Sherlock Holmes 2015


This character was played by Carissa Burns. The character was a young woman, applying for help to Sherlock Holmes, to find her fiancee. Her parents did not approve!

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Abi made this dress, it was created out of cotton. It is two pieces, plus the belt. The hat is a boater we used in last years Prohibition, and will be using in this years Prohibition as well. I have also used it with my Gibson Girl Golf outfit. We have gotten a lot of use out of this hat!

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The cape was used at the beginning, and taken off when she got to 221B Baker St. It is velvet, and was originally made for Dickens Christmas Carol, many years ago.

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Nelly did a wonderful job on the hair for this production. It really tied the characters together with the costumes, and made them complete.

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Erin Drazin played Tilly Bristol, the spitfire young women who was bent on making Sherlock pay for sending her brother to prison.

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This outfit consists of three pieces. The blouse, the skirt (attached to a under bodice) and the jacket. It is a tennis outfit, I drafted it out of a book (Authentic Victorian Fashion Patterns: A Complete Lady’s Wardrobe). It was meant to be a bit looser, so you could actually play tennis in it, but the waist was ridiculously large, and we added some darts to the back of the blouse. The blouse was made of linen, and the rest of the suit was silk. Maybe not the best choice for a sports suit, but we had to stick with what was in our stash. I made the hat out of velvet, with the really crazy organza bows, but her hair kind of blended with the bows and tamed the whole thing down.

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Lizzy Riley played the mother, Imogene Scott. And she was right to distrust the fiancee, as he ended up being the murderer! This outfit is a walking gown, it’s made of silver figured silk, and plum (I’m not sure what, but I know it’s not) silk. I was mostly pleased with this outfit. The vest is part of the jacket, so the whole thing is only two pieces. I did not like the gaping in the front with the hooks and eyes, and the skirt needed a touch more fullness in the front to hang properly. I modified the sleeves, as the actress hates the huge leg o mutton (which were included with this pattern). This one has a nice puff without being so ginormous!

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The hat is made of buckram and wire, and covered in silk. I wasn’t going to add flowers to the back, but the little riser to make the hat tip forward needed something!


Inspector Lestrade, inspecting one of our Revolutionary War guys that came up to check out the play.WIN_20150307_171534We didn’t get to many pictures of the gentlemen, because we didn’t spend nearly as much time on their outfits. We mostly just put things together out of what we had, and ordered a few things like coats and hats online. The ladies stuff had to be fitted, and we make nearly all our ladies clothing in house. Next time, we are hoping to take character pictures of everybody!



Sherlock Holmes 2014, Part 3








I started this post about a month and a half ago….whoops! I keep thinking about blogging, but somehow haven’t found the time. It’s crunch time at work right now, our very busiest tour season, and we have been sewing like mad. Since these pictures are already loaded, we’ll finish up with Sherlock, and show you some of the new things we’ve been working on in the next post. I promise it won’t take a month and a half!

I am extremely proud of this coat. It took forever (the batting is quilted to the lining), and the trim is hand sewn and a bit fussy to place, but I love how it turned out! It was worth the time and effort!

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This hat went through much gnashing of teeth before I was happy with it. I had something particular in mind, and it took some finagling, and some help from Lizzy to get it right.

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Mr. Jon Harmon as the wealthy victim at the beginning of the show.


Miss Erin Keeney as a wealthy jewel aficionado.

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Miss Danielle Garcia as the maid, and the train waitress.

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Miss Lizzy Riley as the traveling writer.

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Mr. Eric Drazin as Sherlock Holmes himself.


Mr. Sean Villarreal as the bad guy…Colonel someone or other (Sorry, I can’t remember!).


Mr. Ron Adams as Inspector Lestrade.


Mr. Mike Coleman as the railroad conductor.


The entire cast and crew after the show!


Great job everyone, it was very well done!

Sherlock Holmes, Part 2





This week we have been busy trying to get Sherlock finished, and keep up with all the new Living Historians. We have costumed 8 new people in the last 2 weeks, with more to come. So far we have managed to pull it off without making anything, but I have a feeling that pretty soon our lucky streak will end! I’m just hoping we get Sherlock all finished up first!

Among other things, this week Abi has been working on a fella named Killian. Played by Jon Harmon, our Living History director/manager everything guy. He is an Irish brawler type, a bit rough, and possibly a little drunk here and there, so he’s not put together as well as he could be. We didn’t have anything but white shirts, so Abi made him this striped one. I have a feeling more striped and checked shirts are in the not too distant future for us.


We didn’t have any coats available for him either, so Abi made him this coat. We had wanted to make it out of grey corduroy, but the fabric gods decided that this isn’t the season to have corduroy available 😦


This week I have been trying to get the coat for Mary Thumberlin done. Holy crow…I got the rest of the shopping done on Monday, and got the batting and everything, but this coat seemed like it would never get done! It wasn’t really hard, but the batting had to be quilted to the lining first (quilting…not my strong area!), and I kept getting interrupted to do silly things like costume people 🙂 It’s finally done, but it still needs to be trimmed. I wanted to use some navy blue 1/4″ velvet that I have, but it seems like it will be a pain in the hiney to apply, so we will see.


I have set the coat aside for now, since it is usable untrimmed. I have started the hat, and once the hat is finished I may go back and actually get the trim on it. Coming up: a Railroad Conductors uniform, and the tropical uniform of a Army Cpl.

Sherlock Holmes 2014, Part 1

We’ve already covered Irene Adler, so it is on to the rest of the cast. Sherlock and Watson are already costumed, they can wear the same thing every time, but the rest of the cast has to have things to fit their currant character. This week we’ve been busy with Elizabeth Adair and Mary Thumberlin (I might have totally remembered that name wrong…)!

