Initial Curtain-Along Thoughts


It’s been a fair bit of time since I first thought about joining in on the Curtain-Along hosted by Jen of Festive Attyre. I thought the idea was fun and I was inspired by the Waverly curtain series, but I wasn’t inspired enough to get involved… until I saw additional colorways being offered by fabric stores as yardage rather than curtains! It’s not that they were being offered as yardage, it’s just that I like the colors better and I like that they will be less represented in the costuming world, since most people seem to have gone for the traditional curtain color ways.

Waverly Mineral Felicite: my fabric.

Anyway, I mentioned way back in October that I had bought some yardage of the Mineral Felicite colorway of the Waverly fabric. It’s taken me about 9 months to get around to using it, but I’ve finally found the time! I’m super excited about it. The colors are lovely and I’m branching out (haha, no pun intended) into an earlier period than I usually inhabit as inspiration for my Curtain-Along garment.

This is what really inspired me to begin with. Met jacket, 18th century.

This main inspiration jacket has the ambiguous dating of “18th century” and the details aren’t super clear cut for me to do my own clear dating. I like the simple shape, the colors, and the blue silk ribbon trim on the edges. These are all aspects of this garment that I want to bring in to my own jacket, but I also wanted to find a shape and style that appeals to me. So I did a lot of thinking about what decade of the 18th century I wanted to aim for. There was lots of looking at Pinterest. Initially I thought I wanted to aim for 1770s, but after more thinking I’ve settled on the 1760s as the decade for this jacket.

I picked the 1760s for a variety of reasons. 1- I want to be able to wear the jacket with a future quilted petticoat and quilted petticoats were most popular between 1700-1775; 2- Conveniently, there is a pattern available in Janet Arnold for a 1760s jacket; 3- I like the slightly longer skirts on the jackets of the 1760s.

The jacket below is the one Janet Arnold took the pattern I will be using from. I will likely omit the cuffs (I’ve got a future 1740s jacket project in the works with cuffs!) and will almost certainly be adding the blue silk ribbon like my original inspiration jacket.

Jacket. 1760-1790. National Trust Inventory Number 1348744

Possibly The Worst 1850s Dress Ever

1859. The Museum at FIT.

It looks like a furry animal (goat, sheep, elk???) got entangled with a fringe machine. All those shades of brown are awful together! And it must be very heavy. I wouldn’t be caught near this. Need I say more? What do you think?

Regency Dance Weekend Part V: Sharing The Train

I’m eager to share pictures of the grand ball with you, but I want to insert this post before continuing to ball pictures. One of my friends had the ambition to complete a Regency court train to wear during the reception I showed pictures of last post. It’s a pretty fabulous train made of velvet printed with golden bees and trimmed with opulent gold lace.

The actual owner and maker of the train.

It’s not the sort of thing to be danced in, but that’s fine, because it attaches at the waist, so it’s easy to take off. During the course of the evening some of us tried on the train and tried out different poses in it. So nice of Antonia to share with all of us! It was quite grand and fabulous.

Benevolent royalty face.
Elegant royalty face.
Aloof royalty face.
Exuberant royalty face.
Pretty pretty princess royalty face.

It’s my blog, and that means I can share as many pictures of me as I want…! Spoiled sounding? Probably… Okay, fine, I’ll return to my more humble un-royalty roots.

There are some absolutely stunning extant court trains out there. Here’s my pinterest page of court gowns and trains from all different periods. And here are some of my favorite Regency court trains to inspire you.

ca. 1809. The Met.
1809. The Met.
First Empire From the Chateau de Malmaison Costume Collection app
First Empire From the Chateau de Malmaison Costume Collection app

There is an event at Dress U in about a month that requires court gowns or trains. I won’t be there, but I’m looking forward to seeing pictures of other people’s fabulous court trains! I hope you’ve enjoyed these silly pictures. I promise that the next post in this series about the Regency Weekend will be pictures of the ball: no more delays!

The Tree Gown For Real (HSF #9)

Textiles and the natural world are inextricably linked.  Until very recently, all textiles were made from flora (linen, raime, hemp) or fauna (wool, silk, fur), and dyed with flora and fauna.  Flora and fauna also influenced the decoration of textiles, from Elizabethan floral embroidery, to Regency beetle-wing dresses, to Edwardian bird-trimmed hats.  Celebrate the natural world (hopefully without killing any birds) with a flora and/or fauna inspired garment.

