Welcome! Thistle + Lilly is a newly created pattern brand, currently targeted to designing clothing patterns for babies and children for the Victorian era. While many initial patterns will be for the 1850s and 1860s, the long-term goal is to have patterns ranging from 1830-1900.


Mad About Boys

Lately I've been a little obsessed with boy's frocks.  Through my research of the 1854 dress I'm working on for Victoria (seen in this post -  and yes, I'm a little wild about scallops right now, if you haven't noticed), and through some conversations with my friend Emma, I can now see how that little girl's dress could easily be made into a boy's version of the pattern.  Which got me excited.  Which led me to gawking at boy's toddler frocks which are built on similar lines.  Here are some of my favorites:


A Quiet, Gentle Day

Today is Mother's Day!  To all of the mothers out there - I hope this day brings you peace and blessings, a quiet moment, or a house full of little voices and little feet.  We are truly blessed with the experience of motherhood in all its forms.

Today I'm relaxing...but I seem to be unable to stop sewing.  :)  I can't help it.  It's what I love.  And with graphic design jobs having taken priority over sewing and patterning for the last several weeks, I am content and rather happy to spend my Mother's Day morning stitching scallops on the sleeves of Victoria's new chemise, and planning out a fall dress for her (which will hopefully become a pattern by the fall or winter, because I'm really loving the style).

Enjoy your day my friends!

Scalloped edging on a chemise for Victoria - also an upcoming pattern dated 1850-60s.

A pattern design in the making.  (Dated 1854.)


Blog Awards!

Sorry for the long delay in posting; we have been having rounds of illness around here.  However, I was tickled to learn last week (while I was sick and/or nursing the sick) that I received two blog awards - one for this one and one for my other blog, A Day In 1862.  I'm so pleased, and humbled, that you would pass on these fun awards to my little blogs.  It will take me some time to figure out blogs to pass the awards on to, but I will be working on that for a future post.  Thank you!  Thank you!


Sneak Peek! 1848 "Elisabethe Dress"

Making patterns is a fiddly business.  Time-consuming.  More than I expected it to be.  But there is a distinct thrill when all your hard work begins to pay off.  You've diddled with the muslin, you've drawn a pattern, re-drawn, thrown away, re-printed, re-cut, you've ripped out, re-sewn, basted, tacked and made untold numbers of mock-ups, but then after a while, it's time to pull out the fashion fabric and make one up for real.  And it actually turns out...pretty good!

This dress is based on an 1848 photograph of a little girl, approximately aged 8, and her family.  The fabric in the original photo appears to be a gingham.  Gingham or a small check is particularly fitting for this pattern, since the grain of the fabric is sewn at an angle towards the point in the front, creating a nice effect.  I thought it was just lovely, and since a good friend inspired me to make a pattern for her daughter, I thought it fitting to name the pattern after sweet little girl!

So here is the first peek at the Elisabethe Dress pattern, soon to be ready for testing!  It features a wide neckline, a tightly-gathered fan-front, petal sleeves, and full skirt.  (Please note that I opted to cartridge pleat this version for my daughter, but the pattern will include instructions for traditional gathering to match the original.)

I hope to get this into the hands of my testers within the next 3 weeks, and after any necessary revisions, it will go into my soon-to-be-open store!  Thank you for all your support and encouragement.

xoxo  Amy


1861 Braided Gaiters - Work In Progress

Just wanted to share progress on the 1861 Braided Gaiter from Godey's.  For those who are interested, I do plan on making a pattern for these, but grading them (and testing them) can be tricky so I don't have a ETA worth mentioning.

I found a teensy tiny black soutache braid -- 1/16" in width -- and although I though for sure it would be too tiny, it worked perfectly.  I've finished one shoe, so now to work on the other, and then to create the button flaps.  After that, the foxing is easy and then it's attaching them to the sole.

