1770’s Corset and Panniers

I recently completed this corset and panniers, its the first things iv’e made with this mannequin and i’m really happy with how much detail you can do in something so small. not so happy with the binding around the edge of the corset, but hey, practise. As i made it over xmas i neglected to get photos of the process, woops.



Pattern Drafting

Spent my first sunny day off this year drafting patterns, I usually start with inspiration that will help me with the design I want.



I determine where the seam lines are in the outfit so that i am able to draw the shapes out, creating the basics for the pattern.

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I then place a piece of fabric on top of my mannequin, pinning it down so it is as crease free as you can get it and draw the basic shape on, following the binding lines on the mannequin.


I then cut out the shape, leaving extra to the sides of the shape and draw a more detailed shape.

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1660s Corset

I’ve always wanted to do a dress from the 1660s, the big puffy sleeves and low, risky shoulders are the staple of the restoration of Charles II to the throne of England. And now I can really focus on it and take my time ive decided to finally do it. One thing always stopping me was how complicated the corsets are and there isn’t many references on the types of undergarments avaliable. However there is one amazing example in the Victoria and Albert Museum which is still in great condition. I’ve never seen it there myself but this lovely lady has added pictures from her trip there.




Looking at it closely you can see the boning channels and where each piece attaches to the next and it turns out that i have the same corset in my book Underwear Fashion in Detail and between the difference references I have drawn a rough outline of the corset pattern.

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New Year, New Dresses

so… i had a reallllllllllly long break, i was feeling really overwhelmed with studying and this, and i have started the Duke of Edinburgh award so that should be cool, but i am back on it now. before Xmas i finished my Regency long sleeve dress, Lydia and the undergarments to go with it as well.

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I made pockets, but then changed my mind 😀

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I’m not 100 % happy with how the sleeves turned out but otherwise i quite happy with it, might even dare to take it with me to the Jane Austen Festival this September.

Arabella Progress

I had hoped i would have got a lot more done during my week off but it wasn’t to be, i did understand how far my determination would stretch and apparently its endless 😀 I’m so glad i didn’t just give up. I’m hoping to complete her end-of-week because i’ve just got the bodice left to do.

The farthingale was where i had the most difficulty, apparently wire will not do what you want it to and i’ve noticed there are a lot of variety of farthingale shapes in portraits and among others reconstruction works (future projects).




At first it wouldn’t move into the shape i wanted, but in the end with the bum roll underneath it created the shape i wanted, high at the back and a deep dip at the front, like these below.




And with the petticoat on the shape is better realised, i did have a fun moment when i could climb underneath and hem the petticoat and no one would have seen me, perhaps my shadow but great hiding place.




I’ve already started on the skirt and but i think because of the weight of the Taffeta the farthingale is starting to lose its shape so i may add a flounce on to top like the black and white picture above.

Mistakes in Creativity

I read somewhere that to be creative is to allow yourself to make mistakes, well that was what i did on Tuesday and Wednesday  not willingly mind, but i excepted it and learnt from them.

I choose to make a late 16th century smock on Tuesday and it was important that i cut the neckline right to go with my 1590’s dress i was making and the corset i had just finished. However something went wrong mid action and perhaps i choose to ignore it or i was unaware of it and the smock was sent back 10 or 15 years. It did occur to me in the end that there is only one right way to cut a smock/chemise.

On Wednesday i carried on with the 1590’s dress and choose to make a large french farthingale to go underneath the skirt, it looked pretty simple (i had never made one before though) and went ahead without really considering it at first. I realised later on that i should of took into consideration what i would be boning the farthingale with, as it turned out that my trusty flexible wire wasn’t going to work, weighing the whole thing down. I also miscalculated the shape of the waist, i’m still not sure how i did this, but i will figure it out.

I felt pretty lacking in motivation at the end of wednesday, ready to go to sleep and forget the two wasted days, in my eyes. But my lovely tabby (samsung tablet) reminded me to read some verses in the bible and my motivation flooded back, reminding me whats most important and why i’m trying so hard. Anyway, heres hoping the rest of the week will be far more productive.

Magic Monday

So, I’m on holiday from Monday (i actually have loads of holiday coming up before Xmas) so i figured this would be a sewing week, trying to get as many costumes done so i could move on to writing the pattern guides. I don’t think I’ve mentioned Arabella yet, she my 1590’s french farthingale dress pattern that was all the rage at the end of Queen Elizabeth’s reign.

I started by drafting the pattern for a 1590’s corset onto my mannequin (i usually always make the pattern from scratch) which then surprised me how well it worked and then i used this as a base to draft a pattern. I cut all the individual pieces out and machine sewn the lines for the boning to go in. I used a quite flexible garden wire for this because it represented the boning used in these corsets quite well.

Sewing up the whole thing, i stitched the sides together and added metal eyelets to the front (obviously they wouldn’t have had metal eyelets back then, but when your really rubbish at sewing them like me, its much easier). I then began to cover up the edges with extra fabric and all round the corset.

I have not finished the shoulders yet because it was to late to use sewing machine, but that’s my next bit. Tomorrow I am hoping to complete the smock and farthingale.