1850s plaid summer dress (Part 1- Skirt)

For the upcoming 1850s “Crinoline day” I decided i needed a new dress (even though I teqnicly have two perfectly functional ones already – Green 1840s and Brown 1850s Paisley)

This time I wanted to focus on the light summer dresses I’ve seen so many examples of lately.

So I picked one of my favourites as my main inspiration and started looking for fabric.07176d121492c50c50ebd7441c72bcd5Main inspiration

And to my surprise I found the perfect one straight away, and it was on sale. Yay! 20150325_080825_resizedIt’s a sheer cotton with the light feel of voile, and a pretty, light plaid pattern with lots of white to make the dress fit for summer.

At the moment I was rushing to finish my “Downton Mary dress“, so I couldn’t comit to the new project straight away, so to get tings moving I decided to start working on the skirt.

I almost used the same simple tequnices as in my sisters 1860s skirt (which I made a month later) – Cuting three skirt lenght of whole fabric widhts, matching the pattern and stitching them togeter to a huge circle.

Then I stsitched two rows of gthering stistches at the top and pulled to get the right waist measurment. I purpusly used one fabic widht for the front and two for the back, to disturbute the poufiness to the back.

Then I stitched a cotton tape to the gathered waist IMG_6245and turn it under by hand to get a small but sturdy waistband.IMG_6258

I used my dressform to measure and pin the skirt lenght 20150411_142134Trying it out on my dressform

and make sure the back clouser looked good. 20150411_142206_resized

Then I folded, pinned and hemmed the skirt, using 1 cm long heming stitches.IMG_6837

All and all it took about 4 hours and was an evenings welcome break from “Lady Mary”

The finished skirt:IMG_7298


A couple of photos with the skirt, (not) Gabardi blouse and green bonnet:IMG_4962


As you can see I also discovered I needed to shorten the skirt about 5-10 cm – great!
Back to the ironing table…

Nexts up: Construction for the dress bodice…

1850/60s (Not a Garbardi) Blouse

Once I’ve decided to make a blouse for some upcoming mid 19th century events this summer it all went pretty fast.

I selected an inspiration pic to base my design upon.
7b7d4d08edbf772307a80f15be56bffc 22fcb4ef48632fecc39c391e2f9e1a89
059d04d3e45d5b72b7ba36bc6a2cd407Shoulder and sleeve detail.

I decided to use the white dotted organza I’ve bought on sale a year ago (which I also used as contrast in my Ariel/Camille dress)
IMG_6253Sorry for the dark photo – I was working late at night

I made a pattern using my green 1840s dress bodice as a base.IMG_6114

To keep the blouse from being totally see through I made a lining in a soft loosely woven cotton fabric. IMG_6267Thin french seams on the lining.

I basted the blouse together, combining darts (in the lining) and gathers (in the organza) to get the right look for the bloused waist. IMG_6255Here you can see the gathered organza (left) and the darted lining (right).

Once I tried it on I found the lining to be a bit high in the neck and cut it down about 4-5 cm.IMG_6259

I stitched the sleeves using french seams and rushing at the cap.
The cuff is just one reinforced, folded piece of organza, closing with a button, to which I gathered the sleeve to. IMG_6274

IMG_6281Sleeve set.

The biggest mistake I made on this project was steaming on fusible interlining to the buttonhole stands. Once sewn to the thin blouse the buttonhole stand looked really bulking and heavy (and white).
So I ripped them of, and not having enough lining fabric left to cut new ones I carefully peeled the interlining of the fabric. IMG_6269What a mess.

Once re-sew (without the interlining) the buttonhole stand looks much better, and it was time to move on to the collar and buttons.IMG_6283Its just a slightly shaped thin strip of organza and lining folded over to make the low standing collar.IMG_6311Then I made all the button holes by hand, added the pearl buttons and sewed on a piece of bias tap to make a casing for the cotton cord used to control the fullness and size at the waist.

IMG_6312Looking neat from the outside…
IMG_6313…And just as neat from the inside.

The finished blouse:













The Facts:

What: a 1850-1860s blouse/waist

Pattern: I drafted my own using my green 1840s dress bodice and pictures of extant blouses.

Fabric & Notions: 1 m dotted white polyester organza, 0,5 m soft white cotton, 12 plastic buttons, thread, buttonhole thread, 80 cm bias tape and 1,2 m cotton cord.

Time: About 10 hours.

Cost: About 100 Sek (16 Usd) – Everything was bought on sale or leftovers from previous projects.

