1860s Sophie



Ingibjörg Ýr Jóhannsdóttir


(click images to to enlarge)

Other Credits

Photographer: Kristín María

Outline the story …

Sophie Hatter comes from the world of "Howl's Moving Castle" by Diana Wynne Jones. She has low self esteem and even lower hopes for a happy future, being the eldest sister of three. Unknowing to her, she has the power to imbue the hats she makes with magical qualities by talking to them. This ability catches the attention of various individuals and Sophie is drawn into a world of wizards and witches, fire demons, living scarecrows, princes and politics. Along the way she makes wonderful self-discoveries and fine friends.
This magical setting gave me a light impression of steampunk, but I like to imagine it to have more of an 1860s undertone. And thus 1860's Sophie Hatter was born. A wrapper work dress of coarse cotton seemed the way to go as Sophie is very practical and work oriented. An apron is essential to protect your dress from getting dirty. Two layers of petticoats(although only one can be seen) because even though she is a witch, Sophie is still a respectable lady. And to top it all off, a spoon bonnet decorated with flowers. It references her father's millinery shop, the hats she made and the flower field that Howl showed her as a token of his affection. The brown colour of the hat was chosen as Sophie is very grounded and always seeks practical solutions amidst all the craziness she is surrounded by. The frills on the apron and bottom of the petticoat is because I wanted to be extra.

Outline the construction…

Starting from the top, I made an 1860's spoon bonnet after a pattern from Timely tresses. As the base I used coarse linen that I stiffened with potato starch, then buffed it with a double layer of cotton flannel. The shape is held firm with electrical wires and bias tape. It's covered with brown silk and decorated with fake flowers. A video from Dressing History (Youtube) helped a lot for my first foray into millinery.

The dress is made using Laughing Moon Mercantile's #120 Ladies' wrapper dress pattern. The fabric used is a fairly coarse cotton. The buttonholes were handsewn with linen/cotton/wool-blend knitting thread. This level of pleating and making and using piping is a first for me. It scared me a bit but when I discovered that following the seam allowance carefully made the piping perfect I was very happy. The dress gave me good practice in sewing down a hem almost invisibly by catching only one thread at a time with a whip stitch. Most of the dress, apron and petticoats is sewn with machine, but collars, buttonholes, some hems and more are finished by hand. The apron is self drafted. It's made of two layers of plain-weave, lightweight cotton with ruffle sandwiched between. The petticoat (that can be seen) is made of the same fabric as the apron. It's inspired by American Duchess' instructions for 18th-century petticoats. The hem ruffle is 10 meters long with acrylic lace. I tried gathering with the dental floss method and it worked great!




  1. Avatar Sadie Belsey on March 11, 2021 at 6:07 pm

    This is gorgeous!! 😍 The pleats in the bodice look perfect.

  2. Avatar Holly Benison on March 11, 2021 at 6:15 pm

    I love this interpretation! Gorgeous!

  3. Avatar Thorey Bjork on March 11, 2021 at 6:42 pm

    😍😍 beautifully done

  4. Avatar Viktoría on March 11, 2021 at 7:35 pm

    So elegant and beautiful 😍

  5. Avatar Hildur Kristin on March 11, 2021 at 7:36 pm

    I love it! It’s so fascinating. 🥰

  6. Avatar Elin Maria on March 11, 2021 at 7:36 pm

    Oohh myyy how beautiful! 😍😍😍

  7. Avatar Arna Sigríður on March 11, 2021 at 7:37 pm

    Gorgeous work! 💕

  8. Avatar Martina Girardi on March 11, 2021 at 8:17 pm

    Wish this was Sophie’s costume for real, it’s just stunning. Love it!

    • Avatar Annette Fitzgerald on March 19, 2021 at 9:01 pm

      So pretty 💕

  9. Avatar Lisa Horstkamp on March 12, 2021 at 12:40 am

    Adorable 💜

  10. Avatar Ebbz on March 12, 2021 at 1:02 am

    Gorgeous dress! So well made and absolutely stunning! So proud of Ingibjörg, her talent is immense!! ❤

  11. Avatar Martha on March 12, 2021 at 2:58 am

    So so lovely. An excellent interpretation. I love this character as well.

  12. Avatar Sarah Lowes on March 14, 2021 at 6:10 pm

    Covered buttons and beautiful pleats!

  13. Avatar Susie on March 17, 2021 at 11:42 pm

    All I can say is “wow!” I’m very impressed by the amount of hand-sewing you did, especially buttonholes. You’ve made the character come to life! And bonus points for the millinery!

  14. Avatar Pia Palmer on March 18, 2021 at 7:14 am

    I love the dress! And what a wonderful hat! It is a great adaption of the movie costume

  15. Avatar teresa van twuijver on March 21, 2021 at 10:26 am

    The pleats in the back are super beautiful. I imagine you can wear this dress in daily life, without the accessories. I know I would!

  16. Avatar AnnaCatherine Sendgikoski on March 24, 2021 at 4:16 am

    Wow, this is beautiful! I really love the design of this dress! Those flowers are wonderful! Thank you!

  17. Avatar Stephanie Murison on March 27, 2021 at 3:26 am

    Oh the pleats in the bodice are divine! And I love the flowered hat as a reference to her fathers shop! Well done for all the hard you put into this beautiful outfit, it paid off!

  18. Avatar Steffy on March 28, 2021 at 3:59 pm

    I can see the hard work and the attention to detail really shine through in these photos and your thought process. A really great adaption all in all!!

  19. Avatar Kate on March 30, 2021 at 8:43 pm

    Love Howl’s Moving Castle!!!! This is so great, well done! Be very proud!

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