1780s Mint Redingote at a Colonial Williamsburg Weekend!

Right at the end of 2017 I had a little dream come true – a costumed weekend at Colonial Williamsburg!

A couple groups of friends decided to get together there to take in the holiday decorations and sport our 18th century winter wear.

*Note*: all watermarked photos are courtesy of In the Long Run Designs – thank you again Gloria & Mike!!

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Mid-1790s Beribboned Soft-Crown Hat

This is a short and sweet post on the hat I made at the last minute to go with my recent striped silk mid-1790s open robe.

The main inspiration for the hat was this Gallery of Fashion plate from 1795, specifically Fig 74.

Gallery of Fashion, November 1795

However, since I was super tight for time I didn’t want to go through building a whole proper rigid crown of buckram and wire so did that only for the brim and made it a soft-crowned hat rather like the upper lady’s in the fashion plate below:

Bonnets 1795, Journal des Luxus und der Moden

Because of the time crunch I also didn’t take any in-progress photos so I’ll do my best to explain how I made this with photos of the finished hat.

I started off with the brim, which is a circle of buckram with opening for the head positioned a little off-centre so that the brim edge of the front would be a little bigger/longer than that of the back – the effect of which you can see in the profile shot above.

To cover the brim I cut 2 rectangles of fabric whose length corresponded with the brim circumference. I covered the underside of the brim first, basting the fabric around the edge of the brim and then gathering it up around the head opening.

I did basically the same thing to cover the top of the brim, except that I stitched it around the brim edge right sides together with the underside fabric, then folded it over onto the top to create a sort of self-bound edge – a super easy and quick way to cleanly finish the brim edge of a hat, I love this technique!

The crown is a circle of fabric cut to about the same size as the brim. I underlined it with some heavy-ish cotton organdy, gathered the circumference to fit the head opening treating both layers as one, and stitched it around said head opening.

I had hoped to be able to just fold under the inner edge of the under brim covering to create a clean finish inside the head opening but when cutting that fabric I forgot that the brim was not a consistent size all around and was left with a gap between the edge of the fabric and the crown at the front of the hat. So I hastily made a bias binding to cover everything up!

Then it was on to trimming!

I used a really neat changeable taffeta ribbon I got from my friend Taylor (Dames a la Mode) and this is where I relied heavily upon the first fashion plate above for inspiration.

I cut a whole pile of fairly shot lengths of ribbon to make the loops and tails, just pinned most of them to the hat (I was in such a rush!) then covered it with a length all round the base of the crown.

I made the front and back bows with more of these short-ish lengths and just stacked and stitched them together – these are actually sewn to the hat, lol.

The feather is not quite as secure as I would like – it swings about if there’s any wind – but I didn’t have a lot to attach it to. It’s sewn up along the back of the brim and also to the base of the crown through both layers. But at least it won’t actually come off!

And there you have it!

So how many of you have hats or whatever still with pins holding trims or such onto them? ;o)

c. 1794 Striped Silk Open Robe (aka: more autumn colours!)

In early November I got to attend a lovely annual event here in the DC area: The Pumpkin Tea and Candlelight Dinner hosted by the ever-gracious Lady Detalle.

This post is about the outfit I put together for the afternoon tea.

The group shots and photos of me in my outfit were graciously taken by Gloria of In the Long Run Designs.

Everyone looked SO GOOD!

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1875 Autumn Plaid Dress – Construction

If you’re just joining, this is my follow-up post to last week’s that was full of pretty photoshoot pictures of my recent 1875 bustle gown, made for my Big Ass Birthday Bash. This post focuses on construction and the insides of the ensemble. And thank you to everyone who responded to the last post with questions about the making of this outfit, I’ll do my best in answering them!

The foundations for this dress are my trusty pink Victorian corset along with the Laughing Moon bustle/crinoline I made earlier in the summer…..

