Ironing Paper Patterns

Iron tissue patterns

Yes, it may sound kinda strange to be ironing patterns… but you really can do it! Although, I only do this on tissue patterns – not the heavy bond paper patterns that are so common amongst independent pattern publishers. But for the Big 4 companies (Simplicity, Butterick, McCall’s and Vogue) and others who publish tissue-printed [...]

Progress on the *Orange* 1838 Persimmon Puff Dress

Fabrics & dress

Ok, so orange was probably the last color I would have expected to sew with. Well… at least make an entire dress out of. But then I came across THIS DRESS over at the Met Museum’s website. O.M.G. I was (and still am) in love!!! So of course I have to reproduce it….

Tips for Working with Fabric Grainlines

Grainlines sm

  We all want our garments to look marvelous. A lot of how they turn out is based on how we cut out the pieces. Their layout needs to work as a team with the weave of the fabric. Cutting patterns on the straight of grain is crucial for the garment to hang correctly on [...]

How Long Do Reproduction Undergarments Last?

Corset Comparison New 2

  While fitting my latest mockup (an 1838 single dart bodice with back closing), I realized I was choosing to wear my rather old corset made in 2002. This isn’t a bad thing as I love this particular corset – it gives a great shape and is fitted relatively well. My beloved cream cotton brocade [...]

Deconstruction: 1820 Copper Evening Gown

1820 Copper Evening Dress Powerhouse Mus

  One of my favorite things to do in historical costuming is to break down an existing garment, fashion plate, or painting and figure out how to make it. It’s like candy to me – must have! So when April D. on our popular Facebook page asked me to do a deconstruction of this gown, [...]

Pintucks – the Old Fashioned Way

Finished pintuck sets

  Pintucks! So gloriously tiny! So delicate! So straight & even… or not. Pintucks have a charm about them. They call to us because they signify something regal or heavenly. They appear aloof and untouchable. The beauty they add to Victorian petticoats and Edwardian chemises elevate such tantalizing garments. So as dressmakers from another time, [...]

Everybody Has Different Goals

Do your own thing hang 10

Maybe you’ve been there – a new costumer at your first dress-up event. You are so enthusiastic you didn’t even sleep much last night. (Either because you were too excited or you were finishing your costume… just like the rest of us.) But then you experience the horrible occurrence of someone telling you – to your [...]

1844 Striped Summer Dress

1844 Striped Dress Jen sm

Many years ago (like, back in 2007 – why does that sound so long ago?!) I decided to make a 1840s dress for Costume College. The class track was The Crinoline Era so I needed a dress to go over my corded petticoat. In stripes of course! I found a fashion plate to copy, pulled [...]

1876 Trained & Ruffled Petticoat

2nd Petti side

Back in 2008 when I was making one of those every-other-year masterpiece costumes, I was insane and had to make all the undergarment layers too. From that detailed project list came the need for a trained petticoat to 1) support the trained silhouette, and 2) keep the underside of my skirt relatively clean (you know [...]

Linings & Underlinings – Do You Really Need Both?

1906 Bodice w-lining Collage

I frequently get questions from our many readers about patterns that call for both an underlining/interlining fabric as well as a full lining fabric for a bodice and even skirts. They range from “So that makes three layers, right?” to “How in the world do I add all those layers of fabric?” and “Won’t all [...]