Monday, 7 March 2016


From 7th March to 7th April I will be holding an Easter Bonnet Sale in my Etsy shop. Treat yourself or someone special to an exceptional Easter bonnet with a 25% discount when you use the coupon code EASTER2016 at the checkout. Click here to see the three beautiful bonnets currently for sale.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Girl's Mid Victorian Underwear NOW FOR SALE

This set of girl's mid Victorian underwear is now for sale in my Etsy shop. Click here to find out more.

The set consists of a pair of authentic mid-calf length split-crotch cotton pantaloons, a hooped skirt made in a pretty broderie anglais fabric and a sturdy cotton bodice (decorated to resemble a child's corset) which supports the skirt.

Perfect for 19th century re-enactment, fancy-dress and dressing up, Victorian day at school...
Wear with a simple blouse and a full, gathered skirt (easily made from a large rectangle of material) or a specially made Victorian dress (coming soon to the shop) to create the perfect look for a little Victorian princess.

The pantaloons are made of 100% cotton lawn with broderie anglais trimming and feature tiny decorative tucks at the hems. The pattern used is similar to that of authentic pantaloons from the period. The two legs are made separately and sewn into a waistband with the crotch left open. The waistband fastens at the centre back with a drawstring. The cut of the legs means that there is an overlap at the front and back when worn which creates the illusion of a closed pair of trousers. However, the split crotch serves its original purpose of making it more practical to visit the bathroom without having to remove all layers of clothing. These pantaloons can easily be worn over ordinary underwear and tights.

[If you would prefer pantaloons with a closed crotch please select the relevant option from the menu above. The pantaloons are essentially identical but will have a closed seam between the legs.]


The bodice is made from a sturdy 100% cotton twill and the edges are finished with bias binding. The decorative stitching on the bodice is designed to resemble the boning or cording channels on original children's corsets from the Victorian period. (Please note, this is not a corset so there is no boning, cording or restriction of any kind). The bodice closes at the centre back with four mother of pearl buttons (subject to variation depending on supplies). There are also six small buttons around the bottom edge of the bodice to allow the crinoline skirt to be attached. As well as providing an authentic looking base layer for your child's costume, this bodice also helps to support the hooped skirt, making this underwear more comfortable and easier to move in.

The hooped skirt is made from a pretty broderie anglais poly cotton fabric with a 7 inch band of decorative embroidery and a scalloped hem. The skirt features two hoops of spiral steel at the hem that create the shape of the skirt. The steels used are 7mm spiral steel of the kind usually used in corsets. This steel is flexible and will bend and flex easily when worn, but springs back into shape immediately and is strong enough to hold the domed shape of the skirts worn during this period. The steels are encased inside strong cotton boning tape and the skirt is gathered into a waistband. The skirt closes with a button at the centre back and buttonholes around the waistband allow the skirt to be attached to the bodice.

This set is made to order and is available in UK sizes Age 6-7-8

Size 6 - Chest 64cm, Waist 56cm
Size 7 - Chest 66cm, Waist 58cm
Size 8 - Chest 68cm, Waist 60cm

Skirt length - approximately 52cm
Hem circumference - approximately 180cm

Please note, these are the actual body measurements. The garments will measure slightly larger than this to allow for ease of movement. For example, the underarm measurement of the Size 6 bodice is approximately 67cm and the waistband of the skirt measures 60cm (allowing for a looser waist when attached to the bodice). The buttons can be moved if required to adjust the fit.

Click here to shop now

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Girl's 1850s/1860s Underwear - Age 2-8

I have been working on new products for the shop and this is my prototype for a set of girl's underwear c.1850-1865.

The set includes a pair of cotton lawn split-split crotch drawers trimmed with cotton broderie anglais lace and tiny tucks at the hems. These tie closed at the waist with  drawstring allowing them to be adjusted for comfort.

The hooped crinoline skirt is made from a pretty broderie anglais poly cotton with a scalloped hem and has two 7mm spiral steel bones. Although a little heavier than polyester boning, these steel bones are not as heavy as you might expect as they are not solid and provide a much better level of support for the skirt. They are flexible and bend easily when squeezed or sat on, but they spring back into shape to support the skirts correctly.

The skirt buttons closed at the centre back and tiny button holes in the waistband allow the skirt to be buttoned to the bodice, creating a more comfortable fit at the waist.

The bodice is made of a heavy cotton twill and bound at the edges with bias binding with decorative stitching that imitates the boning or cording channels on original children's corsets. Please note, however, that there is no boning, cording or restriction of any kind in this garment - the stitching is purely decorative.

The bodice buttons closed at the centre back with four mother of pearl buttons and there are six small buttons around the bottom which the hooped crinoline skirt can be attached to. The skirt can be worn with or without this bodice. All of the buttonholes are worked by hand.

This set will soon be available in my Esty shop. It will be made to order and available in sizes age 2-8. 

I will also be working on developing separate garments including the drawers, a chemise, a child's corset with corded detail (but no lacing or restriction) and separate petticoats. For historical re-enactors and anyone requiring a greater level of authenticity, the crinoline will also be available in 100% cotton. 

If you are interested in any of these garments keep checking back here for updates. I will post when the various items have been listed for sale on Etsy and keep you updated on the progress for the individual garments. 

If you have any questions or would like to enquire about custom-made versions of these garments please do not hesitate to contact me at

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Happy New Year!

Finally! The Christmas Elves have vacated my workshop so I am back in production for the Etsy shop. Coming soon will be a girl's 1860s dress which I started before the holidays.

But first of all, introducing a bespoke order... This is an 1840s bonnet made for my Mum (a very faithful customer!) to wear with a blue and cream floral day dress.

This item is, of course, not for sale, but if you like it, or any of my other items, please do not hesitate to contact me to discuss bespoke orders ( I am happy to recreate styles using your own materials or following a particular colour scheme to create the perfect garment or accessory to complement your wardrobe.

Monday, 7 December 2015

New Etsy Shop

Hooray! My new Etsy shop is now officially open.
Visit to see my listings.
The three Victorian bonnets posted here are still available in time for Christmas...
And there will be more, exciting items available in the New Year. Watch this space.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Finally, some work in progress...

I have finally started work on my next project which will be a girl's 1860s dress and underwear. The progress was pretty slow yesterday as I was looking after a poorly dog among other things, but a tiny pair of bloomers (age 6) are taking form. It may be another couple of weeks before this project is finished as I have visitors this weekend and graduate next week but at least I've started!

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Upcoming projects

My Victorian sewing  has been temporarily delayed over the past couple of weeks by another personal project which I will reveal on my Bygone Elegance blog at the beginning of next month. However, as this project is now nearly finished, I have begun planning the next items for La Belle Modiste.

The first project will be for a girl's 1860s dress, complete with underwear and a small crinoline, possibly in Christmassy red... a great opportunity to use some of my black trimmings.

And here are some of the inspirations for creating a girl's outfit.

I also have a beautiful piece of camel-coloured wool blend cloth. I have not yet decided what this will be transformed into, but it is such a nice warm fabric that I think perhaps a winter jacket of some kind would be a good choice. Watch this space...

In the next couple of weeks, I will also be moving my sales to an Etsy shop - I will post more details about this once the shop is up and running. In the meantime, I hope everyone is enjoying the changing seasons and looking forward to some great costume events this winter.