The wool is "Mixt Grey" wool broadcloth from Wm. Booth Draper (um, LOVELY, by the way).  I am going to get more of this for a paletot for Victoria.  Because she needs one to go with these shoes, right?

I'll post more as things progress...


Sheer Party Dress 1860-1865

Last night I put the finishing touches on the 1860s little white party dress for the auction this weekend.  I had hoped to put a bit of narrow trim around the neckline, but wasn't satisfied with the trim I had on hand, nor what I could find at local stores, so I left it plain.  I think it still works well with the little piping.  If I have time before I leave tomorrow, I'll try to whip up a sash for it, because every little party dress deserves a sash!


Victoria Chemise Pattern - 1850-1859

At long last, I have finished one of my patterns.  This is a pattern I have had available for free, and so I'll keep it that way.  Enjoy!  I'm still working on formalizing the underwear and infant's sacque.

{ Download }

As for new stuff in the works, I have a wool braided gaiter shoe from 1861, which I am currently working up in several sizes.  I can't wait to show you!  Sorry it takes so long to make these patterns; I hope it's worth the wait.

I've also been working on a little girl's dress pattern dating 1848, inspired by a photograph.  I've created the base pattern and now I'm in the process of grading it.  I've never had much reason to make anything earlier than 1855, since I usually only go to war-era events, but this has been a real treat to work on.

Amy xoxo


A new year!

Happy New Year!  I hope your Christmas was lovely, your New Year was exciting, and that you're looking forward to lots of new experiences and opportunities.  For someone like me who is organizationally challenged, this time of year usually inspires me to clean and purge and organize with lofty ambitions of keeping said organization.  (Which rarely happens.  Ok, never.)  But starting fresh with a whole new 12 months to wonder about is all part of the excitement of new years, right?  I'll just try not to think about the Big 4-0 which is looming.  Heh.

At the end of January, I have the thrill of going to my first living history conference.  We rarely have them so close by, so I definitely wanted to take part and learn something.  I've almost exclusively participated in "reenacting" as opposed to "living history," so it's quite new to me.  I'm not an actor and feel almost silly pretending to be someone of the 1860s, but I hope I can commune with others who can help me get past the silly feeling part.  :)

As part of my contribution, I'm putting something into the silent auction to benefit the state park and museum.  So I'm making up a little dress for about a 3 year old with the cutest little vandyked sleeves I've seen on an original.  I'm edging them, as well as the neckline, with a narrow lace.  The fabric I chose was a sheer windowpane muslin -- similar to dimity, but lighter.  And boy is it fiddly!  The effect is quite beautiful, though.  I hope the little girl (or boy!) who ends up wearing it truly enjoys it.  (And I hope it makes a lot of money for the museum!)

I rather like it!  What do you think?  Can't you see this with an adorable red "coral" necklace, a tiny hoop and a silk sash?  I'm especially delighted at the sleeves, which managed to turn out just as I imagined.

I did have a wee fitting problem, though.  I neglected to space my gathers out properly so the top of the sleeve ended up gathered too tight and it's a little snug at the arms.  I should have had less gathering at the top of the sleeve and a little more in the center front and back.  You can't tell in the pictures, but when she raises her arms or reaches forward, it pulls at the top of her shoulder just enough to be annoying.  The armscye does go up fairly high under the armpit on these raglan styled sleeves, so the wearing ease is controlled in the gathering at the top.  Get it too tight, and your little one will be uncomfortable.

Stay well, y'all.  Be good and do good.

Amy xoxo


2012 Christmas Ornament Pattern

Just for fun, I have a little Christmas Dress ornament pattern for you.  The design of the dress is from the September 1862 Peterson's Magazine, fashions for children, and is embellished with sequins and beads to give it some sparkle.  I chose red felt -- so very festive.  Enjoy!


Little dollies!

I am in love with Sarah Jane's little dolly she's making for her baby girl. I think Victoria needs one now. :)  I hope she doesn't mind me copying her little project!