Regency Pelisse

12 Jun Pelisse


Made November 2013 to wear to the DFW Costumer’s Guild Georgian Picnic.




Past Patterns: Lewis & Clark Empire Gown

11 Jun

I have made this pattern three times and it’s wonderful. It’s easy to fit due to the drawstring front and I love the small triangle back.

The first one is a green reproduction print on a quilting weight cotton. It’s perhaps a bit heavy, but it wears well. I was unsure how the back was supposed to be sewn and did it slightly different but it turned out okay.


The second one is made out of a shirting fabric and I gathered the back of the skirt instead of pleating because I didn’t want it to be obvious if I got off with the stripes. :) The net lace is a vintage find from etsy that works beautifully as a tucker.


The last one is made from a silk cotton from Mood. Unfortunately, I only got one wear out of it as it shrunk horribly even though I washed it on cold. *sigh*


Throwback Post: Ren Faire

10 Jun

My first foray into costuming dates back to 2007, when a friend and I decided to attend a Renaissance Faire. I had some semblance of a (now out of print) pattern, a basic sewing knowledge (albeit a bit rusty), but no dress form. I did manage to order a renaissance corset of sorts, so that was a plus. I remember the bodice being a complete flop, so I resorted to making sort of a “cover” for the corset by tracing the lines and adding straps of grosgrain ribbon. While not the most historically accurate costume, I at least used linen!


Three years later in 2010, another friend and I visited a different Renaissance Faire and I dug out my costume and remade the top part into something a bit better with some upholstery fabric.

IMG_4861 IMG_4864

In 2012, I took my sisters to yet another Renaissance Faire and added an overskirt in an attempt to dress it up a bit. Again, upholstery fabric FTW! (At least it’s washable…)


Here’s hoping I get to redeem my self in the future with this time period!

10 Jun

I’ve got a number of posts lined up featuring costumes that were made pre-blog. They are hastily thrown together, so please excuse any typos! The project that is currently on my sewing table is my most ambitious yet. Remember the Empress Josephine post? Yeah… that’s happening!

Throwback post: Gaston

9 Jun garretgaston


LINK: Gaston Reference

Back in June of 2013, my brother needed a Disney costume for a Disney themed piano performance so I volunteered to make one. I used a lot of fabric that I either had on hand or could acquire cheaply, since I knew this would only be worn once. I also cheated a bit by attaching the waistcoat to the jacket instead of making them separately and closing the gaiters with velcro. I’m most proud of the breeches, since they are the most accurate. It’s definitely a mix of historically accurate with the not-so-accurate-but-passable-from-a-distance. My only regret is that I couldn’t get him to wear a wig.

Patterns used:

Teal Regency Dotted Swiss

8 Jun IMG_8972



I’m not sure how, but this is the first regency dress I’ve blogged even though I’ve made about five so far. I think I need to find photos of the others and make a “catch-up Regency” mass post. Anyway…

This is essentially my wearable mock-up of the ball gown I am making for a Regency ball coming up. I used the Laughing Moon 126 and aside from narrowing the upper back piece slightly and gathering the skirt instead of pleating, this is without any major changes.


  • Pattern: Laughing Moon 126
  • Fabric: Dotted Swiss from Hancock Fabrics
  • Chemisette: from etsy (because I’m lazy/pressed for time)
  • Cap: from etsy (also for the above reason)
  • Straw bonnet: It wasn’t etsy because it’s not in my history and it’s been too long so I can’t remember. :(

The things I would do differently:

  • Narrow the sleeves slightly. I don’t have skinny arms and they are still a bit too loose on me.
  • Add 2″ to the bottom of the bodice tapering from the sides to the front. I just need more length from the “waist” to make it over the girls. I’ll also be adding another 1″ to the front of the bib if I don’t plan on wearing a chemisette for coverage.
  • Add more width to the sides of the front skirt piece from the hips down. Because the skirt is basically flat aside from the massive amount of pleats/gathers in the back, I thought the skirt pulled a bit at my hips. Tapering the skirt out should help with that.
  • Lengthen the ties. I’d rather have them longer so they can be tied around the front under the bib than hang down the back, but that’s a personal preference. I’d also make them narrower.

Things to keep in mind:

  • I got away with doing gathers instead of the pleats because my dotted swiss is quite thin. If my fabric were any thicker, I wouldn’t have gotten all the gathers to fit.
  • The skirt is a perfect length for me and I’m 5’8″ so if you are shorter plan accordingly.


Here’s one more at the event I wore this to, a concert at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, that shows the cap.


1880s Striped Bustle Dress

11 May IMG_8674



This is my favorite costume I’ve made so far! It wasn’t without challenges, but overall I’m really happy how it turned out. The bodice and skirt are Truly Victorian “1884 French Vest Bodice” (TV463) and “1889 Draped Skirt” (TV290). I have just enough fabric to add a ruffle to the bottom of a petticoat/underskirt (made in plain ivory) so I may do that for next time and bustle up the  existing skirt into an overskirt. I think the draped skirt needs a bit more structure in the back to “kick out” the back a bit in order for it to work as a skirt on it’s own.

The bodice itself required quite a bit of fitting adjustments to work on me. I always have an issue with TV patterns and shoulder width. It seems that the patterns are drafted to fit linebacker shoulders and I always have to chop off 3″ from each shoulder in order to get it even close to where my shoulder crease is. I do appreciate that TV has instructions for using different sizes for the back pieces vs the front, but it doesn’t solve all my issues with a small back/narrow shoulders/large bust combo. Following the instructions, I chose a back size and then the “adjusted front” size which put me using the largest size in the front, but when I tried on my mock-up, the front was nowhere near closing across my bustline. The back fit pretty well, but I ended up adding width to the side pieces. I considered doing a FBA, but decided to try an easy fix to see if it would work and it did! The other fitting issue is with the pesky “armpit crease” that happens when trying to fit a large bust without a side dart. With the mockup on, I pinched a dart as if I were going to make one into the armhole and marked it. I then “swung” it to the bottom of the bodice and redistributed it to the vest seam as well as two darts (the pattern only has one). This resulted in the best fitting bodice I have ever made (so exciting!). One other thing that helped was using the the neckline and shoulder seams on the back bodice size and not the front.

The next hurdle was the sleeves. I have a bad habit of not doing sleeve mockups. One day I will learn… I did cut out a sleeve and fit it to my arm, but I did it without sewing it into the bodice mockup. The result was a sleeve that fit but was inordinately poofy. Poofy 1890s sleeves is not a look I was going for in my 1880s dress, so I cut down the sleeve head drastically and still had to use gathers to get it to fit into the armhole. I think I may have cut down the sleeve head slightly too much, but that’s something I can fix next time as well as moving the front armhole in slightly. Overall, this was quite a success and not bad for a 3-day sewing spree complete with torrential rain and tornado warnings.


Top Row: Shows how I rotated the pinched out armhole dart into the body of the bodice.           Bottom Row: The fitting after the dart rotation. Added two darts plus removed some of the width in the vest seam. Last photo shows final bodice piece under the pattern in photo 3.

Things I would change for next time:

  • Shorten the upper back pieces to try and eliminate the horizontal wrinkles out. Boning would probably help with that as well. I ran out of time to do that for this one.
  • Rework the sleeve head
  • cut front of armhole another inch larger
  • trim the underlining fabric to stitch line to reduce bulk at hem and placket.

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