All posts filed under: 18th Century

Rate the Dress: a galant Nymph in a Robe a la Chinoise, retroussée

Last week for Rate the Dress I showed a late Victorian walking dress, which the Mint Museum had styled as a skating suit.  The mad authentic steampunk-ness of the ensemble captured some of your fancies, but the overall response ranged from quite negative to ‘it’s nice, but I’m not impressed’, so 7.3 out of 10. My description came in at top points though! This week I present another ‘walking’ dress, but this one with even less pretense of practicality: Believe it or not, this is an outfit for walking (in the late 18th century sense at least).  Our ‘galant nymph,’ parasol at the ready, is hastening (‘tranquilly’, no less) toward the Palais Royal. Her ensemble is described as a robe a la Chinoise (I believe that is meant to be Chinese inspired, and the parasol probably added to the effect), with the skirt lifted up  to reveal her striped petticoat and tucked through the pocket slits (retroussée). The nymph’s bodice is also striped, with a striking chevron placement going up the centre back, and uncharacteristic (for the 18th …

A simple Regency chemise

One of my goals for the Historical Sew Fortnightly, both 2013 & 2014, has been to expand my Regency wardrobe. So far, progress has been slow.  I’ve made mitts, and my 1813 Kashmiri dress is a thing of beauty and a joy forever, but my wrap corset a la paresseus is a disappointment on. But look, now I finally have a proper chemise, so I can stop wearing my 1880s ones under my Regency dresses! (and I just feel the URGENT need to point out here that I’m wearing a bra, camisole, knickers, tap pants, and a slip under the chemise, so any weird shadows in the photo are JUST weird shadows!) It’s entirely hand sewn, in a lightweight (not quite handkerchief weight) linen I picked up at Fabric-a-Brac for $5. The chemise is classic fabric-saving geometric construction: one rectangle for the body, little rectangles for the sleeves, the extra fabric cut into long triangles to add width to the chemise, and square gussets under the arms to help with movement. All the seams are flat felled, to reinforce them and …

Rate the Dress: 18th century brocaded silks

Last week’s 1910s suit had a few serious admirers, but also cropped its fair share of criticism: the colours were quite dull, the collar too frivolous, the cuffs awkwardly sized, the proportions off, the pressing issues too distracting, and the presentation poor. I think you’re going to have to learn to forgive the last two from time to time, as if I only chose perfectly pressed and styled and presented garments, my pool to choose from would be so limited, and my choices so well known, it would quite take the fun out of Rate the Dress!  Whether it was the styling or just the cumulative effect of all the little flaws, the suit only managed a 6.8 out of 10 – not terrible, but certainly not stellar. This week’s dress also comes from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.  Made of rich, brocaded silk (of plain weave, with supplementary wefts forming the pattern, alas the MFA does not tell us if they are left loose as continuous wefts, or cut short on the back …