Abi has been working hard on Elizabeth Adair, a well off lady that is quite an authority on jewelry. I think it’s coming along nicely, don’t you?




It’s three pieces, the skirt, the vest/overskirt combo, and the jacket. And the hat of course, so 4 pieces I guess! Abi designed this one, and did all the fittings and drafting to make it work. She has certainly grown as a costumer with this outfit!! It’s still not quite complete, it’s got a few more hooks/eyes and some trim left. Abi was able to do the final fitting with Erin today, so it should be done and ready for a photo shoot soon!


Meanwhile, I have been working on Mary Thumberlin. She is an author, higher middle-class, and apparently a bit of a snob. Here is my basic drawing for her, but the coat will have quite a bit of trimming, and the hat is going to be so much fun!!! She also gets to wear spectacles.


This gal is played by Lizzy Riley. I got the dress finished, and the coat mostly cut out. I might trim the dress, but we’ll see after the coat is done how much trim it needs. 



I haven’t made up the coat pattern I wanted to use before, so I made a practice one.



The inside…



the outside…




on Michelle, one of our store girls.



                              I just noticed that the plaid isn’t matched up in the back. Darn!                     This coat is meant to fit over a bustle, so we may need to give her some booty padding!



I think she likes it:)

This coat is supposed to have a layer of batting in it, but I didn’t have enough, so I put in a layer of wool (of a pattern we can’t really use). I didn’t have enough of the plaid to make the coat, so I pieced the red in to make it big enough. I’m pretty excited by how it turned out, and feeling good now about making the one for the play. I’m also excited to have a nice warm coat in the store, it gets really frigid in there!

Irene Adler, Part 3

 So we got it all done in time for the photo shoot! We were quite pleased with the results. Hannah ended up wearing heels here, but for the play she will have on flats, and that should fix the length to just about perfect.

We had fun with the photo shoot (Mallory Drazin took the official pictures, I just hung around and took some of my own! When she is done with hers she said she would send me the official ones to post:). We had some giggles and I can’t help but posting some of those too!

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We used a lobster tail bustle underneath this dress with one petticoat over it. She has on her chemise, corset and corded petticoat underneath. This is the first time any of us used a hat that had to be pinned into the hair with hatpins, so she is going to be experimenting with hairstyles that will work a little better. This is after a long day on tour and her hair had been up in a cap all day.

There are a few fitting issues around the bust/armpit, but we are going to play with her corset and maybe add some small pads to help fill out that spot.

Here is the hat up close:


I thought it looked like a pilgrim hat!


It’s a little better with the band on and the brim turned up…


And much better with the feathers!


Overall I’m pleased with the results and am looking forward to making more hats!

On another note, you may have noticed the length of the sleeves, and if you are not familiar with the era you may not realize that it’s a fairly common length. I was flipping through this book for inspiration while I was designing the dress (one of my favorite books)…


And found this one…


And this one…


with that length sleeve. I really liked it so I used it for the dress!

Abi has been designing a dress for one of the other characters today. Here is her sketch:

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As you can tell, she is a bit better at sketching then I am! The vest part is attached to the overskirt. The belt is part of the jacket, so it will help keep the jacket exactly where it is supposed to go. The jacket and underskirt will be of a dark camel, probably wool. The undervest/overskirt will be an amber color, a little bit lighter in weight then the camel. We still have to source the fabric, but that is the goal! The vest closes with frogs and buttons. We are going to try to find gold appliques for the decorated part. As least, I think that’s the plan!

Stay tuned for the Railway Conductor, the retired Army Colonel and another lady. Research commences today!

Irene Adler, Part 2



I remembered to take a picture of my sketch while I was at work! This was my basic plan for Irene Adler and it has varied only a little bit.

Here are the skirt and the overskirt that Abi made.

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Front and back



You can see the black trim she added to the bottom, it really makes the teal pop. The overskirt has a scalloped hem that she did by hand.

Here are the cuffs, all ready to sew on.


The jacket is almost done!! The cuffs are pinned on here.


I cut off the teal trim on the hem of the jacket since it turned out funny and Abi made new trim!! She put it on and I love it!!


My project for tonight is a hat. I started last night, but this is as far as I got.


Sorry the picture looks dark, the hat is black velvet and my table is dark so it didn’t show up very well. It’s almost all wired, so tonight I’m going to put it together and cover it. It has to be done in time for the photo shoot tomorrow, so wish me luck (and a little sleep!).

Irene Adler, Part 1

The year is 1888. The setting is a train. The characters include Sherlock Holmes, Dr. John Watson and Irene Adler. We started the dress on Monday and the photo shoot is Friday. But so far so good!


I forgot to take a photo of the sketch I am actually working from, but these are some ideas from traveling dresses of the time. The book is what I was using to see how the bodice front was constructed. I ended up deviating from my plan for the front closures, but we’ll get to that!

It took me awhile to sort through the bins to find enough fabric, and the stuff on the left is what I pulled out of the stash. We had a request from the director to use the teal, but it isn’t really conducive to a traveling gown, and there wasn’t enough. But…it makes great trim!!

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Here is the underskirt…Abi made it. It is a little plain here…

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Then she makes trim….


And she applies it….

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There is some black we put on too, but I didn’t take a picture of that yet.

Here is the bodice coming along…


I had intended for the black piece to be seperate, and button on both sides. It was going to be really hard to put on, so I attached it on one side. There will be skirt hooks and eyes on the other side. It will still have buttons on both sides.

Here it is with some trim on the bottom…

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I don’t like the way the teal came out:( After the photo shoot it is coming off and getting replaced with teal pleated trim (before the photo shoot if there is time!!).

Stay posted, it has to be finished by Friday! And there’s a hat!