Category Archives: 1890s

1898- Trim Design Inspiration

I’ve already announced the new, lovely jacket pattern- Sophie.  Here are some great inspirations taken from 1898 Ladies Home Journal that can inspire you to trim your own version in a different way than initially show.  There is no reason why you could not substitute soutache, braid, or even embroidery in the place of topstitching.

Here is the original pattern illustration:


And here are original period illustrations of similar garments:


The swirls in the image above are “black satin appliqué scrolls”.  This could easily be done by cutting bias strips and hand stitching them in place.  It may even be pretty to add a thin braid to the edges.  I think the scrolls on the sleeves are especially fun!


The image above appears to me to be something like a velvet ribbon, or bias cut velvet, edged in a braid.  This would give great dimension to a jacket, as it would have different texture and visual interest.  The topstitching, similar to on our coat pattern, is on this coat as well as the trim.


Although this does not have trimming (except the capes), this is a great illustration of how you could add faux flap pockets and bigger buttons for the more exaggerated 1890’s silhouette.  I would suggest lengthening the jacket below the waist for these styles, too, to make the coat more balanced with the addition of the pockets.  A little fiddling in the mock-up stage could change the coat from a scalloped coat to a straight hem, and the omission of cuffs would put you right in line with the jacket at the lower right.

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1898- Home Dressmaker Advice + Free Clip Art

Hello there!  Here’s another bit to share from a Ladies Home Journal from 1898.


Here’s a page of suggestions for the home dressmaker.  I think this term should come back- there’s been past discussion of the term “sewer”, which can mean one who sews, or a sewer for waste.  So people call themselves sewers, seamstresses, sewists.  I LOVE dressmaker.  But I digress, here is the article- reformatted to fit easier onto the blog page.


Also on this page was this cute ad.  Don’t you LOVE the bicycle?  Bicycling was hugely popular in the 1890’s for women, and somewhat shocking!  You know those bike runs people have?   We need an 1890’s one.  Even I would go out and ride a bike if I could wear a costume like this.

I also love the targeted marketing.  We can see what the lady of 1898 would find desirable.  You could probably substitute earning and iPad or teeth whitening today. Lol!


Because the lettering and image are so cute, I have set them aside here for you to use as free clip art!  Feel free to use for your blog or website.  I’d love to see ads using the lettering below!

youcanobtain2 bicycle-clip-art

Happy Friday!

1890’s Inspiration: Home-Made Muffs and Collarettes

I am working on a new 1890’s pattern, so as inspiration, here is a free article for you that I transcribed from the Ladies Home Journal, November, 1898.  I hope these provide you with inspiration for making little accessories to keep you warm in the upcoming months!


ny one of the pretty muffs or collarettes shown on this page will prove a welcome Christmas present to either, wife, mother, sister or friend.  The pretty set made of astrakhan cloth, shown in the illustrations, will be found easy to reproduce.


The muff is of the cloth, and made over a shape ; it is lined with silk of the new blue shade, and at one side is a rippled rosette with a tiny Rhinestone buckle in the center.


The band for the neck is of blue velvet, piped with the astrakhan, and where it is crossed is a scant rosette of the velvet with the buckle in the middle.  Rosettes finish each end.


  The hat has the crown and brim of astrakhan, the cloth being drawn closely over one of the new shapes to be worn off the face.  The broad spangled quills are caught in place by a velvet rosette, and a clover bow, also of the velvet, is under the brim so that it rests on the hair just in front.


The rather elaborate set of black satin in illustrations, shows a flaring Medici collar of black satin lined with figured silk in light colors.  The edges of both collar and muff are outlined with a cord of heavy black and white silk.  The collar flares well away from the throat, which it should be made to fit, while the cape part is laid in flaring bloc-plaits.  At the neck is a narrow black ribbon, lopped in a tiny bow in the front under a Rhinestone buckle.  The muff, a veritable bag shape, is of material like the cape.  It is drawn together at the top under loops of ribbon, and a small strass buckle is in the center.  If one prefers it a piping of fur or satin may be substituted for the cord, but the cord is the newest in style.