This is the description of the HSF Challenge #9: Flora and Fauna. I’m super excited about my garment: the all new 1815 Tree Gown I recently showed a sneak peak of as well as photos of in action during archery and outdoor lounging! The archery and outdoor lounging, in particular, include great pictures of the dress, so if you haven’t seen them yet, you really should go check them out!

1815 Tree Gown and Bonnet with a Stripe-y Reticule.

I love love love this dress! It’s super comfy and super cute. You might remember that I don’t own many printed or patterned clothes (modern or historic), but I branched out (haha, unintentional bad pun) with this one and I love the results! There’s something so refreshing about the classic white Regency dress that has been shaken up a bit with a bold print. Also, from the HSF perspective, it is made from cotton and printed with a flora inspired motifs! Double duty challenge fulfillment right there.

Back view. The drawstring at the back neck is so subtle and clean looking, and I love the results of my careful cutting which keeps the print symmetrical on each side.

There are pictures of the interior construction of this dress in this previous post. To summarize, the dress is machine sewn on the inside seams and hand finished. Most of the interior seams are french seams. The dress closes at the back with hooks at the waist and a drawstring at the back neck. The front neck has a drawstring as well.

More facts:

Fabric: almost 5 yds of hand block printed sheer cotton (made in India and sold on eBay via Heritage Trading).

Pattern: loosely based on my other Regency gown patterns for my basic measurements, but adapted to resemble my main inspiration dress at the Met.

Year: 1815.

Notions: two hooks, about 1 yd of 1/4″ cotton twill tape, thread.

How historically accurate?: I give it 95% rating. Really, the only thing keeping it from “as accurate as can be with modern materials” is that it is machine stitched on the inside seams. It is hand printed fabric, sewn in historic ways, and hand finished.

Hours to complete: 16? Total? That’s not bad for me!

First worn: Regency Dance Weekend, mid-April 2013.

Total cost: $25 for the fabric (it’s almost doubled in price since I bought mine!), maybe another $1 for the notions?

Now for inspiration. The dress is most closely based off of this dress at the Met. I changed some things, but I think the resemblance is quite clear.

1810-1815. Met.
1810-1815. Met.
1810-1815. Met.

These two dresses were other more minor inspiration for the Tree Gown: 1812 yellow silk wedding dress and early 19th century slip, mostly for their square necks and back tie closures.

Eee! All I can say in conclusion is how much I love my Tree Gown!!!

A Stripe-y Reticule And Sneak Peek At A Tree Gown (MpRSW #3 & #4)


I intended to complete this reticule for the HSF Challenge #6: Stripes this past week, but as the deadline approached and I reread the fine print, I realized that the challenge was supposed to be fulfilled by a garment. Whoops! I don’t think I can convince myself that a reticule is garment, let alone other people. So I put the project on hold while working on other things (like Evie, my 1864 ball gown, and the completion of my purple ballroom competition dress), but finally got back to it and finished it off towards the end of last week.

Lucky for me, this reticule does fulfill the MpRSW Goal #4: Accessories (due April 8th: I’m early!). (If you’re paying attention, I did fail to post about the MpRSW Goal #2: Evening Gown… I might have fallen off the wagon on that one and not managed to fix the rip in my gown on time. But luckily, the MpRSW is motivating me to complete that repair this week, even if I am delayed!)


Trust me, this is not a historically accurate reticule. The fiber content is questionable… (probably a blend including polyester), the ribbon is polyester, and the tassels are cotton embroidery floss. But it’s cute and functional and has the general look of the period, so I’m happy. This will get packed for the Regency weekend coming up in April!

Inside the reticule: french seams and a cotton canvas purple (woohoo, extra fun on the inside!) layer whip stitched to the inside of the bottom to provide stability and help keep the triangular shape. The seams are hard to spot because the stripes blend into each other so much, but they’re there!

