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.

White additions

For the HSF nr 9: Black & white, I decided to make some pieces I’ve needed to make my next big costuming project work.

Since my plan is to make a compleatly hand made Robe Anglaise as the next challenge (due 1 june) I needed to give myself a head start. So by making a simple piece for this one, I could save some time and make it possible to start the Anglaise earlier.

The theme of this challenge fit perfectly for some of the pieces I needed for the “Art” gown to be finished.

First: The skirt.

A 18th century petticoat/skirt made from regular white cotton (I needed it to be both quick and cheap).

I used a regular white cotton fabric that I found in my stash.

Since I made almost the exact skirt for the previous challenge, I won’t bore you with construction detals, but instead go straight to the Finished photos. (If you’re still want to know how I made it, take a look at my Pastell UFO skirt.







IMG_8066Just The Facts:

Challenge: nr 9: Black & white.

What: A 18th century skirt/petticoat.

Pattern: None, just measured and cut.

Fabric: 2,5 m of white cotton sheets.

Notions: Thread and 2 m cotton ribbon for tying at the waist.

How Historical Accurate: So so. The time constraint caused me to sew it by machine (and Ialso do think it is stupid to handsew pieces which are clearly in the wrong material). But the shape and construction are plausable.

Time: 4 hours

Cost: 60 sek (9Usd)

First worn: Not yet. But hopefully at june 6 for a huge costuming event.

Final thoughts: I had some trouble deciding on the bottom flounce.The original calles for fringes, but there was no way I was going to get hold on some cheap and sutable ones in time. I did try to make my own, but they lacked the weight neccesary to hang nicely. In the end I opted for a narrow flounce, and I’m pretty happy with the result.


The second thing I needed was a bigger bumpad.

I’ve made a temporary one about a month ago, to wear with my Edwardian dress. However, I didn’t had the time to finish it, so last night I picked it up again.

IMG_8054Pink and purple cotton basted to several layers of quilt padding.

IMG_8055It was originaly ment to be a quilted petticoat, but as you can see, I didn’t get very far.

I covered the pad in white cotton, leftover from a previous project. Making self fabric bias-tape to trim the edges and make tying ribbons.

IMG_8079It was such a quick and easy project.





Just the facts:

Challenge: 9 – Black and white

What: A bumpad – 18th century to early 20th century.

Pattern: None

Fabric: 0,5 m of white cotton (originaly 0,5 m of quilting padding and some leftover fabric scraps).

Notions: Thread.

How historical accurate: Not at all. Maybe the shape will pass, but the construction, material and look is all wrong.

Time: 1 hour (perhaps 30 min more, if it hadn’t been half finished already).

Cost: Nothing since I only used leftover scraps.

First worn: Not yet. But hopefully at june 6 for a huge costuming event.


I had time to make one final item before the deadline – a fichu.

I wanted to make one large enough to wrap around the body and tie in the back, like you se in many paintings from the 1780s.

Using some adwise I got on the internet, I cut two large triangles and stiched them togeter to make one huge.IMG_8274

Then I shaped and rounded of the neck, to make it wrap better around the neck. I french seamed the center back, and hemmed the whole thing – everything by machine. IMG_8289

IMG_8291Close up: French seam and hem.






IMG_8276All my “White” items at once.

Just the facts:

Challenge: Nr 9 – Black and white.

What: A big fichu ca 1780.

Pattern: none.

Fabric: 70 cm of dotted white polyester organza.

Notions: Thread

Historial accuracy: I think the pattern shape will suffice, but the material and use of sewing machine is all wrong.

Time: Half an hour.

Cost: Perhaps 20 Skr (1 USD)

First worn: Not yet, but hopefully at a big costuming picknic next month.


I had originaly planed to make all tese items compleatly by hand. But as usual life happens, and time is never enough for everything you want to do – so this time the hand sewing had to go.

