1850-1860s Blouse/Waist – Inspiration

This summer I will attend at least one (may be as many as three) mid 19th century events, and I’ve been molding over what to wear.

I do have two dresses (green 1840s & pasiley 1850s) from this time period since before, but non which take in to account the (presumed) heat of a nice summer day.

Then I found the perfect solution: A nice cool Garbardi blouse!
(that’s what I thought before the great Isabella of “Isabellas project diary” pointed out my mistake in this great clarifying blog post)

So now I just call it a mid century blouse (or waist)

Here are a few examples I found:



Garibaldi BlouseRed blouse.


c2a4f8f1feac545ff90ec8c57e45e46cI adore this whole outfit.





ad9bf71657ea925d834c20c22246671eSerious rushing.


162b0a514d40881970d320045db7968aSubtle plaid

f7721379bd23f61c82dcfbe6065e9aceLove the color and pattern on this one.


The start of a War – Downton Mary’s Striped dress – studie

About the same time the challenges for the HSM15 was announced, I was sitting at home in my soffa, stitching and re-watching (for the third or forth time) “Downton Abby”.

I’ve always loved the striped gown Lady Mary wears in the very last scene of the first season.
Realizing how perfect it would be for the April challenge “War & Peace”, and that the perfect fabric already lay waiting in my stash.

So last a few weeks ago I started collecting images of the lady and her fabulous dress (and accessorize).downton460_1755730c



images (1)What’s pretty obvious straight away are the change in hat and necklace, between the two times she wears the dress in the show. I love the “over the top” wide brimmed, flower-covered straw hat in this photo.

 My searches also led me to some fashion plates from the time, which I’m pretty sure would have been the inspiration for the dress from the costume designer.images (2)

images (3)Sorry for he small size.

I also found lots of people recreating this dress (It seem pretty popular – wounder why…)37e33d1bdc006046b9238d4844fd79cdLady Mary as a doll

1-DSC_0135And a modern interpretation. Love this so much!

Of course there’s also lots of costumers who re-created this dress, but if I post them I will feel the pressure of there beautiful creations so much more…

But this is the picture I decided to try to copie.0x600I’ve bought both the crocheted glows and the super long necklace.
The hat looks a bit intimidating, but I’ve collected the hat base, the flowers and the netting, and don’t think it will be that hard to get the right look.

The dress on displayd10283050e04121086e4765e2635ba73Here you can see the slim width of the skirt and the fact it’s gored all the way down.

downton_abbey_mary_dress_season_oneOn closer look we can see the proper way to close the dress – wit a placket hidden under the contrasting ribbon and front side dart/seam. This means the dress will be closed both with buttons (at enter front bodice) and with hooks and bars at the center side skirt (in a kind of lightning shape).

You can also clearly see that the dress is actually pale lilac & white in the stripes, and a darker lilac on the belt.

I was indecisive of what to do with the bodice back – would it be a center back seam? Darts? Something else?
Until I found this picture…17a9fa6259cc877505541e81efa36bc0Not from the back, but you can clearly see the stripes running on the bias. Of course! The back will be designed with the stripes meeting in a V at center back, running up to the shoulder and continue into the sleeves. So pretty and so simple.

I hopes Lady Grantham approves. images


Inspiring notions

While rumoring through the shelves of the sewing notion store, I had so many ideas of fabulous outfits running through my head.
It was a real challenge to hold back and separate what I needed (aka. wanted) and what I really needed.

Here are a few of the things I ‘m hoping to create using my latest findings:

The 1,5 m of black lace should be enough to make either a lace cap or a pair of lace cuffs for my planed morning ensemble.
IMG_5389Digital Capture

Lots and lots of pearl (faux) buttons, which of some will be used on my Aprils HSM item – The Lady Mary striped dress.

The withe pleated polyester ribbon is perfect for both the collar of a regency chemisett and a since 18-19 century cap.

10 m or so of this black pleated trim will decorate a 1885s “natural form” dress (someday…)

I will need lots of small metal buttons for my next medieval cotehardie.

And the bigger ones will do nicely on a militariy inspired spencer.
IMG_5398 empire2

I will need lots of lace to make my planed 16th century (and 17th century) outfits this year.
I mean: cuffs, collars, really big collars, chemises, dresses, glows e.ct. all need it in abundance.

Not the most thrilling item, but for a corded petticoat you need Lots of cord.
(On second thought I may just need to revisit the store once more before it closes to get some more).

There are no end to the things you can decorate with velvet trim.
But for now I plan to use it later in the year for the “Brown” challenge

I love the fun you can have decorating pieces with pompom ribbons. I’m thinking regency Pelisse or Spencer for the green one, and 1850s bolero and skirt for the blue.

And lastly, 12m of golden lace will be perfect for my planes on exploring the 17th century this year.

What would you make if you found the perfect trim?

Ice skating – inspiration

As you might have guess, my main reason for making the fur hat was not to prance it around in my appartment – But to go ice skating in it.

The 19th century group comes togeter every january for some historical ice-skating in the capital, and I had made planes on going.
I didn’t had time to make a whole new outfit, but some accessories to spruce up an old costume was just the right amount of work for the in between christmas nights.

IMG_7628This lovely lady is hanging above my sewing machine, so of course she was my main inspiration for a winter skating look.

But here are som other great ice skating pics.

(c) Government Art Collection; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation


32720eabb50477b032c8f171bd58b908I love this – so beautiful.





images (3)

Outdoor ice skating in the 19th century.



19th-Century Print of Skaters in Central Park

Fur on My Mind

If you’r following me on facebook and have been paying attention, you might have noticed my resent obsession with fur. I’ve posted several pics of lovely fur trimmed garments, to get you all feel warm and coosy.

