All posts filed under: Textiles & Costume

Ruffled unders at Ruffles & Rebellion thedreamstress.com

Ruffled Unders at Ruffles to Rebellion

I am buried under piles of ruffles (literally – having spent most of the day hemming and ruffling 12 meters of silk organza for a travelling petticoat for Ninon, only to decide in the end I didn’t like the way it looked…) getting ready for Costume College, so I’m pulling out a fun costume pretties post that I’ve had stashed in case of emergency (aka:  when I decide I really need a new dress, and have only two days in which to sew it…) This is ‘Priscilla’ in the outfit she wore as a model for the Ruffles to Rebellion talk. Priscilla claims that she’s no good at posing, but I think she’s a natural in front of the camera. Doesn’t she look just adorable in the outfit?   (she joked that she agreed to model just so that she had an excuse to wear nothing but underwear to church!) B doesn’t approve! This is my favourite photo of the series – it absolutely captures Priscilla’s personality: (photos by the fantastic Facundo, who is always looking for new models …

The Black & White 1916 corset

On Monday I’m going to start living as close as I can to a 1916 lifestyle for two weeks. Naturally, this means I need a wardrobe.  A whole wardrobe post is coming, but for now, let’s start with the item everyone is really interested in: corsets. Based on my research, the average middle-class NZ housewife in 1916 had between 1 & 3 corsets at any given time: 1 or 2 for everyday wear, and possibly a fancier, more constricting one for dressing up.  Two corsets is ideal for everyday wear, because it means one can be airing while you wear the other. I’ve decided on two corsets for my experiment.  One, based on a slightly earlier cut, that Leimomi circa 1916 might have had in her wardrobe from before the war, and this one, reflecting the more recent mid-teens cut: Previously all of my 1910s corsets have been based on my personally fitted draft of the 1911 corset in Janet Arnold’s book.   However, very few women in NZ would have had personally fitted corsets.  The …

Terminology: the history of the cardigan

A cardigan is a knitted sweater with a buttoned or zipped front, with a V or round neck, with or without a collar.  The cardigan takes its name from the 7th Earl of Cardigan, James Thomas Brudenell (1797-1868) whose unfortunate claim to fame (other than the garment) is that he led the 1854 Charge of the Light Brigade. The cardigan as we know it today is based on a fur or braid-trimmed waistcoat of knitted worsted wool worn by British Army Officers during the Crimean war (some sources say ‘purported to have been worn by’, or that it was only worn by Cardigan himself)). Whether or not cardigans were actually based on garments worn during the Crimean war, within a few decades of the war the garment had become decisively linked with it, so much that editorials chiding the government for their neglect of veterans (some things never change…) make black-humour jokes about how “they might, at any rate, be provided with Cardigan Jackets.” The original ‘cardigan’ was a sleeveless vest or waistcoat, but by 1864 the modern sleeved …