All posts filed under: Learn

Gossard Corsets ad, The Designer Oct 1916, thedreamstress.com

Building your own 1910s & WWI Wardrobe: The Undergarments

It’s less than a month until Costume College 2018, and my instagram and facebook feeds are full of people panic-sewing for the event.  I’m not going this year, but all the excitement has reminded me of the talks I did last year, and how I’ve never put most of that information online. In a timely coincidence, a number of people have asked me recently what my favourite Edwardian & WWI era patterns are, and how I built my wardrobe for my Fortnight in 1916 living-history project. One of my talks at Costume College last year was ‘The Great War Wardrobe‘: an in-depth exploration of WWI era home-front fashion, along with a guide on how to build a complete wardrobe from the period.  I’m still working out how to turn the fashion history side of the class into workable blog posts, but will (hopefully) get those sorted and polished soon. For now, here is a quick series on where to get patterns to make a 1910s (with a focus on 1914-19) era wardrobe. The patterns I’ve …

ca. 1907 Edwardian swimsuit by thedreamstress.com

Can you swim in a worsted wool Edwardian swimsuit? Let’s find out!

Yesterday I showed you my reproduction worsted wool Edwardian swimsuit.  Everyone wanted to know if I actually swam in it, and if you could swim in it.  Obviously I wondered this as well.  The swimsuit was lovely to frolic on the beach on, but could it actually work as a swimsuit. So I gave it a try! My reproduction swimsuit was made from worsted wool serge, and consists of a jumpsuit with attached bloomers, and an overskirt.  Both garments button down the front. I chose to swim with bare legs and feet.  While fashion plates generally show shoes and stockings there are enough period photographs that show wading women with swimsuits and bare lower limbs to make this equally plausible for a full swim. For the first swim I jumped off a little dock at Hataitai/Evan’s Bay beach.  It’s a popular swimming spot (as evinced by all the kids watching me), and very calm and safe, so a good place to try out the swimsuit. My first mini swim showed: It’s definitely possible to swim …

George Romney Mrs. Billington as Saint Cecilia, 1787

What do you wear under a chemise a la reine? 2.0

Five years ago I wrote a post about chemise a la reine (also known as gaulle) dresses, and what was worn under them based on how they are depicted in paintings of the 1780s & 90s. Unfortunately that post is one of the ones that has fallen victim to the Photobucket 3rd party hosting debacle, so I pulled it.  I’ve had quite a few requests for it since.  I decided that as long as I was going to go to the effort of finding and replacing all my images, I should update the entire post.  I’ve learned a lot about chemise  and 18th century undergarments since I originally wrote the post – hopefully I can make more educated guesses.  However, the 18th century is still not my area of study and expertise, so my guesses are  just that, and not an expert opinion.  I’ve posted them to give people food for thought, and a jumping off point for more research of their own. So what was worn under a chemise a la reine?  Obviously you’d …