Tag Archives: victorian sheer

sheer dress progress

The skirt and part of the drapery has been draped! I went back to my trusty Harper’s Bazar and Patterns of Fashion as a reminder. I know I have a few pages dedicated to cutting skirts of this era, but there are times it is handy to have an extant example and an idealised example to work from 🙂

But ultimately my 19thC skirts: Pattern diagrams || cutting guide for skirts pages summarise what was going on.

So that is a nice start, but I wound up wanting pleats on all those panels so di the top and tailing thing s per my pages above, and as per the guides at the start of Patterns of Fashion.

Seriously easy and fast.

So that was a nice start heading back to this era 🙂 Note the net is double layered so not as sheer as it will be.

I even managed to test the trim.

Then came the part that I just declared loving- weird drapery. So, fashion plates definitely do… idealise… things. Think of it as early shooping. In fact it’s so prevalent, like photoshopping, that the few plates that look realistic often look out of place. One of the plates I keep looking at is of aesthetic dress and it includes wrinkles, actual wrinkles!

Anyway. No photos of the marking out or net I cut without thinking, whoops- but it will be use to make the points of the drapery.

But I did have a brilliant idea of turning the fabric sideways and pleating a section before putting it on the stand, angled slightly to a dip about 1m from an end.

Yes, pink shoes yellow tunic.

So asymmetric draping that started as symmetric! Those pleats on the RHS were the sticking point. The plate does a very good job of making them look like they are perfectly vertical, even offsetting them a little as you’d expect from tension that the ties and front would apply, but of course this just does not work with what the text says which is to imply the LHS is the immediate result of the RHS meeting the front. So I use  my basic principle of “good design lies”*

So the selvages are horizontal on the RHS and perpendicular to each other on the LHS. I have a few darts at the front too. This still needs tidying, but the darts and pleats will need to be tacked in place before taking off the stand to preserve their shape. (There is dress making advice out there of the time that basically says all modern dress was pretty much draped and that was the only way to get the look for a lot of them. Time to raid the virtual archives!)

I had to just treat both pointed extensions as separate pieces. In part because it’s summer and humid and I had already listened to the entirety of Les Miserables (Complete Symphonic) and was running out of patience.

But it will work. So the next step will be to sew the skirt panels together. A whole separate post about that! WP is not cooperating between my host and my desktop- I’m on copper and my files are not insanely large but they have to go one at a time and even then it’s iffy. So posting is more difficult than it has been in quite a while.

But I am trying to make the habit of posting properly once a day.

*AKA if there is a belt or a scarf there is a seam it is hiding. Or The Lord of the Rings Effect- Eowyn and Galadriel’s gowns were fitted this way. It’s a really good method for the 1920s gear I’m making too.

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birthday celebrations!

Finally decided to just join in the picnic fun at Howick Historical Village on Jan 15 instead for booking for a dessert buffet (that would be fun but this should offer a nice range of things to do:)

So this is the timeframe to make the sheer frock as I am not wearing The Mina in the middle of summer!

So as it’s a public event I’m basically inviting anyone who can get there on that date 🙂


Opening Hours

  • Open Daily
  • 10:00 am – last admission 4:00 pm
  • The village is closed: Christmas Day, Boxing Day,  New Year’s Day, Good Friday, and ANZAC day.

Admission Charges

  • Children     $8 (5 years and over)
  • Students     $12 (tertiary)
  • Adults         $16
  • Seniors       $12 (65 years and over)
  • Family        $40 (2 adults + 2 children)
  • Group         $11 per Adult (10 Adults or more)
  • Under 5′s   Free
  • Members    Yearly Fee
  • Group Specials      Price of Special
  • Schools       Price of School Visit Package

Location & Getting Here

Bells Road, Lloyd Elsmore Park
Pakuranga, Auckland
PO Box 38-105
Howick, 2145
New Zealand

By Car from Auckland City: Travel on the Southern Motorway (towards Hamilton), take Exit 437 (South Eastern Highway) following signs to Pakuranga. Turn left onto Ti Rakau Drive, then right on to Pakuranga Road. After traveling 2.4km, turn right into Cascades Road, and then left onto Lady Marie Dr.

By Car from South: Exit the motorway at Manukau. Follow the road signs to Botany via Te Irirangi Dr, then continue along Botany Rd, veering left at the first roundabout onto Aviemore Dr, and left again at the second roundabout onto Cascades Rd. Lady Marie Dr is on the right, just past a pedestrian crossing.

By Bus: Howick and Eastern Bus Company buses depart from Britomart in downtown Auckland city. For more information and bus timetables, click here or phone 09 273 3660. Make sure the driver knows you get off at Lloyd Elsmore Park in Pakuranga, not in the modern Howick Village!

By Ferry: Fullers Ferries run a regular service from Downtown Auckland to Half Moon Bay, which is a five to ten minute taxi ride from the Historical Village. For more information and ferry timetables, click here.

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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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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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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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first victorian sketch in ages


by admin, December 10, 2014

This will be cotton net and heavy guipure lace sewn in stripes. It will be a polonaise in the natural form style- so very long and quite tightly pulled back rather than up and back as you see in the two bustle styles.
There will be a cotton sateen fitted princess slip underneath. And the sheer matching train will be sewn to the hem of the striped portion- the number of horizontal lace stripes will depend on how much i have of the lace.
The net will have the lace sewn on in slightly flared lines then the fabric will be fitted with darts and seams.

(addit, March 13 2017, now I’m torn! I wanted to base my frock on the 1876 Harper’s Bazar print but these vertical lines, just with the lace no ribbon would work so well!)

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