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. ūüôā



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.