Sewing · Victorian

Oops, I Did It Again Part I

I got distracted by the 1890s.

Actually, let me rephrase that – I fell for the 1890s again. And in a big way.

It started out innocently enough, with the decision to dress in the 90s for Easter instead of my original plan which had been utilising my 1880s tartan capsule wardrobe. It should have been easy enough since all I needed was to make myself one new shirtwaist. Ha.

I delved deep into my stash, certain that I still had some white lawn cotton tucked away, which I did, but I also unearthed a whole lot of other fabrics and the torrent of ideas began to crash through my brain.

The first thing I found as I was sorting through my stash I found leftover lawn cotton, almost the same colour as my Antique Rose skirt. Well, I had no reason to be saving it for anything else so I immediately designated it for becoming a shirtwaist.


I made it up simultaneously with the white one. I left both plain, without any lace trim unlike my previous one. And, for the first time, these two shirtwaists actually use the sleeve pattern that comes with it (which is the Truly Victorian shirtwaist pattern).

I made a new corset cover and gave it organdy sleeves in an attempt to give the shirtwaist sleeves a bit more support.

I also uncovered the taffeta leftover from making Mum’s outfit and found that there was enough for another 1890s skirt. Ha, it looks like Mum and I now have proper matchy-matchy mother-daughter outfits now 😂

Apart from needing enough room to cut these pattern pieces out, the skirt pattern goes together without too much fuss. I flatlined the taffeta with cotton broadcloth and used cotton organdy for the facing. I already had the organdy on hand, and Spotlight was having a sale on their broadcloth so that must have been a sign that I should go ahead with the project.


By now projects and ideas for extra projects had really begun to snowball. I forgot how time-consuming making ties was and have made two up – one in eggplant, the other in plum.

And, using some leftover coutil I made corselets in eggplant and plum. I’m loving how these smaller projects can change up a look just by adding them to an outfit or by swapping them out.

Last weekend I decided to try and alter a boater that I had bought from Asos and give it more of a ‘1890s’ look by reducing the brim and the crown. I had never done that before – I’m used to making my hats from scratch with buckram.

Once I had decided how much of the brim and the crown I wanted to reduce, I marked them and picked up the quick-unpick (aka seam ripper). I unpicked the stitches and cut the straw braid at the points I had chosen.

So far, so good. Now I needed to stitch the two pieces of hat back together. After a bit of manipulation it seemed to be a successful surgery. I edged the brim with bias tape to make it look a bit neater and then began thinking about how I was going to trim my reformed boater. I decided to embrace the big bow that you see on a lot of hats and made one up from leftover plum fabric.

But I haven’t stopped there, oh no, I am halfway through a cape and a muff, and have cut out pieces for evening bodice. This does mean that I’ve had to give up my 1819 project for this year but I don’t mind that so much. I love and am much more interested and invested in the Victorian era and, after the initial planning stages, I just couldn’t find the enthusiasm to get the 1819 projects underway.

Being able to let the 1819 project go gave me peace and removed a lot of the added anxiety that had been building up in the back of my mind. Work is insanely busy right now so it feels like an effort to get a couple of hours of sewing in once I get home every day. And, after the anxiety, stress, and eventual burnout that happened at the end of last year I definitely know that I don’t want to repeat that just because I’m too gosh darn stubborn to let a project go.

As long as I don’t go getting myself distracted again, Part 2 will be up here soon.

5 thoughts on “Oops, I Did It Again Part I

  1. Wow. What a busy girl! I like your shirtwaists they are very nice and of course the rest of what you doing is pretty good. Thanks for sharing.


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