What you saw in the first picture (behind the reticule) was a first glimpse of my latest Regency gown! This new block printed cotton gown, from 1815, is “The Tree Gown” in my head because the motif reminds me of trees (or shrubs perhaps, but I like the sound of The Tree Gown better than The Shrub Gown). This gown fulfills the MpRSW Goal #3: Day Wear! It’s due today, so I’m right on time. The gown is machine sewn on all of the non visible seams, and hand finished on the visible sections.

Center front. This gown has a mostly squared neckline with a drawstring across the bust, like my 1812 white striped gown.
Unlike previous Regency gowns in my possession, this gown has long sleeves! (This is a back view.)
There are two 1 1/2″ tucks around the hem of this gown, for decoration.
The gown closes at center back with two hooks on the waistband (see the thread loops?) and a tie at the top of the back.
The tie at the top of center back is a drawstring that continues to the shoulder seam, allowing the back to gather slightly. The bow in the middle is the drawstring for center front.
The fullness at center back is gathered. This gown has french seams and the waistband seam allowance is just whip stitched together to keep it tidy.
The inside of the neck opening. The area over the shoulder is reinforced with an extra bit of fabric cut on the straight of grain to keep it from stretching.

This gown below is my main inspiration for this dress: the tucks at the hem, the sleeves, the pattern for the skirt, the gathers on the bodice, the mostly squared neck in front, the tie at the back of the neck… I omitted the extra sleeve puff (partly because I didn’t have enough fabric, partly because I wanted this dress to be more streamlined) and the tie at the back waistband. I love the super zoom on the Met’s website because you can see so many great details!

For example, I could see where the center front skirt panel ended and the angle of that seam (as well as the angle of the back panel). Using that information, I determined that my front panel should be a rectangle (it’s 21″ across in my dress given my proportions) and that the back panels should be cut straight at center back, but with an angle on the side seams that goes up toward center back making an elongated trapezoid. There is a seam at center back, so the hem of each back piece is 45″, but each top narrows to 31″. I’m curious to see how that style of skirt fits me. I certainly like the look of the skirt on the dress in the museum!

1810-1815 dress at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This gown also fills the HSF #9 Challenge: Flora and Fauna, so you’ll be seeing another post about it with some more details (and pictures of it on a body!) coming up in a few weeks (after the Regency Weekend in April, you know!).

Project Journal: 1822-1824 Ensemble Part VI: Muff and Tippet

One thing I actually did finish for the recent ball was the muff and tippet. For visual reference, the picture below shows the garments I’m discussing.

1822 walking dress with muff and tippet (and a bit of the 1824 ball gown peeking out).

What is tippet, exactly? Merriam-Webster defines it, thus:

1: a long hanging end of cloth attached to a sleeve, cap, or hood
2: a shoulder cape of fur or cloth often with hanging ends


So, how did I make my tippet? First, I cut a piece of high loft polyester batting the length and width that I wanted. (I know they didn’t have poly batting  in the 19th century… but it’s super warm and sometimes just worth it!) Then I cut a piece of my faux fur that was double the width of the batting plus an extra 3/4″ or so on each side as well as about 1″ longer on each end. I centered the batting on the wrong side of the fur, wrapped the fur around to the back, turned one edge under, and pinned. The ends of the fur I just turned up and under the other pinned bits. Then I whip stitched that folded edge down using pretty large stitches. The stitches disappeared in the fur… and voila, tippet! Too bad I didn’t take pictures of the construction!

The muff was slightly more tricky, not because of construction details, but because I agonized over what color lining to use! (To construct the muff, I made two tubes, one out of fur and one out of silk lining. I stitched one end of each tube to the other, turned the whole thing right sides out, inserted a tube of poly batting (warm!), pulled the lining through the middle, and pinned the open side of the fur to the silk, with the fur edge turned under. Then I simply whip stitched it like I did the tippet.

But before I could make the muff, I had to pick the lining color! Did I want it to match my walking dress trim (and be lavender?) Did I want to pick a color from a fashion plate? What colors were used in fashion plates? So many questions! I determined that of the muff linings I could see in fashion plates from that general period, there were three recurring colors: pink, blue, and white. Here’s what I came up with, image-wise:


January 1823 Walking Dress. La Belle Assemblee.
December 1822 Promenade Dress. Ackerman’s Repository.
January 1826 Promenade Dress. Ackerman’s Repository.


