Its been 2 1/2 years….

2 1/2 years ago, I saw a dress at the costume museum that made my heart stop.  I’ve seen it again and my heart still goes pitter-pat when I see it.  In this case, absence did make  the heart grow fonder.1873 dress CCM g

1873 dress CCM h

1873 dress CCM j

I like the chenille trim.  I could make that.  They sell wool like that now.

I like the chenille trim. I could make that. They sell wool like that now.

Little silk tassels are added to the end.  It would take forever to make but it would be worth it!

Little silk tassels are added to the end. It would take forever to make but it would be worth it!

1873 dress CCM m

1873 dress CCM n

1873 dress CCM o

1883 dress CCM p

1883 dress CCM q

Yup.  I still love it.

Takes the gold star

The gold star winner of the last display from the Costume Museum of Canada (in my opinion) was this gold 1880’s dress.1880's dress military gold a

I just loved the military look on the bodice.1880's dress military gold dIt has a wonderful little bustle in the back.1880's dress military gold b

The detailing shows up  in the cuff of the sleeve.1880's dress military gold hThe above photo shows off the dark stripes in the gold.  1880's dress military gold c

Here is a better look at the back of the bodice.1880's dress military gold iBut I’m still lovin’ that trim on the front.1880's dress military gold eA piece of it separated from the bodice.1880's dress military gold fThis allowed me to see the front and the back so I can try to repeat the process.1880's dress military gold g

The bows on the skirt are the only thing I can’t get excited about.  I know it needed something but I’m not sure that was the correct choice.1880's dress military gold j

Sewing room to guest room

I’ve done some mad sewing this past week because my sewing room will be a guest room for the next few weeks and I wanted to be at a stage where I could still work on a project without a sewing room.  Actually, it wasn’t mad sewing.  Everything fell into place easily for the apron/over-skirt part of my next ensemble and it only took a couple of hours to get to the trimming stage, which is all hand sewing.

Best view!

Best view!  Love the waves of folds.

Love the waves of folds.

Back view.

Not sure if those sashes are supposed to be tied to look like an apron tied on.

Not sure if those sashes are supposed to be tied to look like an apron tied on.

Front view.

Boring as all get out.  But will be better once the trim is added.

Boring as all get out. But will be better once the trim is added.

I need a name for this dress.  The bodice will be a basque so lets go with 1872 Basque in Blue.  It rhymes and I like that.

Tea on the porch

This past Sunday, Victorian at Heart had its first official outing.  We headed off to the newly reopened Dalnavert Museum.

SAM_2871Dalnavert is my favorite house museum and last year I had a little cry-fest when it was announced that it wasn’t doing well and would be converted to office space (horrors!)  Enough people rose up and it was saved with a new plan to try to salvage it.  I for one, will be doing my bit and going a few times this year.

We started our afternoon on the porch. With some iced tea and shortbread cookies.SAM_2873

Shirley and I had the joy of meeting our newest member in person for the first time.  We had met through the internet but had not yet met her in person yet.  This is our new friend Lottie Lovett trying out my stereoscope.

SAM_2879Lottie is an excellent seamstress who made her lovely 1880’s bustle dress!SAM_2876aAfter our little snack and get to know you session, we toured the house.  We started in the kitchen.SAM_2884a From there, we went to the dining room.SAM_2894

Then the main hallway where I left my calling card.

SAM_2899aIn the parlor we saw some of the dresses from The Costume Museum that Shirley and I helped dress.SAM_2905

I saw a box for stereoscope cards that makes me think I need one….SAM_2910

From the parlor we headed upstairs…SAM_2899cand had a seat in the window seat.SAM_2919b

SAM_2919cI will conclude is posting now but I think I will show you some of the more interesting me aspects of the house next time.




The Paradise

Just finished Netflix binge watching The Paradise.

Credit for the photo and info on the show here.

Credit for the photo and info on the show here.

I liked it.  The show features the above girl, Denise as she leaves her small town to work in a large department store (a new concept in the 1870’s). There were some interesting plot lines and some cool characters but we all know why I watched it…costumes!  Some were really pretty and to my eye, good theatrical representations of what might have been worn.  I did have trouble with Miss Glendenning.  Some of her dresses in season one…they were often white with extremely strong contrasting colors in them.

Link to photo origin here.

Link to photo origin here.