The simple but elegant-looking muff of tan cloth is made of cloth matching the gown.  It is semi-oval in shape and lined with cream Bengaline, the sides being arranged in scant frills that permit the lining to show.  In the center is a small fur head, from under which fall four fur tails, all being one of the dark shades.  A muff made in this way may be worn with any gown provided always that it match sin color, and that the lining of the frills is selected with an eye to that prevailing in the costume.


Any woman who has many tiny tips- white ones- left from this hat and that wrap, may hie herself to the dealer in feathers, and by cleansing those already possessed and adding a few to them she may make a dainty boa, the one which may be fastened at the throat with a bow of white satin ribbon, with its loops and ends “fixed” after the very latest fashion.  To go with this there is the muff made of broad figured ribbon and finished at each side with frills of ribbon to match.  A gig bow of plain white satin is on top, contrasting well with a compile of tiny white feathers just beside it.  In appearance this set is elaborate.  There will be but a very little money gone from one’s purse, through the usage of wisdom and the combination of good taste will be great to create this pretty and stylish belonging.

There are many attractive belongings that do not cost as much money as time and dexterity, and that deftness that is really a talent.  Most of us can make our muffs and collars, otherwise there would be many more cold hands and sore throats. The cape collar of cloth, shown in illustration, which may be worn over the coat or without it, has a slightly curved air.  It is lined throughout with the Bengaline, the shaping of the collar showing the lining.  Around the neck, making a distinction between collar and cape, is a folded band of black satin ribbon arranged in a full bow at the back, wile in front, as if they were clasps, are two fur heads with several small tails falling from under them.  A more expensive cape of this kind, suited for mourning, would be one of crape lined with dull silk, and trimmed with ribbon and astrakhan heads.


A most stylish set is the cloth one shown in illustrations.  It is made of gray cloth, although any shade matching the gown may be used.  The collar, as well as the muff, is made of shaped pieces tailor fashion, the stitching on the right side being done at each section and around the edges with heavy silk.  There is a decided flare given to the muff at each side,  while dark crimson velvet bows graduated in size are at the top and fall well forward.  The collar has a cape that ripples slightly, but the very high collar is straight, the stitching on it being very conspicuous.  The cape is short on the shoulders and comes to a decided point in front, its fastening being concealed under many loops of crimson velvet.  Both muff and cape are lined with an inexpensive gray fur which adds to their comfort as well as to their beauty.

Next to shaping one’s muff the greatest care must be taken to make the layer of cotton, really the layer, give not only the soft, full loop, but all vicissitudes in the shape of “lumps” of wadding must be straightened out.  The cloth muff, which is specially appropriate for the fur-trimmed cloth gown, will obtain this season.

There are many inexpensive furs, in bands, heads or tails, that are effective on the muff or collar and yet add but little to the cost.  Often the bust little woman who goes out by the day, sewing busily and with many a bright idea, since she is interested in her patrons, will evolve a muff form almost nothing.  One recently seen was oval-shaped, made of a bit of black brocade left over from a dress, lined with coarse white silk that was new but did not cost much, while on tip, from among loops and ends of ribbon- also new- hung tiny tails of ermine- entire cost, three dollars.  But the buyer of the materials for this very stylish muff understood that there were small, almost unknown, shops where a bit of fur or of pasesmenterie could be bought at a reasonable price.


Something absolutely new is shown in the silk collar and muff in the illustrations.  They are made of soft, thin, golden-brown silk laid in accordion plaits pulled out as illustrated.  Satin ribbon bows in bands and loops make an effective contrast, the ribbon upon the collar being  little wider than that upon the muff.

All the muffs and collars illustrated upon this page are inexpensive, and any one of them may be made by the so-called “handy” woman, with an ease that will surprise even herself.  Other materials than those suggested here may be substituted, the only absolute requirement being that both the muff and collar shall be made soft and warm.

Finished UFO Project, and a Peek at Things to Come…

Did you know that The Dreamstress is hosting a neat Facebook sewing motivation group for this year?  It’s called the Historical Sew Fortnightly, and every two weeks there’s a new challenge.

