Showing posts from February, 2016

HSM 2016 Challenge #2: Tucks and Pleats

Last year at my museum's Civil War Weekend, I was not very well kitted out. I had a decent corset, a good cage from Kay Gnagey (worth the money, by the way), a secondhand dress that fit perfectly, an 1840s chemise that's too tight under the arms, and a knee-length 1950s-style crinoline I used as a petticoat (which was awful but better than nothing). So the plans I laid out in December have been changed, because without firm deadlines I won't finish anything. Instead, I'm using the first half of the year to get everything together, starting with a pair of petticoats. This is especially important as I'm going to do a "Dressing the Fashionable Woman" presentation and need to have every layer in viewable condition. Petticoat, 1850-1865; MMA 2009.300.3256 (OASC) Liz Clark's instructions for petticoats describe pretty much what I did; I used the patterns at the end of Patterns of Fashion I  to calculate how much yardage to buy, and otherwise just sor

Re-evaluating C. Frederick Worth

While there are some (many) times that I suspect my gut reactions of being contrary simply for the same of being contrary, at other times my contrariness seems to lead me in the right direction. I've been writing about lesser-known contemporaries of Charles Frederick Worth since 2014 (see my first post on the subject , regarding Emile Pingat) in an effort to promote the knowledge that Worth wasn't literally the whole of the Parisian fashion world in the second half of the 19th century. But it wasn't until a recent question on the AskHistorians subreddit about Worth's innovations in the industry that I began to really reconsider his accepted position as a revolutionary who elevated the simple business of dressmaking into the completely new field of haute couture . There are certain Worthian innovations that I can't question, because I don't have the resources to investigate them, and I've deconstructed the idea of assigning widespread stylistic changes t

Magasin des Modes, 1er Cahier, Planche I

November 20, 1786 In summarizing all the Books where we have presented women dressed in men's redingotes, it will be easy to see which were temporary variations of Fashion. Here is another redingote which shows that its progress has not relented. It was the most difficult step to get over, and it was overcome; it was the most brilliant shape and the most agreeable to take, and it has taken hold. The Woman shown in PLATE I wears a redingote of dark green wool, embroidered with gold on the fronts, on the side pockets, cut vertically, and on the cuffs. Under this redingote, a petticoat of glossy pink. On the neck, a full gauze kerchief, en chemise , with two collars. On her feet, pink shoes, flounced with a green ribbon. On her head, a straw hat, lined with canary's tail  taffeta or satin, with black stripes, whose very full crown is of pink crêpe, with little black stripes, and which is belted with a wide pale green ribbon, edged in white, pulling up the hat on the