Finished Project- and a Study in Silhouette

This weekend I finished up an elliptical hoop and bustle pad as foundations for future projects.


I have wanted to make an elliptical hoop to wear underneath dresses from the late 1860s to early 1870s.  This is the first hoop skirt I have ever made, and I’m actually quite pleased with it.  It was made from a cotton with a thin brown stripe that I bought at an estate sale, and the hoop wire was salvaged from costume hoops skirts I had when I was younger, as well as some wire left over from when I made my bustle several years ago.   The pattern used was from Laughing Moon #112- Ladies Hoops and Bustles.  This is the second thing I’ve made from her patterns (the first I made was the bodice from the 1890s Sporting Costumes pattern) and I have to say that I am always happy with the end product.  These were very well researched and I enjoyed reading her historical notes, in which she describes her research for the patterns and she also gives suggestions on how to wear them.

I specifically wanted this hoop to go underneath the Truly Victorian 1869 Grand Parlor Skirt.  I had made the skirt a few times before and absolutely loved it.  Since I knew I had a skirt handy that was made from that pattern I pulled it out and tried it with the different ways described in the notes on the Laughing Moon pattern to see what sort of effects could be accomplished with my new underthings.  I was considering using Truly Victorian’s Elliptical Hoop pattern but I thought it would be a little too early for the period I wanted.  I still do want to make that one someday, though!

This skirt is from a Victorian ensemble which was the first somewhat accurate historical costume I made, and I originally made a bustle pad to go under it, which I no longer have.

  • In the first image shows the skirt over the bustle I made from Truly Victorian’s Petticoat with Wire Bustle pattern. Since I originally wore this over a large bustle pad it’s probably closest to the original silhouette when I first made the skirt.
  • The second and third photos show the bustle pad and elliptical hoop, with the bustle pad placed on top of the hoop.
  • The last two images show the bustle pad underneath the hoop, which is my favorite option.

Although the bodice is too small for the dress form, here’s the general idea of what the dress looks like all together with the last option- the bustle pad underneath the elliptical hoop.  It’s like a whole new life for an old dress!

Hope you had a great weekend!

Posted in 1870s, costumes, underwear, victorian | 11 Comments

Anna’s Notebook, 1925- Bodices

The second group of drawings from Anna’s Notebook are these bodice sketches.  Or at least I think they are bodice sketches, since they are not labeled! These were probably the base for blouses and dress bodices, and could probably be adapted to jackets and coats as well.

I suppose in the last post I should have been more clear- her sketches in this notebook are all for pattern drafting.  As she progressed in her studies we have some fashion sketches with patterns, but most are of the type here below.

If you’re interested in 1920s fashion design, these are quite fun and could be adapted for your figure by enlarging them.  One of the easiest ways to do this is to enlarge them based on a grid.  A little math is involved, but if you figure out your general proportions and then draw a grid over the image you can enlarge it in inches.  For example, the easiest would probably be to go by bust size.  If you’re 36 bust,  figure out that you’ll need to split this in 4 (as you need a front and back, and each piece should be mirrored).  If that’s the case, you’ll need nine squares across the bust to make this work, then draw out a grid of 1″ x 1″ on a large paper and sketch it out.  For more information follow this link, although a star is illustrated it can be adapted to sewing patterns.  Of course I haven’t tried this and have simplified it as much as possible, so details above in terms of proportion are just a guess.  You will  have to play around with it and will have to make mock ups, but it may be fun to try!  Also, remember that no seam allowance would have been included so if you try to enlarge these you will need to add seam allowance after you enlarge.

Have a good weekend!

Posted in 1920s, anna's notebook | Tagged | 1 Comment

Anna’s Notebook, 1925- Measurements

A wonderful blog reader was so generous as to sent me a treasure! This is a binder from a fashion student from 1925 named Anna Stratmann.  I hope to post sections of this notebook, so this is the first installation in a series called “Anna’s Notebook”


Posted in 1920s, anna's notebook, sewing | Tagged | 8 Comments

New Look- 1930s Halter Top and Beach Trousers Pattern

A few weeks ago Nicole from Paper Moon Vintage, Kat from GoForKat,  Allison from Allison Barcenas Photography and I got together for a day of fun in the sun and in the sand, and to take some new pictures!

