mary of teck

I have had a poor photocopy of this image for a very long time. I love this particular style so very much and unusually for me I forgot to source it. But this is a style I have just loved so much. The heavy lace, the pleated and double neckline. I keep looking for more photos of this sitting.

But I remembered it was a book that included royal wedding fashions. And this is the book that has a selection I haven’t seen since.

A hundred years of royal style

by McDowell, Colin
Publication date 1985
Topics Elizabeth II, Queen of Great Britain, 1926-QueensCostumeCostume
Publisher London : Muller, Blond & White
Collection printdisabledinlibraryinternetarchivebooksamericana
Digitizing sponsor Internet Archive
Contributor Internet Archive
Language EnglishBibliography: p. 186-188
Full catalog record MARCXML

Instruction book for the French and English systems of cutting, fitting and basting

Instruction book for the French and English systems of cutting, fitting and basting

by McCall, James. [from old catalog]
Publication date 1881
Topics Dressmaking. [from old catalog]
Publisher [New York
Collection library_of_congressamericana
Digitizing sponsor Sloan Foundation
Contributor The Library of Congress
Language English
Call number 7753846
Openlibrary_edition OL23634383M
Openlibrary_work OL13841925W
Page-progression lrPages 110
Possible copyright status The Library of Congress is unaware of any copyright restrictions for this
Full catalog record MARCXML

Oh this is great! Note that the above image shows one way of reducing wrinkles at the waist. There are others also inside the book.

image showing seams taken in at the back and extra added at the side hip.
Image showing wrinkles at the waist of the left, on the right a solution by opening all seams from hem to waist and taking fabric away at the back and front and adding to the side.

Hecklinger’s ladies’ garments

Hecklinger’s ladies’ garments

by Hecklinger, Charles. [from old catalog]
Publication date 1886
Topics Dressmaking. [from old catalog]
Publisher New York
Collection library_of_congressamericana
Digitizing sponsor Sloan Foundation
Contributor The Library of Congress
Language English
Full catalog record MARCXML

Rarely, for this time, this book looks like it is indeed published within a year of cerating! The illustrations look like they are straight from the 1885 Butterick catalogue so this book is one I’d highly recommend along with articles from magazines of the same year.

It also has a lot of illustrations showing details such as facings, how to make all kinds of trimmings and what the pleated/kilted underskirts actually look like underneath the drapery.

lillie langtry and worth- part 2

Some time ago I bought a copy of People and Pearls which included a very large two page photo of Lillie reclining on a settee and I thought oh yes that dress.. nope. It’s not the same dress as appears in in Victorian and Edwardian Fashion A Photographic Survey as I thought but is a later dress but also by Lafayette.

This gown is of the same type as the infamous ironwork dress by the House of Worth. Here though the velvet is in an open and stylised “palmette” (as opposed to another velvet used in house which was a densely filled palmette style.)

These gowns often have the pattern mirrored around diagonal seams from waist to side seam and often the front is likewise mirrored and cut on the diagonal.

The bodice appears to fasten up the front and the front overlaps to her right side (our left) and closes under her arm.

The skirt appears to close at the CF line with an inverted pleat below knee level.

An extreme close up reveals that the bodice shaping is carefully created by centering one of the motiffes at front waist and the fabric carefully cut away from the top of the motiffe allowing the design to be the means of shaping over the bust. 

scan from People and Pearls.

By this stage many of Lillie’s bodices seem to be of a very similar shape, very conical and quite flat. This shape seems to also repeat in House of Worth bodices of the same sort of date range.

The pearl swags are repeated under her arm to the back of the bodice.

This gown was worn by Lillie as Mrs. Trevelyan in The Degenerates. Her gowns are described as: 

Mrs. Langtry in flesh-colored satin with sapphires, Mrs, Langtry in pale-blue satin with diamonds in dazzling array, Mrs, Langtry in white v/ith pearls,…


There are hand coloured photos of Lillie and one from this set has been tinted blue.

This fabric is also to be found in an extant House of Worth gown at the Metropolitan Museum of art:,+House+of$House+of+Worth&pg=7&rpp=20&pos=133

Tassinari & Chatel supplied Worth with many velvets in different colourways and it is likely this is a different colourway as there are some differences in how the pattern is handled in each example.

lillie langtry and worth- part 1

As per my prior post about Sarah Bernhardt I could not but help but have Lillie well represented in the research materials I collected on historic dress.

As a model and as an actress she appeared in paintings by Millais and in photographs.

One of my favourite ensembles she wore just recently came back to attention in House of Worth 1858-1952.,_1882.jpg

Pattern plates

They are done! The scanner is unplugged so the caster can use the plug so I’ll start scanning as soon as I am ready.

I just went for my daily walk so am stretching while I decide on the order these will be printed.

Six skirt patterns, four bodices, several sleeves from a simple block. Only haven’t managed to work in my Anna Meyer block which is sleeve with no shoulder strap. But I can get that.

magaret audley in high resolution

While a lovely friend was working out her costume inspiration, I went looking for decent resolution of images and woah! This did not come up in my google search, and it should, but rather another portrait with a link to the other works by the artist.

Maraget Audley, Hans Eworth

I think most historic costumers know this one already, this though is delicious in being able to see stitches. It’s actrually inspiring me to get back to Elizabethan as I could transfer that design almost exactly.

