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Edwardian Blouse & Skirt

10 Jul


Back on May 11th, a group of us from the costumer’s guild rode a vintage train from Grapevine to the Stockyards in Fort Worth for the Frontier Fort Days. As cool as that event is, we really just used it as an excuse to dress up. I decided to make up a blouse, skirt, and belt using the 1905 Circular Skirt, 1903 Plain Blousewaist, and Edwardian Dip-Waist Belt from Truly Victorian. As I was pressed for time, I didn’t do a muslin for the patterns (tsk tsk), so I was very thankful that it all worked out in the end. As usual, I used a smaller pattern piece for the back of the blouse and took off quite a bit of the shoulder width. The good thing about this style is that it’s way more forgiving than a fitted bodice, which is why I chose it. Also, I had to make do with my ill-fitting victorian corset by just lacing it a bit looser around the top. ( I have GOT to get over my corset-making phobia)




Skirt Fabric: Italian Tropical Wool in Coral Pink from NY Fashion Center

Blouse Fabric: White Stripe Eyelet Lace from Hart’s Fabric

Belt: Heavy cotton from my stash

Due to the last-minute nature of this project, I didn’t get buttons and buttonholes sewn on the back of the blouse so I used snap tape (which is a fabulous invention!). I’d like to go back and do those at some point, but I’m not convinced that I could do them up myself when I get dressed.

I found that the heel of my boots caught on the hem of my skirt quite badly, pulling out the 3″ hem I had painstakenly handsewn. *sigh* So I think next time I need to make an honest to goodness hem guard. Meanwhile, I need to go back and try to smooth over all those broken threads in my nice wool…



Much thanks to Jen Thompson of Festive Attyre for taking photos!

Girl’s Dirndl

8 Jul

Several months ago, my youngest sister was in a concert at church where she was required to wear a costume representing a country. I talked her into wearing a dirndl as an excuse to make one but I let her choose the color.

Jenna's Dirndl

Dirndl Pattern

The pattern I used was a German edition of Simplicity 4566 from the 1970s and funny enough, the ribbon trim I used was also from the 1970s, at least according to the etsy seller. The fabric is all from the quilting cotton section at my local chain fabric store. I chose to interline and line the bodice instead of use the facings in the pattern. I have several vintage dirndls, and all of them are very stiff in the bodice and completely lined in contrasting fabric. The idea is the bodice should be very snug, and keep everything in (so to speak). I wasn’t too worried about that part, since I was making this for a girl, but I wanted it to be as authentic as possible. The only thing I would do differently is the apron ties. They ended up being very skinny, and I wished I’d made them wider.

St. Patrick’s Day Cambie

17 Mar

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I finally got around to making a “real” dress! 🙂 I bought this green dotted swiss on sale at Hancock’s over a year ago and I’m so glad it’s finally made up into something. This is also my first time doing a FBA, which turned out pretty well all things considered. I’d like to make this dress again (maybe in the less “poofy” skirt) and address a few niggling issues: The waist is too big and there are drag lines from the bust diagonally towards the side seams. Other than that, I’m really happy with how it turned out.

With a belt.

With a belt.

Poofy skirt

Poofy skirt

The back fits! Hallelujah!

The back fits! Hallelujah!

The original bodice front pattern piece and mine after the FBA

The original bodice front pattern piece and mine after the FBA

Pattern: Sewaholic Cambie

Changes I made:

  • A rather large FBA which added a side seam bust dart.
  • Raised the neckline about an inch in the front.
  • Shortened the sleeves.
  • Rather than a full gathered lining in the skirt, I cut 10″ off each skirt panel and pleated it to the waistband. I felt it was poofy enough without any extra help!

1780s Dress

19 Jan

Back in November, the DFW Costumer’s Guild hosted a “Georgian Picnic” at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens. It was such a beautiful day and everyone’s costumes were fabulous. It was my first event in costume and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I was inspired by the “curtain-along” by Jen Thompson over at Festive Attyre. She had the idea after discovering Waverly curtains in an Indienne print. You can buy the fabric, but it turns out it’s cheaper to buy the curtains and cut them up. I decided to go with the black color scheme, as I’d seen quite a few examples of the cream and I just like to be different. I did more hand-sewing on this dress than I have ever done before. All of the top stitching, hems, and ruffled trim is sewn by hand. Call me crazy, but it was almost therapeutic. I get why people like it now.


