8 Historical Sewing Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making

8 Sewing Mistakes You Don't Know

As we worry about how that seam or hem will come out, we also fret over whether we’re doing it right or not. I say, don’t worry about “doing it right.” Sew your project how you see fit. Use a new technique you’ve read up on. Practice – again- that same step you’re always trying [...]

Books obtained at Costume College 2014

CoCo 14 books

Every year in my Costume College budget planning I give myself some spending money for books. Because… BOOKS! Some years are rather dry of good resources to pick up; others – too many to narrow down the purchase. This year I managed to find four that needed to come home with me: one that’s been [...]

1873 Licorice Princess Dress

At ICSocial -Tonya C

What is it about black dresses?? Apparently they are very well liked by the general population as I received more compliments on my new evening gown than expected. (Thank you!) And this happens to be, essentially, my first black costume aside from my 1862 cotton mourning dress. So… is it the black, or is it [...]

Van Dyke Points for a 1830s Dress

Points around sleeve bicep

  “Please tell us how you made those little points!” – This was the general request when I posted the above photo on the Facebook page showing my dressmaking progress on the 1838 Persimmon Puff dress. Now, I have been calling them “teeth” but after some research and useful suggestions from my followers they are [...]

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, [...]