Thursday, August 07, 2014

Pattern Review: Edwardian Bust Improver

Bust Improvers
Victorian Bust Improvers from

I don't remember where or when I first came across a Victorian bust improver; but I do remember thinking how naive I was in believing that 19th and early 20th century ladies were actually quite blessed in the bust department. Boy was I wrong!

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

5 Tips for Overcoming (Historical!) Project Procrastination

Shelf of unfinished projects just waiting to be done!

Here we are seven days into the New Year and if you are like us your historical project to do list is already filled with things that are calling your attention. Not to mention your New Year's resolution to stay on top of everything and finally finish those projects you started last year or maybe the year before is starting to feel very overwhelming!

Monday, July 15, 2013

To Pipe or Not to Pipe? Piping in Civil War Bodices

Contrasting Piping
1860's Afternoon Dress with Contrasting Piping, Met Museum.

To pipe or not to pipe... that is the question.

And once I decide to add piping, which seams DO I pipe?

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Make-Up and Cosmetics in the 19th Century

Vintage Make-up Compact
Vintage Make-Up Compact
Let me put my face on...

That's what my Grandma always said before she went out. Funny thing was she never wore any make-up that I was aware of so what exactly she was referring to I will never know. Perhaps she was just checking to make sure she was presentable out there, in society...

While my Grandmother may not have worn any make-up I on the other hand wear it religiously. In fact, you will most likely never see me without it. So when I first started as a historical interpreter and got my first look at re-enacting I was in for a rude awakening.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Dangers of Umbrellas

Lady with Umbrella
Early Victorian Lady with Umbrella

At the last meeting of the SVSE, we were going through some of our reference materials and came across a copy of the Godey's Lady's Book. One of the members skimmed through it and discovered an entertaining article about how ladies carry their umbrellas; which then started a lively discussion on the topic. Apparently ladies have no common sense when it comes to handling such things... we are after all, such 'delicate figures' and yet we do tend to take up a 'great more canvas than men do' while holding one!

Sunday, April 07, 2013

The Evolution of 19th Century Paper Sewing Patterns

Today we can buy patterns for almost anything imaginable but in the 19th century this was not always the case. Just like us, ladies wanted to dress in the latest fashions of the day and they took their inspirations from fashion plates pictured in popular ladies magazines such as Godey's and Peterson's. By the late 1860's sewing machines were becoming widely available and affordable and it was quite common to find one in many households; therefore garment making became much faster and easier for the average lady.

Demorest's Mirror of Fashions, 1865
Demorest's Mirror of Fashions, 1865

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Dressalytics: Bringing Historical Fashion & Clothing to Life!

1872 Visiting Dress, Met Museum

Welcome to our first Dressalytics post!

Each month we will be analyzing fashion plates and original costumes from movies, museums, historical magazines, artwork etc. and explain how each historical costume is made and give you ideas for constructing it yourself; so that you can turn that dream must have outfit into reality!

Some of the things we will be looking at include: support structures, fabric selection, ideas for accessories, what patterns to use as well as when and where the outfit or clothing piece would have been worn.