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WWI era corset, 1910s corset, Rilla corset, corset pattern

The Scroop Rilla Corset on real bodies

I’d hoped to show the Scroop Rilla Corset on models when I launched it, but unfortunately due to timing issues that wasn’t possible.

The Scroop Rilla Corset Pattern Scrooppatterns.com

Happily, we’ve now managed to do a full photoshoot with the Rilla, and I can show you how it looks on actual bodies!

Both Jenni and I are wearing the Rilla Corset in size 38, with Average hip flare.  Jenni wears View B in white coutil, and I wear View A in peach pink brocaded cotton.

The size 38 in Average is a perfect match to my measurements. Jenni has an exceptionally small waist compared to her hip size, so the ideal Rilla Corset for her would be custom fitted to her measurements: shortened, as she is petite, and let out slightly in hip and at the underbust, to accomodate her amazing curves.

I give guidelines on adjusting for fit in the Rilla Corset pattern, and will also be demonstrating custom fitting on Jenni in a later post.  Although not an absolutely ideal fit, the standard pattern still fits her quite well.

WWI era corset, Rilla Corset, 1910s Corset, Corset pattern

WWI era corset, 1910s corset, Rilla corset, corset pattern

We both put on our corsets right after eating a big (and delicious) lunch, and then spent a couple of hours in them hanging out, posing, sewing, grommeting another corset, and lounging on the couch reading my vintage 1910s magazines and Alexandre Dumas’ Louise de La Vallière (scandalous!).

WWI era corset, 1910s corset, Rilla corset, corset pattern

Perfect proof that you can comfortably live and work and do things in these corsets!

WWI era corset, 1910s corset, Rilla corset, corset pattern

Both Jenni and I are wearing combinations made from Wearing History’s ca. 1917 Combination & Chemise pattern, Rosalie stockings, and earrings by Dames a la Mode.  Jenni’s shoes are 1990s era Louis heels, and my shoes are modern ballroom dancing shoes.

WWI era corset, 1910s corset, Rilla corset, corset pattern

Huge huge thanks to Jenni & my amazing photographer for their work.  They are such amazing women, and I’m very grateful to get to work with them, and to be their friend.

WWI era corset, 1910s corset, Rilla corset, corset pattern

Further pictures will be appearing on the Scroop Patterns product page shortly!

Rate the Dress: Madame Houbigant in all-white

Last week’s very vividly green 1840s dress sparked a lively discussion over whether it was actually poison-green (i.e. arsenic green) or just poison-green coloured.  Deadly or not, most of you liked the brilliant hue, and while not everyone was keen on the ruffles and ties and overall silhouette, it still came in at a rather nice 8.5 out of 10.

Whew!  We’d been on such a bad streak, nice to have a good score again.  Will this week’s choice revert back to the poor scores, or set us on another winning streak?

This week let’s look at Madame Houbigant, wife of perfumer Jean-François Houbigant.  Her feather-trimmed cap, heavy satin over-robe, lace chemisette and Kashmiri shawl provide a more mature take on the ubiquitous all-white ensemble of Regency and Empire fashion.

Nicole Adéläide Deschamps was the daughter of a perfumer herself, and her husband entered the trade by apprenticing under her father in law, and then founding his own business.  After rising in prominence under the ancient regime, and surviving the revolution, Houbigant Parfum went on to become the personal perfumers to Napoleon.  He travelled with their perfumes on campaign, and they were asked to create a custom perfume for Josephine.  This portrait, showing her in the height of Empire fashions, was probably commissioned to commemorate the success of Houbigant Parfum under the Napoleons.

Unfortunately the triumph of Houbigant Parfum was also marked by tragedy: Jean-François died in 1807.  After her husband’s death, Madame Houbigant continued the business. Unfortunately, in order to do so she had to marry a licensed perfumer, so she chose the chief clerk of Houbigant perfumes.  I really hope she actually liked him!

(All of this makes me wonder if Houbigant Parfum is yet another business where the husband gets all the credit.  Starting a business is admirable, but Nicole Adéläide potentially kept it going for 30+ years after her husband’s death, including a period where it was official perfumer to Queen Victoria.  She barely gets a mention in any of Houbigants official marketing.  Did the chief clerk really do all the work, or should Madame H be receiving far more acknowledgement?).

Getting back to the actual question at hand: what do you think of Nicole Adéläide’s ensemble?  Has she successfully mixed luxury, as befitted Houbigant Parfum’s success, with restraint, suitable to her age, and merchant background?  As an example of Empire fashion, incorporating delicate laces, a luxurious Kashmiri shawl, and the heavy silks that Napoleon was promoting over imported muslins in order to support the threatened French silk industry, does this outfit work?

Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10

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A Feminist Thanksgiving thedreamstress.com

Kate Sheppard’s Pie & Salad de Beauvoir: a Feminist Thanksgiving

I’ve celebrated Thanksgiving every year I’ve lived in New Zealand. It started as a tradition that my in-laws did with me, as a way to make me feel more at home (I have truly wonderful in-laws), and, when they moved down to the South Island, and we bought a house, we began alternating between hosting it in Wellington, and flying down to Nelson to celebrate with them.

The first year we had it in Wellington a friend sent me a link to this article, with feminist themed Thanksgiving recipes.  I was delighted.  What a marvellous idea!  Elizabeth Candied Stanton Sweet Potatoes have since become a firm favourite at Thanksgiving (Rutabaga Ginsberg is also very nice).

Thinking on the theme of feminist food, Kate Sheppard’s Pie is an obvious as a choice.  However, it’s food-overkill at Thanksgiving.

So, the solution: hold a Kiwi Feminist Thanksgiving, held on the Sunday after White Camellia Day (and the day after our election).  A group of friends came round to celebrate all of the awesome women who have made the world a better place, bringing their own delicious and deliciously pun-y contributions to the festive table.

My photographs aren’t the best, as I was busy being a good hostess rather than a good photographer, but I thought you might still enjoy seeing the spread and getting some inspiration for your own feminist thanksgiving.

We had:

Vegetarian Kate Sheppard’s Pie (of course!):

A Feminist Thanksgiving thedreamstress.com

I was incredibly pleased with how this came out.  I have notoriously bad luck making anything casserole-esque, but this received rave reviews, even from the meat-eaters.

Salad de Beauvoir with Simone de Balsamic dressing:

And, since I love salads:

Oarangula Burdete-Coutts orange, kale, cashew, & chevre salad with honey dressing:

A Feminist Thanksgiving thedreamstress.com

I’m particularly pleased that the ingredients for this reference her roles as President of the the British Goat Society and British Beekeepers Association.

Tahirih Tahini flavoured hummus (not shown)

Commemorative venison pies:

A Feminist Thanksgiving thedreamstress.com

Pun loving geek that I am, I suggested these could be called ‘Don’t call me sweetie-pies’, but Hvitr went with the more elegant and restrained commemorative origami camellias.

Gal Gatteau cake

A Feminist Thanksgiving thedreamstress.com

A slightly controversial entry in the feminist rolls – but a bit of controversy to stir healthy debate amongst friends is always welcome!

And, finally, a bit of classic American feminism, in the form of Susan B Apple-ny pie.

A Feminist Thanksgiving thedreamstress.com

Over dinner we had fun coming up with more feminist themed dishes, such as:

(we didn’t use many non-Western examples, because making puns out of names is insulting in some cultures).

I’m sure you can think of more though! What else should we serve at next years Feminist Thanksgiving?

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