However I already have the Worth skirt I have had to set aside for hand health- not aside aside. Working out a safe way to store it between stitching. Also it is ivory silk satin. I have a dendency to get so far and then get something on projects made of pale silk. And my skin snags it, so basically still working out a Me safe storage and working space.

But it is inspiring, If not as a direct copy at least to enjoy my own tasks. I find that by imagining working with the materials above that I can imagine the embrodery as a privilege to work- being able to handle the fabric and threads.

So I just need to apply that inspiration to what I already have. For I have some lovely, lovely fabric and threads to work with as well.


In fact even with my mix of threads for my pink Cleves dress I enjoyed sewing the gown at the event. I may have to undo some (the bodice is a smidge too big- very stretchy fabric- and my sleeves should really go in the other way around.


rock the frock-Alexandra Fedorovna COurt gown

While looking for WIP photos I’m also finding inspiration photos and now I am really inspired by a few pearled garments.

Finding the original source of this is proving very difficult (the photo owner is in there but where she posted it is not) but there is a great interactive exhibit! Huge photos definitely worth the effort of being stuck in the site and no static pages.

Right click to translate to English (or your own) click Catalogue> Women’s Suit> Court Costume then the dress is after the royal blue velvet. I’ve grabbed info for my favourites after sharing info about this gown 🙂

Dress by the court ceremonial of the Empress Alexandra Fedorovna
Russia, St. Petersburg. The end of XIX – beginning of XX century.
Workshop O. N. Bulbenkova

∙ Court costume of the XVIII – early XX century
∙ Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, wife of Nicholas II

artificial pearls, silk threads.
Leaf: back length 39.0;
skirt: the length is 103.0;
Train:length 300,0
On the strap of the corsage printed with gold Workshop mark: Mrs. OLGA DRESS
S.-Petersburg Sink No. 8
Post. in 1941 from the GME; earlier: in the dressing room of the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna in the Winter Palace of
Inv. № ЭРТ-13146 а-в

Silver eye, silver thread, silk, beat,  sequins, wire, fluff, lace; embroidery Leaf:
back length 33.0; skirt: the length of 169.0;
Train:length 340,0
On the strap of the corsage printed with gold Workshop mark: Mrs. OLGA DRESS

Dress of the court ceremonial Grand Duchess Maria Feodorovna
Russia (?). 1860s

∙ Court costume of the XVIII – early XX century
∙ Empress Maria Feodorovna, the wife of Alexander III

Silk, tulle, metallic thread, artificial flowers
Leaf: back length 32.0; skirt: length 140,0;

length 320,0
Post. in 1941 from the GME
Inv. № ERT-8612 а-в


Dress the court ceremonial mourning dowager Empress Maria Fedorovna
Russia, St. Petersburg. 1894
Workshop of A. Ivanova

∙ Court costume of the XVIII – early XX century
∙ Empress Maria Feodorovna, the wife of Alexander III

Silk crepe with embossed texture, satin, lace, silk ribbons.
Leaf: back length 37.0; skirt: the length of 180,0; loop: length 440,0

At the corsage printed with gold workshop brand: FASHION AND DRESSES / AT T. IVANOVOY / S. PETERBURGH
Post. in 1941 from the GME; earlier: in the Anichkov Palace
inv. № ERT-9429 а-в

Dress the court ceremonial
Russia, St. Petersburg. The end of XIX – beginning of XX century.
Workshop of Ivanovs

Velvet, satin, metal thread, beat, gimp, silver plates; embroidery

Leaf: back length 34,0; skirt: the length is 150,0; loop:length 330.0
On the tape of the corsage printed with gold the workshop brand: on the sides – an image of two exhibition medals, a shield of arms
and an inscription – Supplier / courtyard of His
Imperial Majesty Ivanovs / Fashion
and dresses. Saint-Petersburg / Fontanka
at Chernyshova Bridge # 68-7, sq. M. 16. Phone K-2234
Post. in 1941 from the GME
Inv. № ЭРТ-13132 а-в



but yes, photo sorting because there is quite a backlog of photos to sort and lots more to try and locate.

Extant Gowns I adore


Mantua, V&A Museum, London

  • Place of origin:  Spitalfields (textile, weaving) England (mantua, sewing)
  • Date: ca. 1720 (weaving)  1720-1730 (sewing)
  • Artist/Maker: Unknown
  • Materials and Techniques: Silk, silk thread, silver-gilt thread; hand-woven brocading, hand-sewn.
  • Museum number: T.88 to C-1978
  • Gallery location: In Storage
  • Interactive full views

I am not sure if the petticoat and front are original, if they are it’s a lovely example of a non matching set.  There are a handful of these early mantua that are extant. The very delicate colour choices of pale blue and silver would have made this stand out in candlelight.

finally printing Mcdowell!

I have foam core board to make a test run of the McDowll cutting system 🙂 So I may be able to get a third tool printed off tonight too 🙂

Oky, since posting that I actually have. My firt prints were twice the size, then 1/4.. now I think I have it. It looks right. I have them in light card and paper for cardstock so I’ll cut the card tonight and see if it looks right!

This system is mentioned in Cutting a Fashionable Fit and there have been a few examples up for sale:

OMG!!!!! $US80?!?!?! That’s less than my ink. So and an ebay search…..