What’s the deal with Sarah?

I really like historical clothing.

Oh, you want more information than that? Well, ok then! I’m Sarah Lorraine and I’ve been maintaining Mode Historique (and it’s earlier incarnations “Sewing the Seeds of Rebellion” and “The Elizabethan Lady“) since 1998. The information I put up here is shared with y’all out of a desire to help other costumers of all technical abilities understand the process of creating an historical wardrobe. I come from a long line of teachers and writers, so the teaching and writing aspect comes pretty naturally to me. I also come from a long line of clothing engineers (my mom’s pathological drive to find the Perfect Fit and to match every plaid that ever came her way rubbed off on me; my grandmother is a raging perfectionist except where putting buttons on her finished garments is concerned – something I must have inherited, because almost all of my skirts are held together with safety pins at the waistband; and I’m pretty sure my great-grandmother spins in her grave every time I don’t hand-finish my hems using a blind hem stitch).

Don't wear silk when you know it's going to rain...

I have a B.Sc. in Design with an emphasis in Clothing & Textiles and Design History from the University of California, Davis (go Ags!), and I have taught fashion design professionally. I am currently working on my Master’s in Art History & Visual Culture from San Jose State University. I live with my awesome boyfriend, Francis, who makes historical shoes and menswear, and my cat, The Noodle, who helps us both with our projects whenever he gets the chance. We are members of the Society for Creative Anachronism, the Greater Bay Area Costumers Guild, an 18th century society of friends, and occasionally we dabble in Ren Faires and travel the world hauling our costumes with us.

I love hearing from people who enjoy this site, and every email I get from you makes it all the more worth it to me to keep going. đŸ™‚

14 thoughts on “What’s the deal with Sarah?

  1. Hey Sarah?

    How do you attach the Paste? Do you pin it or have hooks and eyes? Did you wire your coif’s front piece? Still trying to wrap my brain around the concept!


  2. Hello,
    Just found your site. I, too, love historical clothing, although I have no drive to create any. You’ve another devoted reader!

  3. Do you have your notes from your Costume College class on the Florentine soft stays? I am attempting to make my own and I think that I must be missing a crucial part of the process. I basically made a bodice that was my size, but snug, out of several layers of mid-weight cotton and it’s still very “bunchy”. Suggestions?

  4. Hi Sarah,
    I’ve just found your site and – see less I see till now – I like it very much. I’m looking forward to explore the things you have written and done in the past and looking forward to all the things in the future. Your costumes look marvelous.
    An inspired reader from Germany.

  5. I’ll just put this right here. Francis will probably take his usual fifty billion years to respond to an e-mail, and then forget to share. Once again, we take matters into our own hands.

  6. Hi Sarah- I have been reading your blog on occasion and your gowns are beautiful. Today I was deleting a bunch of old stuff off of my computer and I ran across a picture of you, I didn’t know it was you, (I found it on some flicker site) It was your Ren Faire outfit from 10/13/01! I used it as an example for a new vest and skirt for Ren Faire in Southern CA. Mine was my first time dealing with stays in the bodice. Just an ironic coincidence. Love your speakeasy. Fun times. Paula Lusk

  7. Sarah – A few months ago I asked you to recommend some places to go while we where in England – you recommended the V&A. We went to England in October, and I dragged Dan to various places to see costume.
    The first was in Bath at the Fashion Museum- that was a great introduction of clothing from various periods starting from the 1600s to present day. They had a “dress up” spot to try on modern versions of stays, dress, crinoline, and mens clothing. I came away with the thought you had to be pretty strong to carry all that yardage around.
    When we went to London we went to the National Portrait Gallery where they were having an evening event where they dressed up models in Tudor clothing. We weren’t able to get in the gallery where they were dressing the queen, but we did get to see the finished product that was dazzling! We ended up in the gallery where they were dressing a man-an actor who acts at the Globe. They explained each piece of clothing, how and why it was put on – it was put on by the School of Historical Dress.
    The NPG had recently cleaned the portrait of Katherine Parr-she was beautiful! I had never noticed previously.
    The V&A was the icing on the cake – it was wonderful the amount of clothing on exhibit. My only complaint, even though I understand why, was how dark the rooms were kept.
    I dragged home a couple of beautiful books- 17 & 18th Century Fashion in Detail by Avril Hart & Susan North (published by the V&A), and In Fine Style, The Art of Tudor and Stuart Fashion by Anna Reynolds. There had been an exhibit In Fine Style at the palace, but it ended just before we arrived in England. They’re both BIG coffee table size books, with wonderful detailed photographs.
    I enjoy your blog so much, and am a big fan of yours on Facebook (i’m the one who said you look like Maid Marion when you modeled your costume for the boar feast). Thank you so much for sharing.

  8. Hi Sarah,
    Great website, thanks! I’m an American ex-pat living in France and I plan to write an historical fiction novel involving the Huguenots and I was researching what they might have worn in the 16th century in Brittany, France. Do you have any ideas? Did the Huguenots dress more austerely than the Catholics, or did they dress pretty much the same? My main character was the lord of three manors who murdered several people with the aid of his wife in the 1560’s. (True story). Websites like yours are a godsend to me.

    1. Bonjour Kim, Have you started writing your book? I have search what you where talking about and did not find anything. Could you tell me the name of this family please.

  9. Hello Sarah, I’m from France and I really admire your work.
    Thank you for the tutorials.
    It really helps the small beginner I am.
    Do you have a Facebook page?


  10. Hi Sarah, just discovered your blog… great stuff;
    I have amaisondecouture un Brussels where we teach and do bespoke; we love historical garnments as well; the English version of our website is still to be updated! i will now follow your posts;

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