All posts tagged: Fortnight in 1916

Clothing for a Fortnight in 1916, thedreamstress.com

A Fortnight in 1916: the physical effects of living in 1916

At the start of the Fortnight in 1916 project, one of my rules was that I wasn’t allowed to continue the experiment if it put my health in any danger.  Happily, except for some minor blood blistering from a bad corset, I came through the experiment in perfect health – probably even better than if I’d spent it living 2016 style. My main worry about the fortnight was the cold.  Would using less heating in the middle of winter, and wearing nothing but wool stockings on my lower legs, increase my chance of chillblains or a bad chest cold? I hadn’t managed to make a wool union suit, and compared to the layers of socks and merino thermals I usually wear in winter (the July standard is two layers of socks, heavy jeans, and at least three layers of wool on my torso), my 1916 wardrobe seemed quite insufficient.  Every day I would be wearing a single pair of thin-ish merino stockings, cotton combinations, a one-layer cotton corset, corset cover, two cotton petticoats, a thin-ish wool skirt, cotton blouse, and …

Sewing with a Singer 27 for the Fortnight in 1916 thedreamstress.com

Sewing in 1916

As part of my Fortnight in 1916 project, one of my goals was to make a garment using period techniques and my Singer 27 machine, just as a woman would have done in 1916. As you can see, I succeeded!  It was quite an interesting experience, and I did learn quite a bit about sewing in the period. For the blouse pattern, I took a pattern from an original 1914-16 blouse in my collection: When I purchased the original blouse it was unfinished – the vestee part in front was only loosely basted in, and there was no front fastenings.  I secured the vestee, and added hooks as a less invasive alternative to buttons and buttonholes. I’ve worn it once, as it’s extremely robust, and I really wanted to understand the fit. As my original was unfinished, it made it easy to study the construction.  I’ll do a full post on the original shortly, rather than focusing on that now, but will note two of the interesting clues that it did yield.  First,  it was made from a commercial pattern as …

My Costume College talks

I’m off to the US for Costume College this week, and I am SO excited!  I’ll be seeing costumers I haven’t seen in almost a decade, meeting costumers I’ve never met in real life, taking some amazing classes, and even giving two p myself! My first talk is a topic I’ve been fascinated by for years, and which I’ve given as a class or presentation in various forms: the history of the paisley/boteh motif. I just think it’s amazing that this one motif has become so universally recognisable (even Mr D knows what paisley is!): as much so as spots or stripes or checks, though its much more specific and esoteric.   The history of how it came to be so well known, and the different things it has represented in Western fashion, is quite phenomenal – and quite important to know as a historical costumer, so that you understand what your paisley garment would have meant to the people viewing it at the time it was made (spoiler alter: wealth!, knowledge!, sex!, security!, ethics!, conventionalism!, respectability!, …