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1841 Dress Inspiration | The Marie-Louise Gown

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Since making my first 1840's dress over a year ago, I have been dying to make another. I'm naturally more drawn to the simpler, "every day" wear, if you will, and I'm stepping outside my comfort zone by working on something more elegant.

I came across this beautiful portrait of Queen Marie-Louise of Belgium from 1841, and I fell in love. Not only does it capture the very essence of 1840's fashion with just a hint of the 1830's in the hair, it's also red and I recently got it into my head that I want to make a red dress (for no reason in particular).

Today I'm sharing my inspiration and the beginning of my research for the gown.



The painting itself was painted by Franz Xaver Winterhalter in 1841. Winterhalter was a well known artist of the 19th century, and painted portraits for royalty all over the world. Perhaps his most famous portrait is of Empress Sisi of Austria.

It looks to me as if the dress is made of velvet, however I've decided to ma…

When can you call yourself a Costume Designer?

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It's the age old question of when do you go from "someone who likes to sew and make costumes" to "Costume Designer" (or Historical Costumer, or Costumer - whatever it is you are or aspire to be)?

You've been sewing for years and have a closet filled with costumes, everything from 1770's dresses and petticoats to leather jackets and a collection of boots that would make any Star Wars fan jealous. You spend your time sewing, reading about sewing, watching YouTube video's about sewing, and applying that knowledge to your costumes. You've worked on several projects, but you still hesitate to call yourself a Costume Designer.

I know this feeling because I used to have it, and, to be honest I still feel this way sometimes.

This year I took the leap online from calling myself an aspiring Costume Designer to straight up Costume Designer, and to tell the truth it was kind of scary.  Suddenly I was calling myself a Costume Designer even though I had never…

Costume Spotlight | 1898 Jacques Doucet Ballgown

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This week's Costume Spotlight is an original 1898 ballgown by Jacques Doucet. Doucet was a French fashion designer in the 19th century and early 20th century. His designs were known for making elegant gowns using translucent fabrics and pastel colors.
This particular dress is from 1898-1902 and is made of silk, metal, and linen. The cut of the dress is typical of the era, with a narrow waist, small bustle, and flared skirt with a slight train in the back.


From the Met Museum, "the material used is of the finest quality, extremely delicate and dramatically embroidered. The cut of the bodice is quite seductive, enhancing the silhouette." 

What do you think?Rate between 1-10 in the comments and let me know your thoughts.

"Portrait of a Lady" 1870's Costume | Halloween 2017

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As promised in my last post, here are the photo's of my Halloween costume this year.
Yesterday I attended a Halloween gathering with my family and friends and debuted my costume. I usually tell everyone what I'm dressing up as, but this year I wanted to keep it a secret and for the first time I actually succeeded. Ha!

For lack of a better name, I'm calling this outfit "Portrait of a Lady". I'm not sure if I'm unintentionally plagiarizing something famous, or if I actually came up with an original title, but that's what kept coming to mind when I was wearing it and it seemed like an appropriate title.







Photo's courtesy of my sister, Sereina.

I love this concept for a costume because it can be used to turn any historical costume into a perfect Halloween costume. :D

Skirt - this is the skirt from my 1871 dress I made last year, but with the train bustled.
Blouse - cotton shirtwaist drafted by myself with a pattern from Period Costume for the Stage and …

Halloween Costume's for Historical Costumers

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With Halloween only a few days away, it's time to pull out the costumes. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays because it's an excuse to dress up, and eat way too much candy (but don't tell anyone I said that).

Each year I usually try to make a special costume for Halloween, but this year I didn't have the time to start on anything early enough and I wasn't sure what I really wanted to do. I started thinking up costume idea's that would fit with some of my historical clothing that I hadn't worn yet or very often, because I love wearing period clothing and will come up with any excuse to wear it.



I came up with a few idea's that aren't too specific and can work with a variety of period clothing, which I thought I'd share in case someone out there needs some inspiration.


18th century:
Marie Antoinette, 1770's-90'sEliza Schuyler (Historical or not), 1770's-1810'sClair Fraser (Outlander), 1740'sElizabeth Swan (Pirates of the Ca…