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Statement of Purpose

I create and recreate historical dress in order to understand its original creation and wearing processes, and to reinvigorate interest in the aesthetics of the past, its material culture, and its creators and wearers. In order to do so, I research the history of clothing design, the historical practice of dressmaking, and the social/cultural role of both. My works emphasize historically appropriate materials and construction methods, and so serve as a means of understanding the visual, tactile, and engineering aspects of clothing from the past – and the past more generally.

Although I do not blog regularly here, I do keep my portfolio (relatively) up to date. You can also see examples of my work on Instagram, and read reviews of historical costume in movies and TV shows at

pocket detail
18th century, embroidery, projects

A Little (Ok, a Lot) of Broderie and Travestie…

Hey, let’s dust off the old blog to share a project with you! I don’t normally sew for hire, but when my friend Tara was heading to Carnevale in Venice and wanted a hand-embroidered 18th century men’s suit, and I needed the money, a deal was made! She had seen the tambour-embroidered waistcoat I made for Francis, and wanted something similar.

Tara was going to both a Cinderella party AND a cross-dressing party on the same day, so she wanted to go en travestie as a super foppy Prince Charming. She picked out the colors and fabrics. Since tambour embroidery is basically the main 18th century embroidery in my wheelhouse, we decided on that, focusing on this (1770s?) men’s suit at the Victoria & Albert Museum as our model:


Tambour embroidered men’s suit from the Victoria & Albert Museum. I’d give you a better citation, but someone borked their collection database and I refuse to go through 1000 listings to re-find it.


Tambour embroidered men’s suit from the Victoria & Albert Museum.


Tambour embroidered men’s suit from the Victoria & Albert Museum.

We mixed up the colors and added spangles for shine. Tara’s signature design element is the bee, so I replaced the main floral sprigs with bees made from spangles and gold-colored thread.

And then commenced endless, endless embroidery!

A fraction of the soie perlée used in the embroidery.

A fraction of the soie perlée used in the embroidery.


You have to start somewhere…


Adding spangles for shine!


The bottom border of the waistcoat.


Oh wow, I rounded a corner!


Most of the border, bees, and pocket outline done! Of course, this is just ONE side…


Close-up on the embroidery.


And another.

Trying to decide which color to use for an accent (I went with pink).


Done, with accent and bee pocket! But before buttons and buttonholes.

Making the suit was CRAZY, so I have 0 documentation, as I was doing all this WHILE MOVING. In fact, I had to call in reinforcements and sub-contracted Sarah of Mode Historique to make the breeches! And then had a total melt-down when the pattern I had mocked up TWICE to be sure resulted in breeches that totally didn’t fit. Cue a whole lot of near-all-nighters while I recut the entire backs of the breeches.

We initially wanted to embroider the coat, but there was literally NO time. Luckily we thought ahead and decided on a purple mini-stripe so that the coat would be interesting on its own, and at the VERY last minute I managed to whip out buttons with embroidered/spangled bees (matching the bee-embroidered/spangled buttons on the waistcoat).

Tara is still in Venice, so all I’ve got to share are these two pictures she posted to Facebook. I’ll post some more, and hopefully take some detail shots, when I can!


Tara rocking the 18th century travestie in Venice!


She custom-dyed the stockings and shoes to match, and after a crisis with red hair powder getting onto EVERYTHING (thank goodness for try-on’s), Tara restyled the wig I made her and did a great job!

18th Century Hairdressing Book, 18th century wigs, publications

18th C. Wig Book SALE: Discounted Shipping to Europe!

Save €10 PLUS take advantage of one-time-only DISCOUNT SHIPPING TO EUROPE. Use coupon-code COIFFURE to save €10 (£8.90), and choose ECONOMY shipping for very reduced rates to Europe!

IMPORTANT SHIPPING NOTE: Economy shipping books won’t ship until 15 November. They will ship from France, so they will arrive in 2 days (France) to 8 days (the rest of Europe).

PayPal doesn’t do coupons, so if you’re paying that way, mention the promo code and we’ll refund you the €10 right away!


Buy at


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SF Bay Area Costumers Garage Sale — THIS SUNDAY!

If you’re in the San Francisco bay area, then come to the Greater Bay Area Costumers Guild’s “Costumers Bazaar” (ie garage sale) for great bargains on finished costumes, vintage clothes, fabric, patterns, trims, and tons more.

I’ll be there selling stuff, including:

  • Copies of the 18th Century Hair & Wig Styling book, of course! I will have discounted, just-slightly-damaged copies for 40% off (and pristine new copies, too)!


  • Styled 18th century wigs!


  • Pre-made 18th century-style rolls, perfect for adding to 18th century hairstyles and wigs
  • Vintage and reproduction vintage style clothes!
  • Fabric, including 18th century cotton prints and silk taffeta in different colors!


  • Books, patterns (vintage and historical costume), fashion plates, and more!
18th Century Hairdressing Book, publications, shopping

Limited Edition 18th Century Wig Book T-Shirts!

It’s time for another round of 18th Century Wig Book T-SHIRTS! Two styles this time, both with a fabulous 1780s fashion plate and the text “I woke up like this.”

Limited edition: these will be available from today through August 31.

Buy them here:

Costume College 2015 attendees: I’m offering free shipping for those picking up at Costume College — use code CCPICKUP and order by THIS SUNDAY, July 19 at midnight (so I can get the t-shirts in time before I leave!).

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Low scoop neck. Available in sizes Small through XXL.

Buy it here:

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High neck style. Available in sizes Small through 3X.

Buy it here: