oh no!

I still believe one of my beaded skirt obsessions was from a tiny book on costume, probably wedding dresses and is almost certainly gone (the library probably has removed the book from even stack.)

But I think I may also have totally forgotten that one of my favourite costumes from film has a very heavily pearled tablier!




In fact this so closely matches my image in my head that perhaps I was thinking of it all along!

Though the company that created the gown is very well known for using historic sources so there may also be some influence of the same sources!

wedding gown musings

Sierra Boggess shared this image yesterday and can you see what has made me so excited? The fabric is thin. Well fairly thin- the flash and angle allows us to see her skin across the arm while the fabric looks more opaque closer to the armscye (where the fabric turns and follows the curve of her shoulder.) The sleeves are either unlined or lined with something very fine while the bodice is flat lined in a solid white.

I tend to double line my bodices and either not line or line my sleeves in a very thin material too.

Also if you follow the lines of the fabric on her sleeve you can see how very shallow the sleeve head is. This is both era appropriate and theatre appropriate as it means you can get your arms over your head. Notice the small wrinkles between shoulder and armscye? Yep. Modern patterns try to eliminate that by using a very tall sleeve head and that is what gives us limited arm range.

The effort to make a garment look good on the stand makes for a garment that is far less practical.

Anyway, just my thought process when I look at new/different images of the same garment 🙂 It’s all about the fit.


Oh and there is probably a bit of ease in the top of the sleeve head, I use three rows of stitches to do this rather than two as it does makes the fine gathers almost invisible.

Happy birthday to @andrewlloydwebber!!!!! So grateful you are on this planet!!!

A post shared by Sierra Boggess (@officialsierraboggess) on


era: c1840

material: cotton with padded front

found: 2004

I am fabiliar with padding being used in some later gowns- mainly areound the front of the armscye to help reduce wrinkles, but this is quite different. Also effective! This era is post romantic stays with the long rigid busk that pushed the bust upwards, and the start of the opening busk and slightly lowered bust that came with it. This padding helps maintain raised bust, or creates one.

Other construction notes are to follow the pattern direction- the waist is on the grain, only diverting in the front point. this helps stabilise the waist.

While this is a cotton bodice, the lightness of the construction can be seen across most garments from this era and beyond. all the support of skirt shapes and body line is created in undergarments.

rock the frock-1840s

era: 1840s

material: cotton mull or muslin

found: ebay 2005


This kind of sheer dress is on my “most looked for” list when I hunt out, and this is just so perfect an example but with such clever sleeve details so as to make this one likely to be moved into the “must make” folder 🙂 I have a gown I could make over into this 🙂 time to get that dress back into my site pages too.

rock the frock- 1870s

era: 1870s

material: silk

found: ebay 2004


Okay, this is just very cool and beautiful. The skirt is lined in a matching glazed cotton and the back has a closing that will avoid any gaping appearing- possibly needed due to the very short center back peplum.

The sleeve shape is very full at the upper part which suggests this is possibly very late 1860s or very early 1870s.

rock the frock- 1880s

era: 1880s

material: wool

found: ebay 2004


Oh my. How beaituful The skirt has a plain front with very sharp pressed pleats in the back that each show off the woven design beautiful.

The hanging tabs can be seen in garments from at least the 1860s but this half skirt made from them replaces a traditional apron type of drapery.

rock the frock -1870s

era: 1870s

material: silk taffeta

found: Contentment Farm Antiques, 2004



Gown with two bodices, day bodice and dinner bodice. Two toned, close tablier, ruching, it all fits with the very end of the 1870s.

So glad that there is a watermark on these images!


They have some very nice archives. I recognise a few of the other garments in here! I’ll probably get to them as I go through year by year in my own archives 🙂

rock the frock- 1880s

era: late 1880s

material: silk satin and silk faille, embroidered.

found: ebay.com 2004

This is such a statement in restraint! my favourite gowns from this era all have what is termed a plain tablier, or a skirt that is not festooned in other fabric elements. It may be a width of silk, it might be embroidered, it may be beaded.

I have a few that I am desperate to use for my own inspiration, including one I have only in memory.

It was a very small book with a card cover, square shaped rather than portrait. And one of the images was of a woman in a skirt with a tablier covered in small beads. However I simply can’t remmber many more details. I think I may have come across a scan of the same portrait. But I will try and do a separate post dedicated to the “plain” tablier!

rock the frock- 1880s ottoman

era: late 1880s

material: silk, ottoman, lace

found: ebay, 2003




Many wedding dresses were day dresses as they were held during the day. This gown makes great use of texture to play with light. The warmth of the colour also helps make the gown glow.