Latest Posts

Day Dress, Augustine Martin, Wool, Silk, Metal, ca 1880, France, Drexel Museum

Rate the Dress: Blue & Brown Bustle Era

It’s always so interesting to see why people do or don’t like a dress: because it appeals to them intellectually, or on a purely aesthetic level.  Because it would look good on you, or wouldn’t.  Because you can imagine it on you, or because you can imagine it on exactly the right person who is very different to you.  Because you like the era, or don’t.  Because it reminds you of a dress you owned and loved, or something you got made to wear, and hate.

So many reasons…

Last week: a 1910s dress in peach pink and cinnamon silk

Last week’s dress rating was really one that lived and died on people’s associations.  It got some really high scores, and some really, really low scores.  And a lot of middling scores, which rather perfectly match the final total of…

The Total: 7.3 out of 10

And the score droops and deflates like the limp drapes of the dress itself…

This week: a brown & blue bustle-era dress

I have a fascination with historical dresses made from two very distinct fabrics.  In some eras they don’t exist at all, in others they are more common.  Few examples of any era are as clearly and crisply defined as this particolour ca 1880 dress, which combines brown and blue across the skirt.

Day Dress, Augustine Martin, Wool, Silk, Metal, ca 1880, France, Drexel Museum

(I’ve called it bustle era, but without a side view it could be more natural form, without much obvious back definition).

What do you think?  Is this dress going to be an alliteration dream: a brown and blue bustle era beauty?  Or is bizarre a more appropriate B?

Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10

A reminder about rating – feel free to be critical if you don’t like a thing, but make sure that your comments aren’t actually insulting to those who do like a garment.  Our different tastes are what make Rate the Dress so interesting.  It’s no fun when a comment implies that anyone who doesn’t agree with it, or who would wear a garment, is totally lacking in taste.

(as usual, nothing more complicated than a .5.  I also hugely appreciate it if you only do one rating, and set it on a line at the very end of your comment, so I can find it!  Thanks in advance!)

Update:

I’ve finally found time to tally the score for the late Regency evening dress with pomegranates and oak.  You can find the rating on the blue francaise post.

Frou Frou Francaise Sleeve thedreamstress.com

The Frou Frou Francaise: Sleeves & Sleeve Ruffles (& Felicity)

Some construction details on my Frou Frou Francaise sleeves and sleeve ruffles, for those who are interested.  And some photos of Felicity, for those who are interested 😉

I based my sleeve pattern on the from Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion

Frou Frou Francaise Sleeve thedreamstress.com

 

The construction is a basic sew-three-layers-together-and-then-use-the-outer-fabric-to-hide-all-the-seam-allowances construction.  I don’t know if there is a less-wordy 18th c name for it!

Frou Frou Francaise Sleeve thedreamstress.com

The fun part of sleeves, is, of course, sleeve ruffles!

I based the punch pattern on my sleeve ruffles on this sacque in the V&A.

There is a close-up image of the sleeve details in the 18th century Historical Fashion in Detail book (page 176 if you want to see it), but this image of the petticoat ruffle should give you a good idea of what the punch detailing looks like.

To create my pattern I used the sleeve ruffle patterns from the American Duchess book (in retrospect I really wish I’d used the ruffle that corresponds with the Janet Arnold sleeve, but oh well) , and sketched out a punch design.

Frou Frou Francaise Sleeve thedreamstress.com

I poked holes in it, and used a pencil to transfer them to my sleeve ruffles, flipping the pattern over to create a symmetrical design.

I then pinned all four of my sleeve ruffles together, so I could punch all four of them at once.

Frou Frou Francaise Sleeve thedreamstress.com

Because I wanted very small punch holes, I tried simply poking them with a large needle, but they closed when I pulled and manipulated the fabric.

Frou Frou Francaise Sleeve thedreamstress.com

 

So I turned to my awesome leather punch, and used the smallest setting of that for my tiniest holes, and a larger setting for contrast holes.

