New patterns

My wove not to purchase so much fabric this year, are going according to plan (I’ve only cheated once (or twice if you count Buckram as fabric)).

What I didn’t take into account was the ever growing temptation to splurge on patterns instead…

Since I mostly make my own pattern (draft or drape) I just recently discovered the allure of already tested, well researched beautiful historical patterns. Who can resist them?

And into the rabbit hole we go…

Lynn McMasters 1850-1860s summer hatIMG_6474

Lynn McMasters 1860s BonnetIMG_6475Yep, I got some serious millinery planed.

Past Patterns mid 19th century staysIMG_6476By now you’d probably guest my next big project…

Truly Victorian 1865 Eliptical Cage CrinolineIMG_6477Yes, 1860s costume (followed by at least two crinoline appropiet events) coming this spring/summer.

Laughing Moon Wrapping front Spencer IMG_6478This wil be the year I make one of these (I hope)

Truly Victorian 1880s Hat Frame IMG_6479

Truly Victorian 1887 Alexandra BodiceIMG_6480Hopefully I can squeeze in (out?) an 1880s bustle outfit as well this summer.

Wearing History Edwardian BlouseIMG_6481

Wearing History 1910s suitIMG_6482

Wearing History 1879 Pompadour Dinner BodiceIMG_6483

Wearing History Smooth Sailing Pants and BlouseSmoothSailingPatternCover(Apparently I forgot to take a picture of this one, so here are one I stole from google)

Another of my recent buys are a drawing/Inspiration book which hopefully will keep all my costuming sketches in order – instead of on random scraps of paper and receipt.IMG_6487


Here I can penn down both my sketches/ideas and fabric recommendation, event dates and what I will need to complete the outfit (shoes, glows, petticoats ect. IMG_6484

IMG_6485I even started on a sewing diary for each costume.

Now it’s back to sewing.

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.

1880s Evening Layering

If you been reading my blog you would know about the 1880s evening gown I made for the bal at the opera late january. You might also know all about the underwear, corset and petticoat I struggeled to get finished in time for the event.

But I thougt I would show them again in a more structured way.

So today on the “Layering series” (I already done: 1750s, 1810s and 1840s) I will show you all the clothing of a Victorian ladys evening attyre.

So here we go.

IMG_5795 As always we begin fully dressed in gown, cape/cloak and muff.

IMG_5801 Then we remove the outerwear, to find the evening outfit compleat with glowes, juwelery and fan. You might also be carrying an evening bag or some other accessories.

IMG_5813 Removing the accessories we are still fully dressed in our tight fitting gown. The train is almost mandetory for  evening gowns, but not worn on everyday dresses.

IMG_5819 Then we take of the gowns bodice (in this case the bodice are attached to the train, in other gowns the train might be separate and are removed after the bodice), and reveal the compleat apron and some of the corset-cover. The apron was a nice fashion detail used during the late part of the 19th century. Women wore the apron style both to evening, day and sport dresses.

IMG_5827Then we unfasten the apron and get a good wiew of the highly decorated skirt.

IMG_5831 And removing the skirt we find the petticoat with it’s ruffeled backpanel, and the corset-cover – being just a regular tank top at this point (since I haven’t gotten around to make a real one yet). The purpse of both the petticoat and the corset-cover is to smoothen and hide the sharp edges from the foundation wear, and to help give the desired silouett.

IMG_5843Yet another layer is removed and we find the bustle. There are several variations of bustles out there. I wear a relativly smal “Lobster” bustle, but you can just as easerly go bigger or smaler using different styles. (I even know about ladys who use one of there 18th century pocket hoops tied to the back.)

IMG_5851 And finaly, after removing the bustle and the corset-cover we find the un-mentionables – the corset, chemise, bloomers, stockings and shoes. The purpose for the undewear are (of course) to keep the finer clothes free from dirt. The corset was used to both mold the body to fashionable shape and to give the gown a nice ad smoth base on which to be worn.