They were so strong that it seemed like modern polyester material.  It probably was modern polyester but it shouldn’t have looked like it!  I also had some issues with the actress-seemed too old for the part of a young heiress in the 1870’s looking for a husband (in season one).  They married her off in season two and that suited better.


Dress done…now hat tomorrow?

I finally settled on how I will finish my over skirt and kept it moderate.  I decided that I can’t find that delicate line between wonderfully ostentatious and bat crap crazy.  I am a middle aged woman so there really is no reason why I couldn’t err on the side of conservative…if you can call purple floral print conservative. I went with the lace on the front.SAM_2678

And I managed to squeeze enough out of the lace to make a decent coverage of the ties in the back.SAM_2684

And the lace shows up nicely on the sides too.SAM_2685

More is more?

I finished the over skirt for Lilac Dream.



Now is the time to decide what, if any, trim will be added to the over skirt.SAM_2678

At first I liked it with nothing but I rather like the lace. With some fancy foot work I can get a lot of the ties done with the same lace.

In the modern world, less is more, but in the 1870’s they seemed to live by a MORE is more philosophy. So let’s try more. I made a pile of bows and still have 3 left. SAM_2679Hmmm.  That doesn’t seem quite right. Asymmetry bothers my modern mind.SAM_2680Nope.  Not the asymmetry that is off.SAM_2681Nope.

Let us try the more is more theory again.SAM_2682I don’t hate it…more?SAM_2683

Gads! I don’t know!  I think I need to walk away from it for a bit and let it marinate in my mind for a bit.

There is also the issue of the contrasting side panels that I am having a love/hate relationship with.  I have to love them…they are there because I ran out of the floral fabric. Maybe they need something…more….SAM_2676

Evil Sleevil next

I got a ton of hand sewing done this past weekend!  Bodice is all done except for the sleeves.  The faux shirt had to be hand sewn in and all the buttons-16-in all needed to be put on.  Kept me busy for a couple of

What am I gonna call this dress? 1872 Lilac…um…Lovely Lilac….no….Lily’s Lilac….no….ah….Lilac Bush….GADS NO!  1872 Lilac Dream.  Sure why not Lilac Dream it is.

HSF 15: #1 Foundations

I hope my sewing this year will fit into one of five goals.  One is to sew things that will make my current Victorian wardrobe more useful.  An example of this is I have an 1870’s mantle that doesn’t really go with anything.  That makes it useless.  I hope to fix that this year.

The second goal is to blast through some of those stashes (fabric and wool). If you sew then you know….

Third goal is  making something for others and I have a few ideas for my son that I’d like to work on.

Fourth goal is the UFO pile which hasn’t gotten out of hand but I’d like to keep it that way.  Okay, okay, I lied.  My sewing pile isn’t too bad but the knitting pile is moving into a hoarding kind of scenario.

The fifth goal is to keep my wardrobe from growing to much…really, there is only so many places I can wear this stuff.  So instead of growing my wardrobe I’d like to enhance the things that I have.  Add some trim, lace, beads…. what have you.  If you look at authentic Victorian clothes…at least the museum pieces…they have trim on their trim.  This goal will also help with the stash busting.

My first submission for Challenge one is going to meet the challenge and my fifth goal.  I took my bustle, which is a foundation garment, and I fixed the broken hook, shortened it because I keep stepping on it when I wear my flatter heeled shoes and I added lace because it was simply a bare bones garment.  Victorians would pretty up even their undies. (Oh that bodice on Trudy is one of those UFOs).



The Challenge: #1 Foundations

Fabric: cotton

Pattern: TV 101 wired bustle

Year: 1870-80

Notions: lace and ribbon

How historically accurate is it? The pattern and fabric are fine. The lace is a poly something and I’m not sure they would have put lace there. I’ve seen ruffles. It is plausible enough. So 70%

Hours to complete: As I said the bustle was made previously but it needed a repair on the hook and eye, needed to be shortened and was too plain so I added the lace. That took about 3 hours.

First worn: Can’t remember first time I wore it in its original incarnation. Summer 2013? I haven’t worn it since it has been updated.

Total cost: Can’t remember what original cost was. To do the repair, alteration and update $0. (Unless you count the thread…the lace was all given to me.)


So I have some plans similar to this entry where I can meet my goals, participate in the challenges for Historical Sew Fortnightly and not kill myself with deadlines that become less of a motivator and more of a burden. Wish me luck!