Category Archives: Historical Costumes

Here you’ll find the costumes I’ve sewn and accompanying accessories I’ve created – from about 1500 till the 1950s.

Edwardian Neckwear: Collars, Jabots & Fichus

Edwardian Neckwear - Collars And Jabots
Miami University Liberal Arts Club, 1905

Neckwear was an important accessory in the Edwardian era. Jabots, collars, ties and scarfs lend variety to the severe shirtwaist, add a splash of color to dark wool dresses and help to keep the dress clean. Collars were usually detachable in the Edwardian era, ‘since the collar soils so much sooner than the waist.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1907)

Most store-bought neckwear was expensive in the Edwardian era, so it was recommended to make lace jabots and collars at home with lace and fabric scraps. Continue reading Edwardian Neckwear: Collars, Jabots & Fichus

Edwardian Athletic Corsets For The Edwardian Sportswoman

Edwardian Sportswear, The Athletic Corset
Fencing corset, 1903

‘As every girl who loves the outdoor sports knows, corsets and athletics have long been on unfriendly terms with each other. For some strange reason, not entirely understood by those who devote a part of every day to athletics, the designers of feminine harness have made little or no study of a corset suitable for such exercise, and they certainly have made no effort to combine the straight front with the freedom of movement required in playing golf and tennis.

For the very first time on record peace has been established. We now have the pliable, easy straight front that is adapted to the needs of the athlete. Continue reading Edwardian Athletic Corsets For The Edwardian Sportswoman

Victorian & Edwardian Christmas Gifts – Part 2

Victorian And Edwardian Christmas Gifts
New York, winter scene in Broadway, 1857

‘In many cases no gift could be so useful as an apron, or nightgown, or petticoat neatly made, with loving thoughts stitched into the long seams and difficult gathers.’ (The American Girl’s Home Book of Work And Play, 1890) Continue reading Victorian & Edwardian Christmas Gifts – Part 2

The Victorian Christmas Tree

The Victorian Christmas Tree
The Christmas Tree, Godey’s Lady’s Book, 1850

The ‘door was thrown open leading into the great exhibition-room. Here was a magnificent Christmas-tree hung all over with colored wax tapers; here were tables covered with white cloths, and glittering from head to foot with the most bewitching doll-babies, work-boxes, card-cases, silk dresses, rattles, penny whistles, shawls, sashes, drawing-implements, and I don’t know what all, for big and little, with a name written upon each, and ever so many funny inscriptions to make it all the more merry.’ (An American Family In Germany, 1866, p. 183) Continue reading The Victorian Christmas Tree

Victorian & Edwardian Christmas Gifts – Part 1

Victorian Christmas Gift Ideas - Victorian Shopping
Sleighing in New York, 1855

‘Christmas is coming. […] Such a capering and hiding; stitching, knitting, clipping, cutting, and pasting; red paper and blue paper; spangles of gold and silver; purses, cuffs, lamp-rugs, slippers, and neck-ties; gewgaws, and filigree, and gimcracks; green trees, hung all over with colored balls, little angels, and candy horsemen; wax tapers and bits of looking-glass; such surprises hid in fancy boxes and bags, on the tops of the wardrobes, behind the bureaus, and under the sofas, for Tom, Dick, and Harry; mysterious whisperings, secret conferences, knowing looks, nods, and winks, and sudden hidings away of articles in progress of manufacture but not yet to be seen Continue reading Victorian & Edwardian Christmas Gifts – Part 1

Victorian Christmas Gifts For The Home

1900s Christmas Tree
Christmas tree, 1907

‘The shops are showing a marvelous array of gifts that cost small fortune and there are many of us who have to pass them by, regarding them as the fleshpots of Egypt. That is no reason, though, why we should deprive ourselves of the pleasure of giving, nor deprive our friends of the pleasure of being remembered by us. There are a thousand simple and not simple articles that can be made at home for a small cost of material. If they cost much labor, all the better. Then our friends know that we have really wanted to make a sacrifice for their pleasure. Continue reading Victorian Christmas Gifts For The Home

Victorian Store-Bought Christmas Presents

Victorian Store-Bought Christmas Presents
The heart of the shopping district a few days before Christmas, 1903

‘It was the afternoon of Christmas eve. The weather was delightfully mild for the season, and the sky was without a cloud. The streets of Philadelphia were unusually crowded, and the whole appearance of the city was gay and animated. The fancy stores were resplendent with elegant ribbons, laces, scarfs, and reticules, and the shops for artificial flowers, made a display which rivalled nature in their most blooming season. It was a pleasing spectacle to see so many parents leading their children, all with happy faces; some full of hope and others replete with satisfaction; some going to buy Christmas gifts, others carrying home those already purchased.’ (The Pearl, 1830, p. 106) Continue reading Victorian Store-Bought Christmas Presents