Pattern: Sense & Sensibility Pattern’s 1780s Portrait Dress. I was very happy with the pattern, and it was the first time I’d used one from that company. The bodice fit wonderfully without much alteration aside from lengthening it by two inches and cutting the neckline lower to fit the period more.  The sleeves were very narrow and I really should have added a few inches to the sleeve length as well. I think if I were to make it again, I would raise the back neckline a bit, as it seems a little lower than most dresses of the period. I would also lengthen the “v” in the front of the bodice.  I didn’t use a pattern for the petticoat, although I probably should have not cut the hem straight since I ended up using a bum roll which made the skirt a little shorter in the back than it should have been, although the benefit of not cutting it longer in the back means more versatility for multiple time periods.

Fabric: Waverly Noir curtains from Lowes. Mustard linen from Joann’s for the petticoat. (I’ve decided I like linen. A lot. This could be bad news for my bank account.)

Shoes: Kensington, by American Duchess (I also like her shoes. A lot. And she keeps coming out with new ones. Also bad news for my bank account.)

Hat: Blank from JS Townsend and decorated with various trims (and dead bird) from Joann’s and petersham ribbon.

A note about stays: Because I was under a time crunch and I have no experience (yet!) making stays and corsets, I opted to purchase the “half-boned stays” from JS Townsend. The best part is that they lace up the front, which is really a necessity when you live alone (and don’t have servants to help you dress). Yes, they’re very basic and I did find the boning used on either side of the front lacing to have way too much “give”. Replacing it with heavier flat steel boning helped the fit immensely. The bonus is that I used the old boning down the front of my dress bodice. Eventually I’d love to make my own stays, but in a pinch, these work quite well.

1912 Dress- Titanic Exhibit

17 Jan

I should start off by saying that I’m a member of the DFW Costumer’s Guild. Up until last year, I didn’t even know such a thing existed. I can’t even remember how I discovered their website, but when I did I remember thinking, “Oh my! There are other people who never grew out of the “dress-up stage”!” I believe I sent in my dues and joined before ever meeting anyone or attending an event. I was that excited. At some point, I will go back and post about a previous event and costume, but the most recent event was Titanic themed. The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History currently has an exhibit of Titanic artifacts and reconstructions and a group of us went in costume. The exhibit itself was really neat, and if you live nearby I highly recommend going. When you get there, you’ll get a ticket to board the ship with a real passenger’s name and bio on it. As I walked through the exhibit I actually saw some personal memorabilia from the passenger I had, which was really neat. It wasn’t until the end of the exhibit that we all found out whether our assigned person survived the sinking or not. Mine did, but there were so many names on the list that did not. Unfortunately, we were not able to take photos inside the exhibit, but I do have photos of my ticket!


My dress is based on this burgundy and red dress. I know when most people think of “Titanic Dress” they picture an evening gown, but I didn’t think that would be appropriate for a.) boarding a ship in 1912, and b.) going to a museum in January in 2013. Much thanks to Jen Thompson (see her blog for more photos) for taking photos after the exhibit.

Titanic1 Titanic2

Screen Shot 2013-01-17 at 9.30.13 PMSpecifics on the dress:

Pattern: Hint of History’s 1912 Shawl Collar Dress with various changes, including collar, center closure on bodice, and changing the skirt to a six-panel with pleats (which just about did my brain in. It took me… a LONG time to figure it out)

Fabric & Trim: Wool Suiting in Dark Steel Blue, bodice lined in matching (sort of) linen, cummerbund and buttons in light beige silk crepe de chine, all from Denver Fabrics. The trim is petersham ribbon. The “dickey” or false blouse is in linen, and I basically made it up using parts of a bodice pattern from Truly Victorian.

Hat: The straw blank is from, and is the Grace- Bleached. I ordered a bunch of feathers from etsy and used the remaining crepe de chine and various trims from JoAnns. The is my second successful hat, and I’ve discovered there’s always a point while working on them that I think, “I just… don’t know…” but so far so good!

Overall, I’m pretty happy with how it all turned out. I learn so much with each outfit I make. If I could change anything about this one, I’d have made the collar a little longer in the front and I need to take the sleeves off and fiddle with how they’re set because I get a strange crease down my arm. Other than that, I’d consider it a success.

My attempt at making my photo look old.

My attempt at making my photo look old.