A Timeline of Fashion’s Influence


A few weeks ago, I was contacted by the British men’s clothing company T.M. Lewin.  While I never have personally purchased clothing from them, I was very aware of the name and longevity. Established in 1898, they have spent the past one hundred years providing high quality men’s clothing and are well-known for the introduction of the button down shirt.  So what, may you ask, is a men’s clothing store doing reaching out to me, a women’s historical clothing blog?  Well, the company wished to celebrate 300 years of British influence on men’s fashion and wondered if I would be interested in participating.  At first, I wasn’t sure what I could do.  I mean, I enjoy men’s clothing, but enough to write about it?  I just wasn’t sure.  So I thought and spent some time studying the fabulous timeline graphic they sent me, and realized the large connection between men and women’s clothing. I thoroughly enjoyed my time researching and loved finding examples of women’s fashion that directly corresponded with men’s.

So, with all that said, I decided to participate in their celebration…but with my own twist.  Below you will find sections of their timeline along with examples of women’s fashion which bears influence and connection….although with a bit more grace and femininity!


The 1700’s


I choose to highlight the floral impact on fashion for this particular century.  While today, most individuals equate floral prints exclusively as women’s clothing, that was not always the case.  Notice the embroidery on the men’s suit, along with the influence on the floral print of the women’s gown below!  Both are absolutely stunning!



1770’s Floral Gown from the Digitalt Museum

The 1800’s


I have a slight obsession with anything Regency.  I just do.  So clearly, out of this century, I had to pick something from the 1810’s.  And what better choice than showing examples of the riding coat!


1815 Men’s and Women’s Riding Outfits, Kyoto Costume Institute 


My second choice to highlight from this century is the Sack Coat from the years 1850-1860.  A loose fitting outwear garment that was worn by both men and women.  Similar in shape, color and decorations were the two only real ways that this coat differed.

Men’s Version


Women’s Version


The 1900’s


From this century, the first item that stood out to me is the trench coat.  A item that is just as popular today as it was a hundred years ago.  Similar in color and shape, women tweaked this item to create a coat known as a duster.  A handy little item used to protect one’s gown from those dusty automobile rides!


Of course, post on 20th century fashion would not be complete without a little 1940’s love.  With the suit a well established staple for men, women, especially during the second world war, followed suit…no pun intended! 🙂  Similar in pattern and shape, both genders embraced the structured look the suit of the 1940’s offered.

Men’s Version


Women’s Version




This reciprocal exchange of fashion influence will continue to shape fashion for decades, and I daresay, centuries to come.  But with tweaks here  and there, each gender can appreciate and enjoy something unique!

Many thanks to T.M. Lewin for inspiring this post!!




On My Inspiration Board: Camel Gowns


I have learned several things in preparation of today’s post.

  1. The camel color stems from the use of camel hair as a fabric which has been used for centuries.
  2. The term cameline describes a knock off the above mentioned fabric of camel hair.
  3. The color camel is very subjective from decade to decade and person to person.

Is it going out on a limb to say that camel looks good on everyone?  I think that it does.  In finding images for my board, I noticed that people of all ages and colors looked great in this warm tan tone.  I personally love camel and have several pieces of it in my wardrobe.  As neutral as navy, brown, or black, camel offers a more sophisticated look.  And designers have made a fortune launching this color into high fashion.

But what about historical fashion?  Well, this was a bit tricky.  I was able to find a few examples of camel colored gowns, however there appeared to be a large gap from 1830-1860.  In between these decades, brown seems to have been the more dominate color of choice.  In addition, I noticed that what I think is the color camel, is not what other people make think is camel.  Take a look at this gown from the late 1860’s.  It is described as camel with brown trim, yet to me I see tan or butterscotch:


Hmmmm….I’m just not sure.

But, I suppose if one is looking for camel colored gowns, this one would certainly fit.

Anyways, whiles I was not able to find as many examples as I have in the past, I still found the choices available to be absolutely stunning.  So, here is this month’s inspiration board of camel colored gowns:


As always, feel free to visit my Pinterest Page to see more gowns of this color.


A 2015 Year End Reflection

2015 year end reflection

The past few weeks have been very busy planning for January’ blog posts, as well as the rather long list of sewing projects I wish to create.

