Showing posts from 2017

1841 Dress Inspiration | The Marie-Louise Gown

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?

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

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

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

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…

When You Loose Inspiration

I've been in a bit a of a sewing rut lately. The last few months I haven't been all that active with my sewing for a variety of reasons. My summer was pretty crazy with my internship and I was doing so much sewing there that I really didn't have the time, energy, or motivation to be working on my own projects and so I stepped back for a bit.

I thought once the internship was over I would get back into my own sewing, but I really needed a break, so I didn't force myself. The last two months I also spent a bit of time out of town, and I think we all know that that always takes time away from our precious hobbies.

This weekend I spent a couple hours sewing for the first time in a really long time. And it felt so good to get back to it.

I think with everything we do, creative or not so creative, it's good to take breaks, even if they aren't intentional. Taking a break allows it to germinate, for lack of a better term, in your mind and refresh the activity. It's…

Costume Spotlight | Rey in The Last Jedi

It's time for another Costume Spotlight, and with The Last Jedi just around the corner I thought I would talk about Rey's newest costume.

I first saw leaked photo's of this costume in the summer, and let me tell you, I was not happy. Everyone was sharing the pictures and fangirling over it, but I didn't share they're love. But before I get into my own opinions, let's get into some details.

The costume, designed by Michael Kaplan, is very similar in design to her costume from The Force Awakens (2015), which he also worked on as Costume Designer. The [new] costume has long gray pants, tall boots, a tabbard wrap, tunic, and the same arm wraps from before. The belt is very similar to the one she wore in TFA as well, however it's a bit larger in width and, like the rest of the costume pieces, is slightly darker in color.

The costume combines elements from her original costume in TFA, as well as adding in some more classic Jedi elements such as the the tunic, whi…

Fashion Evolution in the Early 20th Century

Fashion has changed a lot over the last several century's, but the changes of the early 20th century was such a huge shift compared to previous fashion trends. Skirts got more narrow than ever before and shorter styles started becoming normal.

But what exactly caused this drastic change of fashion? Women in particular were affected by the new fashions. Showing so much as your ankle's was considered immodest for the majority of the 19th century (with exception of the 1820's-40's where skirts were relatively shorter, stopping right at the ankle), yet soon, skirts began to rise.

Let's start with what fashion looked like at the end of the 19th century, specifically the 1890's. Starting with the undergarments.

Clothing starts with the undergarments, which help to create the right silhouette (shape) of the garments worn on top. Women's undergarments during this time usually consisted of a chemise, drawers, or combinations which is a single piece with both the dra…

The Effect of War | Fashion During WWII

Fashion went through a drastic change during WWII. Not only were styles affected by the war, but both men and women had to shop carefully and chose items to last through all seasons. Even with the limited resources and frugal spending, fashion didn't go out the window. It was still just as important, if not more so, than ever before.

Materials for clothing was limited, which lead to fabric being rationed. Nylon and wool was needed by the military and were rationed, as well as Japanese silk being banned in the US after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Clothing was rationed throughout the war and continued to be until 1949. It was important to mend and make do with what you had during this time. Wearing shabby and worn out clothing became more and more common as the war progressed and throughout the entirety of the rationing.

The rationing of fabrics lead to skirts becoming shorter and clothing becoming more simple than before. In the 1930's skirts were still down to the ankle and mi…

Introducing the Silver Thread Co. on Etsy

Yesterday I opened an Etsy shop, the Silver Thread Co. I started making myself little zipper pouches earlier this year and had the idea of making them to sell. I really enjoy making them and I hope other's will like them and get as much use out of their bags as I do out of mine.

Silver Thread Co.

My shop will mainly be focused on zipper pouches, but if I have costume pieces or old sewing patterns that I'm trying to sell, that's where they'll go.

Women in Aviation History

When I was researching clothing for my 1930's women's aviation (or Aviatrix) outfit earlier this year I started coming across information on women in the early days of aviation. Being the avid researcher I am, I continued reading as part of my costume research.
When I wear my Aviatrix outfit a lot of people ask me if (or just assume) I'm portraying Amelia Earhart,which some uninformed people then go on to refer to as the first female pilot, which she was not. Below is some of my research of some of the (actual) first female pilots to ever take to the skies.
Women first took the the air in 1784 when Elisabeth Thible became the first woman to fly in a hot air balloon. Almost 125 years later Therese Peltier circle the Military Square in Turin in an aircraft, becoming the first woman to fly solo in a heavier-than-air craft and the name Aviatrix, the contemporary term given to women who flew aircraft, was born.
In 1917, after the U.S. entered into WWI, Aviatrix Ruth Law fought f…

1940's Swing Dress Photo's and Details

After my post about Vintage Aircraft Weekend I wanted to dedicate a specific post to the dress I made and wore to the dinner dance. As I mentioned in my previous post, I used Simplicity Pattern 1587 to make my 1940's swing dress.

After reading some reviews online I opted to only use the pattern for the top half of the dress since the reviews I read (and the pictures proved) that the skirt looked really frumpy and more 90's than 40's, so I made a few modifications.

Changes I made from the pattern:
I used my own 6 gore skirt pattern in place of the skirt that was included with the pattern.I cut the sides of the bodice front and back 3 sizes smaller to fit better and to remove the gathers at the waist.Instead of doing a keyhole opening with an interfacing in the back, I put in an invisible zipper in the back. I also decided to make a matching belt, which was a quick and easy addition and really completed the look.
The fabric I used is a Rayon-Challis blend from It&…