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Day Ensemble, American about 1906, Boston, USA, Wool twill (broadcloth), silk twill, soutache braid, silk tassles, and boning, Gift of Miss Mary Perdew, MFA Boston 53.167a-b

Rate the Dress: Edwardian Rose

IMPORTANT:

Some of the comments on this post (now deleted) were so out of hand I’m putting an extra warning up here.

Your rating can be very poor numerically, but your comment still has to be kind.

If your comment ventures into body-shaming or slut-shaming it will be deleted. If it’s marginal it will be edited to comply with basic standards of taste and kindness. If you think that being super negative and coming up with insulting analogies makes you clever 1) you’re wrong, it makes me think exactly the opposite (default negativity is lazy and based on the mistaken belief that disliking things makes you look smart – a position only held by not very smart people) and 2) I’ll delete your comment.

The goal of Rate the Dress is to spread historical knowledge and to give us all a chance to look at the details of garments, and to think about why they were used, and were considered fashionable and attractive, in an entertaining way. To those who contribute to this goal: hooray! Thank you for being awesome ❤️❤️❤️

And back to our usual programming…

This week’s Rate the Dress is a late Edwardian day ensemble that combines the short oversleeves of last week’s 1840s dress, with a variation on the [extremely unpopular] tromp l’oeil fichu effect of the week before, all in a fashionable shape of deep rose pink.

Last Week: an early 1840s dress with blue stripes 

Last week’s 1840s dress was either very popular on almost all counts, or not popular, because you didn’t like the drab colour. Pale muted shades were just so popular in the 1840s.

The Total: 8.7 out of 10

A serious improvement on the last few weeks.

This week: a 1906 day ensemble in deep pink

This week’s pick is a day ensemble featuring the simple, slim, fitted cut that became fashionable in about 1906.

Day Ensemble, American about 1906, Boston, USA, Wool twill (broadcloth), silk twill, soutache braid, silk tassles, and boning, Gift of Miss Mary Perdew, MFA Boston 53.167a-b
Day Ensemble, American about 1906, Boston, USA, Wool twill (broadcloth), silk twill, soutache braid, silk tassles, and boning, Gift of Miss Mary Perdew, MFA Boston 53.167a-b

This example uses a combination of princess seams and inset panels to wrap the figure at the waist, flare out into a swishing skirt at the hem, and release in gathers to provide fullness at the bust.

Day Ensemble, American about 1906, Boston, USA, Wool twill (broadcloth), silk twill, soutache braid, silk tassles, and boning, Gift of Miss Mary Perdew, MFA Boston 53.167a-b
Day Ensemble, American about 1906, Boston, USA, Wool twill (broadcloth), silk twill, soutache braid, silk tassles, and boning, Gift of Miss Mary Perdew, MFA Boston 53.167a-b

The seaming and fit are both highlighted and hidden by soutache braid, applied in swirls and curlicues across the bodice and down the skirt.

Day Ensemble, American about 1906, Boston, USA, Wool twill (broadcloth), silk twill, soutache braid, silk tassles, and boning, Gift of Miss Mary Perdew, MFA Boston 53.167a-b
Day Ensemble, American about 1906, Boston, USA, Wool twill (broadcloth), silk twill, soutache braid, silk tassles, and boning, Gift of Miss Mary Perdew, MFA Boston 53.167a-b

The dress is made of wool twill, and comes complete with an bobble-trimmed indoor jacket: an extra layer of warm and formality.

Day Ensemble, American about 1906, Boston, USA, Wool twill (broadcloth), silk twill, soutache braid, silk tassles, and boning, Gift of Miss Mary Perdew, MFA Boston 53.167a-b
Day Ensemble, American about 1906, Boston, USA, Wool twill (broadcloth), silk twill, soutache braid, silk tassles, and boning, Gift of Miss Mary Perdew, MFA Boston 53.167a-b

The cut of the jacket is simple, but fashionable, with cut on sleeves that reflect the Edwardian interest in Japonisme, and back seams that add extra flare to the jacket’s hem, and echo the swish of the skirt panels.

