All posts by Lauren

A costume history nerd and wife, I live in Southern California with my husband and two kitties. I love costume history from the 18th century through the 1950s, but the Edwardian era and the 1930s are my long time favorites.

Finished Projects: Regency Shift and Short Stays

Ok, so I really only just finished the shift.  The short stays were finished last year and I never took proper blog photos.

- The Shift -

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And one “in progress” pic.  I am actually pretty proud of this, because this picture is taken inside out!  I did a pretty good job of those seams, if I do say so myself :)


Pattern:  Country Wives- Two Chemises- 1805-1807

Fabric:  100% Linen.  Lightweight.

I was recommended this pattern by a friend, and after I got it finished I loved it.  I’m actually halfway through the other view in the pattern, too.  I had been putting off making a proper Regency shift for well over ten years, so it’s about time I made it!

The pattern is basically about 6 pages of written instruction, telling you how to cut and assemble a shift.  There are minimal illustrations. I was really frustrated by it at first, but after I figured it out I loved it.

This pattern is for historically accurate sewing, so the instructions call for piecing the width of the shift, as fabric widths were narrower in the past.  A little math and reasoning allowed me to cut it full width so I could cut out the step of adding a panel.

I found it extremely frustrating that each of the two large panels (for front and back) were to be cut 40″ long, and the pattern gave allowance for two yards of fabric.  36″ + 36″ = 72″ long, which is 8″ shorter than the 80″ that would be required (assuming that the person who sold me the fabric cut it on grain. Which they didn’t.  So when I pulled a thread to make sure I was exactly on grain, it was even shorter than 72″ long.)  So I hemmed and hawed, and posted on my Facebook page, and finally realized I needed to cut it CROSS GRAIN.  Duh.  But if would have saved a lot of headache if it was just noted down in the pattern.

Other wishing that there were instructions included for cutting it full width and not piecing, and other than the whole cutting cross grain conundrum, the pattern went together very easily.  I did a lot of handwork- I flat felled my seams by hand,  hand sewed my neckline casing, and hand sewed my hems, but the side seams are done by machine by French seams, and the stitches that don’t show are done by machine.

I did shorten the sleeves on the chemise I’m currently working on (the other view of this pattern) because I think they’re just a bit too long and too full to go under all the things I’d like to make in the future.  That view has drawstrings at the bottom of the sleeves and gathers.  Well, you’ll see if for yourself whenever I get it finished!

For those interested, I bought the pattern from Wm. Booth, Draper.

I do sell the Laughing Moon stays and shift pattern in my Wearing History Store, if you’re looking to make your own shift.

- The Stays-

I don’t know how many of you remember, but last year I was really trying to wrap my head around short stays. If you’re interested, I did two blog posts with my research.  One here and One here.  This is actually my fourth pair of Regency stays.  I made two sets of long stays (each of which was a disaster in one way or another), and one set of short stays.  But my short stays accidentally got shrunk in the washer (oops), so I had to make a new set of short stays.  Plus, I wasn’t entirely convinced that they were what I wanted.

These were actually finished last year but I didn’t get any proper pictures. So- ta da! Pictures!

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Pattern: Self drafted.  I honestly don’t remember much about it, and I was a bad girl and didn’t really keep much track of what I was doing or what went into it.  But I did find one progress picture.


Fabric- I believe I used a cotton canvas sandwiched between two layers of linen.

And for the sharp eyes among you. YES, I messed up my eyelets.  I wanted to do spiral lacing and then spaced out on how to do it.  It was a very stressful and busy in my life dealing with family stuff during the time I was making these last year, so I’ve given myself a free pass ;)

Have you been doing any sewing lately?


Extant Garment: Circa 1911 Evening Dress

Yesterday I had an amazing day with my friend, Lauren, of American Duchess.  To end the day we spent a wonderful few hours at my friend Nicole’s shop, Paper Moon Vintage.  If you get a chance to get to L.A. and you love vintage clothing (especially 1950’s and earlier, which are her specialty), you definitely have to check it out.

Well, we “ooh-ed”, and “aah-ed” over the beautiful pieces Nicole pulled out.  And I’m so, so thankful and amazed that I was able to give this distressed beauty and home in my collection.  Nicole knows my love of earlier pieces, so I’m so, so happy she let me have this beauty for a rather good price.  It may be distressed, but I am completely in love with the multi-dimensional aspects of design of this period.

