Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The First 1840s Dress

Now that my petticoats are nearly done, it's finally time to start planning for dresses to go over them! To begin with, I'm going to make a simple dress with clean lines from some blue and white reproduction printed cotton I found locally at a great price in the spring. For the bonnet, I purchased some pale gray silk taffeta, and some blue silk taffeta ribbons. I suspect I will add more trimmings to the bonnet, but I'll wait until I have it together to decide what else it needs.

Fabrics for the Dress & Bonnet

Patterning the bonnet is already well under way. I have a few little tweaks to make to my pattern, and then I will be ready to cut into the buckram!

Mock-Up of the Bonnet

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Flounced Petticoat is almost done!

The flounced petticoat is almost done! I just have to finish the ends of each flounce. I wasn't sure how I was going to go about that, so I'm stalling a bit while I think. But, in the mean time, I got to try it on! This is it, over my corded petticoat:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

Flounced Petticoat

Over the weekend I finished gathering all the ruffles onto cords, and they are now ready to be applied to the foundation of the petticoat!

Corded Flounces

Monday, September 19, 2011

c. 1560s-70s Ensemble: Done (for now)!

This year, I was able to get the dress ready in time to be worn to our annual visit to King Richard's Faire! Huzzah!


I am really happy with it for the most part, but I do wish the skirts had a little more oomph, as the kirtle in particular kind of clings to the legs. So, at some point I might revisit this project and see how I could accomplish that. . . And someday I might upgrade my cotton smock for a more period-correct linen one. . . But for now, I'm calling this project done! :)

Monday, August 1, 2011

First draft of the Lizzy Bennett bonnet. . .

I've been battling some serious sleevil with this dress, so I've put it on hold, and am instead working on the bonnet. This is my first mock-up of the bonnet, and while my brim doesn't match the one from the film, I'm not sure I want to change it since I think I like the shape I came up with better! I'm going to temporarily attach the back to the brim (right now, it's just pinned into the styrafoam head) so that I can try it on and see if I like how it frames my face. (Oh, and the giant red bows are just to mark bow placement. The final bows will be much smaller!)



Wednesday, June 8, 2011


All of the flounces are hemmed! By hand! With uncooperative cotton thread! ;)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Switching gears for a bit. . .

In light of some sleevil I am suffering on my Lizzy Bennett dress, I decided to switch gears and work on something that doesn't involve sleeves!

Right now, I am completely obsessed with the 1840s. I have fabric to start one dress that I am really excited about, and already have two more 1840s ensembles that I'd like to do after that!

So, my current project is going to be a flounced petticoat like the one you see in my sketch below. I've already got the base layer assembled, and am just starting making flounces. I'm sewing this one all by hand and even only this far in, I'm already questioning my sanity. . .

Thursday, May 19, 2011

New Project: Lizzy Bennett Ensemble

Lizzy Bennett

The Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle version of "Pride and Prejudice" has to be one of my favorite films of all time! In particular, I just love pretty much the entire wardrobe of Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennett. In particular, I love the mustard-colored spencer, and floral print dress that she sometimes wears with it (and other times with a black velvet spencer of a similar style, or even by itself). As far as bonnets go, the puffy gathered bonnet is definitely my favorite, and I think it will be a good size and shape for me since I have a very small head, and sometimes large bonnets with wide brims look a bit ridiculous on me!

For this ensemble, I'm not going for 100% authentic reproduction, but rather, more of the feel of the outfit. I am aiming to match the style, but not so worried about the fabrics themselves.


The dress is a pretty simple style, with really the only flourish being the ties at the wrist, which I adore. My fabric is not close to the original, but I think it has a similar feel and color.

For the spencer, I really decided to do my own thing! I stumbled on to this lovely gold colored cotton velvet, and felt it would be close enough to give the feel of the one in the film, and also look great with my dress fabric. Plus, the price was fantastic!


I only have one word to describe this bonnet: Love!!! It's just so fabulous, and I want the style exactly like this. It looks like it is just simply gathered, but it does seem to have little bows where the gathers end, so I suppose I could get a similar look by making channels and running ribbons through them, tying them in bows at the end. I'll have to experiment and see what I end up liking the best! For this one, I am taking the biggest detour fabric-wise, and completely switching out the color. I don't have any place to buy nice silk taffeta locally, and I thought trying to match or coordinate a fabric that is close to the original, and still looks nice with my fabrics for the dress and spencer, was going to be tricky. So I decided to just pick another color all together, and I went with a sort of olive green color

So there are the plans! Patterning and mocking up of the dress are already well under way, so stay tuned for another post soon!