Sky Blue & Pink Roses



Jessica Smith

Outline the story …

While the Woolcot family are part of the Australian upper class, they don't have a lot of money and most of their clothes are homemade and of cheaper fabrics (see the chapter, "Needles and Pins"). The novel, The Family at Misrule by Ethel Turner, also describes how the family viewed the rich middle classes dressing at the height of fashion to gain entry to upper class society, and therefore the Woolcots seem to consider the highest fashion to be gaudy and overdressed.

In designing this outfit, I decided to use a fashion plate from the Barrington Collection of 1890, which featured a white and blue tartan/check dress as my model. I chose a deep, sky blue cotton broadcloth for the outfit (Meg often wears blue or white), as it would be both cheap and hard wearing. I also opted for a separate skirt and bodice, paired with a shirtwaist instead of a dress, as this makes the outfit more versatile, a definite advantage in the Woolcot household. Meg prefers yoked shirtwaists, as she recommends this style to her sister in the book, so I made a pleated, yolked shirtwaist in white lawn.

Meg loves roses, as her bedroom has pink rosebud hangings, so I used this as inspiration for the undergarments. The undershirt (short chemise), drawers and corset are embroidered with pink bullion roses, while the camisole (corset cover) and petticoat both feature lace with rose pink ribbon inserts.

Outline the construction…

Patterns, bodice, skirt, shirtwaist: "The 'Keystone' Jacket and Dress Cutter" by Chas Hecklinger. How to, pocket pattern: "Household Sewing and Home Dressmaking" by Bertha Banner. Black-and-yellow-flossed corset: "Corsets: Historic Pattern and Techniques" by Jill Salen. How to, drawers, petticoat: "Manual of Needlework and Cutting-out" by Agnes Walker. Hat: Crochet insert: Olga Poltava via

Extant garments: Australian Dress Register undergarments of Edith Cameron (undershirt, camisole, petticoat), FIDM Museum and Galleries (bustle).

YouTube: Bernadette Banner, Abby Cox, Morgan Donner, Enchanted Rose Costumes, Karolina Zebrowska and Prior Attire (resources, construction tips).

Techniques and materials: The undershirt, drawers, camisole and petticoat were hand-sewn, the jacket and shirtwaist sleeves were sewn in by-hand and all seams were hand-felled or overcast. The corset, bustle and outer-garments were machine-made. The undershirt features cut-work and embroidery across the top, the split-crotch drawers feature embroidered cuffs finished with ruffles, both are of cotton lawn. The corset, of cotton sateen features a split-busk, 12x12mm plastic bones, 4x6mm bones and 13 rows of eyelets. It is embroidered with pink roses, bound with pink ribbon and finished at the top with crochet lace. The petticoat and camisole are cotton poplin and feature crochet lace and ribbon inserts. The yolked shirtwaist of cotton lawn has a pleated body and sleeves and corded collar and cuffs. The jacket and skirt (bell-shape) are made from machine-embroidered broadcloth, lined/hemmed with cotton twill. The five-paneled skirt has box-pleats, pocket and watch pocket. The jacket has a scalloped front, lace at the collar and mock buttons on each cuff.




  1. Avatar Jean on March 12, 2021 at 2:53 am

    Such lovely work and detail (and ALL those matching diamonds on the back of the jacket!!)

  2. Avatar Stef McKnight on March 12, 2021 at 7:58 am


  3. Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 12, 2021 at 8:43 am

    great attention to detail! and that colour is breathtaking

  4. Avatar Mandy Pursley on March 14, 2021 at 4:54 pm

    I just love this! The corset and fit are just perfect. And I love the little details you put in even the undergarments!

  5. Kayren McKnight Kayren McKnight on March 14, 2021 at 6:18 pm

    So many beautiful details!

  6. Avatar Carly Van Groeningen on March 19, 2021 at 11:33 am

    Beautiful work, well done!

  7. Avatar Laurie on March 20, 2021 at 8:11 pm

    Nicely done! I like the rose detailing on the undergarments- lovely character feature.

  8. Avatar Maeri Certo on March 26, 2021 at 1:26 pm

    so pretty!

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