The Lengberg Castle Brassiere

My foundation garment for my late medieval/early Tudor costume is done. It is by no means perfect, but it is certainly functional, and I’m quite proud that it is entirely handsewn, including all the eyelets.

My version of the Lengberg Castle Brassiere, plus one of my helper cats. The other helper cat is probably under the skirt, which is her favorite hiding place anytime I have a gown on my dressform.

I’m not going to post an entire how-to, as there are others who have done this better than I, so I’ll just point you to them.


Katafalk: Lengberg Castle Brassiere (I wish I had paid more attention to the shapes of her pattern pieces. I think it would have given a better fit than what I came up with myself.)
Agatha’s Underwear (Beautiful lace inset in this one.)
In Pursuit of Medieval Excellence (Good pictures and descriptions of the original brassiere found at the Lengberg castle as well as period artwork that depicts similar garments.)

Planning Stage: Medieval

I’ve had ideas for a late Medieval/Early Tudor gown percolating in my head for a few years now. It started with the Costume College theme several years ago with a focus on bringing literary characters to life. While this should have been right up my ally, I ended up a bit paralyzed with choice. One of the costumes I started to envision was a green gown inspired by the poem “Tam Lin” in which Janet “kilted her green kirtle.”

While the gown never did happen that year, I purchased some fabric and patterns to get started that have now been languishing in my stash.

So when the GBACG announced a fairy event for this year, I decided that this was my opportunity to make Janet’s gown a reality. (In the poem, Janet rescues Tam Lin from the Fairy Queen.)

At this point, my main inspiration is from the painting “Meeting at the Golden Gate” by Jean Hey (Master of Moulins). I want to stick with the kirtle style with a distinct seam at the waist. I love the short sleeved look with the different color long sleeves. In other paintings in which I’ve seen this or similar styles, the over skirt is often “kilted” up revealing a different colored lining as well as a contrasting underdress.

While Janet from the poem was most definitely upper class, my own budget must be more modest, so I’ll be sticking with linen and wool for the layers of my garment. I haven’t quite settled on what I’ll be using for the undergown and lining, but I’ve got a beautiful, vivid green wool to use for the outer gown.

Tissot Times Two

Over the last several weeks, I’ve been working on making a new early bustle dress for myself in which to attend the Tissot exhibit at the Legion of Honor. At nearly the last minute (well, the weekend before), I decided to make a dress for my daughter as well, since my friend would bringing her daughter.

We had an amazing time with our friends, though my daughter was certainly all photographed-out by the end of our day.

Since I didn’t blog throughout, I’ll just run through key details about dresses.

Fabric: About 12+ yards of cotton voile that I purchased in the LA fashion district maybe eight years ago. Muslin for lining.

Bustle: I made the trained bustle from LaughingMoon#112, which I now LOVE after wearing for the day. Very helpful for managing the train.

Underskirt: Truly Victorian #208 made up without the apron. It’s the B length but made up without the pleating and bustling, which I didn’t intend to do, so the train is longer than I’d meant to make it. For my next wearing, I’ll either bustle it to take up some of the length, or cut it down the length it should be for view A.

Bodice/Polonaise: Truly Victorian #410. I did my usual modification to shorten the back and take out the excess fold where a modern shirt would have a bust dart. I probably could have used a bit more taking in here and there, but I was in a rush. I shortened the sleeves, but realize now I was a bit overzealous. In my concern over trailing sleeves in my food, I ended up with the pleat in the back of the sleeve hitting too far above my elbow, which made me feel like I needed to keep pulling the sleeves down all day. In future, I’ll only take length from the bottom part of the sleeve.

Belt: A beautiful striped ribbon with picot edges purchased from a vendor at Costume College a couple of years ago.

Hat: Purchased from Mela Hoyt-Heydon at Costume College two years ago.

Girl’s Dress: Truly Victorian #600 made up in a size 5. I shortened this by cutting the hem on the size 3 line and it was still far too long for a girl my daughter’s age. I’m wondering if when TV graded the pattern, they simply kept the length the same for all of the sizes. At any rate, there’s a good 3-4 inches in the hem that can be let out later, which works because even the size 5 is a little large on my small-for-her-age six-year-old. She is wearing a chemise and drawers I made her a few years ago, and I winged a petticoat for her, but I think I might eventually make a little bustle to go with this as well.

Retro Slytherin

Two years ago, I turned 40. At the time, I wanted to take a quick trip to Universal Studios to see Harry Potter world. It just wasn’t in the cards at the time.

This year, I finally get to add a trip to Universal to the tail end of my Costume College trip. I’m super excited and have added some quick sewing projects to my preparations.

My favorite so far is this little top I made using the book Gertie Sews Jiffy Dresses. The pattern is the Popover dress, shortened to be a top.

This is my second time using the pattern. I used the size for my upper bust measurement, since it’s so roomy in the bust already. This time around, I raised the neckline a bit and opted to finish the neckline with bias instead of the folded over facing.

For a final touch, I added spangles and beads to create snake eyes on the shoulder ties.

Next up…a pair of pedal pushers using the pattern from Gertie Sews Vintage Casual.


Sometimes, I daydream about making every moment of my free time all about making perfectly historically accurate reproductions of underpinnings and gowns and accessories. Then reality hits.

I’m not even talking about having a day job and kids.

I’m talking about the non-historically accurate stash. I’d like to claim that all of those fabrics and yarns were purchased before I knew better, but sometimes a material just speaks to you.

So, in the past few years, I’ve gotten to be okay with the concept of historical-ish. I’ve also really embraced the idea of including these pieces in my modern wardrobe.

Thus, some yarn that I originally purchased to make a pair of socks became a shawl that is sort of like a sontag with an historically inspired lace edge using a pattern claiming to be something Jane Austen might have enjoyed wearing.