This dress found itself into a movie costume house, until, in the end, my friend Nicole picked it up.  And now it lives with me!  The label says “circa 1911″, and “size 10″, but it’s most likely a 1970’s or earlier size 10, because the waist is about 25.5″ on my dress form!

I could not resist taking these photos and sharing her with you.  I am so in love with this dress!

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There are no labels inside, but I am in no doubt that this was originally either a designer piece, or made by a custom dressmaker of incredible skill.

Does anyone have any guesses or feelings about what designer may have created this piece?

New Dress Day! The Grace Dress from Wearing History Clothing


- – Already SOLD OUT.  Thanks, everyone! – -

I’m very excited to announce a new dress from Wearing History!

Inspired by classic film and colorful prints, the Grace dress is a mix of casual and modern that’s sure to be a hit.

VERY limited edition and handmade by my own little paws- this dress is currently only available in 3 sizes- Small, Medium, and Large, with one dress of each size.  Future availability will depend on if I can find more of the fabric.  But not to worry, because if you love the dress and you’re too late to grab yours, I will be releasing this dress in more prints in the future.

You can now shop here to grab your dress before they’re gone!


Finished Project (and Pattern Sample): “Elsie” 1910’s Blouse

I finally have a finished project to share!

Here’s a finished project that just happens to also be a pattern sample of the “Elsie” 1910’s blouse pattern.

It went together really quickly, as soon as I had time to do it.  I had previously checked the pattern when I released it, but I didn’t have time to sew up a proper, shiny, sample.  The only difference is that I opted for a drawstring and casing on the inside rather than a set waistband, so I can wear it for both period wear (with a corset) or modern wear (with jeans).

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And with the skirt of the 1910’s Suit pattern, so you can get the period effect.


I actually cut this out for the previous Historical Sew Monthly project (blue), but I got crazy busy so didn’t get to get it finished.  This month’s challenge, however, is “Stashbusting”, and since this has been waiting to be made since I came out with the pattern last year, and used all fabric and notions I already had, this definitely qualifies!

Here’s the info for the Historical Sew Monthly-

What the item is: WWI Era Blouse

The Challenge: Stashbusting

Fabric: White and blue stripe cotton or cotton blend shirting.

Stashed for?:  The fabric was bought for the other Edwardian/1910s blouse samples (the version of which is still a WIP), and the Cordelia skirt patterns.

Pattern: Elsie 1910s Blouse Pattern (Wearing History)

Year: 1916-ish

Notions: vintage mother of pearl buttons, rayon seam binding on the inside for a casing, and cotton twill tape for ties.

How historically accurate is it? Pattern is 100% accurate, but I assembled with modern methods.

Hours to complete: 5-ish.

First worn: Not yet!

Total cost: Pattern is $20.50, or e-pattern for $9.99.  For fabric, trims, etc, I’d say under $10.


Vista Civil War Re-Enactment

Last weekend my husband and I finally attended the Civil War Reenactment in Vista, CA.  It’s only been about 6 years since we said we’d go!

I had great fun taking photos. I didn’t dress up this time, but it was a wonderful, warm day, and I enjoyed photographing the attendees and re-enactors. I’ve picked my very favorite photos to share here.

Click on any of the photos to enlarge. Enjoy!

Last weekend my husband and I finally attended the Civil War Reenactment in Vista, CA.  It’s only been about 6 years since we said we’d go!

I had great fun taking photos. I didn’t dress up this time, but it was a wonderful, warm day, and I enjoyed photographing the attendees and re-enactors. I’ve picked my very favorite photos to share here.  Enjoy!


Announcing Regency Patterns from Laughing Moon on Wearing History!

Super excited to announce that I am now stocking the high quality patterns from Laughing Moon on my website!

So now, whether you’re interested in 100 years ago (WWI), or 200 years ago (Battle of Waterloo), I’ve got you covered!

As always, two patterns can ship in the same flat rate priority envelope, so you can mix and match patterns to get the best shipping rate.

Here’s some of my personal favorites that I’m so excited to stock!

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But that’s not all.  I’ve got more that aren’t pictured here, and a few awesome 1890’s patterns.


I’ve personally made the jacket from this one and it’s AWESOME.

Here’s me at the Met in New York :)


Happy pattern shopping!