Category Archives: 1840-60 – Victorian

Here you’ll find costumes and accessories I’ve created suitable for the 1840s, 1850s & 1860s – the Victorian era – as well as other Victorian topics.

DIY Victorian Corded Petticoat

Victorian Corded Petticoat
Victorian corded petticoat & blue-white-striped corset

I made another Victorian corded petticoat because I didn’t like the first one that I made a couple of years ago. Corded petticoats were mainly worn before the invention of the steel cage crinoline in 1856. Skirts were already very wide in the 1840s and especially the 1850s. And to support these heavy skirts some kind of foundation was necessary.

Cording was often used in the Victorian era to reinforce underwear like corsets and petticoats. In the past, I’ve already made a Victorian corded corset, a late Victorian or early Edwardian corded corset and a Victorian corded petticoat even though corded garments aren’t my favorite: They always wrinkle and are never stiff enough in my opinion. 😉 The cording adds stiffness to the petticoat but it still collapses in on itself unlike a hoop skirt. Continue reading DIY Victorian Corded Petticoat

Victorian Black Wool Dress

Victorian Black Wool Dress

My Victorian black wool dress is completely sewn by hand: it took me 28 hours to hand-sew the dress! I used thin 100% wool broadcloth and the dress is partly lined with cotton fabric. And even if the Victorian dress is black, it’s not a mourning dress! A dress like this would’ve been worn as expensive but serviceable everyday dress in the Victorian era. Continue reading Victorian Black Wool Dress

Victorian Pink And Cream Fleece Cape

Victorian Pink And Cream Fleece Cape

My Victorian-style pink and cream cape which is inspired by mid-Victorian capes, mainly by this pretty 1860s cream wool twill and quilted pink silk cape. It’s a reversible cape: one side is pink, the other cream. I used non-authentic polyester fleece fabric instead of wool fabric, so the cape is just historically inspired. But the cape is lightweight and warm.

I’m wearing the cape with my 1860s copper taffeta dress. I’ll be updating the post when I have more and better photos of the cape.

Victorian Bonnet Timeline 1840-1869

victorian bonnet timeline 1840s 1850s 1860s


1840s bonnets: close round the face in a ‘horseshoe’-shape; from the side view a long, rather straight bonnet shape; ‘coal scuttle bonnet’ (original 1840s bonnet); sometimes the brim and crown piece are still constructed of two pieces (1840s bonnet)

1850s bonnets: wider round the face in a ‘halo’-shape; from the side view a shorter, more sloping shape; each year, more of the forehead and cheek is revealed (original early 1850s bonnet, mid 1850s bonnet); the decoration, such as frills and flowers, is rather at the side (photograph of bonnet trimmed with roses at the cheeks), or round the face (photograph of bonnet with net frill) Continue reading Victorian Bonnet Timeline 1840-1869

1850s Printed Cotton Gown – The ‘Sleeping Spinner’ Dress

1850s Printed Cotton Gown - The 'Sleeping Spinner' Dress

Printed cotton dresses were worn in the Victorian era in the morning while doing the housework, often with a floral pattern on dark ground. Because of the pattern, they don’t show dirt so readily; and because they’re of cotton, they can be easily laundered. Continue reading 1850s Printed Cotton Gown – The ‘Sleeping Spinner’ Dress

1840s And 1850s Hairstyles

1840s And 1850s Hairstyles

The typical hairstyle of the 1840s and 1850s was a bun at the back of the head with slight variations. At the beginning of the 1840s the bun was worn low, in the later 1840s it was worn high at the back of the head, and in the 1850s it was again worn low in the neck. The hair was parted in an Y shape, which can be seen in this 1854 painting. The bun could be just a twisted strand of hair; but the hair could also be braided (-> my tutorial) or rope braided before it was put into a bun. For evening wear the bun was more elaborate. During the day, the hair was usually covered: indoors with a day cap, and outside with a bonnet. The day cap (other names: morning cap or breakfast cap) was worn worn in the early part of the Victorian era by all women (young, unmarried and married women), later just by married women, and since the 1860s or 1870s mainly by older, married women. The front hair was worn in curls or loops.


Early 1840s hairstyles (low bun)

Early 1840s hairstyles (low bun) Continue reading 1840s And 1850s Hairstyles