You know, whatever. It’s scrummy yarn in a pretty shawl. I’ll wear it with jeans and a t-shirt as well as with some of my historical outfits when it is cold enough to need another layer.

On a bit of a knitting kick

I’m currently in the midst of two shawl knitting projects to use up yarn I currently have, and then today I go an order yarn for another major project.

Here’s a tiny sneak peak at one of the shawls:

I’m enjoying the mindlessness of the star-stitch pattern that will make up the center of a square shawl.

Mini Hoop

I started working on a Victorian wrapper way back in November hoping to wear it to Dickens Fair. It didn’t happen so the project has languished a bit. Once I finally got it assembled enough to put on my dressform, I discovered that it did not fit over my regular hoop.

Sure, I could technically make it work if I wore the front of the skirt open with a decorative petticoat underneath, but the side seams were still going to be pulled toward the back and not lay properly.

My only remaining options were to wear it without a hoop, possibly with my corded petticoat, or make a new, smaller hoop. I knew Laughing Moon Patterns has a pattern for a small hoop, and I also had an old Simplicity pattern that offered a small hoop option. After some Google image searching and a sale at Renaissance Fabrics, I decided to go with the Laughing Moon pattern.

The pattern was pretty simple and straight-forward, though the instructions are a bit brief for the construction. (They are wonderfully complete when it comes to suggestions on how to alter the patterns and the details on how to select and finish/connect hoop wire/steel.) I traced out and shortened my pattern one evening, and then spent about 4-5 hours the next day constructing the garment.

I ended up with a bit of puckering between the top three bones on the side seams. I suspect this happened because I opted to finish the seams by making them flat felled. While this helped with inserting the hoop steel into the channels, it made it rather difficult to keep the proper curve in that side seam. Ultimately, I don’t think it will matter once there is a petticoat and skirt over top of it.

Gearing up for Costume College 2018

This year is a bit weird.  I’m done sewing with a week left to go.  This never happens.

I’ve been reluctant to post about it on social media because so many people I know and love are still frantically trying to get projects done in time.  I feel like it’d be rubbing salt in a wound to complain that I don’t know what to do with myself.

So, instead, I’m starting a project that is a sort of “take it, or leave it” project; if I get it done, fantastic, if not, oh well.  I’ve been planning for ages to make the Decades of Style 1930s overalls.  I’m finally going to do it.

In the meantime, here are the plans for what you’ll see me in if you are looking for me at CoCo:

I’m shopping on Thursday during the day, but I’m still not sure what I’m wearing. Last year I tried for comfy but cute and was not feeling the comfy.  May just go for comfy this year, which for me is jeans and a T-shirt.

Thursday evening, I’m planning to wear my red fairy/fantasy dress (possibly with the corset and wings, but we’ll see if I’m up for it after a day of shopping).

Friday, I’m panning to wear my paid kaftan during the day.

Friday night is the ONLY new costume I made specifically for CoCo this  year, and I don’t have any photos of the complete outfit yet.  I made an 1890s skirt and shirtwaist.  I’d been planning this outfit for year and had the skirt fabric specifically earmarked for it.  It just so happened that last year at CoCo, I found and purchased a boater that matches it perfectly.  Given that the theme of the Friday night social is the Gay 90’s, this outfit just HAD to happen this year.  Here’s a sneak peak of the shirtwaist with a tie I made from leftover skirt fabric:

Saturday during the day I actually need to wear clothes that can get a bit messy.  This is also when I’d be wearing the overalls if they get finished.

This is the first year since my very first CoCo (1999? or maybe 2000) that I will not be attending the dinner portion of the gala.  I will, however, come down later wearing the red regency dress I made for an event earlier this year.

I’ve already purchased a new necklace and earrings from Dames a la Mode to bling it up a bit for evening wear.

Sunday, a friend and I plan on wearing our Hogwarts House Chore Skirts.

If you see me, please come say hi!  (If you are trying to get my attention, call out “Teresa” as I probably won’t respond to any of my online monikers.)

On a side note, I’ve tried to link all the patterns I used as I wrote about each outfit I’m wearing.  The only one I did not do this with is the fairy costume, as so much of that was sort of franken-patterned.  I think the base pattern I started with is the princess dress from Simplicity that came out when Lord of the Rings costuming was a big thing.

Is it really that there aren’t enough hours in the day…

…or am I just lazy?

Yep.  I’m a lazy blogger.

After teaching six classes per day, though, I seriously don’t have the brain capacity for anything even remotely productive.  Even the dishes don’t get done most days.

That being said, summer is coming, and my kids are going to be in a summer program three days a week.  Woohoo!!!

So, of course I have plans to do absolutely everything.  Clean and organize the house.  Make every meal from scratch.  Complete three major costume projects.  Sew clothes for modern, daily wear.  Clean and organize the garage.  Get caught up with blogging.  Read all the books on my to-read list.

I’m sitting here laughing at myself because I know that very little of this will actually happen, not matter how determined I am to stick to the plan right now.

My personal motivation over the summer is to create spaces I want to live and work in, so the blogging thing is going to take a bit of a back seat, but I promise that it will still be on the list, for whenever I manage to get to it.

A New Beret

I love my old beret that I made years ago, but it’s a tad on the small side when I’m wearing my hair up, which is all the time now.  I was hoping to use this same pattern this time around, but I couldn’t find the magazine that it was from, so I opted for a free pattern from Lion brand yarns.

I’m not quite as pleased with this one, but at least it’s large enough, and overall is fine.


See, enough room for the bun,  AND enough room for it to drape nicely on the side.

Stay tuned for version 0.5 coming up.  My mini-me wants one, too.