Many people can get quite upset when it comes to discussing corsets, and admittedly some ladys of the victorian age did tight lace, but they where rare exeptions, and most women wore their corsets as bust and back support, and as mentioned, to get a smooth look on their clothes.

So that was that.

And as you can se it still comes back to the same basic clothing items (underwear, shapewear, gown and accessories) during so manny of the different periods.

1880s Green Bustle Skirt

I’ve been working non stop on my opera gown for the 1880s bal (I know I said this many times before), and once the trained bodice was finished I could finaly start on the skirt.

39.384 0002After some thinking I decided I would need a good and strong foundation to hold all the fabric madnes on this skirt. So I decided to make a straight skirt out of a cotton sheet, which would serve as both lining and interlining for the tucks and pleats.

The next thing was to separate the different elements of the skirt into smaler sections.

39.384 0002The part in the middle seams like it have been boxpleated at the top and bottom and then left lose, giving it a bit of a over-hang. And since I would avoid any extra bulk at the waist, I decided to start the pleating a bit farther down the skirt.

39.384 0002This part looks like gatered stripes attached to a foundation. And this part would also have to start a bit from the waist, and be attached at a diagonal angel.

39.384_side_CP4The boxpleated hem are a no brainer. A decorative hem stiched on beneath the poufines of the middle section.

So I started by making the cotton foundation, using a cheap bed-sheet. Then I brought out my fabric – a dark pistage green cotton sateen with a beautiful sheen to it.IMG_5173

I draped the top of the skirt and basted it to the white cotton, using it as interlining.IMG_5179

Then I cut the skirt lenghts and used the whole widh of the fabric to get some nice looking pleats. I sewed it on to the white cotton in a straight line, and then cut it down to the diagonal drape.IMG_5185

I pinned it to the dressform to get a feel of how it would look.IMG_5186The pleats at the bottom, and the slightly to long fabric makes the skirt drape nicely over the hem.

Then I did the same with the back pieceIMG_5189

Pinning the upper pleats straight on the dressform.IMG_5190

Now it was time for the diagonal ruching. Cutting 15 cm whide stripes.IMG_5170

Then sewing them togheter and attaching a gathering thread at the seam.IMG_5298


Then I pinned and gathered the ruched fabric to the skirt base.IMG_5303

And hand stiched them in place.IMG_5305

Then I sewed the front and back piece togheter and put it on for the first time.IMG_5309

It looks pretty decent.IMG_5315

I really like the look of the front ruching, but I think I should have used a bit more fabric on the back. IMG_5326

Then the last step was to finished the waist and to boxpleat the strip of fabric for the decoration on the hem.IMG_5328

And finished:IMG_5387







The Facts:

What: A 1880s bustle skirt (to be worn with the 1880s evening bodice).

Pattern: None – draped my own.

Fabric: 4m of dark pistage green cotton sateen, and 2m cotton bedsheet for interlining.

Notions: Thread, strong thread for gathering, hook and eye.

Time: 10 hours (the pleating and gathering took forever).

Cost: 300 Sek (45Usd).

Things I would Change: I would have liked the diagonal draping to have started a bit higher and been a bit wider, also for the back draping to be a bit fuller. This was not an option though, since I used up every sckrap of fabric as it was. Perhaps I also should have made the entire skirt a bit slimmer.

Final thoughts: I’m happy with it, but feel it would be difficult to wear combined with a train-les bodice, since the back of the skirt is a bit of a rushjob. But overall the skirt looks nice.

