Most in the reenacting and historical costuming communities spend countless hours and large amounts of money researching and executing the perfectly period-appropriate hourglass corset or bustle. We feel elegant and oh-so-Victorian with our suddenly-tiny waists and perfect posture.
It may be hard,then, for we, as modern women who don a corset for a few events a year, to understand the many difficulties presented by wearing these garments every day, and why there was a movement right at the start of the Victorian era to do away with them altogether.
While there are wonderful Victorian dress patterns available, either published in the period or drafted from extant dresses, there is very little information around on how to put the pieces together in a historically accurate way or complete the other finishing details that go into making a dress of this style.
If you're going to go for accuracy with your Single Pattern Project, Sunny Buchler redresses the balance for you this month with her photographic analysis and comparison of the construction techniques used in four 1860s bodices in her personal collection.
Nine pages and over a hundred large and detailed clickable images in this article alone will give you every minute detail you could ever want to know about constructing your bodice!
The Commons on Flickr is a collection of historic public domain photographs from a variety of institutions from around the globe, including the Library of Congress, National Galleries of Scotland and George Eastman House.
Marion McNealy shares some of her favorites from this collection from around the world.
Have fun finding favorites of your own and exploring this interesting look at the past!
As co-owner of the Lord of the Rings Costuming Website and the F-Costume Yahoo Group , Judy Mitchell is a costuming evangelist. In May, she will head up historic costuming activities at this year's CostumeCon in Baltimore, MD. Judy joins us this to discuss her passion for Scandanavian costumes and to give us a preview of what to expect at CostumeCon.
This month we have a question on sources for where to buy silk ribbon, drafting a corset with gores and the rules for the Single Pattern Project.
Submit your questions now on the "Ask a question" page for next month's column!
We welcome questions about any sewing or costume related subject, and your questions will be passed on to the group of experts to answer. You're welcome either to specify whom you're asking, or not to, whatever is your preference. Anonymous questions are also welcome!
This month Lynn shows us how to add large areas of silk flowers or ribbon decorations to a hat, without using glue and without sewing each one on individually.
Why would you want to add decorations to a hat in this way?
There are several reasons, but the most important would be to save the base hat from being damaged, either because it is vintage or because you might want to redress it in the future and anything you do now will have to be undone.