But I don’t really mind. I kind of think it’s a waist of time to hand sew istorical items made from polyester fabric.

And as you probably can guess – I hadn’t even started the “Big Project” yet.



A 18 century spring Photoshoot

This eastern me and my sister went outside in the beautiful weather to take some pictures of her new ensamble.

She is wearing a chemise, corset, 2 bum-pads, a fichu, a cap, the Pink jacket and the new Pastell UFO Skirt.

Do to some other circumstances we only had about 15 minutes to shoot, but manadged to get some great pictures non the les.















IMG_7766Model: Maria Petersson


A 18th Century Pastel UFO

Since I didn’t really had any historical UFOs worth finishing for the HSF challenge nr 8 – UFO (Un Finsihed Object), I decided to make a UFI (Un Finished Idea) instead.

And something I’ve been thinking about, but not had had the time to make, was a matching skirt to my sisters “new” Pink Caraco jacket.

So I brought out the newly re-dicovered light pistage coloured cotton, leftover from my Regency striped gown.2013-07-21 21.24.43I’ve had quite a lot of fabric left (and still do after this project) and it looked so nice together with the soft pink colour of the jacket. So there was really no discussion on what to make of it.

I started by cutting two lenghts of fabric (using the whole width), shaping the top a bit to fit over a bumpad. IMG_7701Then I sewed them together, leaving 20 cm at the top un-stitched, and cut and hemed it to the right lenght.

Then I used 6 withs of fabric, each 30cm broad, to make a ruffle.IMG_7705I sewed the together to a continious piece, and bede sure every piece was the same size.

I wanted to try something new on this ruffle, and drew round shapes on some cardboard to use as stencils when cutting/hemming the ruffle.IMG_7706Smal one for the top, and larger one for the bottom line.

IMG_7707Making a test piece, using some scrap fabric and a rick-rack scissors.

Once I’ve finished the stencils I started to cut the edges of the ruffle. IMG_7709It was a long and tedious work and I emedetly regretted the idea.

Then I stitched on a gathering thread, close to the smaler scalopes.IMG_7711

Gathered, pinned and sewed the ruffle to the skirt.IMG_7717

I placed the ruffle so to make the lower scaloped edge overlap the skirts hem by a few cm.IMG_7719

Then it was time for the wasitband.IMG_7704I cut two pieces each half the wasit measurment, and basted on some interlining.

Then I folded the pieces, putt some cotton cords between, and stiched them together at the ends.IMG_7716Two halves makes a whole wasitband.

I then measured and pinned the pleats in the skirt to mach the front and back waistband. IMG_7721I basted the pleats in place.

And pined on the wasitband.IMG_7720Then I folded the back of the band under and hand tacked it in place.

The finished skirt:IMG_7831









Just the Facts:

Challenge: nr 8 – UFO (Un Finished Object)

What: A 1750-1780s skirt.

Pattern: None, just measured and cut.

Fabric: 3 m of soft pistage coloured cotton, and scraps of white cotton for interlining.

Notions: Thread, 2 m of cotton cord.

How historical accurate: So so. I think the shape and colour is good. But it is compleatly machine made, and cotton was not really used for this kind of skirts untill a bit later.

Time: Much more then I care to admit. If not for the scaloping on the ruffle, 3 hours, but all and all about 6 hours.

Cost: About 60 Sek (9 Usd)

First worn: On easten for photos (pictures from the shoot will be in my next post).

Final thoughts: Both me and my sister like it a lot. It is pretty, soft and moves nicely when she moves. I will have to make it shorter though – about 10 cm, to make it more of a walking skirt then the evening lenght it curently have. But once that finished I’m sure it will look really lovely and summery.


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)

Celebrational 1900s Skirt

As the time ran away into the days between christmas and the new year, I needed to whip something up for the final HSF challenge this year, nr 26: Celebrate.

Between the christmas and a up-coming move there was really not much time, so I looked at a few of the others HSF participants prevous projects and decided to make a skirt maching the newly modeled 1900s shirtwaist.

