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Monthly Archives: February 2014

1830s Romantic Dress (Part 1)

As previously mentioned, the ladies who did the Gibson Girl dresses last year are doing 1830s for the April Gaskell Ball. I made a Pinterest board with ideas for gowns and hair.

Here is my planning sketch, based on an extant gown with sheer sleeves. Unfortunately, I do not know the source because the image was found uncredited from Tumblr.

1830s sketch

My materials will be ivory silk taffeta (left over from my wedding dress), embroidered laces from Etsy and eBay, and pink ribbon flowers left over from a Gatsby dress project. I am hoping to piece together enough fabric from my stash for the lining.


I am using the Truly Victorian 455 pattern for the bodice, with a slightly different sleeve. I will be using the beret sleeve pattern, but might make it slightly smaller since it will be under a sheer sleeve.

1830s pattern

I am not using the TV455 pattern for the skirt, because I am upcycling part of my wedding dress. I am doing this for several reasons.

1. It will match the leftover fabric I am using to make the bodice.

2. I haven’t worn the dress for several years, and never got around to dyeing it a different color, so at least this way part of it will appear in public again.

3.  The dress was custom-made for me by a friend of mine (who sells Regency/Victorian/Steampunk menswear in her shop), and is very special, so I don’t want to give away or sell the gown.  However, I can’t wear the dress as-is because during my honeymoon a family member decided to soak my dress in the bathtub instead of taking it to the drycleaner like I wanted, and the silk taffeta literally shriveled up. I spent a lot of time steaming most of the wrinkles out, but could not save the ruffles. They are now sad, wrinkled and limp, instead of crisp and happy, and don’t look right on a formal ballgown.

4. It’s a shame to let so much silk go to waste!

I have cut out the pattern pieces, and am now slowly picking out the stitches to remove the rows of ruffles from the skirt. (Thankfully, the beautiful bodice is still in good shape and can be worn again).

weddingPhoto by Lydia Chen Photography.


Red Riding Hood Mantle

This was supposed to be a very quick project, but these days it is hard to find a continuous half hour of free time, so it sat on my sewing chair for a number of weeks. During my pregnancy I bought a red wool poncho when my winter coats got snug. It has pockets and arm holes, and is nice and thick. I loved how this one had a cute bow on the back, and the hood was ringed with faux fur. It made me think of Red Riding Hood, if she had a souvenir from the Wolf.



I decided it would be nice to continue wearing the poncho with my costumes, but wanted to replace the toggle clasps with something a little less modern-looking, so I used 6 pairs of beaded black frogs.

ImageThis is what the hood looked like before.

ImageI liked it before, but like it even more now.

Handmade, DIY & Vintage Woodland Themed Nursery Reveal

I mostly finished the nursery months ago, but haven’t posted because there was one last piece of artwork I wanted to hang. A friend sent a beautiful handmade card that I framed, but I had very limited chances to hang it because hammering into the wall when the baby sleeps is not a good idea.

Most of the items in the room are handmade, modified or vintage, so that the baby could have a unique room (without too much expense).

Here is an overview of the room as you walk in.


The rocking chair is vintage, and I made the chair cushions. I also made the toadstool footstool.


The nightstand is from Ikea, the elephant hamper from Home Decorators, and the Carter’s Forest Friends lamp and blue baby box were gifts.


I used decals from eBay on the door, closet doors and walls.



The wall art was made by me to spell out my baby’s name.


I made the fabric birds using scrap fabric. Originally, I had them all hanging on a large vine wreath, but it was so heavy I did not feel comfortable suspending it from the ceiling. I got the pattern from Spool Sewing.


I made the tree stump ottoman, and should make a construction how-to post later on.


It works triple-duty as a table, extra seating and hidden storage for toys.


The cushion covers and button tree pillow were sewn by me. The Martha Stewart storage bench and fabric bins are from Home Decorators.


The convertible crib with attached changing table and dresser are from Target. Later on, the crib parts reassemble into a toddler bed and full-size bed.


I painted the drawer knobs with mushrooms.


The laser-cut bamboo clock is from Decoylab and was used in my sewing room. If I was buying from them now I’d get the hedgehog clock for the nursery.


I made the curtains and tiebacks from gnome fabric. I love the print, but the cotton wrinkles so easily.DSCN0042

I have a second set of green thermal curtains (purchased from Target and hemmed by me) so I can control the lighting in the room.


The hot air balloons in the corner were another craft project of mine.


The mushroom light switch plate cover was purchased from eBay. (Can you tell I really like mushrooms?)


And finally, the card from my friend, which is made of different colors of paper glued to cardstock.


Some Project Summaries:

Baby name wall art:

Rocking chair cushions:

Mushroom pouf (toadstool footstool):

Deer bench pillow covers:

Button tree pillow:

Hot air balloons: