Here you will find articles I’ve written on a variety of topics relating to sewing and historic costuming. Some have been previously published at Your Wardrobe Unlock’d or Foundations Revealed, but most have been written exclusively for Yesterday’s Thimble.
Have you ever wanted to copy a favorite costume from TV, film, or theater? It can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! The first part of this article breaks the process down into five basic steps that will help you get started.
In the second half of this article, the five steps of reproducing a costume are demonstrated with the creation of a doll-sized replica of a costume from The Phantom of the Opera.
Are you in charge of the costumes for an amateur play or musical production? There are many pitfalls to watch out for! This guide will help you make the best costumes possible, even if you’re on a budget. The first section delves into historical authenticity, along with choosing appropriate fabrics and trims.
The second installment of this series discusses patterns, the importance of mockups and correct fitting, and includes many tips and tricks for making successful costumes.
The third installment of this series looks at how linings and interlinings can improve your costumes, as well as vital details that can make or break a historical costume, including lace, hats, and accessories.
Do you know the difference between a morning dress, afternoon dress, and evening gown? What’s appropriate to wear while receiving visitors? While visiting friends? Taking a carriage ride? The first half of this article explores the ins and outs of daytime dressing—the Victorian way.
Do you know what’s appropriate to wear to a Victorian dinner? Or the difference between what to wear to the opera vs the theater? What about while swimming or playing croquet? The second half of this article explores the rules of Victorian clothing as they pertain to eveningwear and sportswear.
Finishing your seam allowances is a must, but the easiest method isn’t well-known! Learn all about the oft-forgotten overlock stitch, including which presser foot to use, and tips for professional results.
While sewing isn’t an inherently dangerous occupation, working with sharp shears, needles, and pins has its risks. Here are 14 tips to help you sew safely!
Pinning is a vital part of sewing, but it can be difficult to figure out what kinds of pins to use, which direction to place them, and so forth. This article provides ten tips to help you out.
Everyone has certain sewing tools they couldn’t work without. Here’s my favorites!
Instead of running to the fabric store for new sewing tools, take a look around your kitchen or home office! Here’s ten ways to use unconventional items in the sewing room.
Whether your sewing area is small or large, it’s a good idea to keep it organized. In the first half of this article, we’ll look at the main pieces of furniture you need for a successful sewing room. (First appeared at Your Wardrobe Unlock’d.)
Whether your sewing area is small or large, it’s a good idea to keep it organized. In the second half of this article, we’ll figure out a floor plan, and look at how to organize your fabric, tools, and supplies. (First appeared at Your Wardrobe Unlock’d.)
When Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera came to town, it brought along a traveling exhibit of costumes! In the first of this two-part article, we’ll take a close look at the Footman’s livery, a Hannibal Slavegirl’s ballet costume, and Piangi’s Hannibal armor.
Continuing the examination of the costumes from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera, we’ll take a close look at the Phantom’s suit and cloak, Christine’s Aminta (“Point of No Return”) dress, and Carlotta’s silver and black “Prima Donna” dress.
When I had my wedding gown shortened, it was a disaster! How can you prevent a similar alterations nightmare? Here are the problems I encountered, so you can learn from my mistakes.
Have you ever considered posting your own sewing diaries online? What kind of diary is best for your needs? How can you organize it, so it’s easy to read? What about taking good photos to illustrate your diary? This guide will help you get started! (First appeared at Your Wardrobe Unlock’d.)
Professional dressmakers always perfect the fit of their pattern before they cut their expensive fabric. In this article, you will learn the vital process of creating a mockup.
We’ve all heard the legends of women who attained 13-inch waists thanks to their whaleboned corsets, which, by the way, caused them to faint and swoon every time they took a deep breath. Are these stories true? In this two-part article, we’ll look at the truth about corsets and what their actual purpose is. We’ll also ask the questions: were minuscule waists the norm? And did women really remove their lower ribs just to attain a smaller waist?
In the second half of this article, we’ll examine several more myths that persist about corsets: How painful and restrictive are corsets, really? Did women really faint, swoon, or die from their corsets? Do corsets deform the body? And did women really require a maid’s help to get dressed?
Is there a connection between chivalry and historic costume? While wearing a Victorian gown in public, I made a few observations that might shed light on the issue.
I have in my possession two petticoats from the late 19th century. Let’s examine them and see how they are similar and dissimilar, what sort of sewing techniques were used in their creation, and whether we can narrow down the time periods they originate from.
Have you ever wanted to design your own original costume? How can you be sure it’s authentic in style and detail? The first of this two part series will look at how you can mix and match antique fashion plates to come up with something new. (This article first appeared at Your Wardrobe Unlock’d.)
The second of this two part series will explore the creative process behind designing your own costumes. Going beyond the basics, we’ll look at how you can find inspiration for your own unique designs, making them original, yet wholly authentic. (This article first appeared at Your Wardrobe Unlock’d.)
Twelve steps to significantly improve your sewing! By using these simple techniques, the quality of your garments is sure to be enhanced.