1883 Summer Rose Tea Dress

1883 Rose Polonaise front2

Do you remember your first true historical costume? Did you like it? My first Victorian gown was made specifically for the first Costume College year I attended (in 2000) for the Sunday Fantasy Tea that year. Since I had been making my own clothes from the time I was in junior high (mid-1980s) I knew [...]

Vodka and Sewing: Mixology Basics

Vodka & Sewing

Did someone say vodka?? I will let you in on a little secret. But it isn’t what you think. I’m not here to tell you how to mix the perfect cocktail when your latest project goes awry. I won’t recommend drowning your sorrows at any time, unless perhaps it’s with chocolate, wine or tea rather [...]

Flatlining 19th Century Skirts

Skirt with underlining & hem facing

  The importance of flatlining skirts cannot be understated. Although, there is a time and place for using underlinings or a lining or both. Or even leaving off linings altogether and simply relying on hem facings and petticoats to keep the silhouette in place. To follow up my post on how to flatline bodices, let’s [...]

The Autumn Dress Fabrics, The Delineator, October 1902

1902 Oct Delineator 488

  THE AUTUMN DRESS FABRICS WITH ILLUSTRATIONS IN ACTUAL SIZE, OF NEW DESIGNS IN FANCY VELVETS, AND VELVET CORD This 2-page article was featured on pages 546 & 547 of the October 1902, The Delineator magazine. Just think! Our great grandmothers were pouring over these fabric & color hints to get the latest news of [...]

Naming Your Costumes

1830s Paisley Amy Calcote Naming Costumes

So here’s a fun topic: do you name your costumes? I was asked about this recently (again) about why I name my costumes and particularly, HOW I go about selecting a name. I’ll admit I didn’t do this for years – you know, ’cause “1883 tea dress” worked just fine at the time. For those [...]

A Piping Tutorial – The Basics for 19th Century Costumes

Spencer Collar

  OMG – piping! Some costumers cringe even just thinking about piping, others squeal with delight. Or some are simply: “What’s the big deal about piping?” What’s the big deal?!? Well… everything! Piping is THE historical definition of design lines AND the support of seams that receive so much wear & tear. (Remember, our ancestors [...]