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1875 Autumn Plaid Bustle Dress

Well, I did it! I’ve now made everything that was on my historical sewing list for 2017 – and I still have a couple months to cram in a few more makes, ha! This dress was the last on the list and was made for my recent Big Bustle Birthday Bash. And last week I was able to do a dedicated photoshoot of it courtesy of Taylor of Dames a la Mode.


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My birthday is right at the end of September and this year was a milestone/slightly depressing one (though I’m really not that fussed about it, thankfully). My actual birthday was a little over-shadowed by the wedding of very good friends in Toronto (my husband was best man and I made the wedding dress – yes, there will be a post about that in the near future *winky face*). So, I decided to throw myself a big birthday party down here in DC a couple of weeks later; and to make it even bigger and better I made it a Big Bustle Birthday Bash! The main idea was Victorian bustle dresses but I also allowed late 18th century ones so as not to be *too* restrictive.

The party was set in 2 locations. First, we had a picnic together at the National Arboretum; then cake and champagne/cocktails at my house on Capitol Hill.

It was a pretty big undertaking but it was such a blast! I highly recommend costumed birthday parties if you can get the people together for it!

So now, without further ado, I’m just going to post a whole pile of pictures of the day!

Note: Photos with the watermark “In the Long Run Designs” in the lower right-hand corner were taken by Gloria of In the Long Run Designs

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Sesquicentennial Ensemble: Making the Dress

This dress is old news now but in case you’re interested in how it went together I finally got my construction post for it done and up!

For most of this dress, both skirt and bodice, I used the draft from Patterns of Fashion for the 1870-71 dress – the one with 3 bodice options, I used the day bodice. Although this pattern is from a few years after my date, in looking at lots of fashion plates and extant garments I realized that pattern piece shapes from the early 1870s were largely the same as those of the mid-late 1860s – it was fashion evolution not revolution going on at this time!

1871-73 I think this is the dress from the Patterns of Fashion 1860-1940 by Janet Arnold

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Sesquicentennial Ensemble: Skirt Foundations Trials and Tribulations

Quick re-cap of this project:

This year is Canada’s Sesquicentennial – aka: 150th birthday. I went to Ottawa for Canada Day this year (or Dominion Day for those who go old school) which was on July 1st when some friends and I celebrated in 1867 style. If you’re just tuning in you can see the finished outfit in this post.

The silhouette and style I went with is more 1867-ish than straight on 1867 because, to me, the whole 1840s through 1860s is such a snooze fest fashion-wise. I just do not like 1860s fashion; so I pushed mine more into 1868/beginning of the bustle-era. What’s the point of making something that I’m just not interested in, right?

I’m doing a whole post on just the skirt supports because, lemme tell you, this was a whole journey in itself!

For reference, this was my primary inspiration for the dress overall:


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Raspberry Mint Sorbet Bustle Dress Part the Third: The Hat – Both the Making and In Action!

This is the third and final post on the construction of my Raspberry Mint Sorbet bustle dress completed back in May

If you’re just joining now, here’s the first post, about the skirts, and here’s the second, about the bodice.

I started thinking about the hat while I was finishing sewing the dress. In looking at mid-1880s fashion plates I quickly knew I wanted to do one of those small-but-tall crowned hats from the period. They just look so pert and jaunty – and have such ridiculously fun trimming!

Some examples:

the upper and lower left-hand ones here

Illustration of bonnets and hats - 1887

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CoCo 2017 – (some of the) Awesome Costumes I Saw!

I’m probably one of the last people to finish getting the CoCo posts up but, hey, better late than never, right?

There are quite a lot of photos in this post and it still represents only a small fraction of the wonderful things and people I saw and met!

These photos were all taken by me and I’ve made the decision to not credit/tag people in them because it would take FOREVER and also because I didn’t necessarily get everyone from their absolute best angle or expression, so they may not want to be tagged, lol. If anyone particularly wants to be tagged or would prefer I remove something I’m more than happy to oblige if you could let me know!

So this is basically just like a photo album with little text, broken down into the days of Coco.

Without further ado……


I was still wrapping my head around this whole CoCo thing at the Thursday evening pool party and so this is almost my only photo from it.

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