So, it’s been a while…

Yeah, I know, bad Chris…no cookie, because apparently my blog has gone neglected for like, I dunno, a mere 18 months. I really wish Life were more… more… predictable, that’s the word! We have moved twice, had a few family tragedies, my daughter is a full-blown toddler now and in all of the mess, I haven’t picked up a needle since the last post.

I am again at home with too much free time on my hands though and a bit sedentary – I’m pregnant again and this time around is kicking me right in the gut, literally. I’ve been sick for over a week and pretty much can’t get out of the house: walking makes me motion sick, so driving, yeah, not so much.

I’m contemplating busting out the needle and thread again today and see if we can pick up where we left off with the chemise pattern from before: I as so happy with the progress on that, I just go so wrapped up in everything else going on, never got to finishing it up! I was able to get the whole thing put together, the neckline gathered, and it pretty much just needs finishing (hemming, etc.) to be considered ‘complete’.

I don’t know if this is getting read really – but if it is, welcome and thanks for taking the time!

Goals: get some more pictures up of what’s been done and finish that chemise so we can start on something new!


The Chemise, or Rectangle Hard?

Ok, so back on track a bit with the sewing-my last post taking a few weeks to finish as I somehow got 2/3 of the way through writing it then forgot about it ..oops. :/  I’m almost done with the first chemise of a whole bunch, I’m sure, to come since we need as many of those as we need underwear, since they are underwear!

This particular  page was what I found during my seemingly endless search for a chemise pattern for the right era without having to buy a $20 pattern. So simple right? Well, I thought so too, until I started with the gore, but more on that later. Since I’m attempting to provide information that I have had a hard time finding as a way to flesh out the interwebz resources, I’ll start from the very beginning, materials-


– 3.5 to 4 yards / 3.2 to 3.7 m of lightweight linen, I chose a hankercheif linen from 60%linen, 40% cotton 53 inches / 135cm wide: it shrank down about 3 inches / 7.5 cm after washing so I was left with 50 inch / 127cm wide fabric.

– silk thread which I was able to find at Joanne’s, but I’m sure it could be found cheaper other places, I just happened to get it on sale. I chose silk because I was worried linen thread would shrink. (So far, one 80m spool should do it)

–  seam gauge, pinking shears (do not skip unless you want to wear little pieces of linen threads the whole time your working!) fine sharp needle (I used a size 5 Sharp), pins, marking pencil and thread scissors….coffee is optional, but highly recommend.

So now we need the measurements- the length I used is 47 inches / 120 cm and the arm length I used is 26 inches / 66 cm. I folded my fabric so I would only need to cut in half measurements- my table is not that big. Per the article, normal loom widths were about 28 inches/ 71 cm so I cut my fabric width in half…a little short, but I think it’ll be ok, and will work for my purposes.

I’m left with 2 panels 25 inches / 63.5 cm by 47 inches / 120 cm, two panels 25 inches / 63.5 cm by 26 inches /66 cm and two 10 by 10 inch / 25 by 25 cm squares.

Before you start, also decide what kind of seam you plan on using, french seams and flat felled seams are both period correct, as this will determine how you pin your fabric together. I started by attaching the gore to the sleeve wrong sides together since I’m using a French seam – **note on this, make sure you’re attaching the right hand side (RHS) gore to the RHS sleeve on the lower LEFT corner and vice versa- left hand side (LHS) gore to LHS sleeve on the lower RIGHT corner. I realized after attaching these to the body that if you are marking right side/wrong side of your fabric, or have any discernable ‘back’ to your fabric, you could get stuck if the gores get attached to the wrong corners.


Next I attached the two side panels to the main body or center front panel, again, wrong sides together. I now have a full front panel and two sleeves.


The sleeves are next. So starting with the corner of the gore pointing into the slit cut in to the side panel – the side panel being squared and the gore turned so it’s a diamond – I attached the RHS side of the LHS gore to the RHS of the slit, and then did the opposite on the other sleeve.

(I don’t have a picture of this at this time, but will edit when I have one in the future  – I already have plans for a new chemise in the same ‘pattern’)

From here we have to turn the whole thing on its front so we’re looking at the wrong side. I folded the side panels in half vertically along the line wh r e the slit was cut, the folded the gore corner to corner so it was shaped like a triangle, broad, folded side facing outward. At this point I attached the other side of the gore in the same way I did the front.

Folding the sleeves came next and this is where my brain suddenly turned to mush: I had to rip the damn sleeve seam three times to get it right! So, when you have the piece laid out like we just left it, right side of the center front down and the side panels and gores folded (now sewn) in, the sleeves should get folded down from the top in half towards you so you’re looking inside the sleeve as you fold. This will keep all of the seams on the same side and make sure that the gore is fully attached the way it should be.

I’d goofed the first time folding the sleeves from the side in…so not right.


Then I goofed on one of the sleeves folding it away from me which would have put the seam on the outside of the finished garment…

I swear, I can do this, I’ve made corsets before, though I’m still and amateur, I just apparently get stumped by simple geometric shapes.


The last step is just getting the center back panel sewn in and voilá! A pieced garment. More on the finishing touches on the next blog.

Thanks for reading!

