All posts filed under: Admire

Corset reproduction, circa 1905, thedreamstress.com

A 1900s touch of blue corset

If you’re a longtime reader of my blog, you’ll remember Theresa: she’s a former Wellingtonian, and every time she comes back for a visit, we dress up and do a photoshoot together. We’ve done ca. 1880 (one and two), 17th & 18thc yellow (one, two and three), hoopskirts (one, two, and three), and Regency (one, two & hair), but Theresa has been asking for a 1900s photoshoot for ages. To do 1900s properly, first I had to finish the two S-bend corsets I’ve been working on for well over a year. This is the second TV1901 corset that I’ve started, but they were both finished at the same time.  The first one got abandoned for a long, long time due to frustration when I realised how much the sizing was off.  I’ll be covering that in more detail when I blog about my original attempt, but basically, the sizing doesn’t work in smaller waist/bust measures unless you also have a very small ribcage as well.  This particular corset is 3 sizes larger than Theresa’s recommended measurements, and …

‘Offences against daintiness’, 1929 (and some adorable kids clothes)

I recently found this fascinating  advertisement in a 1929 needlecraft magazine in my collection, and thought you might find it as interesting as I did. It’s not the earliest advertisement for ‘feminine hygiene’ products in my collection (that’s in a 1911 Girls Own Paper), but it is the first to make it reasonably clear what the product is for.  With most of the 1910s ones, it wasn’t until I’d seen enough of them in brands I knew to understand the coded language used enough to recognise a few more.   In addition to signalling a switch in how openly women talked about products associated with menstruation, it shows a clear change in the tone of advertising.  1900s & 1910s ads for personal products for women (soaps, perfumes, toothpaste etc.) tend to have a cheerful ‘this product is great value and will make your life better!’ bent. 1930s-50s advertisements are rather nastier:* ‘if you don’t use this product you won’t be popular and will literally offend the rest of the world with your disgustingness.’  This ad combines …

Royal Hawaiian Featherwork: Nā Hulu Ali‘i at LACMA, thedreamstress.com

Royal Hawaiian Featherwork: Nā Hulu Ali‘i at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

There were many, many highlights to my trip to Southern California for Costume College in July/August, but one of the best was going to LACMA to see Reigning Men, and discovering that there was a major exhibition on Hawaiian featherwork as well – and we’d come just in time for the last day! I enjoyed Reigning Men (though it definitely struggled with curatorial cohesion), but I loved Nā Hulu Ali‘i.  I’ve seen many pieces of Hawaiian featherwork in different museums, but never so many in a single exhibition.  And Hawaiian featherwork is a phenomenal craft.  The skill involved in making ‘ahu ‘ula (cloaks) and mahiole (helmets) is breathtaking. In Hawaiian culture, featherwork was a sign of mana (spiritual prestige) and status.  Feather cloaks, helmets, and lei were worn only by chiefs.  They were passed down from generation to generation, warriors would seize cloaks and helmets from defeated rivals, and feather items were given as gifts to convey favour. ‘Ahu ‘ula and mahiole are made by weaving feathers on to a netting of ‘olona (which is a …