Final thoughts: I like the look of this blouse, even though I’m not sure the polyester content will keep me as cool as I would have liked in the summer heat. I may make another one out of a more suitable fabric someday, but for now I’m pleased with it. And It was such a quick and easy project.

1840-1850s Winter Walk

Despite the lack of snow, me and my sister decided to dress in mid 19th century gowns and take some winter (if not Christmasy) photos.











IMG_4643My sister is wearing the 1840s green plaid dress over my 1880s corset, a bridal hoop skirt, layers of petticoats and bloomers. Accessorized with an apron, bonnet and muff.


IMG_4671I’m wearing my brown paisley 1850s dress over my regency corset, cage crinoline, petticoats, bloomers and wide sleeved shirt. Accessorized with a white bonnet, gloves and faux fox fur.



IMG_4614Photo: Helen Eriksson

1850s Paisley Evening Bodice

While working on the Paisley skirt I had trouble deciding what kind of bodice I would make to go with it, a daytime or a evening bodice. And with a long vacation from work ahead of me, I thought “why not make both?” And so I did.

Starting by drapeing the low-cut, of the shoulder, evening bodice.IMG_9737

IMG_9738 IMG_9740
Working on the daybodice and evening bodice at the same time, I made pretty good speed, cutting and sewing the mock-ups. I also minimized the amount of times I needed to put on the corset by trying on both of  the mock-ups at the same time.IMG_9974 IMG_9979
The fit was a bit underwhelming, and I ended up lenghten the bodice at the waist by 3 cm, re-shaping the shoulder, changing tha bust seam and adding another 5 cm to the front tab.

A pic to get a sence of how it would look.IMG_9954

After cutting all the layers out, I basted the twill to the paisley, and started to sew the pieces togeter.IMG_0020

For the evening bodice I decided to use piping in the seams. I made my own using cut bias-strips and cotton cord.IMG_0022The piping serves to give the garmnent a more finished and historical look, and at the same time makes the eye accept the breaks in the print better. So apart from the extra work making and putting them in, it’s a win win situation.

IMG_0026Piping basted to the seam-allowence.

IMG_0031Bodice from the inside with piping in all but the side seams.

Then I tried it on, to test the fit.
IMG_0055 IMG_0060
As you can se it dosen’t really close in the back. That was fixed by letting the bodice out a bit at the sides, and re-arranging the back edges.

I then started on the lining, sewing boning chanels in the seam allowence.IMG_0065

And then I sewed the lining to the bodice, turning the whole thing inside out. IMG_0066

Then it was time for the sleeves.IMG_0067I gathered the bottom into smal cuffs, and stitched a gatering thread at the top, to make it easy to insert into the arm hole.

Then I cut the seam allowences down and covered the edges with a bias-strip.IMG_0073

And as you all know,  if you don’t have enough to do already, you make sure to give youself some more work…IMG_0082While cutting the sleeve allownece I accidently manadged to cut a piece of the sleeve away. (if you look closely you can se the hole (big as a thumb) right by the seam about half way up the sleeve.

I had not enough fabric to cut another sleeve, and I was almost finished with it anyway, so I decided to mend it.IMG_0084Using a smal scrap of  fabric, matching the print, I stiched the hole up. Turning the edges over both on the outside and the inside. And now it hardly shows at all.

Then I continued on with the eyelets.IMG_0069Lots of maked eyelets to sew…

I worked on them, one at the time, while waching series on tv.IMG_0075I must be getting better at this, since several of the holes actually look pretty decent.IMG_0076

I then put in the bones, and stitched the lining shut.IMG_0079

The final thing I had to decide was which trim to use. I had several metres of a golden fringe, and a smal piece of the brown fringe left.IMG_0092I like the brown the best – which ment I could’t make another row of fringe on the jacket :-(.
Well I can always buy more later, if I decide I whant some more.

The finished dress:IMG_0423














Just the facts:

Challenge: 14 – Paisley & Plaids

What: A 1850s cotton evening bodice.

Pattern: None, draped my own.

Fabric: Hard to tell, since I cut the skirt and daybodice from the same fabric at the same time. But if I had to guess I’d say 0,5 m of paisley, twill and lining.

Notions: Thread, buttonhole- thread, 5 m cotton cord for lacing, 5 m cotton cord for piping, 4 m syntetic whalebone, and 1 m of brown syntetic fringe.

How historical accurate: I don’t know – I made it to look the part. But it is made using modern techniques and material. Even though a cotton evening bodice was probably what the les whealty women wore, I’m not sure she would have chosen such a loud print.

