All posts tagged: 1880s

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 …

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 …