All posts tagged: 1880s

Dressing Polly / Oliver. Inspiration, and a teeny bit of progress

This week is Polly / Oliver week (also Tax week, T-Shirt week, get-that-darn-car-sorted week, and plan-next-semester’s-schedule-week), and I’m working on it like mad. As a bit of a Hudson-Bay start after my little meltdown/epiphany over the weekend, (or really, a Hudson-Bay Start after a 5 year delay in getting this enterprise off the ground), I took stock of what I had, re-looked for inspiration, and have finally sorted out what I’m actually going to do, and what is actually going to work. I started with late 18th century female dress borrowed from male hunting attire and military uniforms, some real, some rather satirical: This print shows an outfit almost identical to the one on the cover of Monstrous Regiment, but for women: I’ve already shown you this image: And, of course, the MA portrait in hunting attire: Finally, the ubiquitous Reynold’s portrait of Lady Worsley: From these, I really love the white single-breasted waistcoat on Lady Worsley and the “Officer in the Light Infantry”, and their black feathered hats.  I’m also borrowing the gold binding/ …

The faille skirt of fail

So this fortnight’s theme on the Historical Sew Fortnightly is Literature, and, of course, I’m using it as an excuse to finish (finally) my Polly/Oliver outfit (inspired by Terry Pratchett’s Monstrous Regiment). It’s been so long since I worked on the outfit, or thought about it, and my skills have improved since then, and my image of the details has shifted somewhat, though I’m still going with the basic concept of 1880s Victorian does Georgian riding habit/military. I bounced out of bed on Tuesday and thought “Right!  I’m going to make massive progress on this today!”  I had a rummage through my fabric stash, found a big bolt of blue rayon faille, and thought…”Oooh…what a great shade of military blue…and so practical and late Victorian.”  Sure, rayon isn’t entirely accurate, but it the fabric does a reasonable approximation of silk, and the hand is perfect. So I unrolled a length of the faille, spread it out on the floor, went at it with chalk and measuring tapes and scissors and quickly drafted and cut out …

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 …