Guess who figured out how to make stockings?

Meeeeeeee!

1870s Manet's Nana inspired stockings thedreamstress.com

They are inspired by the stockings worn by Manet’s Nana:

Manet Nana 1877 - detail of stockings

They aren’t perfect because, hey, I’ve only just figured out the pattern, and I didn’t have quite the right shade of blue merino-silk blend knit (also, I doubt I’ll ever be able to find another length of merino-silk knit of any colour), but I am still thrilled with them!

Here is what the pattern looks like:

1870s Manet's Nana inspired stockings thedreamstress.com

They have a centre back seam, and ‘Cuban’ V heel shapes.

1870s Manet's Nana inspired stockings thedreamstress.com

There is shaping at the heel and ankle to mold the stockings to my foot.

1870s Manet's Nana inspired stockings thedreamstress.com

To mimic the embroidery that would decorate the front of a real pair of 1870s stockings, I had a cunning idea.  I have a whole length of amazing vintage floral trim from the amazing Lynne:

1870s Manet's Nana inspired stockings thedreamstress.com

I cut out two full repeat motifs, and carefully pinned them to the front of my stockings, making sure that they were perfect mirrors of each other:

1870s Manet's Nana inspired stockings thedreamstress.com

Then I carefully took off the stockings, slipped them over a metal tray, and sewed them down with silk thread, inside and outside the motifs:

1870s Manet's Nana inspired stockings thedreamstress.com

This was by far the most time-consuming part of making the stockings – an hour to draft and test the pattern, 15 minutes to sew the stockings together, and then an hour and a half of handsewing of the motifs on each stockings.

1870s Manet's Nana inspired stockings thedreamstress.com

But the end result is pretty spiffy!

1870s Manet's Nana inspired stockings thedreamstress.com

I am SO excited, because I’ve always wanted perfectly matched stockings for my outfits, and now I can have them.  This pattern should be reasonable for everything from medieval to the 1930s.  Squee!

The Challenge: #10 – Art

Inspiration: Manet’s Nana, 1877

Fabric: 60cm of silk-merino blend knit (found at an op-shop, can you believe it!).

Pattern: My own!

Year: 1877

Notions: 2 repeats of vintage embroidery and organza trim, thread.

How historically accurate is it?  Not really. 19th century stockings would be specifically knit as stockings, either by hand or machine, not cut from flat cloth and sewn.  And, for the look I am going for, they would be more likely to be pure silk, not a wool-silk blend.  Plus the motifs should be knit in or embroidered on, not applique!

Hours to complete: 4 hours & 15 min, including figuring out the pattern.  Un-adorned, I can now whip these up in 15 min!

First worn: Just for photos, but watch out for a full Nana shoot!.

Total cost: Believe it or not, I found 2m of the silk-merino knit at an op-shop for $8!  And I could get about 20 pairs of stockings out of that, so 40 cents!

Keep an eye out for the rest of the Nana accessories (shoes!  A chemise!) and a tutorial on how to make your own stockings, because I took really good photos of the process!

1870s Manet's Nana inspired stockings thedreamstress.com

Let me tell you a story

It’s quite engrossing…

The 1860s Greek Key afternoon dress thedreamstress.com

With moments of pathos:

The 1860s Greek Key afternoon dress thedreamstress.com

And drama:

The 1860s Greek Key afternoon dress thedreamstress.com

Moments of humour:

The 1860s Greek Key afternoon dress thedreamstress.com

And scenes that take your breath away:

The 1860s Greek Key afternoon dress thedreamstress.com

I suspect that Theresa read an entirely different story though:

Hmmm….

1850s Raspberry swirl gown thedreamstress.com

Ooooh…

1850s Raspberry swirl gown thedreamstress.com

Gasp!

1850s Raspberry swirl gown thedreamstress.com

Rate the Dress: Toulmouche’s 1870s Blue Dress

Well, if last week’s stripey Doucet Rate the Dress taught me anything, it’s that I can never predict how you will react to a particular garment!

I thought last week’s dress was awkward, blatant, incredibly boring for something that should have been bold, and really poorly done, especially in the bodice and the stripe transitions.  It’s only saving grace was a really lovely collar/neckline, paired with an unusual and quite modern sleeve.  A handful of you agreed with me, but most of you were extremely enthusiastic (in full caps with exclamation marks) about the outfit, and brought the rating up to a sparkling 9 out of 10 (you agreed with me on the shoes though, as the rating goes up to 9.2 if it is paired with them!).

This fortnight’s theme on the HSF is ‘Art’, which leaves the field wide open for all sorts of fabulous ‘Rate the Dress’ options.  This week I’ve picked a frock artist: one more known for painting elaborate gowns than for capturing evocative likenesses.

While not as famous as Tissot among the costuming community, Toulmouche also created sumptuous records of the (possibly slightly romanticised) fashions of the 1860-80s.  Here we have his aptly named ‘The Blue Dress’, which shows a girl in the titular frock impatiently checking the clock: someone is late for a rendezvous.

Auguste Toulmouche (1829-1890) The Blue Dress

Auguste Toulmouche (1829-1890) The Blue Dress

The gown has a shockingly low back, framed with a border of pale gold and a frill of delicate lace.  A hint of lace indicates that the front neckline is equally revealing.  The sleeves and peplum-tail of the skirt are also picked out in light gold.  There is a hint of Renaissance historicism in the white undersleeve.  A perfectly matched bow ornaments the model’s dark hair.

Auguste Toulmouche (1829-1890) The Blue Dress (detail)

Auguste Toulmouche (1829-1890) The Blue Dress (detail)

The bustled train is pulled back with a bow of the same light gold, revealing a lighter blue underskirt.

Auguste Toulmouche (1829-1890) The Blue Dress (detail)

Auguste Toulmouche (1829-1890) The Blue Dress (detail)

The heavy satin underskirt is trimmed with three rows of self-fabric ruffles, backed in the light gold.

Auguste Toulmouche (1829-1890) The Blue Dress (detail)

Auguste Toulmouche (1829-1890) The Blue Dress (detail)

What do you think?  Is the pairing of sweet hair bow, sophisticated neckline, sumptuous train and frilly skirt, plus historicism, just too much, or do all the elements build up to one glorious, harmonious outfit?

Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10.

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Meet the Dreamstress

Leimomi Oakes is the Dreamstress, a textile historian, seamstress, designer, speaker and museum professional. Leimomi is available for educational and entertaining presentations, textile and fashion advice, special commissions and events. Click to learn more

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