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Carrying on with showing you the bits from my Bestway Initial Transfer catalogue, here are the pages featuring monogrammed sportswear – so not only could you have monogrammed unders, but you can wear monogrammed tennis dresses over them!
The first page features monogrammed blouses and blazers for women, a ‘smart’ day ensemble, a monogrammed mens shirt, and (best of all!) a swimsuit!
Oh wait, I stand corrected. The day ensemble is not just ‘smart’, but ‘exceedingly smart’! Don’t you love the tricorn-esque hat?
And here is the write-up for the ensemble and the swimsuit:
I think I might need to add a swimsuit in navy stockinette with red trim to my swimsuit collection – and add a rosette covered hat! Check out her lace-up beach boots too!
I also need the pointed-bottom blouse. I could see that on the catwalk today – and in my own wardrobe! I also adore the cloche worn with the classic cardigan blazer. It’s such a perfect illustration of the late teens and early ’20s cloche – still with a distinct brim.
The blazer is ‘just right for tennis’, and the ‘jumper blouse’ is embroidered in tangerine silk. Be still my heart!
I’m trying to figure out what fabric ‘taffetas’ was that it made a suitable tennis shirt for a man. Perhaps a rayon taffeta, which would be a lot softer and less crisp? More research must be done!
The next page features more blouses, a tennis dress, an overall for housework, and a men’s blazer:
Here is a close up of the overall:
I find the ‘overall’ dress one of the more fascinating garments featured in the catalogue. It’s clearly the precursor/older sister to the 1930s hooverette frocks. This version is made of grass-green ‘government silk’, which is another term I’m going to have to add to my terminology research list. I strongly suspect it is either a rayon, or a silk blend, and the name is because it was officially promoted during the silk shortages of WWI. I actually love how the overall dress looks, and want one for myself. Probably without the monogram, and DEFINITELY without that cap!
There is also a very chic tennis dress:
On the other page, a suave man in a blazer and a striped silk scarf, and (since this is the ’20s), a cigarette.
But the best piece of all is a simple silk blouse.
Why is it the best? Not the fabulous hat or the fabulous parasol, but the embroidery, which is topped with ‘a lucky black cat’.
Sadly, I’ve heard anecdotaly that the globalisation of media is eroding the the British tradition of lucky black cats, and replacing it with the more American & European ‘unlucky’ black cat superstition – which isn’t great for black cats. In my opinion, all cats are lucky, and I’d be delighted to have a blouse with one embroidered on it!
Some of you may have wondered why there was no Rate the Dress when you got up this morning. I’m just really tired, and overworked. There is a lot going on this time of year: Windy Lindy, student marking, and me trying to do everything all at once! So RTD just wasn’t a priority.
Which is why there is now a rate the dress, but no tally-up of last week’s selection (hehe, THAT is going to be fun). I’m going to go hang out the laundry and do a bit of gardening to relax, and then I’ll get back to it.
At least picking the rating choice was easy. This has been in my file as the selection for the week before Halloween for almost a year now. How could it not be? It’s a fancy dress that has enormous beetles and insects all over it!
Fancy dress, circa 1907
So what do you think? If you saw someone dressed as this at a costume party circa 1907, would you think ‘That is SO AWESOME!” (or whatever the ca. 1900 equivalent of “SO AWESOME” is – I welcome your suggestions on that point). Or would you think “Creepy and horrible”? Or “Random and messy?”
What’s the verdict on the buggy flower frock?
Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10
*And if anyone has a link to the original source for this image, that would be much appreciated! I’ve seen it pop up on pinterest, but never with a link back to an original page.
We’re almost there!
The second-to-last Historical Sew Fortnightly challenge of the year, due 15 December, is an easy, fun one, and I hope that everyone participates, even if they have missed a few challenges across the rest of the year!
The theme is Modern History: make something historical that is wearable in a modern context.
I love this theme because it’s so practical and useful! And it’s also something I’m particularly good at. Since my life doesn’t provide as many opportunities as I would like for wearing over-the-top historical pieces, I have to find a way to fit period into my everyday wardrobe.
Here are some of the historical things I’ve made that I actually do wear as real clothes:
I’ve worn my 18th century ‘brown’ linen shift as a summer dress, with a belt and sandals, and no one has commented on it, or noticed that it is entirely hand-sewn!
I’ve also worn my 14th century nettle shift as ‘normal’ clothes:
And I’ve only worn it that way once, by my 1780s pet-en-l’aire actually makes a spectacular jacket over jeans or (as I did it) a pencil skirt.
Accessories are a great way to use historical items in a modern wardrobe. I particularly like my muffs with an ordinary winter coat, but there are also bags, and hats, and shoes, and gloves, and shawls…
I’m not usually the biggest fan of this look, but wearing corsets as bodices for evening wear is a classic way to add a fabulous historical twist to modern looks. Perhaps I should try it with my 1890s ‘midnight in the garden’ corset turned inside out!
My 1910s paisley skirt & plaid blouse have actually been worn as ‘normal’ clothes far more than they have as historical items. I get asked where I got the skirt, or the pattern for it, every time I wear it!
And, of course, the easiest way to incorporate period pieces into modern wear is to go for ’20s-’40s fashions. In fact, it’s so easy I’d almost feel I was cheating doing it, because so much of my wardrobe is based on pieces from those decades! I probably still will though, because I love them so much and I’ve got so many ’30s looks I want to make up for this summer!
Last summer I did 1929 Bambi:
And the unexpectedly fabulous 1930s button dress:
All of which were worn constantly through the warm season!
Plus late ’20s style cloches, which are the perfect sunhats in Wellington, as they shade the eyes but still STAY ON!
And, of course, the Vionnet chiton dress, in whatever version I make it!
My version of Vionnet’s ‘Chiton’ dress
That’s how I make historical work for me in a modern way. Can’t wait to see how you do it!
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