Showing posts from March, 2012

The Writer's Guide to Costume: "Flapper"

Originally, this post was going to address 1920s fashion as well, but I think that will wait until later.  There is enough to discuss in just the meaning of the term!  My issue is with the tendency of people to ascribe the term "flapper" mainly to the 1920s (perhaps mentioning that it was used before then, but ignoring how frequently it was used before then) and of the simplistic description often given of the rise of the type; later I'll address the realities of 1910s and 1920s dress as compared to the image of the flapper. In the 1920s, a new woman was born. - "Flappers" in the 1920s was a term applied to a "new breed" of young Western women who wore short skirts, bobbed their hair, listened to jazz, and flaunted their disdain for what was then considered acceptable behavior. - Wikipedia

Sad Story with a Happy Ending

I've been a little nervous about the dress forms for the Great, Strange, and Rarely Seen exhibition ever since I worked on the pattern for the ca. 1837 dress, which was quite small, and I got even more nervous after working on the ca. 1867 pattern (the last one I took).  The dress forms are modern (eight European size 8s, the smallest in the catalogue, and two of the larger children's forms), the dresses are historical - is this going to work out? Yesterday, I started to dress the forms, beginning with the ca. 1800 gown as it was fairly simple.  While the form was far too large, the adjustable nature of the dress meant that I could still make it look all right, even if the shoulders weren't quite in the right place.  As I didn't have my pocket hoops with me, I decided to leave the ca. 1765 sacque for next week, and skipped ahead to the two 1920s evening dresses and the Lilly Pulitzer sheath; the former fit perfectly on the women's forms, and the latter on one of

The Robe Parée

OldRags on Tumblr recently posted an image of a " robe parée " from the Musée des Tissus de Lyon.  I could have sworn that I came across it being called out as a 19th century term on the now-vanished Historical Sewing Forum, and I wanted to look into it further to settle things in my mind as to what exactly it means.

Stays - 95% Done!

My reed came yesterday from Wm Booth, Draper!  (The reed I bought weeks earlier from has still not arrived - never order from them, I'm going to get the bank to take my money back somehow.)  This morning I spent about an hour and a half cutting it and boning the stays with two pieces back to back in each channel.   I'm especially happy with the curved channels on the side back pieces - you can see that they do pull the fabric into a three-dimensional shape.

The Writer's Guide to Costume: 18th Century Gown Closures

When I was coming up with topic for my qualifying paper, one of the ones I was most enthusiastic about at first was the idea of writing a guide for authors of historical fiction - obviously they could get the same information from books like Patterns of Fashion , but sources focusing on construction or the progress of fashion history don't spell out exactly what writers need to know.  Obviously , I went in a different direction, but it just occurred to me that, hey, I could very well make the writer's guide a sporadic series here!  (Sure, it's mostly preaching to the choir, but if you mentally retitle these posts as "rants about minor issues that niggle at me" it will all make sense!) The first issue I've got to mention, the one that comes up in nearly every book I read that describes women getting into or out of their clothes, even if they're generally well-researched, is closures on eighteenth century gowns. The dress was a Robe a l'anglaise a l

Kensington Pre-Order

As you may know, American Duchess's new line of 18th century shoes, " Kensington ", are on pre-order.  I like them even more than the Devonshires: I think some of it's the red, but some of it's the pointier toe (which is odd, as I normally like very round-toed shoes).  I'm actually kind of glad that my shoes are slightly anachronistic - they tie rather than buckle - so that if it someday becomes economically feasible I can have a good reason to get a pair of these!

Late 18th Century Shift Pattern

Since I recently posted that rough draft of rather a complicated pattern, I thought I'd share my first attempt at taking a pattern.  Unfortunately, it's not as detailed and I didn't look at stitches or construction methods - but I kind of like that it's not as good, it shows my progress! (open in a new tab to see it at full size; triple dots mean a piece is folded along that line)

Journalistic Licence

220-year-old dress given to Rock Ford: Washington, fashion hero I found this article through Lahbluebonnet's blog, Teacups Among the Fabric , and I didn't want to leave an essay in her comments, so here I go! It's interesting to watch the video after reading the article - I mean, I know that journalists often write ... basically whatever they feel like after interviewing academics, but that's a pretty big difference.  Trussell, the museum worker, implies pretty heavily that the museum doesn't really believe the family's story about Washington giving the dress - she points out that it was probably originally made in the late 1770s (which I agree with; family histories often link objects to important historic events or places they don't belong with) - but the writer of the article, Knapp, states that Washington gave it to Mrs. Hand.  Knapp quotes Trussell as saying that the gown "would not have gone out of style", but she seems pretty clear in t

Seam Treatments

I took a break from doing eyelets today to try out a few seams to see if I could replicate whatever is used on the mystery seam of the sacque .