It would be a fairly simple project and it would be celebrating my surviving of the entire HSF13.

I searched my stash for apropate fabric and found a burgundy cotton twill that I bought on sale a couple of years ago.


It is not the ideal fabric for this type of garmnent, but both time and money was lacking at the moment so it would have to do.

I drafted a pattern using some diagrams from Waughs “Cut of Womens Clothes”.


I cut and basted the skirt togheter. Then I tried it on and discoverewd the skirt was a bit on the short side, but since it meant to be a walking skirt it will do.

IMG_4546 IMG_4548

The sewed it togehter and made the tucks in the back and side fastening.

The finished skirt.

IMG_4687 IMG_4690



While dressing the form and thinking about the perfect way to style the skirt I realised the real celebration it symbilsed: The Suffragets struggel for womens rights.

The skirt togheter with the 1900s Shirtwaist and Suffragete brosh.

IMG_4556 IMG_4559


And then I dressed up and took a couple of shots in the mirror.IMG_4634

Adding the golden chain to symbolise both the acctual chain the suffragets used during their struggle, and the figuraly chains who even today keeps women from real ecuallity to men.IMG_4641

I’m in love with the symbolism and style of this picture.IMG_4654

Then I manadged to talk my boyfriend into taking some better photos of me in the outfit.IMG_4567








IMG_4618Lets break those chains!

Just the Facts:

Challenge: nr 26 – Celebrate.

What: A 1900s walking skirt.

Celebrate What: The womens rights movement.

Pattern: None, but I studied some pattern diagram from Whaugs “Cut of Womens Clothes”.

Fabric: 2,5 m of burgundy cotton twill

Notions: Thread, hook and eyes.

How Historical Accurate: So so, the shape and fabric of the skirt are acceptable, but the contruction are modern. So about 5/10

Time: 3 hours.

Cost: 100 Sek (11Usd) fabric from stash, but I did buy it one time.

First Worn: On photoshoot on new year.

Final Thougts: I loved wearing this outfit, and already plan on using it for a up-coming suffraget luncheon.

1750s Layering

Often when I talk to people who are not that familiar with historical costuming, I get askt about what I’m wearing underneath my dresses.

All you people who already do historic costuming know that it’s the undergarmnent that makes the outfit (and takes the longest time while dressing), and without the right support and stuffing you would get nowhere.

Most people know about corsets, but not that much more. So I tought it would be fun  to “strip the lady down” and reveal what hides beneath.

The undergarmnent changes with fashion and will be constructed and look differently depending on time period, wealth of the wearer, and personal taste. But the overal layering will remain somewhat the same through the 16th to early 20th century. Only changing in name, siluett and constuction.

This time I will do the 1750s noble woman.

IMG_1905We start fully dressed in: pet-en-l’aire (jacket), skirt, hairdo and accessoares. (She would also sometimes wear a neck-cloth and some lace-cuffs at the sleeves. And of course some kind of headwear.)

IMG_1909Then we remove the accessoares and the pinned on stomacher – reveling part of the corset underneath.

IMG_1912Then the jacket it-self is taken of.

IMG_1916And then the skirt, revealing the petticoat. You would wear as many petticoats as neccesary for warmt, and to hide the sometimes sharp shapes from the undergarmnents. Sometimes as many as 5 petticoats on top of each other.

IMG_1922Now we are down to the under garmnents:

The shift/chemise is being worn closest to the body, is made in an light, washable fabric and has the task of collecting the dirt and swet from the body.

Then there is the costet – made to shape the torso into the desired fashionable form, and to provide a solid form to drape the clothes on.

The pocket hoops or “pocher” are smal and cresent shaped and ties at the waist. They are what gives the skirt it distinct form. The hoops comes in many different shapes and sizes and often makes the hips 3 times the waist measurments.

The stockings are above knee lenght and secured with ribbon.

