Sunday, February 20, 2011

This blog has moved....

Dear Friends
I have moved the contents of this blog across to my main Blog at and hope you will transfer your bookmarks across. For more intimate costume chatter, you can friend me at .
As you will become aware, I make costumes from 1480s right through to the early 1900s, and what I am working on is influenced by what events I am attending. I am a member of the SCA, the Australian Costumers Guild, the Jane Austen Society of Australia and the American Costume Society. I attend historical costume events both in Australia and overseas and will share my experiences with you at the new blog. I collect antique clothing, and as time permits will share it with you as well.
In 2012 I will resume teaching historical costuming classes in my studio in Yarralumla. If there are any specific classes you would like me to hold, please let me know. I need a minimum of four in a class for it to run at a discount rate, otherwise can arrange individual classes at a quoted price.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Bronzino Dress Diary

My current Renaissance gown is based on Florentine 1560s gowns, in particular those pained by Bronzino. After this heat is over I want to fix it up and possibly make another one with fabric overloading my attic.

Initially I'd like to make a
coverciere (related to the English partlet) using the the gown worn by Eleanor of Toledo as my inspiration. This partlet is made of cords tied in a net-like fashion, then beaded.

Agnolo Bronzino: Portrait de la duchesse Eleonore
Galerie Narodni, Prague

The sketch below is from the Janet Arnold Book, Patterns of Fashion, 1560 - 1620 which I am using as the basis of my research.

Eleonora of Toledo with her son Giovanni de' Medici
Agnolo Bronzino, 1550:Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

My 4-panel sleeves are seen in the extant dress above, Eleanor and her Son. The Florentine sumptuary law of 1439 limited trim and embroidery to only be on the sleeves of an outfit. Sleeves were highly decorative, so I have used gold beads to join them at regular intervals and still allow the chemise to show through. I'll be adding trim used on the bodice to edge all the panels.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Experiment in pattern drafting basics

I'm experimenting with making a pattern from one of my extant regency gowns. Somehow my lines don't look right, and I'm seeking comments from people more experienced than myself at this. 
Pictured on the left is the back pattern piece, and then with rough lines drawn over it. It is originally a size 6 adult.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Regency Open Robe #2

I've been busy and could not work on this gown until now.
Since drafting the pattern I've come to the conclusion it is much easier to work with the Janet Arnold pattern instead of the Norah Waugh version.

I've used the back and side back pieces from The Elegant Lady's pattern, and the rest is drafted up to match.
The pattern is missing the front piece at the moment as I ran out of interfacing. It is basically pieces of fabric joined together at the seams.

Pleats pinned into place using the illustration in Janet Arnold as a guide.

Pinned to my dummy. The interfacing is very awkward. Looking forward to using some real fabric soon.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Regency Open Robe c. 1795

Next to be added to our collection is the 'open robe', seen in Sense & Sensibility and commonly referred to as The Picnic Dress. I've seen dressmakers call this as a half-robe, however Norah Waugh in 'The Cut of Women's Clothes' refers to it as an open gown.

I am considering using the pattern of an open gown c. 1795 from the Victoria and Albert Museum that Norah Waugh published in her book, The Cut of Women's Clothes and the drawstring gown from Jennie Chancey's collection.

The Gallery of Fashion at shows the open robe worn as an outdoor garment. "Robe a la Turque" [below] is from November 1794 and is a nice example of an afternoon dress.

Empress Josephine [below] wore a sleeveless open robe at her coronation in 1806.

1808 Princess Borghese

This brown open robe [below] is found at Fashion on the Ohio Frontier: 1790-1840.

"Dress (open robe) [English] (C.I.37.46.1)". In Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. (October 2006)

Below is a Wedding dress in 2 parts (overdress) dated about 1799

Marblehead, Massachusetts, United States
Center front: 134.6 cm (53 in.)
Center back: 177.8 cm (70 in.)
Dress: silk satin, embroidered with silk and metallic thread, silk trim;
Petticoat: cotton mull embroidered with silver

Classification: Costumes

Object is currently not on view

Wedding dress in two parts, worn by Eunice Hooper at her marriage to her cousin John Hooper, in Marblehead, Mass. Overdress of white satin (now cream colored), short waisted, surplice line in front, open down entire length of front, fullness in back in narrow pleats caught to high waist line, hanging free to form train, elbow length sleeves trimmed with folds of georgette crêpe caught with circlets of artificial pearls. Shoulder, center,and side back seams, edges of sleeves, and entire edge of overdress except for train finished with white silk fly fringe.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Gift of Mrs. Ward Thoron, 1948
Accession number: 48.1198a

Provenance/Ownership History: Gift of Mrs. Ward Thoron, to MFA 1948

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Sewing Classes

Sewing lessons are now available for beginner/intermediate level sewers who wish to make a historical costume.

Hourly rates are as follows:
Private lesson, student brings all supplies (my machine may be used) $20.00/hr.
Semi-private lesson, students bring all supplies (my machines may be used) $15.00/hr./student.
Small group (3 students), students purchase/bring all supplies (my machines may be used) $10.00/hr./student.

Private lesson, all materials supplied $30.00/hr.
Semi-private/group lesson, 2-3 students, all materials supplied $25.00/hr./student.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Amy's Regency Gown

I made this regency ball gown, a size 6 in a lovely embroidered silk.