1660s Restoration Inspiration

I’ve had a bit of a stall (already!) because I’ve thrown out my back – hard to start drafting patterns when you can’t walk or stand at the table! So, more research talk for this one, and as yet, no vlog, but hang in there, it’ll get done. So, starting with looking at my inspiration picture-


(This, I think, has been the inspiration for a lot of people, but hi, it’s pretty and simple so, I’m not surprised. )

I love the color, first off, and I’m assuming that this is a very common color for gown in this era since there are so many portraits of women wearing this, or similar, shades of blue. Also, I like that it is not as adorned as some dresses were- per my more recent research in Patterns of Fashion and Seventeenth Century  Women’s Dress Patterns it was very common to lay lace or trim over the bodice seams, which isn’t really my thing. Working with the color, now it’s time to figure out the fabric.

I have really no physical experience with a lot of different fabrics- I wear cotton a lot, so to me it’s just cotton, albeit thinner or thicker etc – so when I started my research and all these different fabrics came up, I didn’t have a good idea what they actually felt like. My mother, genius that she is, suggested in order a lot of different swatches of fabric to get myself familiarized with them. And let me tell you, I’ve never spent that long reading and shopping in my life for something so little, a 4″ square of fabric. I ordered about 15 different fabrics (I can include a separate post about that later) and I can say, I love fabric lol. Some of these swatches make me want to order bolts of fabric so I can roll around in them- hankercheif linen is SO SOFT and silk is AMAZING! ….ahem.

I’m attempting to stay as historically accurate as I can, so linen, wool and silk for anything prior to the mid-18th century-though that could change if I decide to focus on reproduction of American pieces as cotton was available here more readily than in Europe at those times. Also, a little wary of wool as I live in Arizona – hot hot HOT 89% of the time, so even though I’ve heard wool is great for keeping cool in lighter weight weaves, we’ll have to see how it holds up to 120F (48C) weather.

So, fabrics linen, wool or silk – silk seems to be the more obvious choice for this type of dress if we’re trying to stick to the portrait, and I’m just going to have to bite the bullet and do it, so it may be a while for any post re: construction on the gown since it’s going to be something I have too save up for – baby still needs clothes and the hubby’s gotta eat lol.

Next will be a post on the construction and thoughts on the chemise I’m almost done with for this dress – starting from the “skin out” seems to be the best way to go, and just makes sense to me.

For anyone actually reading this, thanks! and let me know if you have anything specific you want to know or see in posts to come. 🙂


So, my first blog post.

I’ve always wanted to share my love of fashion and history, but haven’t really thought about blogging until my husband mentioned to me that I should blog/vlog what I’m learning. This is my creative outlet from the day to day hustle of going to work, taking care of the baby, cooking and cleaning, all of that.

I think my love started with Gone with the Wind- the drama, the clothes, the romanticism of it all fascinated me. My family is from the South and the idea of being a Southern Belle has always captured my inner-child. I basically never grew out of that Princess Phase! I’ve tried my hand at some Civil War era pieces when I was still in high school; totally hodge-podged together and not anywhere near accurate: an old circle skirt with some bedsheet ruffles and plastic-coated wire that was hanging around my parents gatage for a crinoline. I did attempt the “real thing” with a corset once, but I’ve since ripped it apart to canabalize the pieces for other projects. Now that I want to take this to an Adult Level and not just cobbling things together, I need to get organized and do some research.

I’ve bought several books on historical costuming and pattern drafting to help me narrow down a focus for my first big project. “Historic Clothes and How to Make Them” by Mary Fernald and E. Shenton along with “The History of Underclothes” by C. Willett Cunnington and Phillis Cunnington, both Dover Fashion and Costume books. These are great starting points I think because it gives a nice overview of the clothes worn from Midieval times through the late Victorian and Eduardian eras.  “Historic Clothes and How to Make Them” also has a few scaled patterns and instructions in the back. I now have a starting point from where to start narrowing down which century or era I want to start with – hi, Midieval clothing is much less complicated than a full Eduardian ensemble, but i will not be dissuaded. So, my struggle now is this- how do I pick!

Movies have been a great source of inspiration- Gone with the Wind helped before in sparking my imagination so I figured why not other movies? Braveheart is one that I’d always liked for the costumes, especially Princess Isabelle’s, though they aren’t 100% accurate, but it doesn’t hinder the ooh-that’s-pretty! Emma, Pride and Prejudice and all of the other Jane Austen movies flamed a love of Regency attire- love the costumes from Vanity Faire. Madame Bouvarie, Jane Eyre, countless westerns, etc continued my love of Victorian fashions. I mean, there are too many to mention, let alone pick from. So, how in the world am I going to narrow this down? How about hours of YouTube binging and Google searches for other costumer’s work to help me narrow down? I’ve found a couple of great sites and other blogs but I’ve noticed it’s slim pickins out there – thus my blog and soon-to-come YouTube channel -a lot of Victorian and a lot of Rennaisance/Tudor, some Rwgency, but little of the other eras I’m interested in. So, let’s start with something I’ve never done, don’t have much to go off of and see where that goes! If I’m jumping into blogging and vlogging I might as well go wholehog and start from square one.

Next post will be where I started with my research into my first project: a Restoration dress inspired by this bloggers reproduction and this painting.