Author: The Dreamstress

Girls Attire for May 1906 from the Girl’s Own Paper

I’ve finally managed to find the time to scan all the fashion pages from my Girl’s Own Papers from 1905-07, and I’ll be posting them over the coming months (themed to the correct month, of course!). I found the pages at a car boot sale in Napier during Art Deco weekend.  Sadly, they were loose papers, and the magazines are incomplete.  I’ve done my best to sort them based on the months given, and the page numbers, and to date them, but I’m not always 100% sure I’ve got the year correct. I’m reasonably sure today’s pages are from 1906, thanks to some help from the incomparable Daniel in definitively dating a page I shared a few years back to March 1906.  The page numbers suggest these two pages are from the same year (though those also repeated on an annual basis, so these may be from 1905!). These images are as large as my blog format will support, so hopefully you can read them. Some delightful excerpts: The white cloths and velvets and other perishable materials …

Rate the Dress: Arabella in all the ruffles

I was rather surprised at how many people didn’t like last week’s ivory and gold lace-embellished frock.  I thought, in the general scheme of ca 1850 evening wear, it was rather fetching without being too frou-frou, and while a lot of you agreed with me (Kate said everything I might have by describing it as “Sweet and demure, but lustrous and rich, ethereal and pretty”), a lot of you also thought it was totally blah and forgettable. So it only came in at 7.4 out of 10 – not very impressive at all. Since I promised colour, this week’s Rate the Dress goes back a century to another lace-embellished ballgown. Here is Arabella Astley Swimmer in a very pink frock embellished with poofs and ruffles in delicate white silk, with spangles in silver, and beads in black. I’ve provided two version of the image: a smaller one, with slightly better quality details, and a larger version. Arabella is shown carrying a masquerade mask, but that reflects more of the fashion in portraiture than that her dress …

Elephants & Kangaroos thedreamstress.com

Kangaroos & Elephants Oh My! – (almost) first me-made dress

In the sewing community May is Me-Made-May – a month of trying to wear more of the things you’ve made, using them to get out of wardrobe ruts, and setting yourself personal challenges around them. I’ve never officially participated, in part because wearing stuff I’ve made every day is pretty much an obligation of my work, and what I wear cycles in response to what classes I’m teaching at the moment, what patterns I’m working on for Scroop Patterns, and the weather (which currently includes the first snow of the winter – yay (note sarcasm)).  In bigger part, I’ve always been too busy with either the Sew Weekly, or the Historical Sew Fortnightly. Between sewing-teaching work, history-lecturing work, pattern-making work, running the HSF, and life, I’m one additional thing away from dropping all my balls – and I’m pretty sure that what I’m juggling is a mix of ostrich eggs in extremely fragile shells (some of which are well past their best-by date), newborn dragons (a la McKinley, where dragons are marsupials, so newborns are really squishy) and pressure-sensitive …