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Rate the Dress – Rich darkness in 1906 (ish)

I’m having some problems with my hand due to an injury, so I can’t do much computer-y (or exciting sew-y, sigh…) stuff at the moment, so things may be a bit quiet here on the blog front here for the next few weeks.  Not too quiet though – the amazing and wonderful Mr D* is helping me to write this post, and to finish off all the draft posts I’ve had sitting around waiting to publish, so there should still be some interesting stuff.

Last week’s 18th century frothy pink masquerade Rate the Dress was quite popular, although some of you didn’t care for the darker bead (?) trim, while others thought it worked, but needed more black.  You did notice the asymmetry of the skirt, but no one seemed to mind it much.  So Arabella managed a very rosy 8.8 out of 10, with only a few tiny flies marring the ice-cream sundae perfection of her confection (the spots, not the poor ratings).

This weeks Rate the Dress is the first thing I randomly chose from my bookmarked list of RtD possibilities (to avoid irritating Mr D too much) – but it works perfectly, because it looks like it could have stepped right out of the 1906 fashion plates I showed you last week, and the spotted lace under-sleeves resonate nicely with the darker spotting on last week’s pink frock.

This dress appears to be made from a corduroy or some other type of corded velvet.

The spotted net of the sleeves was particularly fashionable ca. 1905 – it appears frequently in fashion plates, and I’ve encountered at least three other spotted net sleeves in person in museum collections.

The skirt is a five-gored skirt, similar to the Fantail, but with curved panels, creating the typical bell shape of the ca. 1905.

What do you think?  Do you like the mix of dark and light, heavy and frothy?

Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10

* she told me to write that

Girls Attire for May 1906 from the Girl’s Own Paper

I’ve finally managed to find the time to scan all the fashion pages from my Girl’s Own Papers from 1905-07, and I’ll be posting them over the coming months (themed to the correct month, of course!).

I found the pages at a car boot sale in Napier during Art Deco weekend.  Sadly, they were loose papers, and the magazines are incomplete.  I’ve done my best to sort them based on the months given, and the page numbers, and to date them, but I’m not always 100% sure I’ve got the year correct.

I’m reasonably sure today’s pages are from 1906, thanks to some help from the incomparable Daniel in definitively dating a page I shared a few years back to March 1906.  The page numbers suggest these two pages are from the same year (though those also repeated on an annual basis, so these may be from 1905!).

These images are as large as my blog format will support, so hopefully you can read them.

Girls Attire for May 1906, The Girls Own Paper

Some delightful excerpts:

The white cloths and velvets and other perishable materials which, during the spring months, are worn by what servants call ‘carriage folk,” are generally made in styles which are either modifications or developments of the winter designs, while for June, July, and Arugust there is often a complete revolution in fashions.

My advice for May is, therefore, “Wait.”

Including lots of advice on remodelling:

Like all practical people, I suppose you always ask your dressmaker or tailor to send you home the cuttings of the material belonging to your gowns.  If so, use the largest piece belonging to your winter blue serge or grey tweed to convert your gored skirt into a corslet [sic] one.

Do go on to read how you do this – it’s quite a good section!

I foolishly neglected to scan page 474, which discusses how to shop for the hats to wear with the fashions, but I shall remedy that post-haste!

Girls Attire for May 1906, The Girls Own Paper

Note that the seated figure wears fashions suited to a young matron!  And the girl’s skirt could be adapted from the Fantail Skirt pattern.

Girls Attire for May 1906, The Girls Own Paper


Rate the Dress: Arabella in all the ruffles

I was rather surprised at how many people didn’t like last week’s ivory and gold lace-embellished frock.  I thought, in the general scheme of ca 1850 evening wear, it was rather fetching without being too frou-frou, and while a lot of you agreed with me (Kate said everything I might have by describing it as “Sweet and demure, but lustrous and rich, ethereal and pretty”), a lot of you also thought it was totally blah and forgettable.

So it only came in at 7.4 out of 10 – not very impressive at all.

Since I promised colour, this week’s Rate the Dress goes back a century to another lace-embellished ballgown.

Here is Arabella Astley Swimmer in a very pink frock embellished with poofs and ruffles in delicate white silk, with spangles in silver, and beads in black.

I’ve provided two version of the image: a smaller one, with slightly better quality details, and a larger version.

Arabella is shown carrying a masquerade mask, but that reflects more of the fashion in portraiture than that her dress was specifically for masquerades.

Anton Raphaël Mengs, Arabella Astley Swimmer, Lady Vincent of Stoke D’Abernon, 1753

Other then the spectacular ornamentation of the petticoat, and the elaborately ruffled stomacher, the dress is pretty standard mid-18th century high-fashion formal attire, with the one other quite interesting feature being the double sleeves, with small upper puffs with dangling ruffles above the usual elbow ruffles.

Anton Raphaël Mengs, Arabella Astley Swimmer, Lady Vincent of Stoke D'Abernon, 1753

Anton Raphaël Mengs, Arabella Astley Swimmer, Lady Vincent of Stoke D’Abernon, 1753

What do you think?  Is Arabella’s frock memorable and fabulous in the general scheme of 1750s fashion, or nothing much special?

Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10.