Making historical costumes

Welcome to my new website. I’ve had a long interest in historical textiles and costumes but other than an Honours thesis on 18th century British worsted textiles, I haven’t pursued my interests in a concerted way. Much of my time is absorbed by my career as an author of gritty romantic thrillers, but my interest in history and textiles and costumes keeps quietly bubbling away….

As a result, in August this year I presented a workshop for the Romance Writers of Australia along with fellow author Beverley Eikli, in which we discussed costume for Georgian ladies. Aimed at romance writers, we dressed in full costume with correct undergarments and talked about the practicalities of the layers of clothing. It’s the only workshop I’ve ever taught where I stripped off to my underwear!

Beverley Eikli and Bronwyn Parry in Georgian costume at RWA conference

For that premier-pharmacy.com workshop, I made a basic 1790s cotton morning dress, and the undergarments – a linen chemise, hand-stitched, and short stays. All were made using patterns from Sense and Sensibility. I’ll do a post soon about making those.

My next challenge is to make several outfits for the Jane Austen Festival in Canberra in April next year. I have my tickets, I have plenty of enthusiasm, and as well as my workhorse 1990s Janome sewing machine, I now have two vintage Singer treadle sewing machines. One is a 1925 66k, and she sews beautifully. The other, which just arrived today, is an 1891 VS2. She does go but she’ll need a little bit of work to get her running smoothly. She’s already whispering, though, that she’d love to sew an 1890s tea gown again…

1891 Singer VS2 treadle sewing machine

 

 

 

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