Time: Same as above – not sure, but my best guess is about 10 hours (the eyelets took a great deal of time).

Cost: I estimate the cost to about 100 Sek since everything was from stash.

First worn: Only for photos. But I do hope I get the chance to attend a Dickens teamed bal of some sort…

Final thougts: I like the bodice and it fits quite well, even though the eylets are a bit smal and needs an awl for lacing.
And I could not wear my new chemise with it since it bulked and showed to much. Did they use special evening chemises in the 1850s?

1850s Paisley Day-bodice

After finishing the 1850s skirt for the 14th HSF challenge I started on the jacket.
I knew I wanted a fitted jacket with a bit of a peplum and a sculpted neckpiece on top, like the ones in Nancy Bradfeilds “Costume in Detail” DSC_1449 (1)

Draping the pieces on my dressform.
IMG_9730 IMG_9729

And the neckpiece.
IMG_9732 IMG_9731

I then cut and made a mock-up, and let it rest upon my dressform for a week when we were abroad on vaccation.
IMG_9946 IMG_9947

Coming home again, I put it on to check the fit.
It did needed some changes (hard to se in this pick due to the pining I’ve made on the inside), but for the most part it worked pretty good.

IMG_0009Trying out the sleeve pattern.

IMG_0013The biggest change I neede to make was to lover the wasit and to take it in a bit more.

Here you can see the new lower, and the old un-picked waist placement, and the amount needed to be taken in at each seam. IMG_0014

Then it was time to cut the pieces.IMG_0017I needed to ration the fabric very carefuly to make sure I had enough to get the print matched on each piece. It was a bit tricky but I manadged to fit all the pieces pretty much the way I wanted.

I’m particulary proud of the center back (which unfortanly won’t even show beeneth the neck piece).IMG_0018After basting the interlinig to the paisley, I sewed the pieces together and tried it on.
IMG_0040 IMG_0046
This time it looked rater good.

When I was sure about the fit, I cut all the wide seam allowence down, and trimmed away all the exess fabric at the darts.IMG_0064Huge un-cut and cut dart.

Then it  was time for the linnig, which I putt in using the “bag method”. and to make sure all the edges would turn nicely I made notches in the allowence of all the curved seams.IMG_0094Notches on the neck-seam.

All this trimming and notching left my sewing room a mess. IMG_0097Lots of thread and fabric scraps.

I also took the time to under- stich the neck and hem to make sure the edges was nice and crisp, and would not be able to peek out.
IMG_0098 IMG_0101

Then it was time for the boning. Well actually I should have done this before putting in the lining, but forgot and thous needed to do it the harder way, trying to avoid getting the lining intangeled with the chanels.IMG_0123anyhow, I sewed the boning chanals to the seam allowences using self made bias-strips. Then I cut, shaped and put in the plastic whalebone, starting on the sleeves.

IMG_0120The jacket almost done, inside-out, on my sewing table.

When the bones and the sleeves were inserted and the lining was sewed down nicely it was time to deal with the clouer of the garmnent. I used several self covered buttons and stiched them to the front. IMG_0072But since I didn’t had the energy (nor time) to make buttonholes I put the buttons on the outside, and stitched hooks and bars underneat to use as clouser.

And lastly I pinned and sewed on the brown fringe to the edge of the neckpiece.IMG_0142This is the only fringe I’ve ver used, and I love how it’s sewed at the end to prevent the fringes from getting caught in your stiches. When finished sewing you just cut the stich away, and you have a nice straight fringe. It’s great.

The finished dress (Jacket and Skirt)IMG_0144












Just the facts:

Challenge: nr 14: Paisley & Plaid.

What: a 1850 daydress (bodice and skirt).

Pattern: None, draped my own using “Costume in detail” as a general guide.

Fabric: Two bedsheets with duvet covets from IKEA, 1,5 white cotton sheets for lining and 1 m cotton twill for interlining.

Notions: Jacket – Thread, 3 m of plastic boning, 3 m of self mde bisatape, 12 buttons, 14 pair of hooks adn eyes, 1,5 m of brown fringe. and only thread and hook and eye for the skirt.

How Historical accurate: So so. I think it does look the part but I’m not sure about the messy pattern. Cotton is legit and paisley was a popular pattern during this time, but I doubt that the dressmaker using cotton in her daydress would have had a sewingmachine.

Time: About 15-20 hours total.

Cost: 300 Sek (48 Usd) for the whole dress.

