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Monthly Archives: February 2013

HSF – We we interrupt your normal programming to bring you this special announcement


This weekend was a bit of a write off given that my boyfriend proposed on Friday! This HSF will be a bit delayed but I’m still keen to finish it 🙂


HSF Challenge 4 – Harem Pant

Inspiration Image

Inspiration Image

Arg with these harem pants! The lovely, soft, drapey look may look effortless but I’m certainly not finding the construction to be so. First off, I’m not very familiar with pant construction, having only made pants twice – neither of which were particularly flattering.

Second of all, in drafting a pattern there is maths! I wish I was better at maths but it does take me a long time to problem solve. As a younger child I was quite good at math but then when I was 16 I had a teacher who would hand back our math test in class, but he would hand it back in the rank you claim in the class! So if you scored lowest EVERYONE knew and in that class it was frequently me!. (Sorry for that brief therapy session but it was very cathartic!)

I made a first draft from a pattern at “Costume Goddess” which was absolutely terrible. The fit was awful and way to tight even though I used my own measurements as per the directions. Then I found another pattern at Amina Creations which worked a treat. They use a lot of Indian terms but the instructions are otherwise clear. I was very happy with the fit, there was just a little too much fabric in the crotch area but is easily adjustable.

harem pants

The colour that I have made them in makes them distinctly Princess Jasmin-esque. If only my midriff could be a small as hers…

They still aren’t quite a drapey as Lady Sybills though. Does anyone have any tips on how to make pants like hers? Or are mine good enough? I would very much appreciate a second opinion!

Challenge #4 – Embellish!

The brief for this challenge – “Decorations make the historical garment glorious. Whether you use embroidery, trim, pleating, lace, buttons, bows, applique, quilting, jewels, fringe, or any other form of embellishment, this challenge is all about decorative detail.”

While this may be true, it’s not something that comes easily to me. I have fairly bad eyes and they get pretty sore when doing close work for too long. Even just sewing hooks and eyes on can give me a headache if I don’t have good enough light! So I have decided to be a bit cheeky about this one and use fabric that already has embellishments built in. And what better fabric to use than sari fabric? I got a great deal, two sari’s for $50 while on a recent trip to Hamilton. (The sari shop also had some gorgeous jewellery but I managed to drag myself out before I got the chance to max out my credit card!).

So I am using this challenge to knock off two birds with one stone – complete the challenge AND get another piece ticked off my to do list – by creating an Edwardian evening gown. Given my fabric it will definitely be Poiret/Orientalist inspired wear. I will try do a post in more depth about Poiret and his revolutionary gowns. One of the things he was famous for was declaring war on the corset but I fear that I will need to be historically inacurate and wear mine if I’m to look at all presentable in one of his creations!

One of my biggest inspirations is Lady Sybil’s gorgeous harem pant outfit! I love the colours and the flow of the pant.

It is interesting as I think it you can see its heritage in this House of Worth creation from 1870.

To me, though the two are a good 40 years apart the seem very similar pieces that each reflect the time period they were worn in. The Victorian gown may have been daring in its use of pants but it definitely conforms to the lines of the period – the large bust, small waist and voluminous hips that you find in many day to day items. The Downton Abbey piece similarly demonstrates the fashion trends, moving away from the rigidity of the S-shaped corset and into the straighter/flatter lines of the 1920s.

I think my design will incorporate the harem pant with an overrobe similar to the below dress (again another Worth!) circa 1910.


What do you think? And does anyone have good tips for sewing chiffon? I’ve heard it can be a bit of a nightmare and I’d like to avoid any amateur mistakes!

HSF #3 – Under it All – Late Victorian Bustle

This one is a first, a challenge completed before the deadline!

booty view


For this challenge I completed a lobster tail. This has mainly been inspired by watching a new TV show – Ripper Street. I highly recommend it, particularly for Matthew McFayden and the costumes! It is also good because part of my New Years Resolution was to create a bustle dress and this is the first step!

For a pattern I used American Duchess’ lobster tail tutorial. It was super simple as long as I paid attention. I briefly lost the ability to sew straight for unknown reasons so there was some unpicking done but it all turned out alright!


The Challenge: “Every great historical outfit starts with the right undergarments, and, just in time for Valentines day, here’s you’re excuse to make them. Chemises, corsets, corded petticoats, drawers, garters, stockings…if it goes under your garments, it qualifies.”

Fabric: More bedsheets…

Pattern: American Duchess’ lobster tail tutorial

Year: Circa 1880

Notions: Ribbon, boning, and for closure it will be a hook and eye but right now its just a safety pin.

How historically accurate is it? Obviously the boning is different material to the original. I also machine sewed this rather than hand. However the extant bustles that I have viewed online all seem to be a similar shape and construction!

Hours to complete:  I was amazed how quick this was, maybe 2 hours?

First worn: To be worn…

Total cost: The boning cost about NZ$3 as I bought in bulk and the the bedsheet about $6. The ribbon from my stash.


More photos to come soon 🙂