Eye catching trim

On a recent outing to an antique shop I discovered one lone cabinet card.  Often they are boring or damaged but this one was in wonderful condition (at least the person was in good shape…the corners got a bit dinged) and NOT boring!  There is a trim on the bodice that I’d love to replicate on a future dress!


Its the cording on the front that caught my eye.


Love the hat too!


The photographer is G E Willis and he was working in Carleton Place Ontario. He worked there from 1873-1895.

Her dress and hair says 1880’s to me.



Chunky Cowl

I used my Thanksgiving Day weekend to whip up a cowl.  I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it but I actually like it so I will be keeping it for myself.  I just hope I actually use it!  I have dozens of scarfs and shawls and things along those lines but I don’t make full use of them.  Many folks wear them like jewelry but I just get to hot!  Here is the completed project.IMG_20171009_163701936




New toy

This is another non-Victorian post.  Sorry ’bout that!  But, I bought a new toy and thought it would be fun to share it with you.  It is called an Embellish Knit.


It is basically a mechanized spool knitter.

I bought it with two intensions…one is to take cheap crochet thread and use it to make cording for decorative trims on Victorian gowns.  Cording and soutache is NOT cheap.

The other intension is to take all the cheap wool I have been hoarding for years and turn it into chunky yarn.


My first project used up 3 balls of this synthetic wool.

The Embellish knit turned those three balls of wool into one massive ball of chunky wool.


The beauty of chunky wool , of course is that it knits up quickly.  The heavy neck cowls seems to be popular these days so I may try knitting up one of those with this stuff and see what it looks like.

Once I have knitted it up I have no idea what I will do with it.  Donate it to charity?  I have no idea.  Another idea is to just make balls of chunky wool with my machine and old wool and see if I can sell that at my friend’s craft sale table.  One thing I know is craft sales don’t just attract people who can’t craft; they attract people who can craft who are looking for ideas.  A knitter may be attracted to an unusual looking wool.

Hopefully my next post is a completed project post-either a neck cowl or a corset cover!  Have a good Thanksgiving Day Canada!

Fantastic Fringe

I know some people hate the Victorian dresses with fringe but I love it.  The more the better!  So when I saw this Victorian and Albert Dress I fell in love!

It’s time frame was 1855-57.

1855-57 day dress V&A a

It is made with “silk plush” which I translate as a silk velvet.

1855-57 day dress V&A c

I wish velvet of any kind wasn’t so expensive because I’d love to copy this!

1855-57 day dress V&A b

When the urge gets stifled

I felt like sewing this pass weekend.  And now my sewing room is functional.  Not done yet, but functional.  I’ve had a corset cover cut out for ages and I thought “here is a quick project that I can use to fan the flames of my sewing urge.”  It is like a curse thinking that.  I got the whole thing assembled and was ready for the finishing the edges when I did a fitting.

Dang thing was way to small!  I had to redo all the darts and part of the side seams.  Only thing I didn’t have to alter was the shoulder seams!  Even those I’m thinking about.  If I let them out a bit I will have a bit more room in the pits.  I decided to set it aside and look at it again next weekend.

Here it is so far.IMG_20171003_075551700

I decided to get going on that cover when I made my Edwardian shirtwaist.


In the above photo there is a chemise under the shirtwaist.  The chemise hides the corset.  (Yes, my dress form wears a corset.  I put the dress form down to a smaller than me size and put a corset on it that fits me.  I laced it as tight as I wear it and then stuffed the loose parts.)  The corset showed very plainly through the Edwardian shirtwaist.

The new corset cover will have even better coverage than my poor chemise-especially in the cleavage area!  Much more suited to my mature age.


Pop exhibit: My favorites

The exhibit was grouped together in sets.  The first set was coats.

My favorite was the leopard skin coat.  It has leather frog closures and sable trim.

Actually, I was uncomfortable with this one.  My main feeling was “poor kitty” but in a small corner of my brain, I could not deny this 1950’s coat was stunning.  I’d wear a faux fur version of this for sure!

The second set compared 1850’s to 1950’s.  Both were silk.   And I liked both.  First up 1950’s.  Could easily wear that today.  16

1850’s bodice with attached overskirt.  The under skirt is missing and the mannequin made the modern hoops sit funny.  The hoops could have used a petticoat or two as well.

I must have a fabric in this color!


The lace the dressers put at the collar is lovely!  And I like the broach as well.10

The third set was edging in around the turn of the century.  And my favorite was the 1897 Charles Worth Gown designed for Emily Ashford Countess of Warwick. 20


I once held this dress in my hot little hands.  I could have sworn I blogged about it but can’t find it now.  Gosh I was happy!

Also in this turn of the century set, was a dress I have blogged about before.  A black lace dress from 1900.26

It was displayed with wonderful accessories.

The next set was a 20’s theme.  Not my favorite era but I can appreciate the work in some of these dresses.  Notably in the bead work.  From 1922.



From 1923.

Accented with a nice beaded bag.


The next set was two dresses, one from the 20’s and one from the 50’s in mauve.

I liked the 1957 dress.


The final set looked at more modern dresses from the 60’s-2000’s.

Notable to me was the Paco Rabanne metal dress.  One must assume some sort of slip was worn under it.


Any of you costume convention folks interested in how this thing went on, here is a back view.  Clever idea!


There was a 60’s dress that seemed to be a nod towards 20’s styles. How many beads went into the making of this!

And finally, there was a dress I noticed because it wasn’t crazy.  It was from a designer that I think was crazy. Scassi!