And I might as well admit there is a reason for my obsession (besides the facts it is freakish cold outside).
And I will tell you (later).
But for now I will just leave you with some more lovely fur trimmed goodies.

images (1)

Les Modes (Paris) 1910 robe d'apres-midi par la Maison Agnes




Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia, c1861-c1865.


BR 6421 crpd - Kopi

Les Modes (Paris) November 1927 Robe d'apres-midi pa

index (4)

18th century Panniers – Inspiration

This month on the HSM fare focusing on underwear and foundations. So I thought I make a pair of 18th century panniers.

panniers1Pocket hoops are good and all, but there are something extra special about panniers.

be96bd7dda4a5b56201a177db0937182Regular pocket hoops



They comes in lots of different sizes and styles, and they all look fabulous.








HS(F)M 2015

The Dreamstress have decided to host yet another year of wonderful historical sewing challenges.
Only this year we will all (and most off all me) slow the paste down a bit and do the “Historical Sew Monthly“.

After some consideration I’ve decided to participate even this year – Oh, how am I kidding there was never any doubt…
But this year I will put up some ground rules for me to follow.

*Use stash first – I may need to buy notions and fabric such as buttons, cord or lining but I will use fabrics from my ever growing stash as much as possible.

* Don’t sweet it – If I can’t finish in time for a deadline, there’s no pressure, I will just post whenever I finish. – This also means I will not rush to complete thing in a slopy manner, but instead take my time and make everything as good as I can.

*Take time of from sewing – If the choice is between hanging out with friends/hubby/family or sewing, I will choose people every time.

Let’s present the challenges and what I intend to do with them for 2015.

January – Foundations:
Make something that is the foundation of a period outfit.

18thCpannierI’m going for 18th century here and doing some panniers – probably a smaller version of the ones in the picture.

February – Blue:
Make an item that features blue, in any shade from azure to zaffre.

7f449c24f267568720b72a36903b2682I’ve started a 1790s Redingote in a light blue wool for the HSF 14 challenge 22: Menswear, but left it after some hard design decisions. This is the perfect excuse to finish it.

March – Stashbusting:
Make something using only fabric, patterns, trims & notions that you already have in stash.

c06c34a182a07515aa4b3c486a835003I’m not completely sure about this one, but I’m thinking of making a Spencer  from a beige wool I’ve got laying around. There are really to less fabric for anything else, and I do need some  more outerwear, but I might as well go in another direction with this one.

April – War & Peace:
The extremes of conflict and long periods of peacetime both influence what people wear.  Make something that shows the effects of war, or of extended peace.

sisI’m thinking of making the famous striped 1914s dress that Mary wears in Downton Abbey the day they get the news of the coming war.
I got some leftover striped white/green cotton that would be great for this project.

May – Practicality:
Fancy party frocks are all very well, but everyone,even princesses, sometimes needs a practical garment that you can DO things in.  Create the jeans-and-T-Shirt-get-the-house-clean-and-garden-sorted outfit of your chosen period.

5880ee0d1aa5d43db828e03caa587e55I’ve long been thinking about making a everyday regency dress from some green cotton sheets I’ve got, and this seems like a perfect opportunity

June – Out of Your Comfort Zone:
Create a garment from a time period you haven’t done before, or that uses a new skill or technique that you’ve never tried before.

borchA few fellow seamstresses here in Sweden are all getting their 17th century dresses finished this year, so why not join in. I love to make a boned bodice and skirt for this challenge.

July – Accessorize:
The final touch of the right accessory creates the perfect period look.  Bring an outfit together by creating an accessory to go with your historical wardrobe.

bba904c5a7aa1a5222e9b051ebcf7186This challenge could be a lots of things. I’ve considered headwear, aprons, jewelry and shoes, but I think what I most need (and want) are some 1800-1860s chemisetts.

August – Heirlooms & Heritage:
Re-create a garment one of your ancestors wore or would have worn, or use an heirloom sewing supply to create a new heirloom to pass down to the next generations.

dalsland4This one is hard for me, since I don’t know anything about my ancestors, and there are none of my older relatives left to ask.
But considering most of the Swedish population heirs from farmers, I suppose that’s as good guess as any.
I will need some more research to determent what to make for this one.

September – Brown:
It’s not the most exciting colour by modern standards, but brown has been one of the most common, and popular, colours throughout history. Make something brown.

gray1I got some brown wool/polyester blend that would look great as a late 19th century walking dress. Perhaps something along the lines of the suit Satin/Nicole Kidman wears in “Moulin Rouge”.

October – Sewing Secrets:
Hide something in your sewing, whether it is an almost invisible mend, a secret pocket, a false fastening or front, or a concealed message (such as a political or moral allegiance).

Digital CaptureYet another one I’m not sure about. But I know I want to make a 18th century mourning dress this year, and this may be the chance to do so. And the secret?
You will just have to wait and see.

November – Silver Screen:
Be inspired by period fashions as shown onscreen (film or TV), and recreate your favourite historical costume as a historically accurate period piece.

movies_20_memorable_movie_queens_4I’ve wanted to make this dress (worn by Cate Blanchett in “Elizabeth”) since I first saw it, I already got the fabric, the pattern and the period undergarments for it – so now is the time (If I can brace myself for so long).

December – Re-Do:
It’s the last challenge of the year, so let’s keep things simple by re-doing any of the previous 11 challenges.


I have honestly no idea on what to make for this challenge.
But since it is a whole year left until then, I’m sure I will figure something out.
After all, I got a pretty impressive list on “Want to make” this year…
(More on that in my next post)