Day Ensemble, American about 1906, Boston, USA, Wool twill (broadcloth), silk twill, soutache braid, silk tassles, and boning, Gift of Miss Mary Perdew, MFA Boston 53.167a-b
Day Ensemble, American about 1906, Boston, USA, Wool twill (broadcloth), silk twill, soutache braid, silk tassles, and boning, Gift of Miss Mary Perdew, MFA Boston 53.167a-b

The bobbles that trim the neck and sleeves of the jacket are repeated on the front of the jacket, dangling like little clusters of berries from the upper bust.

Day Ensemble, American about 1906, Boston, USA, Wool twill (broadcloth), silk twill, soutache braid, silk tassles, and boning, Gift of Miss Mary Perdew, MFA Boston 53.167a-b
Day Ensemble, American about 1906, Boston, USA, Wool twill (broadcloth), silk twill, soutache braid, silk tassles, and boning, Gift of Miss Mary Perdew, MFA Boston 53.167a-b

Dangling trims on the bust were all the rage in 1906-9. The dress also features strips of silk terminating in tassels which wrap around the neckline, weave in and out of the front bodice, and hang from the bust. They repeat the weaving in and out at the back bodice, and join together above the back waist in one tassel.

Day Ensemble, American about 1906, Boston, USA, Wool twill (broadcloth), silk twill, soutache braid, silk tassles, and boning, Gift of Miss Mary Perdew, MFA Boston 53.167a-b
Day Ensemble, American about 1906, Boston, USA, Wool twill (broadcloth), silk twill, soutache braid, silk tassles, and boning, Gift of Miss Mary Perdew, MFA Boston 53.167a-b

What do you think?

Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10

A reminder about rating – feel free to be critical if you don’t like a thing, but make sure that your comments aren’t actually insulting to those who do like a garment.  Phrase criticism as your opinion, rather than a flat fact. Our different tastes are what make Rate the Dress so interesting.  It’s no fun when a comment implies that anyone who doesn’t agree with it, or who would wear a garment, is totally lacking in taste. 

As usual, nothing more complicated than a .5.  I also hugely appreciate it if you only do one rating, and set it on a line at the very end of your comment.

A red silk 1780s petticoat thedreamstress.com

A red silk 1780s petticoat

I made a thing! Right now my life is a sea of toiles for the next Scroop + Virgil’s pattern, and it seems like I will never get to sew anything that isn’t calico (that’s muslin for those in the US).

So it’s doubly exciting to have taken a little time to make something not-toile, and in such scrumptious fabric too.

A red silk 1780s petticoat thedreamstress.com

I have some 1780s sewing (to go over the Scroop & Virgil’s Augusta Stays of course!) planned for this year, and I looked at all my fabrics, and realised that what they all had in common was that they would look great with a red petticoat.

I had no suitable red in stash, but when I was shopping for fabrics for the Robin Dress samples I let myself linger in The Fabric Stores silk section (always a dangerous activity) and they had an amazing silk-cotton faille in bright red.

A red silk 1780s petticoat thedreamstress.com

I wanted a dark red, but the fabric was so scrumptious, and such a perfect match to the weight and hand of one of the 18thc dresses I’ve been able to handle in person, that I couldn’t resist. And it was on sale…

I experimented with dyeing it a darker shade, but it changed the fabrics hand, so I decided bright red would do.

The petticoat wasn’t top of my to-do list, but just as I wrapped up the Robin Dress launch, and was feeling like I deserved a sewing treat, Burnley & Trowbridge launched their petticoat sew-along on YouTube. Kismet!

Now, confession time:

I don’t watch YouTube.

Not ever.

