Tuesday, February 5, 2013


In addition to remaking some old costumes into new ones but I've been doing a lot of retrimming lately.  It's a great way to give new interest to old gowns and hats  and is actually a very historically correct thing to do!  Hats and gowns were given a new look, made more up-to-date or just reinvigorated with new or different trims and cuts.

Most often I retrim hats.  It's a large part of the reason I almost never hot glue trims on my hats, not only is it not "period" it's also very hard to undo.  Most of my trims are just whip stitched on.  These are both the same hat
Other times I retrim a hat to work for a multitude of eras and outfits.  The hat on the left below is the same as the one on the right.  I've used this same base hat for Elizabethan, Regency and late bustle.
red bustle curegencyhat

After making the nice new 1850s petticoat I wanted to revamp my old Poe Mourning gown.  So I added some vintage lace at the neckline, a wider lace as a bertha and some more black velvet ribbon.  The original gown is on the left, and the revamped version on the right:

Me at James Joyce's Pubpoe

Monday, February 4, 2013

Historical Sew Fortnightly #3: Under it All: 1850s flounced petticoat done!

pettiThis is another UFO that's been languishing in the pile forever - an 1850s flounced petticoat.  This was really easy, just straight lengths for flounces and skirt, but rather time consuming with all the gathering.

The Challenge: #3 Under it all

Fabric:  Some cheap, rather thin, but crisp silk taffeta I got back in about 2000-2002?  I think when a fabric store was going out of business?  It doesn't have the thickness or luster than most silk taffeta has, and it's possible it's a blend, but it is nice and stiff and I thought that would be perfect for a pre-hoop era flounced petticoat.

Pattern: This is the 1850s skirt pattern A from Jean Hunnisett's Period Costume for State and Screen 1800-1909

Year: 1850,  but would work for 1840s or even1860s if I wanted to leave off a hoop or wear it over a hoop for a really full skirt.

Notions: thread, hook and bar.

How historically accurate is it? Fairly accurate

Hours to complete:   About 8

First worn: Not yet

Total cost: Not sure, I got the fabric so long ago.

But what's really fun is to see just how effective it is. Skirt on the left with a corded petticoat & a cotton flounced petticoat, and with both of those AND the new flounced petticoat on the right:

with petticoatno petticoat

Poof!  What a difference!  And it makes such a lovely rustling...

Project Surfing

Do you ever project surf? You know how you do a search on the web for one image and that leads to another and another and another? It's sort of like that but with costumes projects. I got out an old cut-out-but-not-completed project to work on for the HSF #3 Challenge: Under it all. Now if you've been reading this for a while may you know I hate making underwear. Oh I've made many a corset, chemise etc., but given my druthers I'd rather pay someone else to make something no one will see but me. I like making frosting like hats, not structure like underthings. But I'd had this triple flounced 1850s petticoat in the to-do pile forever and it's black so it can switch off with my other two three projects with no change of thread so I thought I'd try to work on it a bit. which made me think about my Poe Mourning dress and how I wanted to change it a bit...and it ALSO happens to be black...then....and before I knew it I had the two bustle gown skirts, the petticoat, a jacket, a gown and a hat all being worked on simultaneously. As long as it's black and I don't have to switch thread why not? Needless to say it looks like there was a goth-splosion in the sewing room. :P