Stitch With Me! Q&A and Patterns of Fashion 5

Having a chat about historical sewing things, whilst sewing historically. The usual.

Patterns of Fashion 5 can only be ordered through the web shop at School of Historical Dress ( Due to the high volume of orders currently being processed, the order link has been temporarily closed, but I shall add the direct link here once it has been reopened (likely by next week).

Other links to things mentioned:
-Patterns of Fashion 3: The Cut and Construction of Clothes for Men and Women C. 1560-1620 by Janet Arnold (,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch)

-17th Century Men’s Dress Patterns:,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=detail

-Linen thread from Burnley & Trowbridge:

-Wissner, German synthetic baleen:

-Synthetic baleen from Burnley & Trowbridge:

*Please note that I strongly discourage purchasing new books from Amazon, as the extremely discounted price cuts the royalties of the authors to an unfairly low amount without consent. Seeing as there is currently no other way to purchase the books listed, I have linked the Amazon pages here and will replace them when better purchasing options become available.

41 thoughts on “Stitch With Me! Q&A and Patterns of Fashion 5

  1. I am currently reading "The Language of Clothes" by Alison Lurie (c1981), and had an "Ah-ha!" moment regarding my own deep love, respect, and giddiness over Jane Austen coupled with my aversion for Regency dresses. Here it is: I hate dressing women as infants or toddlers. Yup, that's the Regency right there for ya! If you scaled up a Christening gown to fit a woman, and allowed for a hem so she could actually put those legs to use! It's thought provoking to think of Rousseau's popular ideas on the "innocence to be preserved" childhood infecting the treatment and dressing of women. Similar movements, perhaps politically driven to assure the nonthreatening nature of being female, were the youthful 1920's and the babyboom-style-setting 1960's. Will we have another fashion swing towards infantilizing women after this current "me too" movement? I hope not. One last thought: economic prosperity inspires childish dress, as though the access to resources drives a desire to be not be held accountable for one's own actions. I can't help but think of silicone valley mens fashions of dressing in hoodie, jeans, and sneakers. Dandy fashions, though…!!! So very macaroni (or was that language out of mode by 1800?) They are glorious. My husband's wedding outfit was thus inspired!

  2. You are so sweet! Thank you for being on YT and for doing these videos. I've watched some and am going to watch more, because the kindness and the common sense and that sort of sweetness about you is just… rare. One does not see and hear that very often. You are great! Thank you! And best wishes 🙂

  3. Thank you for being so very passionate about historical dressmaking! I'm a historian and a knitter but have not yet managed to combine these two sides of my life… Your dedication is inspiring. <3

  4. Thank you for your videos! Totally agree with starting with the shift or other undergarments, I'm planning to use the shift as a night gown, you can choose your fabric (linen or cotton), store bought ones are getting more expensive and thinner and contain more and more synthetic stuff (not very comfy to sleep in)…..I'm even thinking of starting with reproducing some undies…..nice and small…..

  5. I have just found your channel and I love it. Although I own a sewing machine I share your passion for hand sewing. I find it so relaxing. I enjoy watching your videos while cross stitching. Cannot wait for your next creation xxx

  6. Thank you for this Q&A, I always love hearing about how people learned their craft (or are still learning it), and what sort of background they have. I did in fact do some handsewing while listening to this, just finishing up the lining of a wicker basket I use to bring supplies like watter bottles and umbrellas to festivals without ruining the look with a modern backback 😀

  7. I'm awed and inspired by your commitment to research and accuracy of historical dress. I'm a total beginner with ANY kind of sewing, and what's more I confess my interest in based in the fantasy realms, but I've always loved it when authors or costumers take the time to research their information. In the new year I'll be starting to learn how to sew, wish me luck!

  8. Didnt get sewing done but got other chores done so now i can sew.
    I like your videos because they inspire ideas for what sort of historical fashions i might like to adapt into my egl fashion.

