I am in the process of preparing easy to follow guides on how to make historical costumes .I will eventually cover every era from the early medieval to the 1940s ,I will use this page to add links to each specific post as I finish them.
None of the guides need any particular sewing experience ,skill or know how .They need no specialist tools or expensive fabric and where possible I have tried to limit tools to those easily available.
Tools needed for gowns and other clothing-
Needle ,thread and scissors and cellotape (though pins or safety pins are useful).You will also need something to make small holes for lacing the dress ,a kebab skewer ,bradel etc
For most of the dresses you will need cord to use to lace it up
All the clothing sown on these pages has used only these tools .The only extra item I ever use is a pair of pinking shears to make zig zag edged ruffles for Victorian or Georgian gowns.
They are rarely used but if you do want lots of frills on a gown they would be a good investment and it removes the need to sew edges or make special pleated trim .The flounced skirt and petticoat below took weeks as they needed to be hemmed at both sides . On the other hand the long red gown in the photos below them with its huge flounced hemline took a day as it was a lengths of pinked edge fabric that was just gathered by a signal run of stiches and sewn on with another row of stiches.The green Victorian gown shown above has several tiers and is also pinked at the edges so there was no hems needed on it at all
These almost all use just the same things ,needle cotton and cellotape ,in addition you need a box either a cardboard box such as those used at supermarkets
Or cereal box used for the other Tudor and medieval head dresses and the Victorian hats
The fabrics used can all be easily found in charity shops as all the gowns and underwear can be made using either old curtains or bedding.The nightdress below is a handmade Victorian sheet and the lace from a table cloth,The petticoat is also made from an old sheet
I have instructions for making a chemise for Victorian ,Medieval and Tudor gowns from a sheet here
The gowns below are all made from recycled curtains or duvet covers ,sheets etc with trims from fur hats ,necklaces or belts.
I cover medieval gown styles and fabrics here in my first cheats guide to medieval gowns
If you want to use new fabric then duvet covers and curtains can be bought in sales ,this Ikea duvet fabric was used for several gowns
The headdresses construction requires cereal boxes for most and a slightly thicker cardboard for the gable hoods
I will cover
Medieval headdresses ,Henins and crespinettes , ie the tall pointy ones and wide flat ones.
Tudor Elizabethan and Stuart dresses,
These are mostly covered in the chemise post
,Gable hoods and intermediate hoods .
Spencers are the little short jackets seen in series like pride and prejudice and can be made in an hour or less using an old jacket,the spencers below are all cut off and slightly altered modern jackets
Victorian gowns,under layers
The gown post is here
1940s cheats guide,this is not specifically a how to make it guide but how to fake it guide .
There is a further post on how Ikea fabrics can be used to create accurate historical costumes here
Abigail Bell is my pen name when writing for other sites or blogs)