Frou Frou Francaise Sleeve thedreamstress.com

The leather punch needs something with squish to punch into in order to get through the crisp taffeta, so I used some scrap leather for that.

Frou Frou Francaise Sleeve thedreamstress.com

With the ruffles punched, it was time to gather!

Nope.

It was time for a cat mandated petting break!

Frou Frou Francaise Sleeve thedreamstress.com

Look at that little face!  How could I possibly deny it?

Frou Frou Francaise Sleeve thedreamstress.com

Cat duties satisfied, it was time for gathering!

I sewed two lines of whip-gathering into the sleeves, pinning and adjusting the gathers to fit the bottom of the sleeves as I went.  (Amber of Lady of the Wilderness & Virgils Fine Goods put me on to the idea of using safety pins for securing things as I work and it’s pretty much the best thing ever).

Frou Frou Francaise Sleeve thedreamstress.com

It was a fun thing to do while hanging out with Mr D.

Frou Frou Francaise Sleeve thedreamstress.com

Frou Frou Francaise Sleeve thedreamstress.com

And Miss F!

Frou Frou Francaise Sleeve thedreamstress.com

And here is the finished result!

Frou Frou Francaise Sleeve thedreamstress.com

 

Aaaaaand…the whole sleeve is about 3″ too long, and possibly a little too big, though I’m trying to decide if that’s just my modern sensibilities talking.

More on the sleeve fit later.

Madame Ernest Ltd cinammon gauze silk and satin evening gown, circa 1910, sold by Kerry Taylor Auctions

Rate the Dress: Spiced peaches in the 1910s

I’m on holiday, but the blog is not, and so far my holiday Rate the Dress picks have been a spectacular success.  Last week’s pick was tropical sea and flower gardens, this week’s is mango and sand – or, as the title says, spiced peaches!

Last week: a Robe a la Francaise in sea blue floral silk

The blue francaise was a tropical dream.  It received a warm and sunny reception, with no hurricanes of criticism lurking on the horizon.

The Total: 9.8 out of 10

Divine!

This week: a 1910s dress in peach pink and cinnamon silk

Peach pink and coppery cinnamon brown were both very fashionable colours in the 1910s, and I’ve shown a few dresses of that era in variations of those shades over the years, to mixed reviews.

Madame Ernest Ltd cinammon gauze silk and satin evening gown, circa 1910, sold by Kerry Taylor Auctions

This dress layers cinnamon silk gauze over peach satin, and combines them with gold metallic lace (also an extremely fashionable 1910s element) and ivory, all accented with embellished details in brighter orange and darker gold.

Madame Ernest Ltd cinammon gauze silk and satin evening gown, circa 1910, sold by Kerry Taylor Auctions

Madame Ernest Ltd cinammon gauze silk and satin evening gown, circa 1910, sold by Kerry Taylor Auctions

The cut of the dress is as eclectic and layered as the fabrics: the cinnamon gauze overskirt is draped to create swags at the front, and reveals the peach satin in back, it too draped and caught up to create a back slit for ease of walking.

Madame Ernest Ltd cinammon gauze silk and satin evening gown, circa 1910, sold by Kerry Taylor Auctions

Madame Ernest Ltd cinammon gauze silk and satin evening gown, circa 1910, sold by Kerry Taylor Auctions

There are definitely a lot of elements to this dress: textures, fabrics, colours, drapery, square necklines and scooped necklines and V necklines and drapes and swags.

Will they all come together for a successful rating?

Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10

A reminder about rating – feel free to be critical if you don’t like a thing, but make sure that your comments aren’t actually insulting to those who do like a garment.  Our different tastes are what make Rate the Dress so interesting.  It’s no fun when a comment implies that anyone who doesn’t agree with it, or who would wear a garment, is totally lacking in taste.

(as usual, nothing more complicated than a .5.  I also hugely appreciate it if you only do one rating, and set it on a line at the very end of your comment, so I can find it!  Thanks in advance!)