Category Archives: projects: late historic

post- 1700 costumes. Historic, historic inspired or recreations from historical productions.

new princesse petticoat

Now to cut the self lining and do final finishing. I’ll need to tape the neckline but that’s fine, and the centre back needs some gores added so hopefully I can squeeze that out. Or I could just say hany it and use my calico.

But this cotton is so cool to touch.. I admit I’d much rather have sateen on the surface but I don’t have anything like enough.

Why yes, that is an extremely plunging back. Decided the Tissot figure was way too much fun especially after spotting the lace detail on an inner layer. I can sneak some flesh toned net behind some fine lace to make a nice sturdy back support.

Also that bra on the mannequin is riding high, and is incidentally holding up about a D cup. I am an a. This is to counter the effect of squishing through the waist to underbust, creates a defined bust and generally gets overly squished in modern attempts at Victorian corsetry and patterning.

Oh, I did it too. Still get tempted to keep pinching excess fabric from there but no! Even with very supported busts that downward pressure from the bust helps hold the garment in place and helps the underbust act like an anchor.

Like the waist. It’s an anchor not just because it sits on top of a wider part of the body but also under.

Okay, tea heated, photos updated. Back to it! Then to try and just sew rather than do any more cutting.

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princess line petticoat

Okay, note the tv type and the lack of carpeting, I drafted this back in ’06 ish for my princess line sheer gown. So clearly I was determined that it would indeed be princess line!


I would however like to make a very extended train and a full balayeuse to make the hem swish.

I just needed to refresh where seams are most likely to appear, and I am pretty right here. Darts at the front but they may need to be longer, and seams at the back. I may or may not break out Patterns of Fashion again.

I will give my black and white gown one last press to see if I can bring it back to wearability before I turn the ruffles into a balayeuse as they have heavy lace already in the edge.

So obsessed by this plate. The lace I’ll be using is indeed the same, but I removed the colour with RIT colour remover. (Kiwis beware- a lot of the DYEGON pots you see in Dylong store displays is bad. I don’t know why they suddenly appeared but they are solid which means the active ingredient is no longer active.)

So once I repattern the petticoat I’ll recolour the plate again and doodle on it to show what it should look like made from lace and net 🙂

I’ll be altering the bodice proportions a little to male the lace and net cut out effect at neckline and arms more obvious 🙂

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I got carried away..

I still have the 1880-s to go. The original site is prone to falling over, so this has taken many hours today! but I do like that there is a very clear change while retaining useful elements.

I’ve kept the large preview images in my site with links to them on the site. I was going to link to the scaleable images but they can be even more unstable than the images/pages.

Also, now that I’ve found the original files I’d love to give credit to the person who has already lined created files with lines in different colours. I’d like to link from here as I have links to the instruction pages here.

|| DER BAZAR-1857-1898 ||

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sheer fluffy gowns

I have been on a pinterest-go-round but also while doing so found others who had liked some really old auctions and museum pages I had way back when, so I’m going to do a post about the inspiration for my next historic project 🙂

I was trying very hard to find the perfect gown, or even the perfect gown examples but there are so many. Perhaps I’ll have enough lace and net to make them all. That would be amazing.

One of my very first pricey book purchases way back when was The Paris Collection,

See the doll in the middle? Sigh. I love this jacket over flounced skirt combination. I need to update my historic pages section but this basic style definitely influenced my black and white day dress.

This is early 1870s, but this jacket and flounced skirt combo is seen in both art and extant items.

Afternoon dress, Metropolitan museum
Date:ca. 1871
Credit Line:Gift of Lee Simonson, 1938
Accession Number:C.I.38.23.247a–d

I would like to make my cotton net really pop, so I am looking to use some blue sheer sateen and around 26m (29 yards-ish) of wide rayon lace. It’s about 2 1/2″ wide which really pushes the balance of potential stripes into closer to the mid-late 1870s.

My sincerest apologies. This is from an auction, my files attribute them to Saturday, ‎14 ‎February ‎2009, ‏‎12:35:48 PM, so that may be the date of the auction. The naming practice is familiar but I just can’t remember and my old bookmarks seem to have not made their way to my new browsers.

However this is a perfect example of tone on tone with different textures that was a very big deal of the 1870s. It also includes the use of horizontal lines on the sleeves and gown I adore.

I do however keep coming back to an auction from ebay that was just so beautiful. At the time I had much difficulty in terms of being able to purchase from US ebay that it never even crossed my mind to contemplate putting in a bid! However this gown I believe would work with my heavier net and heavier lace.


I saved these in 2006, so this gown has been just there in the back of my mind for a decade! I have never found the perfect lace, but I do hope to be able to do justice to this regardless.

Of note is the mix of vertical lines in the bodice and sleeves, and the horizontal elements to the skirt.

Evening dress (Metropolitan Museum)
Date:ca. 1872
Credit Line:Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Amelia Beard Hollenback, 1966
Accession Number:2009.300.3290

Dress (Metropolitan Museum)
Credit Line:Gift of Richard Martin, 1993
Accession Number:1993.35.2a–c

Again, lace is used to create linear interest. The satin appears to have originally been pink.

