A stitch in time

1780s anyone? Lots and lots of layers, but so pretty.

“Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery.” Jane Austen

If you’re a fan of Downtown Abbey or anything Jane Austen, you’ll probably like my recent newspaper piece about a young historian who is such a skilled seamstress she can whip up a dress from pretty much any era.

Read her story here.

The Regency era gown she’s holding is from the Jane Austen era. It was made from an upcycled sari. While this detail isn’t in the story — that kind of thing also happened in the early 1800s, when Eastern fabrics were trendy. 🙂
This rolled hem is about 1/8 inch in real life — all hand stitched.
The silk Regency gown is on top. It’s hard to see, but the white chemise a la reine underneath is modeled after a painting of Marie Antoinette. All cotton — unusual for its time — this version began as curtains from Target! To the right, a printed cotton dress reflects what the Industrial Revolution brought to fashion in the later 1800s. Prior to roll printing, prints had to be applied by hand with blocks and then colored in with dyes.

35 thoughts on “A stitch in time”

  1. Pretty incredible. Such detail! My hands do fine in garden soil but I could never do such precision work as your friend. My ex-husband was big on re-enactments, civil war, revolution, ww1. He found a dressmaker in the NC foothills who made his ‘uniforms’. He & his friends made me chuckle comparing authenticity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Her work is even more beautiful in person!

      I hear what you’re saying about re-enactors. They really get into it. I once wrote about a 2,000-person Civil War event and they worried about every last detail. I’m not sure what was in all those authentic metal cups they were carrying around, though. Every person I interviewed seemed somewhat drunk. :O

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I know. The rolled hems on that translucent apron fabric were perfect. I have the technical skills to do it. But, I don’t think I have the patience or maybe even the eye sight for such stuff at this point in life! So it goes. 🙂


  2. I am in awe of her work- beautiful, innovative (upcycling), and historically on point down to the hand stitching. Truly a labor of love. I appreciated the practical insights she provided on bustles and straight backed church pews. Thank you for adding some additional pictures of her work onto your post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 🙂 You’re welcome. I’m always afraid of slow file openings if I post a lot of art, but her work is so pretty it’s worth it. I liked the upcycling thing, too. I bought a skirt made from an old sari several years ago. Whenever it actually gets warm (it’s like 40 right now…), I plan to wear it!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Very interesting. She is so talented. I think I will stick to the piano, Nora. lol. i never did well at sewing in school. I enjoyed reading this.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Some people are just so gifted! I am totally admirative. Thank you for sharing, Nora. If this talented young person — or you as you feel the need to practice the language 😉— ever visits France, tell her she should make the trip to the Centre du Costume de Scène in Moulins. I have been there several times (their main display changes every year) and enjoyed it every time.


    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, what a gift she has. So talented. I need to share this posts in my monthly updates Monday…still need to write it up. I would love to see these works of art up close. Thanks for sharing, this was a fun one to read. Oh, and the photos are great too, they show the details and just all the work involved in hand stitching such an item.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Lovely post Nora, such a talented young lady.
    Prompted me to keep and read my volume of Jane Austen novels bought in a charity shop as part of my current declutter.
    Thank you for visiting my blog 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. P.s just your fascinating article Nora from the link. Mention of stays reminded me of mum & aunt r.I.p in early years referring to their respective corsets.
    A good enough reason put forward also re straight church benches.
    Thank you for sharing .

    Liked by 1 person

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