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Ostrich PlumesMy passion for Ostrich plumes started when I saw the opening credits of the 1997 movie Wings of the Dove.

Where do such plumes come from?

How do milliners fabricate them and can I create such confections?

These are all questions I asked myself then, and they led me on a course of study and experimentation. In this article I will share some of what I have learned along the way.


Detail of the Brown Bustle SkirtI've often been frustrated that there are wonderful Victorian patterns available, but there is very little information on how to put the pieces together or the other finishing details that go into making a dress.

My goal with this article is to address this gap by doing a photographic analysis of the construction techniques used in three Victorian skirts in my personal collection. Due to the Single Pattern Project, I'm most interested in elliptical skirts, but I only have one in my collection. Therefore, I've chosen a skirt from the preceding Hoop era, and one from the following Early Bustle era to compare to the elliptical skirt.

Color in HarmonyYou've been asking us for more information about using color and line in clothing, so we have hit the library and found the most relevant (and entertaining!) information from history.

Bows and loopsor My hat looks like it has a dead fish on top because the bow just lies there! How can I fix that?

One of the most often used decorative elements on late Victorian and Edwardian hats were bows and ribbon loops.

To a non-milliner, trying to recreate some of these fantastic hats may seem a daunting task. Here are some tricks that simplify things.


Catalina Micaela of Austria, Duchess of Savoy, 1585, Alonso Sánchez CoelloThis month there is the wide variety of questions that Ask the Experts is known for!

Questions this month range through how to find tutorials on styling Georgian wigs, good sources for aiglettes, pattern drafting instructions for a late 1920's day dress, how to make a frou-frou petticoat and a wire mesh crinoline and sewing corsets without wrinkles.

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!

Vivien HoffpauirVivien Hoffpauir is an artist and designer of boundless energy who has found business success bringing her enthusiasm for "Lolita" style to American women.

This month, she talked to us about her creative influences, her unique and very original twist on traditional 18th century European clothing - and what led her to start up not one, but two commercial fashion labels, including one of the first lines of Lolita clothing sold outside Japan.




Tags: Interviews

Bloomer Club Cigars, 1890Most 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.

4 Day BodicesWhile 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!

Portrait of Doña Amalie de Llano y Dotres, Condesa de Vilches, by Federico de Madrazo y Kuntz, 1853The Victorians loved their trimmings! But modern just isn't the same. Gina shows you how to make the authentic period trims that make your gown "pop".

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