This era did however also have some Medieval/Renaissance revival going on and it even affected sheer gowns with sleeves.

Dress (V&A museum)
Place of origin: Great Britain (made)
Date: ca. 1868 (made)
Artist/Maker: Unknown
Materials and Techniques: Linen lawn, trimmed with silk-satin ribbon overlaid with bobbin lace
Credit Line: Given by Miss Ada B. Cooper
Museum number: T.13-1943
Gallery location: In Storage

Note the blue beneath the lace! This feature is in the doll dress and so I am very keen to use this element in my own. I had intended to use my sheer sateen as a princess line petticoat but am seriously thinking that it would be very effective as a base for the lace.
This means I do need to think carefully about the foundation garments but I think Tissot possibly has a solution that would look as striking on this project as it does in his artwork.


Three paintings of the same gown. Two of Kathleen Newton (both on WikiCommons) and a genre portrait at the Tate. This is the same kind of jacket as seen at the top of this post.

A similar arrangement can be seen on this princess line gown. Both dresses have solid white sleeveless foundation garments. These appear to be full length petticoats and they sit very low indeed in the back. I am not sure I can achieve such a low back, though there does appear to be a of illusion going on- there is a lacy detail that could be a corset cover on the right.

And then, thinking of stripes and princess lines I can’t help but want to then make a sheer version of at least two fashion plates from Harper’s Bazar!

1875 (23 October) and 1876 (19 August)

I can just see both of these translating to sheer gowns so easily. And it may be the nudge needed to finally actually make the reference gown for Mina as well as Mina 🙂

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Upstage gown draping

Well also my Magic Flame inspired bodice 🙂

This is my Magic Flame inspired gown, I may actually have enough to make both gowns, but hey.

I’ve been using 1920s appropriate fabrics (silk charmeuse lining, silk velvet shell) and techniques (which are just weird, really weird. I have an entire post dedicated in my mind about the weirdness!

It’s kind of even weirder than bias as it’s not bias and it’s not based on a system.. it’s just.. weird.


So this was a nightmare, but I have the shell mounted to the lining and a lovely cotton tulle border 🙂

Next up I decided to use my pink crepe intended for draping to actually drape 🙂

The skirt front is an inverted V which helps with shaping (as per my last blog post) but it’s not the most flattering of options so I have decided to use the top most line of the feather details to hide a hip level seam.

So this means the entire front is cut in one and all shaping is achieved through the points at the side of the bodice. I am also using the photos of the back of the gown as a guide- I prefer how they appear to sit further around the side of the ribs.

I started by pinning the fabric to the CF line. This is the anchor for all the stretch and all the shaping. The second anchor is the hip, I’m not entirely sure if I’ll manage to keep the hip seam nice and horizontal and on the grain but that is the aim.

I then pinched a dart from the side hip to the side of the bust point. This is based on Draping a Magic Dance Frock, and Art in Dress. In Art in Dress there are a few bodices where shaping is achieved with darts or slashing at the side waist.

Detour for obligatory helping photo.

I then started to push the excess fabric at the side waist up to smooth the fit over the lower front. ANd then cut the fabric close to where I wanted the upper arrow shape to sit.

There is a bit of guess work in draping and I know I will have to try this again, my cut is slightly misaligned.

A lot of shaping relies on the seam allowances to be cut to allow the fabric to ease into and around curves. However once you cut the fabric it of course spreads and can spread further than you expect. This is especially true when using the natural stretch of woven fabrics.

Even pinning from one direction will pull the fabric off line.

Just a little further smoothing and easing.

By this stage I decided I really should have put in the straps that appear at the back of the gown as these are very not stretchy and need to be more accurately tested.

After a bit of adjusting I was happy with the shape and curve and used the excess fabric at the shoulder to drape the shoulder arrow.

So yes, my side arrows are slightly uneven. But tidying that will be in my next test pattern. It will be fluoro-green charmeuse.

And finally I tested my half circle skirt to see where I could arrange skirt flare. I think I’ll actually cut the back on a slight diagonal as there will be a seam there anyway.


The shaping is quite pronounced!


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the slinky dress- 1920s

Right now I am working on two velvet gowns inspired directly from two that were used for film of the late 1920s, these are very representative of a style worn through the 1920s.

I have endeavoured to credit the design or wardrobe team where possible.

Vilma Banky in The magic Flame (1927, uncredited designer), and Norma Shearer in Upstage (1926, Kathleen Kay*, Maude Marsh and André-ani).

Both of these gowns are from the height of the flapper era, and yet both are designed to cling to the body from shoulder to hips. And they are not alone!


Nita Naldi, Cobra (1925, Adrian), Anna May Wong, Nita Naldi Cobra, (1925, Adrian)

These gowns are clearly designed to make a stark visual impact and yet the materials are soft and flow around the body.


These gowns have defined body shaping. It is achieved using inserts and cutouts to take in or spread out  V shaped elements- using decorative elements to achieve a closer fit, and was used a lot in the 1920s to shape clothing.

