Monthly Archives: March 2016

In My Easter Bonnet

Well, not exactly a bonnet and a little late for Easter, but I like it just the same.  I purchased the following pattern ‘Late Edwardian Early Teens Small Hats and Toques for Time Period 1909-1916’ by Lynn McMasters.   Check out her website for an outstanding collection of period hats.

March Challenge – Protection (okay, so it’s pretty, too).  I went with a hat – specifically View A as I had lovely white linen for the base and lots of vintage black soutache trim.  There’s something about the dark trim against the light brim that sold me.

Pattern:  Lynn McMasters Late Edwardian/Early Teens Small Hats & Toques


Year: 1909 – 1916

Notions:  Made of white linen exterior, black linen and silk for lining, and embellished with vintage soutache braid.  Other notions include hat wire, crinoline (lots), a jewelry pin and a dyed egret feather.

Historically Accurate:  Not sure how accurate this is.  Research shows hats of this style were certainly worn, however, using the recommendation for fusible facings would not have been.  I instead opted for layers of crinoline basted together, which may have been more historically accurate, but may have detracted from the overall stiff look.

I discovered interesting history while researching this hat, especially when making the Aigrette for the embellishment.  The term aigrette (pronounced: [ɛɡrɛt]; from the French for egret, or lesser white heron) refers to the tufted crest or head-plumes of the egret, used for adorning a headdress. The word may also identify any similar ornament, in gems (thank you Wikipedia).

Extravagant feather plumes were all the rage from the late 1800s through the teens, so much so that many beautiful birds were slaughtered for the sake of beauty, and the Egret was almost driven to extinction.  It’s nice to know our ancestors knew to be outraged and the practice did eventually stop.

Hours to Complete:  Too many to calculate.  I’m sure it would have been easier if I just followed the directions and certainly faster had I used a lace panel applique rather than hand applied soutache – ah, such is art.

LynnMcMasters Hat

I enjoyed working with the soutache.  It’s like a puzzle to get it all matching from start to finish but I love the process.  I’ve worked with soutache before so if you’d like to learn my technique, click here:



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Filed under 1912 Hat Challenge

Gathers & Pleats & Tucks, Oh My!

Here in the US, Downton Abbey has but one more episode to air and where will we find the historical eye candy that fluttered across our screens each week? Although the series will come to a close, the fabulous creativity can still be found at Historical Sewing Monthly where the February challenge is ‘Tucks & Pleating’.

For my project, I chose a dress sized for a 7 year old girl, the original pattern from La Mode Illustree, May 1894 (Model on right).  Made of a lightweight woolen with linen detailing for the collar, cuff and scarf, this dress fit the challenge nicely.


There are lots of gathers along the bodice waist at center front and back, and along the puff sleeves at shoulder and cuff.  There are pleats along the waist of the skirt to pull in all that volume without adding bulk.


There are tucks to shape the front bodice at shoulder and front opening and more along the back, hidden below the collar.

tucks and gathers

And, let’s not forget the tucks along the skirt which can be let out as needed when our little girl grows.



I had hoped to trim the sailor collar and make a slightly longer skirt, but in keeping with my desire to use up my stash, I was limited to the two yards I had on hand. I have one 3” x 8” piece left which could possibly be added to the collar at a later date. Now all I need to do is find a willing model to wear it – a bit before her time, but little Sybbie Branson, I presume?

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Filed under The Vintage Pattern Lending Library