March 1823 Walking Dress. Ackerman’s Repository.
December 1825 Carriage Dress. Lady’s Magazine.


1825 Promenade Dress.
1829 Walking Dress. Ackerman’s Repository.


c. 1810 Redingote (and muff!). KCI. (Also a tippet, though they call it a “palantine”: which M-W defines as a fur cape or stole covering the neck and shoulders.)
November 1814. La Belle Assemblee.
Volare Digital Capture
November 1817 Walking Dress. Ackerman’s Repository.
1823 Carriage Dress

So pink came in with 3, blue and white tied with 2 each, and then there were an assortment of unknown/other. But I didn’t like the idea of pink with my dark pinkish wool (you can see what that would look like in the December 1822 fashion plate: that’s the inspiration for my walking dress), so I settled for the light blue, which I think is delicate and softly Regency. Also, I had just a small amount of that color silk, and it’s a color that doesn’t really complement my skin, so I wasn’t likely to use it for a bonnet or something similar… but with a muff most of my skin is hidden! You can see the predominance of white fur for the muffs in these fashion plates (one of the reasons I chose white fur for the muff and tippet). There are brown, too, but a lot of white! 7 out of the 11 I included are white. Well, there you go. That’s my rationale for the muff and tippet.

All of these images are on my Pinterest pages with lots of other beautiful garments. Specifically, these are on the 1810s Inspiration1820-1824 Inspiration, and 1825-1829 Inspiration pages.

Project Journal: 1822-1824 Ensemble Part II: Initial Petticoat Details

Petticoat. 1828-1835. Manchester City Galleries.

This bodiced petticoat is the inspiration for the first piece of my 1822-1824 ensemble that I need for December events. You can read more about the overview of the ensemble by viewing my last post: here. Despite the slightly later date given for this garment (later than my target of 1822-1824), the shape and construction are consistent with garments from the earlier 1820s, so I have no qualms about using this for my purposes in this case.

The description from Manchester City Galleries:

White cotton with high waist. Low, wide, round neck edged with embroidery and lace frill; piped armholes; front in one bias-cut section, back in two shaped sections, centre back fastening with drawstring at top and bottom of neck edging and at high waistband and two buttons; skirt front in one slightly flared section, two sections each side flared towards back, slit at hip in right back seam, centre back in two straight sections, closely gathered at centre waist; sixteen lines of piping at hem; edging of finer cotton scalloped and with openwork embroidery.


I used this description in combination with the 1820s patterns in Janet Arnold to create the bodice and skirt patterns. My petticoat is constructed out of plain white cotton. It is entirely hand sewn and has 16 rows of cording in the skirt. There is a edging of white cotton openwork embroidery at the hem. The seams are all flat felled in the skirt. The bodice seams are turned twice and stitched on each side of the seam. The petticoat closes in the back with ties.

Bodice of the petticoat with unfinished neckline.
Near the hem: 16 rows of cording and embroidery edging.
Super close up of a flat felled skirt seam, narrow hem, and whip stitches attaching the embroidery. The embroidery is whip stitched to the hem at the very bottom, and the top edge is whipped again on the inside (that’s the top horizontal row of stitches).
Back of the bodice.

The only remaining work to be done is to add another tie between the current two since the back wants to gap open just below my shoulder blades, to finish the neckline, and to adjust the gathers across the back (secret tip I’ve learned through building these garments: to get that great 1820s triangle shape, your gathers have to be super concentrated at the center back area, not spread out across the entire back, as these currently are). I plan to finish the neckline with narrow white lace, but I want to determine the neckline of my ball gown before finishing the neck of the petticoat. You understand that desire, I’m sure!

Differences from the original include: that I have a seam up center front of the bodice (no particular reason, it’s just that’s how it turned out), my cording is spaced closer together (which I’m not sure I like as much as the original, but I’m not taking it out now!), my armholes are narrow hemmed rather than piped, and my skirt closes right in the middle of the gathers rather than off center at the side back seam.

Pictures of the entire petticoat will have to wait. It looks pretty foolish on hanger, doesn’t fit a dress form (because the bust is so high), and it’s super awkward to get a full length picture of oneself… so we’ll just have to wait until I’m wearing it!