And it was during one of these planning sessions, that I began to reflect on the journey my blog and my sewing has taken over this past year. I have delved into various topics of writing, found a voice I didn’t know I had, explored new time periods of sewing, met some wonderful friends…and all through blogging! Sometimes it is easy to compare yourself with others and see how far you haven’t gone….and it is at those very moments that you must snap yourself out of it and be happy with what you have accomplished!

So as the last few days of December begin tick by, I thought I would take some time to reflect on those things of which I am most proud.

Let’s begin with some of my most favorite sewing projects:

My 1920’s Sheer Kimono was a very fun project although the silkiness of the fabric was a bit tricky at parts.


My 1950’s Little Dress with a Big Bow proved to be a wonderful success and one of the favorites of this year’s projects.


My One Yard Blouse and Cummberbund Skirt were fun creations I adapted from a 1950’s McCall’s magazine.


This 1940’s Navy Blue Suit with Ruffled Blouse was inspired by an outfit Lucille Ball wore in one of my favorite movies Best Foot Forward.

This 1919 Brown Plaid Dress with Faux Fur Trim was a fun adventure….if winding up at the eye doctors counts as a fun adventure! 😉


A daunting project, this 1880 Navy Blue Princess Seam Gown with Train took over four weeks to complete!


While I have many tips, tricks, and skills to improve upon, I am very pleased with my outfits from this year!

And now for my most favorite posts of the year!

Traveling in Style: An Overview of the Golden Ages of Travel

Golden Age of Travel

The Art of Chicology

art of chicology

Color and You!

color and you cover

Though grammar may still not be my strong suit, I have come a long way since my early days of blogging!

Tutorials and Accessories

1940’s Hat

1940's Hat Tutorial Cover

1930’s Scarf Tying Tutorials

May scarves

1940’s Manicure

August 1940's Manicure

New Friends

This year, I had the pleasure to work with Grey Dove and Isabelle from Les Belle Bouclettes.  Take a tour of their Farm “Ferme Bonne Mine” or visit their website to see a few of the wonderful goodies  that I was fortunate enough to test.  They also have added beautiful new knitting and crocheting patterns.  I was so honored to be able to name one of their creations (pictured below) which was designed by Nataliya Polyakov.  Grey Dove and Isabelle are currently in the testing stage and are looking for knitters to test the pattern with their handmade yarn available at a special rate.  If interested, please contact Grey Dove and Isabelle HERE.

The Jacqueline Ensemble



Tanya Dawson from Vintorian Publications was kind enough to publish two of my articles in her premier edition of her magazine Vintorian as well as two articles on her blog.



Jessica Cangiano from Chronically Vintage created  a seven rapid-fire-question interview with me that was featured on her blog!  It was a such a joy to work with her! 🙂

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I was honored this year to be nominated for The Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award by Erin and Sophia from Romancing the Sewn Blog.

All in all 2015 has proved to be a wonderful year full of self-discovery, personal growth and plenty of pricked fingers! And I think 2016 will be even better ! 😉

I hope you all take time to reflect back on your accomplishments, big or small.  It’s isn’t bragging to be proud of what you have achieved….it’s valuing yourself and all the hard work you have put into being a more creative and more confident person.  

And that is a beautiful thing!

See you in in 2016!


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Cover Photo: From Paris with Love by Emile Vernon

HSM #3 – Stash Busting: 1780’s Round Gown

I am actually shocked that this gown was completed this month.  There were many days when I thought I should just stop trying and quickly find something easier to make for this challenge.  But I persevered and finished it Tuesday night!

For this challenge I used some beautiful light blue fabric that had been left over from a custom order that didn’t go through, so I thought this would be a great use of the material.  Following the creation of the pattern and the extra difficulty of only being able to “shop” in my sewing room, the gown slowly but surely began to take shape.

All one piece, this gown features a false front skirt that ties about the waist and underneath the back portion of the skirt.  I struggled with the inner lacing as I was reduced to taking old ribbon and the small amount of boning I had to create the lacing panels.  I am not happy with them…at all.  But again, be creative was the theme!  The collar looked great before I turned it out and pressed it.  The points were no where near as clean as I have made in the past…so again, not the happiest.

Overall, I am pleased that I finished the gown and am really looking forward to my plan for next month!!

