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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 ūüôā


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 Рthe 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‚Äôs you‚Äôre excuse to make them. Chemises, corsets, corded petticoats, drawers, garters, stockings‚Ķif 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 ūüôā

HSF Challenge # 2 – UFO is Finished. Sorta.

A friend rightly commented last week that there is an ebb and flow to sewing/costuming. This challenge¬†came at¬†an ebb (?)¬†time. For this last week I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather and the week before that was just very busy. All of this is just a long winded excuse to say is that I didn’t complete the crinoline. But because I¬†wanted to have something to present for the HSF,¬†I turned it into a petticoat. (Note – this was done yesterday by¬†the deadline¬†but I didn’t get around to posting)

A little bit narrower than a crinoline...

A little bit narrower than a crinoline…

I’m not exactly pleased with it but given that my historical wardrobe doesn’t have a single petticoat and this will be a good all rounder that can work for a few eras.

Wonky hem....

Wonky hem….

Just the facts ma’am..

The Challenge: To get something off our unfinished objects pile

Fabric: Again, thrifted bedsheets. Not classy but it works

Pattern: Simplicity 9764. I used the pattern meant for a crinoline, just changed the waist to a draw string so a few friend would be able to wear it.

Year: The crinonline would have been 1860s but now it could range. This could go over a crinonline or under a range of different eras to bulk it up a bit.  

Notions: I added hem from my stash which is a bit wonky in places. I think it was originally removed from something else (its like 10m though so I’m not sure what from) and the person who removed it didn’t cut very straight….

How historically accurate is it? I haven’t actually done much research on undergarmets but I’d say very. Petticoats have been worn for hundreds of years to get different shapes!

Hours to complete:  Probably about 4/5? But they were very interspressed with procrastinating and being sick.

First worn:¬†¬†I’m getting around to it…¬†

Total cost: NZD$8 for the sheets

As I said, this isn’t a garment which I’m proud of but now that its done, I’m happy its in my wardrobe. One of the points the Dreamstress makes is that just like our Tshirts today, people of the past wore simple items like this with far more regularity than elaborate ball gowns.

Another challenge done! I hope the rest of the challengers were a bit happier with the results!

UFO Challenge Update

The end goal...

The end goal…

Yesterday was the first day I was able to get any sewing done. The week was filled with grown up things like getting bugeting done and cleaning ūüė¶ Then¬†on Saturday I went to a wedding, getting there at 11.45pm, and it ended at midnight! This was because my boyfriend works a 12 hour shift on Saturday that ends at 9pm, then he went home showered/changed and we had to race to another town Hamilton to get there. I was glad we made the effort as we got to see people at a brunch the next day but it was a bit of a whirlwind!

What I looked like for most of this weekend…

I did have time for a quick stop in a sari store and found a great steal which I think might pop up in my embelish challenge…

The crinoline is going pretty well. I’m using a closed seams which means everything is taking twice as long, but as I don’t have an overlocker it makes sense in the long run. I may try and sell this afterwards and I don’t want it falling apart.

I am glad my bottom is not actually this big...

I am glad my bottom is not actually this big…

This evenings task will be waistband and maybe start on all the boning channels. Maybe. Its pretty daunting.

HSF Challenge 2# UFO – Victorian Crinoline

I think the next project I shall work on is a Victorian crinoline that I first whipped together for my girlfriend about 6 months ago.

Somehow I don't think those neon colours are correct for the period...

Somehow I don’t think those neon colours are correct for the period…

I created the above set literally an hour before we walked out the door hence why it looked like it did. I’ll be interested in doing a proper version of this using Simplicity 9764 as I’m considering making an absolutely massive set to go under a proposed ball gown using¬†TV453 and I want to see if the boning I have will be strong enough.

I started cutting out the fabric but I used quite a multitude of colours (well just a buttercup yellow and white) since I thought no one would ever see it. However now that it will be up on the blog and part of the HSF I suppose I shall have to make it up properly. *Sigh* I am already dreading sewing in the bone channels. Whenever I’m working with crinolines I always wish sewing machines had the equivalent of cruise control!