OK, not entirely true. I try. People rave about the YouTube costumers, and I’ve tried them. But even when I’ve met them and love them in person, I hate the YouTube format. I just turn into some horrible curmudgeon shouting “why did that take you 11 minutes to tell me! I could have read it in 37 seconds”, and “Oh my god, why are you being cutesy! You’re a professional adult” and “6 minutes of intro for 2 minutes of actual info!” and “Why do so many things pop up! Does every bit of information need an amusing arrow or caption to accompany it!?!” at the screen.

Videos just aren’t how I like to learn and relax. There’s so much noise in the world, and YouTube is just more noise which stresses my brain (I have exactly the same reaction to most podcasts).

So I keep reading blogs, because blogs make me happy and enthusiastic, and I like being a happy enthusiastic person, not the guy from Up at the start of the movie.

But, with the lockdown on, I guess I was getting so much silence that for once my brain had space to appreciate some extra talking. And I enjoyed the B&T series! (OK, I may have yelled at it for being cutesy at least once…). And it helped me to make what is definitely the prettiest petticoat I’ve ever constructed.

First I sewed the side seams. I happened to have exactly the right shade of red silk thread in stash. More kismet!

Then I hemmed. So much hemming…

A red silk 1780s petticoat thedreamstress.com

Then I hemmed the pocket slits. Because of the width of my fabric they weren’t on seams, so I had to slash them into the fabric. I really don’t want them to rip out at the bottom, so I worked little reinforcing circles of buttonhole stitches.

A red silk 1780s petticoat thedreamstress.com

I have zero evidence that these are accurate to the period (in fact, I’m pretty sure they aren’t) but they are pretty, and will do the job extremely well.

A red silk 1780s petticoat thedreamstress.com

Then it was on to pleating. I took me 8 tries to get it just right…

A red silk 1780s petticoat thedreamstress.com

I did two lines of diagonal basting to hold the pleats in place:

A red silk 1780s petticoat thedreamstress.com

And then blanket stitched the top, because I love a good line of blanket stitching.

A red silk 1780s petticoat thedreamstress.com

Then it was on to levelling the hem! The American Duchess Guide to 18th c Costuming has a great discussion on how to do this.

A red silk 1780s petticoat thedreamstress.com

What I did is a little different to the AD book, because I levelled mine over a ‘croissant’ rump (like the ones shown on the woman on the far right or the kind just above the head of the man in the red jacket), rather than a split rump, although the general principal is exactly the same.

The Bum Shop, 1785. Lewis Walpole Library
The Bum Shop, 1785. Lewis Walpole Library

I levelled over a croissant rump because I want to wear it with a jacket that will sit best over a croissant rump, and if I’d levelled it over a split rump it would end up with a funny dip in the hem when worn with a croissant rump. If I do want to wear it over a split rump I’d be wearing it over an Italian gown, where the skirts of the gown will hide any irregularities in the back hem.

I hemmed it at 8.5″ off the ground on me, which is more in line with 1770s and early 1780s fashion than later 1780s fashion, when the skirts usually get longer (although there are some examples that still show exposed ankles I haven’t done a proper survey of what types of outfits show shorter skirts, and what types show longer)

If I want a longer skirt later, I may add a piece and hide it with a strip of contrast ribbon, similar to what is shown in this plate.

A red silk 1780s petticoat thedreamstress.com

With the hem levelled, it was on to sewing on the waistband, with assistance from Miss Felicity:

A red silk 1780s petticoat thedreamstress.com
A red silk 1780s petticoat thedreamstress.com

Almost there…

A red silk 1780s petticoat thedreamstress.com

And the final touch was hemming the tapes:

A red silk 1780s petticoat thedreamstress.com

Done!

A red silk 1780s petticoat thedreamstress.com
A red silk 1780s petticoat thedreamstress.com

And, since it has pocket [slits] I had to make Gertrude stick her hands in them!

A red silk 1780s petticoat thedreamstress.com
A red silk 1780s petticoat thedreamstress.com

There’s even photos of me in it!

