….many color suggestions shown in fashion plates and in actual garments suggest quite the opposite.  While I would not be likely to wear these duos in my modern clothing, I would absolutely use them in my creations of 19th century clothing.  Here are a few of my favorites.

Black with Sapphire



Read More

A sleeve by any name…may just work!

While it is true that in modern clothing, there may be some variations, it, nonetheless, does not compare to the copious amounts seen in gowns from the past century.  Whenever I am planning my next gown, one of the areas that I will carefully considered are the sleeves.  Sometimes I decided based on the fabric, sometimes the shape of the bodice, or the length of the train, but the accurately chosen sleeve can really complete a look.

When choosing and creating a sleeve there are three simple rules to keep in mind:

1. Make sure the shoulder seam is dropped a few inches than what today’s clothing would view as normal.

2. Make sure to NOT have a tight sleeve.  While some styles may be narrow around the arm, you do not want it stretched over your bicep.  Think graceful and flowing at all times!

3.  The sleeves (just like everything else ) should be designed to show off the waist….whatever size you are.

Here are several examples of the most popular styles of sleeves from the late 1850’s-18’60’s.  Since this is my area of expertise, I began here…however please comment below if you would like me to focus on other time periods!

Read More

1850’s Gown: Almost complete

I spent yesterday afternoon (during the snow storm…or as the Weather Channel called it “The Polar Vortex”) sitting on my couch, watching re-runs, and attaching the skirt to the bodice of my 1850’s gown.  I knife-pleated the fabric and then hand-stitched each pleat to the bodice.  It didn’t take as long as it sounds.  I clearly have to adjust the length and hem the bottom…but that is for another day.

I also completed the under sleeves for the gown.  I decided to use elastic versus ribbons to hold up the sleeves…elastic just holds better.  I also did a little hand embroidery on the cuff of the sleeves, based off of a pattern from one of my fashion books.  Hope you like it!




yellow9Also, I know I haven’t done many hair tutorials lately…it’s not from lack of trying…it’s just that the pictures and therefore the end results just aren’t that good.  I am hoping to put another one up over the next week.  Fingers crossed!

1850’s Day Dress Bodice

So despite a stomach flu, I finished the bodice of the 1850’s Day Dress!  It was quite a challenge since I had to redo the sleeves twice to make sure that they fell just right.  Oh how I love seam rippers!!

I added piping to the armholes, the neckline, and the bottom of the bodice.  I didn’t add the undersleeves in the picture, but I will be making them to fit under the pagoda sleeves.  My plan is to begin working on the skirt this weekend…not sure if I am going to add flounces or not.  I guess it depends on my patience level!





yellow4I am also looking to either purchase or make an 1865 elliptical hoopskirt…any ideas or suggestions for a pattern or seller?

Enjoy your Friday everyone!!