Wednesday, 14 January 2015

2014 in Review, and a new blog!

Welcome to my new blogspot! This is mostly cross-posted from my LiveJournal entry, but with more photos. I thought it might be a good way to begin this blog.

I have added in extra photos of my Louisbourg project, including stays, francaise, and stomacher. The full dress diary for those can be found here.

Completed in January: 

- Louisbourg stays of wool twill, lined in linen and bound in leather, with metal boning - entirely hand-stitched. (1740s stays from Norah Waugh.) Since these photos, they have been re-laced front and back with linen tapes, and 1/4" linen tape has also been passed through the eyelets to strengthen them.

(And here's an awful photo of all of the undergarments together! Chemise, stays, and hoop, all hand-stitched. Stockings from American Duchess. Shoes made over from 1940s thrift store shoes.)

Completed in February:

- Smokey purple wool petticoat for under the silk petticoat of the Louisbourg gown (you can see it worn with the 1770s caraco down in September).

- 1530s English kirtle of red wool and silk velvet with silk velvet sleeves, entirely hand-stitched, worn with a black wool partlet lined in white linen, also hand stitched. All of this was made in one week before an event, because I decided I needed accurate Tudor clothing for the Renaissance theme.

Completed in March:

Nothing actually finished. I was plugging away at the Louisbourg gown and stomacher.

Completed in April:

- Louisbourg gown, petticoat, and stomacher! There's far too much info on these to put here; a link to the LiveJournal dress diary is above. Suffice to say the gown is entirely hand-stitched of pomegranate-dyed silk and the stomacher is hand-embroidered by me using naturally-dyed silks hand-reeled by my friend Greta from silk worms she raised. Based on the 1725 Robe a la Francaise in the LACMA.

Photo taken at Government House in Halifax. The book I'm holding is from 1720, so I couldn't resist bringing it along.

This stomacher was my first piece of embroidery. I began between Christmas and New Years last year, and finished in early April.

- 1840s tucked petticoat (entirely hand-stitched of cotton twill and cotton eyelet; cartridge-pleated onto waistband with hook and eye closure) - I need better photos of this! Remind me never to hand-stitch this many tucks on a 150" hem again.

Completed in May:

- Nothing completed, but everything was sewn on the 1770s caraco except the hem and I'd begun to paint it (see September).

Completed in June:

- 1850s/1860s pin-tucked chemise (entirely hand-stitched of very fine cotton batiste with two types of cotton lace) - please excuse the HORRIBLE bathroom selfie photo of this (I'm so embarrassed to post this!) - I need new photos of all my recent things.

Completed in July:

Nothing. Working too much.

Completed in August:

- 1840s corded petticoat (entirely hand-stitched of cotton organdy and cotton cording; cartridge-pleated onto waistband with tie closure; based on museum examples from the 1830s and 1840s). The 90" hem on this is based on extant petticoats, and I think it's the outer limit in terms of hem length - even at 90" it flutes in on itself a bit when other petticoats go over it.

- Another 1840s petticoat, much plainer (no tucks; just a large hem), of white cotton broadcloth, cartridge-pleated onto waistband with hook and eye closure

Completed in September:

- 1770s Dutch ensemble (hand-stitched caraco jacket of cotton I hand-painted, with hand-stitched petticoats; the hat in the Citadel photos was not made by me. Fichu is a store-bought printed handkerchief with green dye painted in by me to make it match my colour scheme better, and a green border dyed by me and hand-stitched on so that it ties in the back).

   So much yardage needed painting!

  At the Halifax Citadel Encampment

Also: pockets! Hand-stitched, linen-cotton with linen lining and cotton binding.

Completed in October:

- 1770s silk-cotton brocade jacket to wear with the Louisbourg stomacher. Somehow, I still haven't taken any photos of the finished product. I'll be wearing it to an even later this month, so I'll post some then. I swear it has sleeves now...

Completed in November:

- Green velvet 15th century German "house book" gown with grand assiette sleeves and linen wulsthaube headdress, entirely hand-stitched, with cut brass details up the front, and red leather shoes with cutouts, hand-stitched in period turn-shoe technique. The shoes were finished last year, but I'm including them here because I haven't posted photos before.

Here you can see the grand assiette sleeves:

And a close up of the back pleats:

The demiceinte belt is leather covered in black silk, with brass belt ends purchased from a brass-smith in the Ukraine:

As I said, the shoes were finished over a year ago, but I've never posted photos before. This photo is from when the shoes were half-finished; there is cutwork done on both now and there is an extra leather sole on the inside to cover the seam allowances.

- Viking Norse garb for a commission, based on archaeological finds (skjoldehamn hood made of wool and hand-stitched with the same seam finishes and decorative stitching as the original, linen thorsbjerg trousers cut based on the original find but machine-stitched, linen tunic cut geometrically the historical way but machine-stitched):

Completed in December:


- medieval pavy weave wool and silk:

  Blue wool warp / gold silk weft.

- Mittens! These aren't historical, really, although they'd work for turn of the 20th century (there were lots of mittens like this from the 1840s on, but with much smaller-repeat patterns on the front), but they were my first crack at colour stranding and I'm really proud of them, so they're going in!



- 7 yards of 35" wide red wool for an under-petticoat and a blanket for reenacting (was originally going to be an 18th century cloak, but it's really too coarse a weave and I can't get it to felt properly - but it will be enough to make a really warm winter under-petticoat and a lovely blanket!)


Completed just after New Years:

These were mostly made over the Christmas break, so I'm including them. =P

- 1820s wrap stays front and back (entirely hand-stitched of various cotton layers, based on examples in the Met and the Kyoto Institute) - more about these can be found on my facebook page because I was too lazy to post it to my journal. Once I finish the full set of foundation garments for this outfit - which are my January: Foundations entry to the HSF (well, the Historical Sew-Monthly now) 2015 - I will post a full write-up.

Hope you enjoyed this! I find I much prefer this platform to LiveJournal, and since a lot of the bloggers I like to follow are on blogspot, it makes it a lot easier to see what they've been doing.

You can also find me on facebook at Isabel Northwode Costumes - all my little updates, daily costume musings, and funny costuming things from around the web get posted there.

Thanks for reading!


  1. I hope you detail some of your projects! I'm especially drooling over the 18th century stays, Regency stays, mittens and embroidered stomacher! I'm totally intrigued by your weaving project!

    1. I certainly will! I'm hoping to take some better photos of both sets of stays and their accompanying underwear in the next week or two, as I have to update my portfolio anyways. The weaving projects will both become "things" in the next few months, but I don't know when haha. The stomacher will be worn with a new jacket next week, so I'll post some photos. =)

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  3. I just read through your entire blog-- you make such lovely things, and I so enjoy seeing your progress! I wasn't a fan of the 1840s, but seeing your beetle wing gown *may* have changed my mind. I can't wait to see the next period you tackle!