Tag: costume

Elizabethan Coat Dress – Part 2

Cartridge Pleats

Many period clothing involves construction of a big skirt, this means a large amount of fabric that needs to be fit around the waist. And the best way to do this is with cartridge pleats, also known as gauging. Though the use of cartridge pleats is not really true to the period, but sometimes you need to prioritse efficiency over accuracy.

Guide and markings for cartridge pleats

Once again, Marion has provided pictures for the construction of the dress with particular detail paid for the cartridge pleats. This is for hand-sewing construction, not machine, which I have done myself as its better for control.

Stitching cartridge pleats

First thing is to make sure that the skirt is hemmed and the top of the skirt is finished and neat, such as with overlocking as Marion did here,

Cartridge pleats look best when they are even, so Marion made a guide to make this easier, making a double line of markings where the hand stitches will be. Using heavy-duty thread and a large needle, connect the two lines of markings with a running stitch and then pull together so the folds meet. You should have something that looks a little like a set of curtains.

Cartridge pleats constructed

After this, there are several ways to fix the pleats in place, such a sewing in a waistband, Marion instead attached her skirt to the bodice, the heavy canvas already being quite stiff and supportive.


Skirt attached to bodice

For more information on creating cartridge pleats, this tutorial is very good.





Skirt Supports

Just as important as the costume itself is having the right foundation garments. For the period, the correct ones is a bumroll, similar to the panniers for my 18th century court dress, with a farthingale hoop that can be seen beneath the petticoat.

Once these are in place, the right Elizabethan silhouette can be achieved which is seen when Marion tries it on with the front piece in place.



Finishing Touches

Lastly, some braid and ribbons finishes off the garment, the buttons more decorative than functional and the garment is finished!

Thanks go to Marion for such cleverness as well as permissions to use her photos!





Accessories for the budget costumer

Making historical costumes can require significant investment in time and money. But what completes a costume and makes it look more authentic is accessories, and these need not be expensive or even difficult to acquire. These are just a few that I have noticed and I may post again if I see more.


A must-have accessory for ladies and gents, particularly at balls. Kitten Damour sells satin, fishnet and lace gloves in black and white. For evening wear, Costume Box has a range of elbow-length gloves.

Fans and Parasols

A good place to look for cheap fans and parasols is websites that sell wedding favours. Such as Favours Plus, JJs House and Pink Frosting.

Hats and Shoes

These are perhaps the most expensive, but what helps is doing research as well as keeping your eyes open. I recently purchased my dancing slippers for the regency from Big W, they were ballet flats. The same with hats which can be easily decorated with ribbons and artificial flowers.

Regency bonnet on a budget

For our Parramatta Park high tea I wanted a Regency bonnet I could do quickly and cheaply to match my lilac coloured Regency gown. I based mine off this blog.

I started with a straw hat that I got from a $2 shop. Got the flowers from the same place too and I’m tempted to make some more hats just so I can go back there and get some more flowers.lilac_bonnet1

I cut a section off the brim of the bonnet and hand sewed some gathered fabric. In hindsight, I probably should have used more fabric and I will next time. Don’t make the same mistake I did.lilac_bonnet3

After that I attached some ribbon around the edge with a hot glue gun and covered my mistakes there with some lace. lilac_bonnet4

I then finished it off with some more ribbon. Several layers of some translucent mauve ribbon and some more ribbon on top to tie it on. Then the flowers, tying them together with some more ribbon and lace.lilac_bonnet5

I was quite satisfied with the results but I’m sure I can do better next time.