Monday, December 2, 2013

A Visit to the Smith College Historic Costume Collection

This is waaaaaay long over-due post, seeing as I was back East before Halloween but anyhow while I was visiting Smith they let me loose in the historic costume collection. I got to about 1910 (their closets go chronologically) before the professor who I was meeting with had to go to set up an exhibit. Unfortunately, all I had on me was my phone for pictures and it was so hard to choose favorites to photograph but here are some of the ones I loved.
1860's ballgown bodice. The dress had a skirt with a border brocade pattern and a matching day bodice
An early 1900's evening bodice, complete with pigeon-breasted silhouette 

So much frilly

The details on this were amazing
It was so fun and informative to look through the collection, and I gained many new insights onto how to be more correct in my construction and finishing.

Monday, November 25, 2013


I've been so busy lately that I've had no time to take and upload photos, but I'm finally catching up!
I finished my Dickens dress, trimmings and all. Hopefully later on I'll have some in action shots of it at Fezziwig's.

Bonus shot of me trying it on before it was trimmed
Progress is also being made on the ballgown! I've been rather sluggish on it, but I'm hoping to utilize the upcoming breaks to have it ready for the PEERS 12th Night ball. 
The sleeves are only unfinished because I'm debating whether or not they need lace

That's all for now!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Plans For The 1840s Ballgown

I am in desperate need of a ballgown. I already have all the undies for about 1840-1870 and since I mildly dislike dancing in hoops and would rather not make myself six more petticoats, the 1840s it was!
I went to the library to look at some old copies of the Godey Lady' Book that they had and I found this wonderful dress:

I just so happen to have about 15 yards of  super wide lace from a planned bustle dress that never came to be so I knew immediately that this dress was the one. As far as color goes, I'm thinking a nice spring green like this one from Renaissance Fabrics:

Here's how the swatch looks with my lace over it:

I'm not the hugest fan of the ribbon decoration so I was hoping to replace them with roses, even though ribbon is more economical. I plan to debut the dress at the PEERS Twelfth Night Ball, and with all luck I can have the dress itself finished by Christmas.
Patterns for 1840s evening ware are extraordinarily hard to find. At a recent Gaskell Ball I received a tip from a lovely lady in an early 1840s dress that the 1830s pattern from Truly Victorian works very nicely with modified sleeves.

An Introduction

I'm Kaila, and this is my blog. I'm a costumer, history enthusiast and an appreciator of all things Victorian.

The Grand List of Projects (will be updated):
1840s Outfit for Dickens
Black Bustle Dress Restoration
1840s Green Ball Gown