All posts tagged: 1930s

Terminology: What is bagheera? (and a bonus definition)

Bagheera is fine, uncut pile velvet.  It was originally made of silk, but after the introduction of cellulose fabrics it could be made of rayon.  It was popular in the 1930s & 40s. A 1933 fashion column describes it as ‘a crepe velvet with a matte surface’.  The ‘matte surface’ refers to the rough, uncut pile which absorbs rather than reflecting light. The crepe makes it crush-resistant, and gives it a lovely drape, making it very popular for evening wear.  Heavier bagheeras are also used in furnishing, because the crush-resistant quality makes it suitable for chairs and other items that get heavy wear. Bagheera is first used as a term for the particular type of velvet in the early 30s, and mentions in the early ’30s sometimes use quotation marks, indicating it was a novel term.   It was used for evening dresses and skirts, glamourous house-robes (the replacement for the tea gown), as an alternative to fur for wraps and jackets, and in millinery. Bagheera remained popular into the early ’40s, but was another …

The Little Bit of Red/Lips Kiss My Blues Away remake

Last week’s challenge on the Sew Weekly was music.  I had dreams of something elaborate involving metres & metres of  blue crepe, but the plans went awry (not sewing mistakes) and made me very blue indeed.  So I needed something to chase those blues away, and what better than one of my favourite songs, a fix up of my Little Bit of Red dress (remember how I was never thrilled with it?), and some Besamé Red lipstick? The song is  Red Lips Kiss My Blues Away, and the cover artwork is adorable: My Little Bit of Red dress is not a perfect match to the Red Lips Kiss My Blues Away cover art, but I thought with a bit of tweaking the Little Bit of Red dress could effectively capture the mood of the poster, and rescue my sewing week (plus get something off my UFO pile). So I completely pulled apart my Little Bit of Red Dress, re-shaped the bodice, re-set the bodice ruffles, took in the skirt, cut hip ruffles, hemmed said hip ruffles, put the …

Terminology: What is Roshanara?

Roshanara is the trade name for a silk or silk-worsted wool blend fabric with a rough crepe texture. Roshanara was popular in the 20s and 30s, but was notorious for shrinking when wet.  It is nearly impossible to find Roshanara, or a Roshanara equivalent, today. Roshanara was first introduced into New Zealand in 1920, but appears in ads in the US from 1918.  The name probably comes from the famous Roshanara Club in Delhi, which was in turn named after the Mughal princess Roshanara Begum. While Roshanara was primarily made of silk (possibly with a small amount of wool), it was meant to replace wool fabrics, which were in short supply due to the use of wool in soldiers uniforms during WWI.  This ad from an April 1918 El Paso Herald extolls the economic virtues of silk, and encourages women to buy it instead of wool.  Note the inclusion of the very patriotic and military inspired ‘Khaki Kool’ fabric. The exotic rough texture of Roshanara, and how closely its introduction co-oincided with the discovery of …