I am so excited for this new cover for one of my first repro patterns- the Late 1930s Halter Top and Beach Pajama Trousers.  I just finished it up, so here it is!

Kathy from GoForKat Makeup Artistry was such a wonderful model for this new pattern cover, and she also did her own hair and makeup.  She’s one talented gal!

The outfit Kathy is wearing in these photos is made from a drapey white rayon for the trousers and a vintage rayon crepe print for the blouse.  If you’re interested in this pattern it’s available here on my website, in multi-size from 30-38″ bust.

We also took some more photos of how to mix-and-match separates from three patterns to get a whole summertime or vacation wardrobe! But that will come in another post 😉

Happy Tuesday!

Posted in 1930s, pattern line, repro patterns | 8 Comments

>Finished Project- 1880s Tall Hat


I just finished up a project I started last week- this hat will accessorize the bustle dress I just finished.  I just LOVE making hats.  It’s one of my absolute favorite things.  But even more than making hats I love trimming hats, and I like mine to be like patisserie for the head, if that makes any sense.  Fancy, feminine, and sweet, with maybe a little too much yummy decoration to the top. 😉
Hats, 1885.   Image source here

I looked at a lot of books when trying to decide on how to trim mine, but in the end I just went with the vertical trim thing + a lot of flowers and fluffiness.  Since this is only the second time I’ve tried to use straw braid over buckram I did have some parts that needed to be covered up a bit with trim- but from experience more trim on Victorian clothing and accessories is often a good thing.  
 This hat pattern was from Lynn McMasters Late Victorian Hat Pattern.  I used the method of sewing straw braid over buckram from a class she taught at Costume College.  I believe the article she has on her website is the construction we learned in the class, so for the method visit here.  I was not able to find straw braid so I tore apart a cheap hat from Michael’s craft stores and used that.  The wide blue plaid ribbon, fringe trim, and feather ornament are all vintage.  The flowers are artificial like you use for creating home decorations and arrangements and  were bought on clearance, also at Michael’s.
I hope you’re all having a lovely weekend!
Posted in hats, millinery, victorian | 3 Comments

>Two Dresses, 1879


My bustle dress I was working on is all finished!  Hurrah!  No pictures yet, sorry- I’m going to wait to share pictures after the event I am going to when I get all my hair/makeup/accessories together.  Moving on with my sewing list, however, is a transitional dress from the beginning of the Natural Form era.  I thought you might enjoy these dresses from 1879.  Happy Friday!
Posted in 1879, fashion history, natural form, victorian | 1 Comment

>Hello, Operator?



I just found this set of old photos tucked inside a forgotten family album.  Years of memories and images of people and families just sitting in antique stores, waiting to be adopted.  That’s part of why I wanted to start sharing these old photos and bring these little works of art meets history meets life together to share.

I had never noticed old photos where the people posed with candlestick phones, but aren’t they sweet? I believe these probably date to the 1910s, as they were tucked in with other photos from around that same time.  Her middy blouse is just darling, and I love the look of the gent with the hat, and then the more casual poses with the phone.  I also love how the trio of photos of John are double exposed at the top!

Speaking of middy tops, have you seen the sailor style series that Charlotte is doing on the Tuppence Ha’penny blog?  I’m completely over run with inspiration!

Posted in 1910s, edwardian, what real people wore | Leave a comment

>Pattern Sale in My Etsy Store!

>Vintage 40s WWII Sweetheart Dress with Heart Pockets- Size 12- Bust 30- Hollywood 1390

After a bit of debate as to whether to move some cute patterns from the 40s and 50s to my website I decided, nah! Let’s have an Etsy sale!!  With most patterns $16 and under before the discount, it’s a good time to get a good deal!

