Thursday, December 10, 2015

Historical Sew Monthly Challenge #10 - Sewing Secrets

October – Sewing Secrets: Hide something in your sewing, whether it is an almost invisible mend, a secret pocket, a false fastening or front, or a concealed message (such as a political or moral allegiance).

One of the interesting things I've learned about historical clothing is the use of chemisettes, false collars, false sleeves, false fronts, and the number of small add-ons that were used to change the appearance and use of clothing.  Learning that the collars and sleeves or collars and cuffs for both men and women could be removed, laundered, and reattached thereby saving wear on the basic clothing item is so practical.  When I made my first Regency gown this year I was amazed how easily the chemisette changed the gown from evening to day wear.  It was during the making of that gown that I discovered false sleeves which seemed to appear and disappear in fashion.  At times the false sleeves were made with matching fabric and at times with contrast fabric and of varying lengths even where they were basted into the armscye under the set in sleeve.

In 2013 I created a Reconciliation ball gown with a detachable bertha.  The bertha was the first sewing secret for this gown.

In an Historical Sew Fortnightly challenge in 2014 I added a collar in place of the bertha to convert the ball gown to a dinner gown.  Another sewing secret.   This is the blog post about the collar:

For this challenge I used the false sleeve pattern from the La Mode Bagatelle Regency Wardrobe and some scraps of the same blue silk dupioni to turn the dinner gown into a modest day gown.  The false sleeve only requires the sleeve portion, a sleeve band, and can be made with a self fabric ruffle or lace.

The inner seam is a French seam with a wrist opening.

The sleeve band and ruffle are added and the sleeve is ready to be basted into the bodice cap sleeve.

The finished gown with secret sleeves.



Historical Sew Fortnightly

What It Is:  False sleeve
The Challenge:  #10 Sewing Secrets
Fabric:  Silk dupioni
Pattern:  La Mode Bagatalle Regency Wardrobe
Year:  1872
Notions:  Lace, thread
How historically accurate is it?  Very
Hours to complete?  30 minutes
First Worn:  SASS Convention 2015 teaching Pansy Ribbon Flower Class and for the Victorian Fashion Show
Total Cost:  $0, using fabric scraps from original project



  1. Huzzah!! I love it when you can wear a garment in different forms! Brava for making this dress so versatile! I LOVE the color of that blue by the way!

    1. Thank you, Gina! This has to be my favorite blue - ever!