All posts tagged: 1840s

Rate the Dress: 1840s summer whites for a gentlemen

For last week’s Elizabeth Amalie Rate the Dress I had one request:  Please don’t look at the baby. You looked at the baby.  How could you not!  That was some baby… Luckily looking at the baby resulted in a very entertaining set of comments.  If the baby itself didn’t make you fall off your chair laughing, then Rachel’s imagined conversation with EA, and Mrs C’s all-too-apt Harry Potter reference were sure to! Beyond the most-unfortunate baby, Elizabeth Amalie’s dress was deemed very attractive, but not the most delicious creation of its time, coming in at 8.2 out of 10. I’ve just been to see the Reigning Men exhibition at LACMA* (11 word review: fabulous garments, slightly less fabulous curatorial choices, slightly overwhelming, totally worth it), so have menswear on the mind.  There aren’t that many museums that have a lot of images of fully assembled menswear outfits, so I’ve picked one that is from LACMA, though it isn’t in Reigning Men. This mid-1840s ensemble was made with hot summer temperatures in mind: light colours give …

Rate the Dress: All white in the 1840s

Last week I presented Mrs Lockett Agnew (nee Augusta Isobel Sheil), in an 18th c. inspired 1880s reception ensemble.  There were a few tiny niggles about the very high neck, or the top-buttoning only jacket, but generally you thought it fabulous, and even if you didn’t like it personally, you thought it was perfect for Augusta, giving it a smashing 9 out of 10 (basically anything above a 9 is a perfect score these days!). This Week’s Rate the Dress dress shows the transition from 1830s to 1840s fashions.  The more elaborate sleeves and scalloped edging looks back to the cluttered detailing of the Romantic era, but the overall silhouette of the dress follows the smoother, sleeker line of the 1840s. Made from a stiff cotton tarlatan, with details in silk satin, the dress uses the shine of the satin weave to highlight and define the detailing, while keeping the an overall simple, monochromatic ivory. While this may have been a wedding dress, white was also a very popular choice for evening dresses, particularly for young women (think …

Sewings, sonatas and soirees

This, dear readers, is why my Robes & Robings project is going to be hopelessly late: I’m not supposed to be taking commissions at the moment, as I’m working more than full-time between teaching at uni and teaching sewing, and trying to run the HSF and work on other projects.  But when Rowena, who I’ve worked with before, contacted me to see if I would make her an 1840s inspired evening dress to wear at a parlour concert set in the 1840s, how could I resist? I’m such a sucker for a pretty dress idea! And Rowena is such a delight to work with, which made taking on a commission very easy.  We only had a month and a bit to make the dress in, but luckily we were able to find a fantastic pure silk jacquard in Wellington, and once the right fabric was found, the project just sailed ahead. Sea green was very fitting for this project, as the parlour concert’s programme included Haydn’s Lines from the Battle of the Nile, the Mermaid’s …