I missed the last challenge, but I got this one finished in time for the UFO theme (unfinished object).  This jacket was based on an 1899 jacket pattern from La Mode Illustree, and I don’t mind saying now, that this is the pattern that I’ve slowly been working on in my free time as the next Wearing History pattern release.  The project was started a year or two ago, with an original pattern, but gradually morphed into a grande project, as I kept finding more and more that I needed to do to make the pattern more accessible and understandable (markings, seam allowances, grainlines, and instructions were all missing, and the pattern pieces needed alterations to get them to fit together correctly).  I’ll have more info on it once it’s completely finished and I have the pattern up on my site, but for now I’m just glad to share preview pics I took at work today :) I went all out on this jacket and did a bunch of tailoring on it to make it extra nice.


This Easter’s Hats and Bonnets- Ladies Home Journal- April, 1897

If you’re following me on Facebook you may have seen a photo I posted this week of a lovely find I recently received in the mail- several years of bound Ladies Home Journal magazines.  I have been itching to share some of the content with you, so today we’ve got hats and bonnets from the April, 1897 issue.  The layout of this page made it quite hard to share a scan (the magazines are a large format), and the layout was bizarre with very small pictures, so I have transcribed the article here, complete with the remastered pictures a little larger than they appeared in the original.


The fashionable materials for this Easter’s hats and bonnets are chip, manilla, Leghorn, Neapolitan, Madagascar and English straw, and all the straw braids, especially those imitating satin.  Black velvet is largely used for trimming with moiré and stain ribbons, deftly looped.  Ostrich tips and long feathers are in vogue, though flowers are given preference over everything.  The big Parma violets, as well as the enormous roses and poppies that were so generally used last season, continue to obtain, while camellias, tuberoses, white lilies, lilies-of-the-valley, blue hortensias, ragged robins and primroses are counted as quite new.

An extremely smart little bonnet (no. 1) is made of dull red straw, the front being turned back, exposing the hair, somewhat after the fashion of a Scotch cap.  Very slightly to one side of the front is a bunch of black ostrich plumes, caught in place by a Rhinestone clasp.  The simplicity of this bonnet is its special charm, while its style is cited to show that the woman who looks best when her hat is off her face has been considered.  A little bonnet (No. 2), which may or may not have ties, has a small frame covered with a drapery of white satin embroidered with jet, turquoises, and silver spangles.  It is raised on the left side and decorated with pink camellias and one large black silk poppy.

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>Random Sewing Projects

> Actually sewing something for myself.  The Folkwear Walking Skirt is done with the exception of a hem and the 1890’s Sporting Jacket from Laughing Moon has been started.  Here’s the pic!  It’s lined in a cotton calico.  The fabric is all wool and was $2 a yard in the garment district!  I really like the way the pleats came out in the back :)

I have some more to show for the 1890’s jacket. I’m quite pleased! It’s a really neat pattern and I like how easily it goes together, even if there are quite a lot of pieces. The pleating wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be. The hardest part was getting the point on the collars flat.

Jacket’s nearly done! It has sleeves, it just needs to have the hems finished, the buttons sewn on, and the hooks and eyes done.

I just finished the Folkwear Schoolmistress Shirtwaist.
It sucks. It looks fine, I guess, but it doesn’t really look that period. It’s funny, the reviews on the GBACG site are good- maybe it’s just me (which happens now and again). The collar was much too small for the blouse and I ended up having to double the front plackets over to make it fit. The notches on the sleeves are a joke- they didn’t match up right at all so I ended up making up the sleeve placement. Other than that, it was pretty darn easy. I don’t like how small the collar band is. But it will do it’s duty, I suppose. It’s in the wash now so I can get the marking pen out before I sew the buttons on, just in case the old buttons rebelled against the washing machine, then I’ll take some pics of it with the suit.
Here’s pics of the outfit I made, and even *gasp* underwear!  Not at all matching, hillbilly plaid flannel, but they’ll keep me warm.

Here’s the Schoolmistress’s Shirtwaist from Folkwear.  Still didn’t get the sleeve drape right, but oh well.

And here’s everything together :)