All posts tagged: 1880s

The pleated plaid 1880s skirt

I love Aline’s By the Seashore ensemble, but I’ve never been 100% happy with the skirt, especially not on me (it’s too short).  And the bustle has serious issues. When I inherited Nana’s fabric stash it included a 5.4 metre length of blue and white tartan.  It wasn’t quite as ideal a match for Renoir’s painting as the tan and blue tartan I found for my first skirt, but it was free, so that’s a massive benefit! I set the fabric aside for an Aline re-do, and in April 2011 I decided it was time to tackle the project.  First I made a basic skirt foundation out of heavy cotton calico (muslin), using the 1880s patterns reproduced at the front of Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion 1860-1940.  They are all basically the same: a series of gored panels with angled edges heading towards the back, and a rectangular back panel which goes over the bustle. In addition to the original Renoir painting, I was using two other pieces of inspiration.  First, a mid 1880s outdoors ensemble from …

Rate the dress: Mrs Wilton Phipps by Sargent

There were LOTS of opinions on last week’s gingham ballgown, most of them not complementary I’m afraid.  Some of you saw the humour and wit in dress, or appreciated the construction, some of you unabashedly loved everything about it, but it couldn’t bring the overall rating to more than a 3.6 out of 10. There is no clever reason why I picked this week’s Rate the Dress, other than that it is fascinating, and I mistakenly published it briefly last week (sorry about that!). Sargent painted Mrs Wilton Phipps in 1884 with a striking black and white striped waist cincher worn with a coordinating black and white striped bustle and black and white accessories. What do you think?  I can see all sorts of reasons to love this ensemble, but equally as many reasons to critique it.  It’s got black and white…but so many bows…and does that pastel dress really go…and is the pearl necklace combined with a velvet ribband really working…but OMG black and white striped corset!!!! Which will win out? Rate the Dress …

Rate the Dress: yellow and blue for a little girl

Whenever I post a late Renaissance/Elizabethan garment with a ruff, I know I’m running a risk.  Historically (as in, historically on this blog) ruffs have not been popular.  So I really wondered what you would make of Christina of Denmark (?) in her metal lace encrusted dress.  You have to admit, the look had a lot working against it: the terrible perspective issues of the painting, the ruff, the crazy upper-sleeves and even crazier lower sleeves.  And yet, you managed to look past the weird, crazy portrait, see the dress as it might have been in actual fabric on an actual person, and rated it a respectable (particularly for the era) out 7.3 of 10.  As Rowena said, it’s “the best Muppet costume I have ever seen.” This week we go from status and bling to sweetness with a little girl’s dress from the MFA Boston is made in the sweetest pastel yellow and blue taffeta. The colours remind me of a Beatrix Potter illustration, and the large pockets seem like a good idea for a …