Beatrix Potter



Lillian Bell


Outline the story …

Beatrix Potter (1866-1943) was a British writer, illustrator, and naturalist. Known primarily for her anthropomorphic children’s stories, she was lesser known for her keen interest in and contribution to the study of the natural world.

Her illustrations were often scientific, and she enjoyed sketching many different types of bugs, plants, and fungi. She delighted in mycology in particular and with the encouragement of a mentor submitted some findings to the Kew Gardens lead botanists on her discoveries of fungi reproduction. Rebuffed by the all male scientists at the prestigious institution due to the fact that she was a woman, she was not recognized for her work. She was not even able to present her paper, On the Germination of the Spores of the Agaricineae, to the Linnean Society herself due to the prohibition on women attending or reading.

Beatrix Potter deserves all the wonderful acclaim she receives due to her skill at illustration and children’s book writing, but I wonder what other contributions she would have been allowed to make to societies’ understanding of our natural world, had sexism not prevented her from doing so. I hope that by creating these garments we can remember Beatrix Potter not just as a writer and illustrator, but also as a scientist.

Outline the construction…

This project was my first Victorian bodice and my first historically accurate Edwardian walking skirt.

For the bodice and deerstalker, I sourced some Scottish tweed in the perfect mauve hue, as well as antique buttons to match. I heavily altered the Truly Victorian 420 Cuirass Bodice pattern by adding the asymmetrical front, angled bottom front edge, and raised the armscyes. I added padding in the upper bust to give a smooth, rounded front. I hand finished all the buttonholes and did a lot of hand finishing in the interior, which is lined with cotton sateen and interlined with linen. This bodice took me about four mockups to get to this stage.

The walking skirt was made from Folkwear 209, and the only modification was adding length as I am 6 feet (182cm) tall. I used a linen lined with cotton, and faced the hem with tarletan and a facing. The bottom edge is finished with wool twill tape to act as a hem guard.

Finally, the deerstalker was constructed by heavily modifying the crown of a basic baseball cap pattern and drafting small brims and earflaps. It ties closed with brown cotton twill tape (also used on the bodice boning channels and waist stay.

Overall, I learned an incredible amount on these projects, and can’t wait to use these skills to make more garments in the future.




  1. Avatar Dawn-Marie deLara on May 7, 2023 at 5:06 pm

    What a lovely, beautifully made tribute to an amazing woman! And I have total fabric envy on that mauve tweed.

  2. Constance MacKenzie Constance MacKenzie on May 10, 2023 at 7:45 am

    Lovely to see the Asymmetric Bodice in action well done.

  3. Avatar Joey on May 15, 2023 at 7:19 am

    Love the structure of the Victorian bodice.

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