All posts filed under: Textiles & Costume

1917 combinations and petti-slips thedreamstress.com

Combination-a-thon, or how I came to have more wearable combinations than anyone else alive in 2017…

When I was planning my wardrobe for the Fortnight in 1916 I knew I needed lots of combinations to wear under corsets: enough to have a reasonable week’s wearing before I did laundry. I was using Wearing History’s fantastic 1917 combination pattern.  Mid-1910s combinations are serious fabric hogs,  so I rummaged around in my stack of vintage sheets, and unearthed half-a-dozen of the thinnest and most seamed. On my first round of cutting I cut out three, carefully folded them all in one parcel, and set them aside for sewing. (who can guess where this is going?) The next night I cut out another 4, which would give me 8 in total (I already had a completed one): near the upper end of what my research suggested was a normal amount of first-layer undergarments for a middle class woman to have in any single season. A few days later I sat down to sew all the combinations. My first three?  Nowhere to be found!  Determined searching and re-organising failed to unearth them, so I persevered with …

A 1920s dress kit thedreamstress.com

A 1920s dress kit

Last week Mr D & I went down to Nelson to celebrate Thanksgiving with his parents (who have adopted it since I moved to NZ, to help me feel at home, because it’s my favourite holiday, and because they are lovely). It’s always wonderful to go down to Nelson, but it was particularly good to get away after the upset in Wellington after the earthquakes.  Ironically, we were going closer to the epicenter, but Nelson has had much less damage than Wellington (they say 11% of the city centre is shut down).  Being there felt like escaping, and just helped reset my equilibrium. My wonderful mother-in-law helped with the escape feel by taking my antique shopping – where I promptly found the most exciting thing I’ve ever found at an op-shop. I was digging through a chest of fabric (nothing interesting) when I noticed something that looked a bit like a fashion plate in a cabinet next to me. Curious, I pulled it out.  It was a pretty 1920s dress, with some odd notes.  And then I …

A 1910s-early 20s brassiere/bust cover, thedreamstress.com

An early 1920s brassiere

It’s been a long, long time since I’ve done a ‘Textiles on Thursday’ post and shown you a textile from my collection, so it’s time to remedy that. For today, a fun, simple piece: an early 1920s brassiere / camisole: The brassiere is made of silk moire-taffeta with a jacquard woven pattern of morning glories. It’s trimmed with a wide lace border at the top edge, which has been scooped down and hemmed  under the arms: There are vertical lines of lace over the front bust: And edging of beading at top and bottom.  Originally it would have had narrow silk ribbon running through the beading, to gather the brassiere in above and below the bust: The brassiere was held up by silk ribbon straps, with jacquard-woven patterns of harebells (one hopes that this is well after Victorian flower symbolism has been well left behind: otherwise this is a most un-promising garment, with morning glories for love in vain, and harebells for grief!) It measures 10″ deep at the centre front and back (8″ + a 1″ wide lace …