First worn: Ony for photos so far. I meent to wear it at a victorian picknic in july but the weater was way to hot for all the layers, so ended up using another costume instead.

Final thoughts: I’m not totaly happy about how messy the print looks made up in this dress. And I could have spent some more time getting the pattern to mach up and also making the neckpiece fit better.
All in all I think it was a funny project and I hope I get to wear it sometime.

1850s Paisley Skirt

Back in january when I did my sum-up on what to make for this years HSF challenges, I decided to make a 1850s daytime dress for the HSF 14. Paisley & Plaid. 2922460163_61fd26c808My original inspiration.


tumblr_lp4a0qjvHA1qf46efo1_400Love the skirt, and the fringes.

I had this great brown/white paisley bedsheet from IKEA that I was dying to use.

So when the challenge deadline approached, I got the fabric from my stash and started working.
This outfit took me a great while to compleat and I did take lots of photos while working on it, so I decided to choop the dress up into three different posts.

Starting with the skirt:

I ripped the selveges from the sheets to be sure to get straight edges. But I emedetly regreted that idea…IMG_9682This is how of the grain line the sheets were made. It differs about 15 cm from one edge to the other. And on top of that I discovered the print was made to match the crocket grain line, leaving me with lots of un- centered paisley prints. Bummer.

Well, that was too late to do anything about, so I just continued working. Ripping rows of fabric to make into gattered flounces.

I decided to make the skirt in three sections, attached to one big piece of underlayer, using 4 times the width of the base for each of the ruffels. I made sure they were all wide enough to overlap each other, and stiched them togeter, hemmed and sewed a gattering thread along the top.

Then I marked the placement on the white cotton under layer. IMG_9711

IMG_9712Using all of the apartment for this.

Then I gattered one row at a time, and pinned it in place at the markings to get them perfectly straight.IMG_9714

IMG_9715Starting on row two.

When all the rows where in place it looked like some huge ugly curtain. IMG_9716

As you can see, I almost didn’t gattered the top row at all. Because it will be gattered anyway when I attach the whole thing to the waistband.IMG_9718

Even though the ruffels overlap each other, I decided to put some exess fabric in between the rows to make sure no white will be visible once worn.IMG_9719

I did the same at the bottom, using the strip of pasisley to make a nice  whide hem.IMG_9724

Then I stiched the whole thing togeter, gathered the wasit and stiched it to the wasiband, and attached a hook and eye for clouser.

The finished skirt (worn over a crinoline):IMG_0167





The HSF facts will be included in the next post (where I’ll show the bodice), but I will give you some skirt facts right now just to make myself remember.

What: A 1850s skirt.

Fabric: 1 white cotton sheet (IKEA) and 1, 5 paisley cotton bedsheet (IKEA).

Notions: Thread, hook and eye.

Time: about 8 hours.

1850s & 1880s underwear – photoshoot

Last weekend after finishing all the 19th century underwear for the HSF 12 and 13, I talked my boyfriend into helping me take som photos.

He agreed on condition we waited until there were breaks in the fotball games on Tv.
This turned the photoshoot into 3 hectic periods of shooting and then 45 min of down time in between (where I took the time to change clothes and re-arrange the settings), making the whole process drag out through the evening and not being finished untill midnight.

Anyhow here it is – And a warning: This is a picture heavy post.

I started by arranging some settings in my bedroom.IMG_9418 - kopiaShawl, petticoat and skirt.

And some boxes, juwvelry, glowes nad fans on my drawer.IMG_9418Then we were ready.

Starting with the 19th century chemise.IMG_9449








Then I put on my 19th century corset and the new 1880s bustle.IMG_9476










Then it was time to re-arrange the settings, and time tavel back another 30 years to 1850s. IMG_9593I hung my plaid green 1840s dress combined with a shawl and petticoat on the wardrobe door.

And placed my 1840s velvet bonnet on the table together with a lace fan, some faux flowers and juwvelry. IMG_9603

I keept the basic underwear like chemise and corset, but changed my shoes and stockings. And then I put on my new 1850s cage crinoline.IMG_9561







And lastly I put on my new cotton petticoat. IMG_9555







IMG_9544Bouncy buttom.

IMG_9542So there you have it, 4 HSF items in one photoshoot.
Well actally the corset, brown bonnet, and green plaid dress are HSF items as well.

1850s Shaped Crinoline

When planing the HSF items earlier this year, I decided to try to make a mid 19th century Crinoline for nr 12 Shape & Support.8715_424_249-1850-crinoline

I’ve wanted one for about a year, and now there was no exuse not to make one.