(And finaly (you have all been so patient): I will show you pics from the bal in my next post)

1880s Evening Gown – Sewing & Construction

In my last post I told you about my trouble with the pattern for my opera gown. Now I will tell you about the sewing and construction of it, and also show you the finished gown (bodice and train only).IMG_5007

So after I got the mock-up to fit properly I brought out my fashion fabric. The dress is made in a polyester golden brocade, which both feels and behaves a lot like silk. IMG_5304

I bought 6 m of it on sale before christmas, and now it was time to lay it out on the floor. IMG_4980

I also cut the lining, adjusting the lenght of the train to the 4 m long ivory cotton. IMG_4987

The different layers (lining, fashion fabric, interlining (cotton twill) and paper pattern piece).IMG_4988

Then I marked all the darts (as usual being very bad at marking the notches), and basted al the layers together. IMG_4989

I recently learnt a new trick, on how to sew darts on fabric and interlinning which I wanted to try. You simply baste the layers close to the darts, then sew inside the dart, very close to the original sewing-line.

IMG_5000 IMG_5001

This way you can easy get a nice looking dart without any bulk, and the stiching won’t show once the dart is sewn.

I then sewed the whole bodice together, and dressed in corset and bustle for a try on. IMG_5021

IMG_5032 IMG_5044

Hm, not great. Some changes are needed. Like taking the armhole and shoulder seams in a bit. I also need to re-shape the front a bit, and make the neck opening a bit lower and bigger.

Once all the changes was made, it was time for the buttonholes. I started by practice on a piece of scrap fabric, and it looks pretty decent (if you ignore the green thread).IMG_5070

So, on to the real deal. Marking the spaces and finish covering the buttons.IMG_5076

The buttonholes took about 3 hours (guess I’ve becoming faster), and when finished I sewed on the buttons. I’m really pleased with the way the front bodice looks, and are happy I took the time and money to buy 5 extra buttons. IMG_5079

Then I pinned and sewed on some boning chanels (made from leftover cotton stripes) and put the cable ties in.IMG_5086

Then I once again got dressed to try it on.

IMG_5090 IMG_5106

And even though it fit much better now, it still needed to be reduced a bit at the shoulders.

But the waist and the front clouser looked fantastic (if I may say so myself).IMG_5122

Now it was time to make the piping for the neckline. I used a cotton cord and some leftover fashion fabric (cut on the straight grain).IMG_5125

Pinning those pesky corners, making sure they look neat, and cuting the seam allowence to get the piping laying smoothly.IMG_5124

Then I sewed on the lining. I folded the allowence and sewed it on by hand at the neckline/collar and buttonhole stand.IMG_5127

Then I started on the back pleats. Using the pattern as a guide and treating the two layers (fabric and lining) as one, box-pleating the three back seams.IMG_5128I then attached the pleats to the bodice sewing into the interling by hand.

Next up was the lenght – cuting and heming the train.IMG_5145

After sewing the lining to the train from the inside, I snipped the seam-allowence, IMG_5148

and pressed them flat, making sure the lining was a couple of mm smaler, les it would peek out.IMG_5149

Heming the train would have been an easy step, if I’ve cut the lining long enough. But no, I had to skrimp on the fabric, leaving me no other choise but to piece the train (using scraps) to the desired lengt.IMG_5457

Then I mesured/draped the train to get the right placement on the laces for the “poufines” in the bustle back.IMG_5451

When wearing the dress you simply tie the stings together to get the right lenght on the train. IMG_5454

When the bodice was finished I brought out the fabric I saved for the apron, and got to work draping it on the dressform.

IMG_5138 IMG_5136

I also decided the dress needed some more decoration. And finding this fringe trim the day before the bal caused me to re-visit the sewing machine, and using 8 m of it on the hem of the bodice, train and apron. IMG_5247(And since this was a last minute change, I haven’t got any picture of the trimmed dressed).

Even with the dress finished I’m not totaly happy with the neckline – the fabric is being pulled in some ugly directions at the neck, caused by some fiting trouble.IMG_5363But It is to late to do anything about it now, and the bal room will be faily dark…

So here it is, the finished dress/bodice.IMG_5412



IMG_5152Train un-draped


IMG_5156 IMG_5160

Train draped leaving the sides straight/down, and then with sides tied up.

IMG_5166Train totaly draped (walking lenght).



What: A 1880s trained evening bodice.

