All posts filed under: 19th Century

Woman's Ball Gown, England, circa 1820, Cotton plain weave with metallic thread embroidery and silk ribbons with metallic passementerie and tassels, LACMA, M.2007.211.734

Rate the Dress: Sparkly Ballgowns ca. 1820

Rate the Dress for last week was a ’20s frock in avante garde red and lilac.  The colours were a little too out-there for some of you, and there was a bit of discussion about whether you liked the totally different backs to fronts (though it did win points for thinking through the ‘glass beads imprinting into your thighs all evening if you have to sit down really aren’t that fun’ thing and leaving them off). Thanks to the unmatched front to back, and the not-to-everyones taste colour scheme, the dress managed a respectable but not stellar 8.4 out of 10. I seem to be stuck on red and sparkles, though this week’s dress features metal embroidery rather than beading, and is mainly white with a soft, muted, coral red accent – much more restrained than last week. Like last week’s frock, this dress looks both forward and backward. The lowered waistline, stiff, ornamented hem, and cone shaped skirt are typical of the 1820s, but the light cotton dress fabric with its metallic embroidery (almost certainly …

Modern historical kimono wrappers

I know I already have two submissions for the Historical Sew Fortnightly ‘Modern History’ challenge, but I’m quite excited about showing you two more items, because they are my only HSF sewing collaboration for 2014, and they are also a far more interesting take on interpreting historical fashions for modern wear in any case. These are Lynne’s modern historical kimono wrappers: Lynne took the pattern from an original Japanese yukata, but altered it to fit her figure and lifestyle: flaring the body panels for extra width, and adding underarm and shoulder reinforcements. She did all the unpicking of curtain panels, fabric prepping, pattern drafting and cutting of the pieces (i.e. the hard part, where you have to think and probably end up, if not swearing a lot, at least muttering dire imprecation), and I sewed up the kimono on a week-long visit just before Christmas, sitting at a sewing table in her bedroom, watching the birds outside and kittens on the computer and cthunk, cthunk, cthunking along on her lovely Bernina. Lynne is an extremely talented …

Rate the Dress: mid-century plaid

Last week I showed you a ca. 1890 high-society half-mourning dress.  Some of you were totally behind the dress, until you saw the behind of the dress (yes, I have been waiting a whole week to use that!).  Some of you loved it, stripey ‘I backed into a fireplace and did the world’s most awkward mend’ and all.  And some of you disliked the whole thing: stripey back panel, lace sleeves, ribbon trim, velvet bow and all.  It frequently got points for ‘entertainment value’ if nothing else, coming in at I’ve been drooling over 1840s frocks recently (helped by Sarah’s amazing 1840s paisley maternity dress), so thought I should post something along those lines.  This one isn’t paisley, but it is an even more classically 1840s pattern: plaid.  The colour schemes of muted blues, ambers and browns is also classically 1840s. The dress is associated with the wedding of Laura Phillips nee Battle, to Charles Phillips, held at Chapel Hill, Orange County, North Carolina on Dec 8th 1847.  Laura is believed to have worn the dress as …