  9. Your voice is so calming. I saw another person comment about starting a podcast. I'd love to listen to you talk about the historical fashion of a decade/period, or a specific historical technique while I sew or embroider. Also, hello fellow theatrical costumer! I know you're moving away from it, but I always get excited to meet people in the profession. I'm learning to manipulate patterns right now and hoping to start working as a first hand in the new year. I'm so impressed with your dedication to hand sewing, and I love learning from you 🙂

  10. This is a really inspiring video, thank you Bernadette. You (or one) can search for handwoven fabric on Etsy… there's a shop there called TextileSupply which sells handwoven cotton from South America. All the prints are very South Americanesque, but there is a plain black there which, though expensive, looks fantastic.

    Oh, and before I go can I just say – I hope your new You Tube popularity explosion doesn't stop you from staying authentically you (I doubt it will but, y'know) and if you could even possibly be one of the extreme few without intro and outro music (how I hate intro and outro music, I invariably dive for the mute button!) and repetitive scripted greetings and farewells, I for one will be a devoted fan. I probably will be one anyway, but… okay this is awkward now 😶 Thanks!

  11. This was a perfect Q& A for me ! I have the exact same interest with historical accuracy of making clothes w hand sewing rather than production you answered a lot of questions that i had. Since I want to find a way to earn a living doing this. We shall find a way one day lol I guess theres no school that gives out degree just on historical wear and how to make it? have to do a master degree on costume design i suppose. is there a better way at it? that you know of? And how do you do research on writing about how people used to make clothes like in libraryies you mentioned are there specifics words i should look for when searching for the books what kind of books have those details?

  12. Thank you for these videos Bernadette. It's extremely encouraging to see another genuinely historically interested individual. I'm not able to pick up large sewing projects at the moment, but you have given me a wealth of knowledge to be able to continue and make new ones infinitely better.
    Also, to answer something people keep pointing out, I don't believe you speak differently or strange. Most people aren't used to hearing someone be able to articulate their thoughts with such a wide variety of language without cursing. To me, it shows that you enjoy reading, and there is nothing in the world wrong with that.
    Please have a lovely evening, and I look forward to more history lessons.

  13. A fellow American also in England! Enjoy your visit 🙂
    I adore your page! It is a breath of fresh air. Your videos have given me inspiration to try and sew again. My mother attempted to show me how to use a sewing machine in my youth, and to this day, found the contraption to be absolutely terrifying! Though, I always found hand sewing to be more soothing and would joke with others that I would have fit in more in pre-sewing machine eras.
    I look forward to your future projects!
    IG: mcloseart

  14. I am so grateful that YouTube put your Edwardian Walking Skirt in my recommends! YAY for Youtube algorithm! I hope that you find time for little old us and post some more of your processes for making clothes but just know that we would be understanding when you’re out running the world. Thank you for welcoming us to your channel and it was a wonderful pleasure to meet you through this Q&A!

  15. If I’m being honest, I probably won’t ever find the time or resources to sew, but this channel is always so cheerful and relaxing that it’s my new go-to for stress relief. Plus, I always learn something new.

  16. I am definitely going to make a leather finger guard from scraps. I love your inspiration for hand sewing and love to finish my clothes I make with hand sewing rather then the sewing machine. However you have inspired me to do more hand sewing and next year I plan to make a linen shift.

  17. Hi! I'm really glad that I stumbled upon you on youtube one day, because it gave me the motivation I needed to really start doing historical inspired things. I always loved historical costuming, and History in general, but I live in Brazil, where people don't give a thought about History or preserving things in general. It's a shame really.

    Buuut, in the middle of so much discoraging, your channel was like a kick to make me really pursue the "historical oriented path". I started sewing not so long ago, and even if, just like you, I don't think there's a job I could just fill in and go, I also want to make of this kind of inspiration, and the learning and teaching and inspiring, my goal.

    So I thank you very much for all the inspiration and the realness in your prospects, and also for your encouraging and overall teachings in the channel. I watched all your videos in like two days, and am excited about your next projects!

  18. Bernadette!! This is the video I have always wanted!!! Also, metal thimbles can bite me. Leather all the way! I buy mine though and it has a little metal bit in the tip and a slit for your nail! ❤️❤️❤️

  19. I mostly sew by machine, and certainly not historical or historically inspired clothing, but I love seeing how passionate you are about your practice and I find your descriptions and explanations about historical things absolutely fascinating. Thank you for making all of your amazing videos. I also find it comforting too see someone else anxious about their future career. You're not the only one!