From experience it is a style that is best draped on the stand. French bias* is used through the 1920s which affects stretch in seams and this style makes most use of barely diagonally cut fabric.

It can be seen on long clinging gowns, short gowns, and even what I am calling a demi skirt- a flared rather than gathered skirt that ends below the knees and before the ankles.

A hip seam (straight or also v shaped) is of benefit in anchoring the bodice to the torso especially for skirts that are gathered or flared.

*french bias is barely off the grain and is usually used on the CF line. True bias is cut at 45 degrees to the grain. A lot of shaping of this time is not true bias, but uses the same extra ease offered from french bias


Dorothy Sebastian & Anita Page, Our Dancing Daughters (1928, David Cox), Colleen Moore, Clara Bow


Norma Shearer, The Last of Mrs Cheyney (1929, Adrian), Joan Crawford, Our Dancing Daughters (1928, David Cox).

And the fit was even used for Robes de Style!


Arlette Marchal, Clara Bow, Jacqueline Gadsen

Anita Page, Our Modern Maidens (1929, Adrian)


In this case the fit is from the hips up to underbust at the side and then the excess from the bust is eased into the scooped neckline.

Paul Poiret evening gown, 1920s, Christies auctions.

This gown makes use of the seaming needed to create the geometric patterns to also fit to the body. This use of decorative seams to hide functional seams can also be seen in Patterns of Fashion, a blue silk crepe dress from 1925 has teardrop shaped panels that are used to take in or spread the ground fabric.

1921 evening dress, Les modes, “where there’s smoke” by Patterson.



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updates to be


While researching the Robe de Style I kept coming across gowns that were fitted to the body and accentuated curves. This is surprising to many followers of fashion however it really shouldn’t be 🙂

Then as now there was a lot of media covering fashion, many styles that had short lives, many that had long lives. What is remembered tend to be what is most shocking or memorable to later generations.

I’ve lost the date for a number of photos so to make anything I share here pertinent I am going through several antique dressmaking books.

I always feared the 1920s, but the drive then was not for shapeless, there is a lot of knitwear that makes you just wonder what might have been… it’s no coincidence the bias cut developed in this era to flourish the start of the next decade.

The roots of the slinky bias cut were well in place.


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by admin, December 24, 2014

To go with my fluffy net dress I am finally going to be able to make a wig to replicate this hairstyle somewhat. As it is a solid sculpt there is some liberty taken with the actual ability of hair to stay up like that…. But I am going to try and ventilate some lace and make a part as well as hair line to at least disguise my own lack of hair.



And of course this style is most modernly accessible as the seen in Portrait of a Lady:


So my wig will be smoother like PoaL and potentially made with four or fine strand plaits because they look so cool and are pretty easy 🙂 Over, over, under. Over, over under. Or; over, under, over, over. Over, over, under, over.

Haven’t yet figured out a six strand but hey.

Oh the wig will also be dark purple 🙂 I was going to use a natural colour but meh, I have natural coloured wigs anyway 🙂

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changed my mind about the tulle!


by admin, December 14, 2014

I have been very remiss and forgot about my earliest introductions to costume history and remembered there is indeed a fashion plate I have wanted to recrete for years but never really settled on a fabric nor trim. So.



Urk, blurry phone pic is blurry. That looks like the lens has been steamed… And that is why it is only a thumbnail

Anyway. It’s inspired more than me. It was the image that Eiko used to inspire the Mina gown. At one stage I was going to use my Mina silk to make the plate as it was but with the dark blue rayon lace braid dyed black:



But I decided it really wasn’t working. However when I removed the dye from the lace suddenly I was thinking of sheer vertical gowns andwas basing all my ideas on the amount of sheer voile I had. But oh hoho! I now have an obscene amount of cotton net to make the floofiest fluffy sheer version of this gown possible!
And to support it I’ll finally make that white princess dress I have been meaning to make for a very very very long time!



And this super sleek style might have been very theatrical, this style can be used as a straight up dress.


I was going to try and do this when the trim was still dark but I an really tempted to used some pale pink all over daisy patterned cotton lace to do something with my voile. It will wind up looking a bit like Whistler’s Symphony in pink and white:

And I’m okay with that 🙂

Except I really also have loved Toulmouche’s work for so long…


Rose Caron on the left, A Girl and Roses on the right.


Okay so this tuned in to a quirasses and princess dress love fest….


Anyway, so these are most of my all time favourite images from this period.


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by admin, December 9, 2014


Raimundo de Madrazo Y Garre

Marquise d’ Hervey Saint-Denys

1888 4′ 4 3/4” x 2′ 8 3/4”(134 x 83 cm)Bequest of Mrs.d’Adelsward-Pourtales,1934



Especially the net beads on the bodice.

Anyway, this is the inspiration for my own interpretation of the Diana masquerade costume.


I just never di get the name of the sitter or artist so now I can at least reverse image search 🙂


Took this piccie in 2006, took hunting my my LJ archive to try and find her 🙂

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