Pattern: Truly Victorian 462 (totaly re-modeled)

Fabric: 6 m golden polyester brocade, 4 m ivory cotton lining, 0,5 m ivory cotton twill for interlining.

Notions: Thread, buttonhole thread, 15 buttons (which I covered in fabric), 2 m string for piping, 3 m string for busteling/draping the train, 8 plastic cable ties for boning, 2 m self made cotton bias tape for boning chanels, 8 m brown fringe trim.

Time: 25 hours

Cost: About 800 Sek (120 Usd)

Things I would do Different: I would definitely have draped my own pattern, and taken the time to do multiple mock-ups to get the fit over the shoulders and neck just right. I will also have changed the lines of the side/back piece which curved shape now causes it to pull a bit. And re-placed the straight boning with spiral boning in the curved side/back seam, for the same puporse.

Final Thoughts: I love the dress. I think it is cool yet elegant and I did get lots of compliments on it at the bal. The unusal neckline makes it so interesting and viasualy pleasing.

I would love to wear it again – perhaps at a steampunk convention, paired with brown throusers and some cool accessories.

1880s Evening Gown – Pattern Trouble

I’ve been so busy finishing my opera gown, that there’s been no time to blog about the process – and really, I didn’t want to spoil it and show it of here (in the unlikely case someone at the bal, read this before the big night).

But now the night has past and I can tell you all about my trials and errors in the making of the gown.

As some of you might know I decided to make myself a gow similar to this one, to wear at the “Oskarsbal” late januay.39.384 000239.384_side_CP4

I almost jumped up and down finding the perfect pattern online and decided to buy it, instead of draping/drafting my own, thinking I would save some time and effort.

IMG_4854Truly Victorian 462 had the perfect neck opening, and the train extended from the bodice back piece without a seam. Exactly like my inspiration gown.

So I took my mesurments, and drafted the pattern from the pattern sheets, without any alterantion.

IMG_4851 IMG_4857

I cut and sewed a mock-up, and then I laced myself into the corset, doned the bustle and petticoat and tried it on.

IMG_4859And it was huge!

IMG_4861 IMG_4875

I mean look at that – so increadable large, not even the shoulders fitted, and that sleeve – I could get two arms down that sleeve.

IMG_4862 IMG_4866

What the heck went wrong?

I went back to the pattern, and quickly discovered that I’ve drafted the wrong size (no brainer), following the lines on the wrong side of the intended letter, thous drafting one size to big. And since I’ve wanted to stay true to the pattern, I didn’t think of controling the mesurments before cuting the mock-up (stupid).

But it seems to me there is way to much widht to acomodate only one size. I doubt there is about 30cm in differens between sizes. Ok, I don’t know, but somewhere it went wrong, and the only thing to do is to try to fix it.

Being in a bit of a rush, and not trusting the pattern anymore, I decided not to draft another pattern in the correct size, but to try to adjust the current mock-up to fitt.

I started by pining away 6cm in each side seam, and 4 at center back. I also pinned a 3 cm vertical tuck on the backpiece to acomodate my erect posture.


Then I put it back on. (I’ve been doing all this thinking and pinning still wearing my undergarments).

IMG_4909 IMG_4890


So much better. But still some thing needed to be altered. So I made the front 4cm smaler, took out a bit on the shoulders, and made the neck opening a bit bigger.

I then transfered the alterations to the pattern, moving the mesurments around a bit to get a good spread at the different seams. IMG_4929(Everything outside the lines are to be cut of)

Then I re-cut the mock-up and sewed it up again.


IMG_4937 IMG_4943

Now we talking.

And before I took it of I cut some of the neckline and put on my long opera glowes, just to get a feel for how it would look.IMG_4921

I even tryed to drape the bustle, but I guess it’s easier to do when you’r not wearing it…IMG_4913

All this fiddeling and messing around with the pattern set me back almost a whole day. So with now only 6 days left to the bal it was time to move on to the sewing.