  20. Thank you so much for all your videos! I found your channel randomly and I've been binging all your posts for the past month or so. I usually machine stitch more modern stuff, but I've always been fascinated with historical garments. Now that I've learned the basic construction techniques from you, I'm excited to put them to use on some viking/early-medieval dresses 🙂

    Getting to see your on-the-go sewing kit was really interesting…even if it seems like it's just the basics! As for future videos, I'd love to see a tutorial on plant dyeing (if you have any experience with this), maybe a tour of your sewing space at home and how you store your fabric/sewing supplies, or even tips on storing finished garments. Also some tips on pattern drafting, if you feel up to it. That's about all I can think of right now, but hopefully some spark your interest.

  21. Your voice and speech put me at such ease that I listen to you whenever my anxieties get the better of me. We have so much in common in the sense of interest, that it feels like a tea with a friend. Thank you, you wonderful being, you! <3

  22. Leather thimbles are very popular for hand quilting, they make running stitches easy, fast, and evenly spaced if you can catch the eye of the needle right on the tip or the pad of your finger and just rock the needle up and down while you feed the fabric onto the needle.

  23. About the Baleen and other materials for stays i read or Saw somether that Middle Class and Lower Class woman used Reeds as substitute, 1 straw is not resistant at all but many of them tied really tight would make a resistant and flexible material

  24. Hi Bernadette, have you ever heard of Brooks Ann with Skirt Skills?  She hand sews modern clothes.  She doesn't sew historical clothing but, she loves hand sewing too.  🙂  BTW, you are just adorable, thank you for sharing your passion.  I could watch you all day!

  25. Thank you for answering my question. I'm so glad I can still use zip ties but just once I want to do the whole project by hand the old way. I'm hoping to do a beatle wing dress. I think bone should be okay for that cause it's not vegetarian anyway. I might go all out and use silk. I apologize for my lack of terminology. THANK YOU Sooooooo very much for saying the thing about…Will you sew a dress for me. I have had so much trouble with this. Same goes for all my art works. If it's a tattoo drawing they won't pay me for the hrs of finger torment. I did an astrology wheel for someone and wound up getting a quarter of the agreed price. But they'll pay the guy to copy my work on their skin. If it's a blanket they say "I'll buy the yarn" then I give them a price on labor poof they disappear. I sewed a renaissance fair dress for someone they purchased most of the materials. When I returned the finished product 2 weeks later with a price. She thought I was being unreasonable for wanting minimum wage. She only paid me for the notions I had receipts for & $2.00 per hr. What did i learn? If someone asking you to do a project starts by complaining about another artists pricing. Defend the other artist and move on cause they don't want to pay you either. If you hear "I'll buy the materials." It probably means they don't want to pay for labor.

  26. I loved this episode! First, thank you for being honest about the amount of money you would have to charge to break even on commissions…so many ‘makers’ undersell their work and even then are accused of profiteering. Second, I’m from UK and was born in 1940.we children, back then, wore a weird garment, made from white flannel with linen buttons which was sleeveless and fastened down the front, under our usual clothing. They were called stays. No bones, but I hated them! Lastly, the historical garment that fascinated me is the ‘bliaut’, particularly those depicted in the wonderful sculptures on Rouen Cathedral, in France. I’ve had a few tries at replicating something approaching their beauty and drape (hand sewn), but it’s not happening for me! Any thoughts?

  27. That estimate was absolutely very helpful! I was certain it had taken you at least that long, considering how deliberate and precise your work is. It's such a pleasure to hear more about your process, your work, and your education. You have certainly been quite the inspiration to me when it comes to expanding my hand-sewing skills, taking much more time on finishing details, and being proud of my new role as "person who sews on the metro with a cushion in her lap". Thanks ever so much for sharing! Looking forward to seeing what you are working on next!

  28. I recently subscribed to your channel and Instagram. I love victorian clothes but very little experience with sewing. I have a passion for natural fabrics/fibers though! I spin my own yarn (mostly from my alpacas) and knit with it and prefer only natural dyes. I am supposed to dress up for Dickin's Christmas where I will be spinning yarn. I saw an awesome top (attached a link) I would love to wear but it would be quite snug if it fits… Thanks for sharing your awesome craft!!

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