A red silk 1780s petticoat thedreamstress.com

Although with my frizzy hair and bare feet I do look more like a hobbit than an elegant 18th century lady…

And I’m submitting it for the Historical Sew Monthly 2020 Challenge #12: Community

What the item is: A petticoat  

How it fits the challenge: The Burnley & Trowbridge sew-alongs are a wonderful example of the historical costuming community’s generosity, and they way costumers come together in times of stress to support each other. Angela has been a fabulous cheerleader and mentor, and I’m so grateful to be part of her community.

Material: Ribbed silk cotton

Pattern: None, based primarily on the Burnley & Trowbridge petticoat sew-along, with reference to the AD 18th c Dressmaking book and period sources.

Year: ca. 1780, but wearable for 1770-1790

Notions: silk thread, linen tape from Burnley & Trowbridge

How historically accurate is it?  The fabric is an excellent match to the weight and hand of an 18th c dress I’ve examined, but I haven’t been able to document examples with a silk cotton blend. Extant 18th c silks seem to be a slightly pinker red than this. The pocket-slit reinforcement was probably not used in the 18th c.

Hours to complete: about 8

First worn: Only for photos.  

Total cost: About NZ$50

A red silk 1780s petticoat thedreamstress.com


Day dress, 1841-42, silk, metal, crinoline, FIDM Museum, 2010.5.23A-D

Rate the Dress: fun with stripes, 1840s style

This week’s Rate the Dress goes from bold, bright stripes, to soft, subtle stripes.

Last Week: a early-mid teens dress in bold stripes and bold cut

Last week’s rate the dress wasn’t very popular with some of you. Whether it was the fabrics, the cut, or the fichu-effect lace, almost everyone found something to criticise. Except for Sarah, holding the flag for a perfect 10!

Many of you also criticised the presentation, which isn’t one of the things that we take into account with Rate the Dress. Not every garment is robust enough to be steamed and pressed for presentation, and even when a garment is, a museum can’t always afford the time, money, and expert hours it takes to steam a garment, pad a mannequin, and create proper supports. If museums only shared photos of garments they had the resources to perfectly present, we’d have far fewer garments to admire and research.

The Total: 5.5 out of 10

So extremely high fashion 1913-1914ish was not your thing!

This week: an early 1840s dress with blue stripes

One of my current costuming obsessions is late 1830s/early 1840s dresses with asymmetrical skirt trim. In searching for examples of this very specific style, I came across this dress.

It is not an example of the type: you can just, just see the edges of the matching stripe and circular rosettes decorating the other side around the far curve of the skirt.

Day dress, 1841-42, silk, metal, crinoline, FIDM Museum, 2010.5.23A-D
Day dress, 1841-42, silk, metal, crinoline, FIDM Museum, 2010.5.23A-D

Although it’s not the kind of dress I was looking for, it’s a fascinating dress in its own right, and the closer you look at it, the more interesting it is.

The ground fabric is actually moiré, with tiny damask flowers. The blue stripes are satin, but with an additional tromp l’oeil trick that pumps up the sheen factor: the are woven from warp dyed threads that slide from pale blue to bright blue, creating the illusion of areas of high shine.

Day dress, 1841-42, silk, metal, crinoline, FIDM Museum, 2010.5.23A-D
Day dress, 1841-42, silk, metal, crinoline, FIDM Museum, 2010.5.23A-D

The lacing effect on the sleeves was a fashionable touch in the early 1840s. We looked at another early 1840s dress with laced and tasselled sleeves back in 2017.

What do you think of this dress which gets more detailed the closer you get to it?

Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10

A reminder about rating – feel free to be critical if you don’t like a thing, but make sure that your comments aren’t actually insulting to those who do like a garment.  Phrase criticism as your opinion, rather than a flat fact. Our different tastes are what make Rate the Dress so interesting.  It’s no fun when a comment implies that anyone who doesn’t agree with it, or who would wear a garment, is totally lacking in taste. 

(as usual, nothing more complicated than a .5.  I also hugely appreciate it if you only do one rating, and set it on a line at the very end of your comment.