1890s Skating Ensemble Photo Shoot

When I first wore my 1895 skating ensemble last January, I ran out of time and braid after trimming the back and sleeves. Sometime last year I ordered more of the braid from Debs Lace and Trims* and in November or December I ordered black wood toggles from eBay (super cheap, 50 for $2–I’ll have toggles for life!).

Showing off the finished trim on the back and sleeves from the first wearing.

I’ve only found this one picture of the front of the inspiration skating jacket. It’s not as close-up as I would like, but it was enough to base a plan on for my own jacket. Using that and other images on my sewing project Pinterest board, I planned out the yardage for each new row of trim. After lots of pinning, stringing toggles, and careful sewing I had used up every single inch of the new batch of braid for a total of 10 yards of braid trim on the jacket. But the result is excellent! I’m just as chuffed with the additional trim as I was with the ensemble when I first made it.


It didn’t snow much here this year (such a change from last year!), but we did have a day of sticky snow right after I finished the trim that was lovely to look at. I convinced Mr. Q to take pictures of me around our neighborhood the next morning while the temperature warmed up and everything began to melt. Luckily we made it out early enough in the day that there was still snow!


Passersby were staring, a lady on a balcony started a conversation with me about my outfit, and Mr. Q was, well, out of his comfort zone. I guess I’m just used to the situation. He was not–and I was amused.


However, despite my penchant for making really odd faces and talking when someone is trying to get a good shot of me, Mr. Q did manage to get a number of very nice pictures of the totally finished ensemble.


As you can see, I’ve edited out the odd faces and so far only included some of the more elegant and put together ones I managed to pull off.


Here are some silly ones. I’m not sure what’s happening this one–it looks like I’m blowing a kiss or making a wish. I might have been talking. It’s cute though!


This was a successful pose! Sometimes I just look totally silly when I pose, but I guess curious-what’s-around-this-tree face is not so bad.


And finally, one in which I wonder again what I’m doing… I think I was going to reach up for the tree branch, but then Mr. Q pointed out that it looked weird… It’s a fun silhouette shot, anyway.


*If you haven’t been before, check out Debs Lace and Trims. You can’t beat her prices and most laces and trims I’ve ordered from her have been excellent, with the exception of a few stiff laces when I was hoping for soft lace. But even then, the prices are so low that I put the lace in my stash and use it for other projects without being worried I wasted my money on a product I wasn’t happy with.

HSF/M #1: 1895 Hug-able Skating Costume

This is one of my favorite outfits of all time. I just want to hug myself, with all the fur, and I love the trim on the back! The whole thing is so cozy and so hug-able and the skirt has such a nice drape and the accessories work so well… and I actually got to go skating in it! I am just utterly chuffed (to use a British word) with the whole thing!




I was on the fence about whether this outfit would apply to the Historical Sew Fortnightly/Monthly Challenge #1: Foundations, but then I read Leimomi’s teaser post about her foundation entry in which she reminds us about different interpretations of foundations and the intent of this challenge to create loose guidelines open to interpretation.

I was convinced (or pushed off the fence, if you prefer to think of it in that amusing way). I’m claiming my all new 1895 skating outfit for the first challenge of the new year! It does rather stretch the idea of foundations. Is the skirt a foundation because it is literally worn below the jacket, thus being a foundation as you would think of one in a building? Or is the bodice a foundation, because my direct inspiration is a lonely jacket without a skirt and therefore it is the foundation of the outfit because I wouldn’t have made the skirt without having the jacket? Either way, there is an element of a foundation in there.

Just the facts:

Fabric: 5 yds of ivory wool, about ⅓ to ½ yd of dark brown faux fur, probably about 3 yds of scrap muslin for flat lining the jacket, a bit of scrap canvas to stiffen the collar, and a bit of ivory flannel to line the inside of the collar.

Pattern: Made by me and based on my inspiration jacket as well as patterns published in Authentic Victorian Fashion Patterns (a Dover book).

Year: c. 1895.

Notions: 5 yds of brown braid, thread, a bit of high loft polyester batting to keep the sleeves puffed out, about 1 yd of ivory hug snug to finish the bottom of the jacket, hooks and bars for the skirt, and thread.

