Showing posts from November, 2014

On Ball Dress ...

Journal des Dames et des Modes , 1813 ... The fashion is for coiffures à la chinoise  so high that, even with the longest hair, it is difficult to create them. M. Palette has created false coques* of hair; and, with this accessory, or a part of it, for the coques  come apart, one can create the highest chinoises . Five coques  are sold for twenty-five francs. M Palette resides at the passage of the Petits-Pères , number one . For balls, seamstresses sew satin motifs on tulle gowns, made in the shape of a peak or trefoil, and fold down their edges: they put a garland of flowers at the bottom of the gown, and above the garland a double rouleau of satin. Gowns are called à la Vierge  or à la demi-guimpe  if they are as high-cut as those seen in church paintings. These new gowns are made in emerald green and white striped gauze, or lapis lazuli blue and white; the trim of the top and bottom consists of a bouillonné  band of gauze made in reverse box pleats. - From the article a

The Clothing Project

No substantive post this week - and there won't be one next week, either. Probably  you will get one the week after. (I had a great idea for one that I've lost, but I'm sure it will come back to me ... while I'm at work, when I'm holding a pastry bag of frosting instead of a pen.) This is because the deadline for my manuscript - Regency Women's Dress , you may recall - is coming up very quickly. The good news: having to send in the text and pictures means that we're getting closer to the point where the book will be actually available , which is of course a good thing. The unsettling news: are you crazy?! I have to get it all perfectly finished and submitted! Which means that I'm spending all of my time on writing, rewriting, consulting about the illustrations, and redrafting the patterns in ink, and sadly don't have time to write a great post. (If you should want to see what I've posted about most of the patterns I've taken, check out

Jennie Goodman's Wedding Dress (1878)

I've been sitting on this pattern for a while because this is, frankly, one of my favorites of the dresses I put online at the Chapman. CHM 1971.38.1 (pattern available at link) Now, the photo is not great. It's a decent view of the bodice, but you don't get a good sense of the elaborate drapery and the classic early Natural Form train. There are a few other shots on the website, but there's nothing like seeing a dress on a mannequin. Unfortunately, this gown has some structural issues, possibly due to being on a hanger for a long time (though it was in a box when I got there), and can probably never be dressed, which is one reason I wanted to pattern it. The slender princess line would make this tricky to fit, which is why I haven't tried to make it yet (as well as the utter confusion of the pattern itself, which was phenomenally difficult to take and had me contemplating just putting the dress back several times). It's very close-fitting from the neck

Post-Edwardian Mourning, plus Renoirs

I hadn't even heard  of Death Becomes Her or You (the former is the exhibition, the latter the event) until I was emailed an invitation to come in period clothing. Since Julie moved far away there haven't really been any events close enough for me to go, and I was so excited! But I have nothing suitable for mourning in the period covered by Death Becomes Her - technically, my white cotton 1780 gown, if worn with a white petticoat, would count as second mourning in its period, though - so I had to take action quickly: I had to make the best use of my time as I'm a slow sewer. It was hard to decide. My choices were: Regency, as I've taken a lot of patterns for my book and have so many options 1840s, as it's kind of my era of choice when you take convenience out of the conversation 1910s, my old love, plus I have a 1911 corset and do not need any extra underpinnings In the end, I went with the early 1910s. My sewing speed was really an issue, especially as I