Here is the info:

The Challenge: # 3 – Stash Busting

Fabric: 8 yds light blue cotton blend, 1 yard white muslin

Pattern: Based on an 1780 round gown as seen in Janet Arnold’s book

Year: 1780’s

Notions: 5 yards of cording, 1 yard wide ribbon, 1 yard boning, thread, snap tape, and twill tape

How Historically Accurate is it?: Fairly accurate, although due to only using items from my current stash, not all the notions used would be appropriate

Hours to Complete: 25 Hours

First Worn: Not yet…hopefully soon!

Total Cost: $0



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On My Inspiration Board: Lovely Green Gowns

Growing up green was (and still is) my favorite color!  Rich, deep emerald and hunter greens being my absolute favorite tones.  I remember when I turned 12 and was getting ready to start junior high school.  My eyes, up that point, had been blue…sort of a deep, rather muddy blue.  I always dreamed of having green eyes…but had resigned myself to a noncommittal blue that nature seem to have bestowed upon me.  But then…it happened.  My eyes changed to green!  Many thought I had lost my mind.  “How do eyes change?” they said.  But nonetheless, they did and I took it as a good omen for the beginning of my 7th grade year.

Green in its various shades can ooze an aura of calm, of control, of earthiness, or of richness.  As well loved as the color blue, but not as often worn.  In fact those wearing green may find their daily quota of compliments delightfully increase!

The same can be true for women of past centuries who paid a pretty penny for numerous yards of the richly dyed fabric.  Seen mostly in evening wear, green gowns of various hues have been gracing ballrooms and tea rooms for decades.

So in honor of March, St. Patrick’s Day and the Emerald Isle, I hope you enjoy a few of my favorite green gowns!


 -To see gowns that didn’t make the final cut, check out my Pinterest Board.

March green inspiration

From My Sewing Table: March


Welcome to a new monthly post entitled “From My Sewing Table.”  This written reflection will not only focus on what I am currently working on in my sewing room, but on other unique areas of historical living.  As you may have noticed, I have added several new categories to the header of my blog homepage.   These new categories reflect the new style and content of material to be featured in upcoming posts.  From 1600-1950, I look forward to sharing fun, interesting, and creative topics with you.  To see a brief description of each category, along with the posting schedule, please visit my About Page.

For all my international friends, please pardon me if my weather complaints seem minor, but my, has it been cold!  So cold in fact, that it has made me long for spring with unusual intensity.  Originally from the southern portion of the United States, I was comfortably used to mild winters and long springs.  In fact, March was usually the signal to the start of my favorite season.  Not so in the north!  March usually means “hang on, you’re almost through…almost.”  So I must content myself with store bought tulips and the promise of the warmth to come.

My Inspiration Board has been filled recently with pictures of 1780’s gowns…round gowns to be exact.  Work has already begun on a powered blue, round gown with a large collar.  On the opposite end of the historic timeline, I have also been pining over any 1920’s house wear.  Simple, densely patterned shifts and aprons dripping in rickrack…..heavenly!

With the purchase of Voices of Fashion, which many have encouraged me of it’s fairly easy construction, I am excited to start unlocking the design of the early 1900’s – and possibly recreate several Gibson Girl inspired hairstyles.  We will just have to see!

So let March, wherever you are, be a month of dreaming, planning, and enjoying any little shot of color Mother Nature may share!

Happy Creating,


A Few of the Many Upcoming Posts to Look for This Month:

  • How to Make a Mini Sewing Crate
  • 1920’s House Apron (a one yard wonder)
  • Folding a Gown the 1840’s Way


march inspiration

Some New Additions…

I recently purchased two new fashion design books to add to my library.  I bought both of these books off of Amazon for a total of $50!

1. The Voice of Fashion


This is a phenomenal book that features 79 patterns and drawings of the Turn of the Century Women’s Fashion.  From day dresses, to evening gowns and capes, this book has it all.  The potential challenge?… all the patterns are in the Diamond Measuring System which is going to take quite a bit of time to decipher…but isn’t that what cold, snowy days are for! 🙂

2. Dress Cutting: 1930’s





A new edition from the original printed in 1932, this little book is a gold mine!  It uses a mathematic method to explain pattern drafting through creating a block pattern which every article of clothing in the book uses as a base.  Once you get over the AA2 and 1/4 of the bust minus 2 ” jargon, it is fantastic!  I have begun the process of measuring and will begin drafting the block pattern soon.



I am also in the process of re-photographing all my gowns for sale.  Now that I have created a new backdrop, it is time to change everything over from black to white!

 Enjoy your Tuesday!