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The HSF/M: Favourites for Challenge #4: War & Peace

There was a big drop-off in submissions for the HSM War & Peace challenge.  Either the novelty wore off for some people after the first three challenges, the theme was too obscure, or it’s just a really busy time of year.  Still, the submissions there were were fabulous, and hopefully people will regain their enthusiasm and we’ll see a surge in entries for future challenges.

Not surprisingly, there were more entries tied to war’s influence on fashion than peace’s influence on fashion, but there was a fascinating spread of historical fashion from both ends of the spectrum.  While there weren’t as many entries, there were some of my favourite entries of anything made so far this year, simply because of the research and history and new things I discovered.  (and it’s become one of my favourite challenges personally because I finally had the excuse to make a dazzle swimsuit!  Cue major excitement!  Plus a 1940s dress and WWI era skirt – super productive month for me!).

In picking items to showcase I’ve chosen the items that tell a story, that demonstrate research and knowledge and help spread understanding, and that I thought best represent the spirit of the challenge itself, and of the Historical Sew Fortnightly/Monthly as a whole; the quest to explore history, raise our skill levels and standard as creators and historians, stretch our comfort zones, and occasionally, just to get something finished.

As always happens, there were dozens of items I thought were fabulous that I couldn’t show off, so do have a stroll over to the blog post and the FB page (yep, you do have to be a member to see it, yep, if you ask to be a member we’re going to ask you some questions, and yep, it might take us a few days to answer, but if you are really interested in the HSF, as a participant or active cheerleader, we’d LOVE to have you) to check them out.

And now, on to the intellectual stimulation and prettiness!  Entries with photos link to FB, entries without link to the blog post of the maker.

  1. Cate’s 1944 Eisenhower Jacket.  A great piece that I would love to have in my wardrobe, and a total favourite for the fact that it is the perfect illustration of the challenge – the garment was directly inspired by Eisenhower’s wardrobe and his fame as a result of WWII.
    4 Cate's 1944 Eisenhower jacket
  2. Karin’s 1910s bust confiner this is a rarely replicated piece of costume history based on extent examples and advertisements that might fit Karin’s own needs and an extrapolation on the needs of women entering the workforce during WWI.  Really cool!
    4 Karin's 1910's bust confiner HSF War & Peace Challenge thedreamstress.com
  3. Juliana’s 1807-1820 military inspired spencer.  Great inspiration pieces, research and construction all came together in a gorgeous spencer.  I love it!  
  4. Blumen und Ferden’s boy’s sailor shirt.  A great garment, but mostly amazing for her fascinating exploration of the way the sailor suit transitions from a cross-national peacetime garment to a patriotic wartime garment and back again a number of times.
  5. Michaela’s sheer 1860s gown:  a beautiful, beautiful garment, and a great write up on the way the South’s dominance of cotton production was used as a political tool in the Civil War.

For the rest of the favourites posts see:

Favourites for Challenge #3: Stashbusting

Favourites for Challenge #2: Blue

Favourites for Challenge #1: Foundations

Rate the Dress: Trendy 1820s

Last week I showed you a late 1880s Worth gown in blond lace and creamy pink feather patterned brocade.  A few of you loved it, but most of you felt it was pretty ‘meh’ for the 1880s.  As for me, there were some things about the dress that I love SO MUCH (the brocade!  the sleeves! that bustle) that I both struggled to see beyond the things that weren’t well done (ugh.  that lace swag.  And the weird awkward level of the brocade line on the bodice) and hated them all the more for ruining the potential.  Not surprisingly, the frock only came in at a 6.8 out of 10.  Try harder Jean-Phillipe!

This week’s dress is like a sample of all the things that were ‘on trend’ (humble apologies) in the later 1810s & 1820s.

It’s the classic all-white frock, with a bit of military-inspired (maybe with a hint of Renaissance historicism) lacing up the front.  There is more Renaissance inspired historicism in the puffed sleeves with ‘slashed’ inspired lace.  The neckline is classically influenced, taking it’s aesthetics from ancient Greek & Roman styles.  The bottom of the dress features the classic hem interest of the ’20s, with gathered pick-ups and bobble buttons over a layer of the newly fashionable broderie anglaise.

The museum has accessorised the dress with a paisley shawl – far from the newest thing in 1820, but still quite a fashionable, high-status garment.

What do you think? Do you like the eclectic influences of the frock? Do they add interest to the plain white dress, or just make it silly? And is the paisley shawl a nice touch of colour, or too much of a clash?

Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10

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A Bastille Day Masquerade Ball!

There was a ball!  And I wore something!  (well, of course, and thank goodness!)

After a week of dithering (oh dear – it’s not as as bad as say, snivelling, but it’s certainly best to be avoided) over the options and working on all of them at the same time, I decided I liked the way the trim to Ninon was developing so much that I settled on it.  I even managed to get a last minute haircut and am 13″ lighter!  Also, my mum said I should wear that one, and one should always listen to one’s mother. 😉

I went with a small group, and three of us got ready at my house, to help with lacing and hair-curling and last minute stitching.

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Oh, and I may not have worn them, but as you can see the Marmotte Masquerade Stays got finished and worn, because the Sewphist is enough shorter in the torso than she could wear them without offending general sensibilities, and she was willing to do the binding on them to make them fully wearable (hero!).

The Comtesse, who is French, decided to invert the theme of the ball by going as a Kiwi icon: the tui.  Isn’t her mask amazing!?!  (and she made the dress to wear to sing at Carnegie Hall, as you do)

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Despite Wellington’s reputation for loving fancy dress most of the attendees were barely dressed up, but there was a bit of 18th c fancy dress, and the occasional fabulous outfit – some better historical stuff, particularly the menswear, a fantastic peacock (who, sadly, I never managed to compliment), a rather clever lady Musketeer, and some great high fashion.

But the four of us were by far the best!  😉

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And while my frock got compliments for being gorgeous, I don’t think many got who or what era I was.

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The Sewphist got tons of attention because I did a rather spectacular job with her hair (if I say so myself!) and her outfit was so charming.

She managed to do quite a bit of dancing despite the stays, and you haven’t quite lived until you’ve seen someone in full 18th century hair going full bore to ‘Single Ladies’ and ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’

A Bastille Day Ball thedreamstress.com11 I got lots of teasing for my total inability to ‘put my hands in the air’ while dancing.  And I got puffed rather easily in that bodice! 😉

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Oooh…and check out Madame O’s gorgeous blue Regency frock, finished the day of the dance (of course!).  We had a little photoshoot in the middle of the dance, and I was hoping to get photos with her, because the blue and yellow would look so beautiful together, but we had to cut it short to run and listen to the raffle drawing.

Madame O got to be the helpful innocent for the raffle, because she didn’t have a ticket, and is awesome.

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She’s so awesome that she innocently drew my number (very innocently, she couldn’t see well enough in the dark to tell the colour of the ticket, much less the number!) for a basket of fancy delicacies.

Sadly she didn’t draw my ticket for the grand prize – tickets to New Caledonia (sad face!).  Napoleon won that instead!

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Hopefully this island will agree better with him than the last.

There will be more images of the Marmotte Masquerade Stays and the trimming on the Ninon dress, but for now, a final photo from the night.

Madame O told me to do duckface during out quick photo session.  I showed her what I thought of that!

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