I searched the internet and came up with two variations I liked. b20654dea73bc720bf10f76a2d708280

2d5b6a491e65c5ca91789ec49eee6b3b1860s, so a bit late but you get the idea.

I decided to do a mash-up of the two – keeping the first ones shape, but adding the fabric of the lower section in the second one.IMG_9251I didin’t use any pattern but made some calculations of the size and amount of rectangles I would need.

I found this thick green polyester in my stash, and figured why not. I cut the pieces letting the widht of the fabric decide the size of the bottom of the finished crinoline (220 cm). IMG_9252From left: Vertical ribbons, bone casings, bottom part, smal pieces of chanels and a waistband at the right.

Then I pressed the long ribbons to turn them in to bone-casings.IMG_9254About 6,5 m or so.

Then I sewed the boning chanels to the pieces to create the bottom part of the crinoline.
IMG_9255 IMG_9257
The chanels shown from the wrong side and the right side.

Then I hemmed the pieces creating the vertical support ribbons.IMG_9262 There are eight of them at 1 m a piece = about 16 m of hemming (its a good thing I decided to make this one on the machine).

Then I lay it out on the floor to decide the size and placement of he ribbons.IMG_9261

I put it on my dressform to make sure everything looked even.IMG_9265And stitched the ribbons down to the wasitband and lower section of the crinoline.

IMG_9266Looks kind of stupid without the boning.

Then I pressed the smaler pieces to boning chanels about 3 cm long.IMG_9271I then stiched these on to the vertical ribbons, making places for the bones to conect to the foundation.

Then it was time for the boning. IMG_9253I used about 11 m of steel wire, originaly ment to be used to un-plug stop in the drain.

I used some electrical tape to cover the sharp edges, and taped the ends togeter inside the chanels in the bottom part of the crinoline.IMG_9272

IMG_9369Here you can se the places in which I taped the wires togeter. I then stiched the holes back up.

Working my way up from the bottom I inserted the boning and closed each hoop before moving on to the next.IMG_9273Three bones inserted.

When I got to the “free” bones I inserted them into the smal chanels at each vertical ribbon, and taped the hoop shut at the end.IMG_9370

Then I tried it on to get a better look of how it would look.IMG_9280Pretty cool, but still 4 more bones to go.

I left the top front open and free of bones to be able to get in and out of the skirt.IMG_9283

I inserted some gromes to make the skirt lace up the front.IMG_9375You can also see where the boning stops at the front ribbon.

IMG_9285Looking pretty on my dressform.

But one problem remaind.IMG_9392The bones very easyerly left the casings, and wandered away in other directions.

To solve the problem I decided to make holes in the boning and casing, to tie them togeter at the ends.

IMG_9612I borrowed my fathers elecric drill, but alas, not even a notch on the steel boning. Dead end.

My other solution worked better.IMG_9390I bought bias-tape, aproxemently the same colour as the fabric, and made them into boning casings.

Insering the boning and sewing of the ends, left me with three grren fabric covered lenghts of steel.IMG_9394

I then inserted the fabric covered boning in the chanels and stiched the ends down inside the chanel ends.IMG_9411And that was that.

Finished photos:IMG_9395










And a sneak a peak of the photoshoot:IMG_9572

Just the facts:

Challenge: 12 Shape and Support

What: A 1880s cage crinoline

Pattern: None – Just measured and cut stipes in desired lenght.

Fabric: 1 m of green cotton.

Notions: 11 m of steel bone, 1 spool of thread, 16 gromets, 2 m of green biastape (I didn’t had enough fabric to make my own), black duck tape, 3 m brown cotton cord and hook and eye for closuer at the wasitband.

How historical accurate: I don’t really know. Not that good I supose. The type of metal is wrong and I’m sure they did’n use biastape for bone-casings back then. I do think the over all look is ok, and worn with several layers of petticoats I think it will look very period. Maybe a 4/10

Time: About 8 hours.

Cost: Almost everything was from stash, but I have bought it at some point. I think it ads up to about 200 Sek (32Usd) all in all.

First worn: Just around the house for photos so far. But I would love to wear it out on a picknick this summer.

Final thoughts: I’m pretty happy about it. The hoopskirt went togeter more easy then I thougt an dit ws great fun watching it take form. I liked wearing it and strutted around the house a long time after finishing it. The size is really nice – not to big or to smal, and hopefull I can use this for both 1850s, Tudor and bridal wear.