Spring cleaning for me means some good deals on some super cute vintage patterns!  Use the coupon code 25FORPATTERNS for 25% off vintage sewing patterns in my Etsy store!

This coupon is only good in my Etsy store and not my website, and is for vintage patterns only.  Grab them now while you can for a bigger discount than I usually have in my shop!

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>New Pattern! 1930s Beach Pyjamas and Eton Jacket


It’s new pattern time!  I’m very happy to announce the latest pattern I have been working on!
Just in time for summer sewing is the newest addition.

This pattern is suitable for looks from the early to mid 1930s.  These pyjamas (or pajamas) are as chic to wear for the seaside, on the boardwalk, or by the poolside as they are for the boudoir.  In cottons and linens they are cool summer wear.  In satins and silks these pajamas are glamorous for the hostess or for lounging.
The sleeveless pajamas have an open neckline accented by a two piece collar.  The loose fit of the pajamas can be cinched in at the waist by using ties that can be applied by stitching at the side fronts or by creating a slit opening and passing the belt through.  The ties create a bow at the center back.  The back of the pajamas button up.  These pajamas have very wide legs, the opening of the size 16 (bust 34) at the lower edge of the leg is 1 3/4 yards.
This pattern also includes a short sleeved cropped Eton Jacket, or bolero.

 This pattern is multisize with three sizes per packet- Bust 30-32-34, Bust 36-38-40, and Bust 42-44-46
This is the first pattern to offer a Size Pack C!  All sizes are Misses Sizes.
This pattern is now available in my store.  Please visit my website to read more about this pattern and get your pattern order in for the special promotional rate!
There is a special introductory price of $20!!
I know you want a hat just like that the model, Nicole, is wearing!  I know I do!  You can purchase the hat at her online store, Paper Moon Vintage.  
Many thanks to Nicole of Paper Moon Vintage (also on Facebook here) , Kat of GoForKat Makeup Artistry, and Allison Barcenas Photography for the collaboration on these photos!
Posted in 1930s, pattern line, repro patterns, website | Leave a comment

>Paris Flea Markets


Daydreaming back to 2009- my husband and spent two lovely weeks visiting friends in England and also spent a weekend in Paris.  I wanted to share some photographs I took while we were shopping the Paris flea markets.  Paris truly is a feast for the eyes and I was on artistic overload-  nearly everything popped out to me as gorgeous intentional or unintentional artistic composition!  I did have a card from the shop I took the first three of these photos of with their consent (it was in the Marche aux Puces de Saint-Ouen) but unfortunately I have misplaced it.  If anyone knows, please feel free to comment!
The photo above is actually a table of new old stock vintage buttons on their original cards!
Markets visited were Puces de Saint-Ouen and Porte de Vanves.
When most people think of the Paris Flea Market they think of Saint-Ouen.  This large market is made of many permanent structures that house smaller markets and can be an all day affair.  It’s HUGE.  Prices ranged from the uncommon deal to somewhat expensive- most prices seemed average.  We visited the Dauphine Market and the Vernaison Market.  The Saint-Ouen market is on the edge of the city and can be quite a metro ride from the city center and is not near any of the normal Paris tourist attractions.  It is kind of shady until you actually get into the market.  My advice is to make sure you have your return metro tickets purchased before you get there to make your way back somewhat quickly.  When my husband and I went it was very crowded and we had to stand in line for tickets.  My husband said people were trying to pickpocket him many times, even in front of the policeman and big dog he had with him.  After in the market, however, it seems pretty safe but take normal precautions you do when traveling in a strange city.
The photo above of the carosel horse was actually taken at the Tuileries, but it had a similar feel so I wanted to include it here.
Many thanks to Charlotte of Tuppence Ha’penny blog for pointing out the Lo-Fi App, which I used on my pictures!
Happy Friday!
Posted in flea markets, paris, travel | Leave a comment