This is just one of the many ways to dress as a 18th century lady, but I hope it give you a better understanding of the amount of items needed in the costuming closet, exept for the pretty gown…

A Separate Skirt

Since I’ve been so bissy this last month I knew I was not going to make the deadline for the HSF challenge 16 – Seperates.

But now (a month late) the entry are finaly done and photographed.

I knew that this challenge needed to be something quite simple, since I was running so late. So I decided to make a skirt. The period and style was inspired by and meant to go with the ongoing challenge 17s garment (which I will tell you more about next time).

So my 16th entry is a 1750s handsewn skirt made to fit over smal pocket hops.


The fabric is a polyester satin in a golden/brown colour that will match several different dresses and social classes.


The construction are simply two lenghts of fabric sewn togheter and pleated at the waist.



The skirt ties to the waist by separate front and back pieces, to make it fit more bodysizes.



Just the facts:

Challenge 16: Separates

What: A 18th century skirt.

Year: 1740-1780.

Pattern: None, but studied the petticoat from “Patterns of Fashion 1”

Fabric: 3m golden/brown polyster satin

Notions: Thread and 2m cotton ribbon

How historical accurate: Pretty good (exept for the polyester content). Totaly hand sewn with period stitching and cutting methods. So mabye 70%.

Time: 5 hours.

Cost: 300 Sek (33USD)

First worn: On the photoshoot mid sep1


A few days later I found a beautiful flowery cotton fabric on sale at my fabric store, and bought the whole lot.

It was’nt untill I got home and putt it on the table next to my skirt fabric I realized that they looks like they are made to be togheter. Im already dreaming of several wounderful dresses to go with the skirt.


Floral anglaise of satin trouble – construction part 2

When I first realised I needed to cut away the beautiful part of the back, i refused to listen to that part of my brain. But after tedius atempts to fix the back of the bodice and to pleat and re-pleat the skirt in the right way, I grabbed the sissors.

Two cuts and it was done, and I was relieved to find that the pleating of the skirt went so much easier.

I pleated the skirt to the bodice and left two pocket slits at the sides when I sewed the skirt together. Once again things seemed to run on wheels, so I decided to cut out the petticoat after all. The sewing and pleating went so fast and easy that I finished it in no time.

Then it was time for another try-on.

I got help from my sister Elin to put the sleeves in the right position and to check the lenght of the skirt and petticoat.

2013-04-28 15.45.06

This time the back looked pretty good – I just needed to rise the waist a little more (I will have to live with the remaning wrinkles).

We decided that the skirt needed to be lengthen in the back – this meant I would have to piece the hem with stripes of fabric to get some extra length. And this was when the problem started again…

Of course I was out of fabric – all I had left was some small pieces for decoration and trimming.

2013-04-28 15.44.39

The only way to fix the 8 centimeters too short skirt was to take some fabric from the petticoat. I already had a 50 cm “patch” in the back, due to lack of fabric. So this time I had to cut away two 10 cm pieces on the horisontal of the skirt, and then re-pleat the petticoat to the waistband.

Then it was time to deal with the sleaves. To get the right 18th century look, and to save myself some trouble with getting the sleeve-cap in the sewing machine, I decided to handstitch the sleeves in place. When that was done all I needed to do was to put the shoulder piece over the sleeve-cap and hand stitch them down.

The only thing left to finish the dress was to put some trimming on it.

This proved more difficult and time consuming then I had anticipated. I cut stripes of the few pieces of fabric I had left and sewed them together in to one 4 m stripe. Then I had to hem the stripes both sides by hand (all 8 m), and then go on to pleat and baste it all down. Then at last I could attach the trim to the gown.

Well here it is – the finished dress. After all the trouble and setbacks I still really like this dress and feel pretty comfortable wearing it. I may even have to invent a reason to wear it.

2013-05-07 11.41.312013-05-07 11.42.01

2013-05-07 11.42.18