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Thursday, May 14, 2015

To Pipe or Not to Pipe? Piping in Civil War Bodices

Contrasting Piping
1860's Afternoon Dress with Contrasting Piping, Met Museum.

To pipe or not to pipe... that is the question.

And once I decide to add piping, which seams DO I pipe?

Thursday, May 07, 2015

What Fabric Should I use when Making a Corset?

Tan Leather Corset with Spoon Busk
1883-1895 Corset from 19th Century Fashion in Detail

If you really want to dress like a lady from the 19th century then a corset is a definite must have. Not only do they help in providing much needed support for hoops and bustles but they will also give your dress bodice a smooth finish and help shape the body into a silhouette that was common during this time.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Dangers of Umbrellas

Lady with Umbrella
Early Victorian Lady with Umbrella

Every once and awhile I stumble upon an unusual or funny article from an old magazine.

Now when I say old, I am usually not talking about the two year old Country Living magazine that is in the magazine rack in the living room but more like the 148 year old Godey's Lady's Book that I have on my bookshelf. Just to clarify.

Anyhow I was skimming through an 1858 edition of the Godey's Lady's Book and found an entertaining article about how ladies carry their umbrellas... and it seems we have no common sense when it comes to handling such things. We are after all, such 'delicate figures' and yet we do tend to take up a 'great more canvas than men do' while holding one!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

What Size Hoop Skirt Should I Wear?

1860's Lady
c. 1865-1867 Lady wearing an elliptical hoop

Ohhh the frustration of what size hoop skirt to wear!

It can stop you in your tracks and leave you stumped. It puts a catch into even the best laid plans.

After all you can't create that dress you always dreamt of without having your foundation pieces completed first! Of course this means conquering the dreaded question that everyone who must wear a hoop skirt is forced to ask; just what sized hoop should I be wearing? A question that I myself have spent many hours pondering.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Victorian Bonnet Styles from 1865 to 1869

For this post I am continuing on with Victorian bonnet styles where I am highlighting some of the most common types of bonnets that were worn during this time period as seen in the Godey's Lady's Book.

Again I have included short explanations on materials, colours used and trimmings as well as the overall style of bonnets in general and if you are looking for bonnet styles from 1860 to 1864 then visit my previous post.


Bonnets from Godey's Lady's Book
Winter Bonnets, Godey's Lady's Book, January 1865

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Victorian Bonnet Styles from 1860 to 1864

A couple of months ago I decided that it was time to make a new straw bonnet. I figured that if I started it then, I would have it done in time for spring. But other projects somehow got in the way and I didn't get it finished.

So I have decided that over the next few weeks I will dedicate my posts to the topic of Victorian straw bonnets from the 1860's. Perhaps it might actually give me the inspiration to finally finish the one I am working on!

Here are my notes on some of the most common styles of bonnets that were worn worn during this time as seen in the Godey's Lady's Book. I have included short explanations on materials, colours used and trimmings as well as the overall style in general.

1860 & 1861

Bonnets, Godey's Lady's Book, March 1861

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Willcox & Gibbs Chainstitch Sewing Machine

Chainstitch sewing machine
Willcox & Gibbs Chainstitch Sewing Machine c. 1885-1892

I like sewing machines; especially those from the Victorian era. To me if a sewing machine has a motor than it is way too modern for my world (well almost), but that is a whole other story!

In the Tailor shop I am lucky enough to be around a few different machines; most of which don’t really work and are more for show than anything else much to my disappointment. However over the past little while I have taken an interest in these machines and seemed to have made it my goal to get them working again. I know it seems a rather lofty goal!