How historically accurate is it? Pretty darn good. Definitely recognizable by someone in the 1890s. The construction is accurate, aside from the use of hug snug instead of bias and faux fur instead of real fur. So, 95%.

Hours to complete: Um… As usual, I did not keep track. I definitely spent at least 15 hours the few days before the event sewing on my braid and fur trim… Plus full days of pattern making, fitting, cutting, and sewing. Maybe 30-40 hours? I care so much more about the finished project than the time it takes to get there! And I loved sewing this, so I didn’t mind that it took time!

First worn: To a skating party that was part of the Commonwealth Vintage Dancers‘ 1890s weekend in January.

Total cost: $75 for the wool, probably about $8 for the fur yardage I used for this project, $4 for the braid, and the rest from the stash = $87

My accessories were a matching fur muff that I made a few years ago and wore once for caroling (with my as-yet-undocumented 1860s winter cape) but more often with my 1917 winter ensemble and a revamp of my 1883 wool hat. I didn’t have time to make a new hat because of all the last minute fur and trim sewing, so I pinned a fur scrap around the 1883 hat and added some feathers to stand up a bit more like 1890s hats and called it good. My main inspiration (and the reason I feel it was an acceptable looking style to have the squashy fedora hat look in the 1890s) was this image.

For good measure, here’s my Pinterest board for the entire project. And here are pictures of us skating (with ice skates: all our snow and cold weather does occasionally come in handy here in Boston)!






Yes, we just crashed a local outdoor ice rink on a Sunday afternoon. One of the attendees even wore vintage skates! Turns out they can be hard to skate in because they’re not very supportive… but they looked fantastic! We got lots of comments from people asking what we were doing, why we were dressed up, and that we looked good. I was asked by multiple groups of young girls why I was dressed up and one group in particular asked what the swirly thing was that I had, which I got to explain was a muff to keep my hands warm!

Here’s our skating group. People came in a variety of late 19th century and early 20th century winter outfits as well as modern clothes.

With my skating ensemble I wore fleece lined tights (modern, but warm so I didn’t care), knee high bamboo socks (modern again), my 1903 silk petticoat (super useful for the 1890s, also), a modern tank top (instead of combinations, because I needed to go to work later in the afternoon and change out of my outfit in the back seat of my car without being indecent…), my 1895 corset, and a long sleeve modern waffle tee (mostly to shield my skin against the wool seam allowances and also for warmth). And I was perfectly warm wearing this out for skating on a day that was sunny and right around freezing. In fact, with the muff and wool hat I actually was too warm at times.

Pleased, chuffed, and smiling all afternoon! So fun! Maybe we will get to go skating again this winter!


The first step in constructing my 1760s Curtain-Along jacket was to draft up the pattern from Janet Arnold (you can read more about the pattern I chose in my Initial Curtain-Along Thoughts post). In my experience, sometimes the patterns work pretty well without a lot of tweaks, but sometimes you really do need to do some serious fitting to make them work. Given that knowledge, I decided to make a mock-up of the pattern without any adjustments to see how it would fit. The measurements weren’t too far off of my own, so I didn’t think I’d run into any really awful problems.

And here are the results! I put the mock-up together matching up all of the points that were indicated in the pattern.

Initial state. It is pinned down at center front, but I haven’t made any other adjustments. Squishy is pretty close to my shape, so you can see that there are some adjustments that need to be made for the jacket to fit me.
First problem: the gap at the shoulders. You can see on the left that I’ve pinned out the excess fabric, and on the right side nothing has been pinned.
Second problem: the center back waist point is halfway up the back! I extended the center back seam above the waist so that the waist would sit lower and match the side fullness.
I don’t think anyone has a back/hip area that would easily fit into this shape…
Third problem: sleeves that are too far off of the shoulder and twisted around in a way that is odd looking and uncomfortable. I had to try this on to make those observations, but you can see the problems in the picture.
The solution was to take the sleeve off, adjust the armsceye, and pin the sleeve back on without it being twisty. You can see on the left side that I’ve adjusted the sleeve, and on the right I didn’t do anything.

Oh, I also lengthened the sleeve pattern a bit, because it was a little short on me, and extended center front so it would actually close… After making the adjustments to the pattern, I took to the scissors and cut out the real fabric, mineral felicite and peach linen lining. Then it was on to the hand sewing…

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