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Evening dress, 1912, England, Jays Ltd. Satin with machine lace, Victoria & Albert Museum T.49-1981

Rate the Dress: lilac pink, 1910s

This week’s rate the dress is the promised spring-y dress.  It’s also inspired by the drapery of the last rate-the-dress, AND the colour of Miss Four’s Norland Frock.  Will it be as popular as they were?  Let’s find out!

Last week: a ca. 1895 dinner dress in shot silk

Oooh, we’re on a winning dress streak!  You were big fans of this 1890s example of sexy power dressing.  The lowest rating was 8, and there was only one of those!

The Total: 9.2 out of 10

A point up from the week before!  Can we keep up the trend?

This week: a draped evening dress of the early 1910s in lilac pink

Like last week’s dress, this week’s offering is an elegant evening ensemble, suitable for a reception or dinner.  It’s also an amazing example of how quickly fashion changed in one generation: from the heavy layers of the 1880s, to a light, open frock which afforded glimpses of the legs up to the calves.

Like last week’s frock, this dress utilises the sensual qualities of draping fabric for visual impact.  The satin is caught up in pleat-gathers on the bodice, forming a bow effect.

The skirt is gathered at the front, with the extra fullness drawn to the back, and draped up under a square train that falls from the bustle effect of the upper back skirt.

Most of the dress is an expanse of smooth satin, but the bodice embraces the Edwardian love of texture, with sleeves formed from a lace overlay over tulle.

What do you think?  Is this 1910s evening dress an elegant example of its era?

Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10

A reminder about rating – feel free to be critical if you don’t like a thing, but make sure that your comments aren’t actually insulting to those who do like a garment.  Phrase criticism as your opinion, rather than a flat fact. Our different tastes are what make Rate the Dress so interesting.  It’s no fun when a comment implies that anyone who doesn’t agree with it, or who would wear a garment, is totally lacking in taste.

As usual, nothing more complicated than a .5.  I also hugely appreciate it if you only do one rating, and set it on a line at the very end of your comment.

Making the Virgil's Fine Goods Norland Frock thedreamstress.com

A Norland Frock for Miss Four

What do you do when you’re having a Georgian dinner and your littlest guest is very little indeed?

You make a Norland Frock!

Making the Virgil's Fine Goods Norland Frock thedreamstress.com

Priscilla’s daughter ‘Tobie’ is now a little bigger than she was when she was Tobie to my Jareth, but she loves dressing up.  Like mother like daughter!

Making the Virgil's Fine Goods Norland Frock thedreamstress.com

She was going to be at our Georgian Dinner, and that gave me the perfect excuse to try Virgil’s Fine Good’s Norland Frock.  I know Amber’s research is impeccable (that’s why I collaborate with her on Scroop + Virgil’s patterns!), and who doesn’t want the excuse to make adorable little girl frocks?

Fabrics

Making the Virgil's Fine Goods Norland Frock thedreamstress.com

I asked Miss Tobie what her favourite colours were to choose dress materials.  I needn’t have bothered.  She’s a girl between 3 and 8.  Her favourite colours are pink and purple!

I don’t have a ton of either pink or purple in my stash, particularly not in the bright shades that the skirt wearing young fry seem to wear almost exclusively.

A thorough rummage did unearth just enough pinky-mauve silk habotai for a sash, and a scrap of coordinating cotton for an underdress.

Making the Virgil's Fine Goods Norland Frock thedreamstress.com

The dress fabric is a cotton-linen blend that I had large scraps of left over from another project.

I didn’t have time to run the colours by mum or poppet before I started.  Luckily Miss Tobie approves.  She considered the colour for a while and decided it was ‘light purple’, not pink.  Priscilla, as it turns out, also approves.  She’s relieved that it’s NOT ‘five year old girl pink’.  She likes bright colours, but children’s clothing makers ensure that particular shade is unrelenting in Tobie’s wardrobe!

Making the Virgil’s Fine Goods Norland Frock

Making the Virgil's Fine Goods Norland Frock thedreamstress.com

The pattern research is indeed impeccable, and the instructions are thorough, but I’m also pragmatic.  Miss Tobie is a child.  She gets grubby and she’s growing fast.  And Priscilla and I are both time poor.  So we cheated and streamlined the construction as much as possible, and machine sewed everything we could.

Making the Virgil's Fine Goods Norland Frock thedreamstress.com

There’s even some overlocking on the inside.  (shhhhhh)

Making the Virgil's Fine Goods Norland Frock thedreamstress.com

You can see the seams where I pieced the large scraps off fabric running down the front of the dress.  Luckily they work well with the design.

Making the Virgil's Fine Goods Norland Frock thedreamstress.com

While we machine sewed as much as we could, some steps are still more efficient to do by hand, especially if you want a good result.  So there’s still lots of hand sewing.  Hand sewn tape facings:

Making the Virgil's Fine Goods Norland Frock thedreamstress.com

And the sleeve straps, which are assembled like 18th century sleeves:

Making the Virgil's Fine Goods Norland Frock thedreamstress.com

Making the Virgil's Fine Goods Norland Frock thedreamstress.com

Making the Virgil's Fine Goods Norland Frock thedreamstress.com

And, of course, on the tie ends.  My favourite part!

Making the Virgil's Fine Goods Norland Frock thedreamstress.com

Hacking an underdress for the Norland Frock

The Norland pattern includes a petticoat to wear under the dress, which is meant to go over child stays (like the Elizabeth Stays by Willoughby and Rose).

We didn’t have time for stays, and Tobie is a very wriggly child.  So, to make the dress more practical, I hacked an underdress for it.

I used the petticoat included in the pattern for the skirt.  For the bodice, I traced off the shape of the pleated and assembled Norland frock.  I cut away a bit on the underarms and neck, to make sure it wouldn’t show under the dress.

Making the Virgil's Fine Goods Norland Frock thedreamstress.com

I added straps for the shoulders, and a simple placket with buttons and buttonholes fastened it in back.

Making the Virgil's Fine Goods Norland Frock thedreamstress.com

And that’s an underdress wrap!

Making the Virgil's Fine Goods Norland Frock thedreamstress.com

And an adorable Norland’s Frock:

Making the Virgil's Fine Goods Norland Frock thedreamstress.com

It’s a super cute pattern, and really fun and interesting to make.

Making the Virgil's Fine Goods Norland Frock thedreamstress.com

Making the Virgil's Fine Goods Norland Frock thedreamstress.com

Making the Virgil's Fine Goods Norland Frock thedreamstress.com

Making the Virgil's Fine Goods Norland Frock thedreamstress.com

I need a friend to get married and want little Norland Frocks for all her flower girls!

A midwinter Georgian dinner thedreamstress.com

I also want a photoshoot with Miss Tobie.  Norland Frocks and Amalia Jackets amongst the spring flowers.  It’s going to be so adorable!  We just need a nice warm weekend now that spring is here…

A midwinter Georgian dinner thedreamstress.com

Changeable silk dinner gown, c. 1895, Brick red to olive green silk faille gown with gigot sleeves, sold by Augusta Auctions November 13th, 2019, NYC New York City

Rate the Dress: Draped for Dinner in 1895

This week’s rate the dress is fall themed, for all you Northern Hemisphere costumers getting excited about Autumn.  Perhaps next week I’ll post a spring-y pastel confection for us Antipodeans.

Last week: a braid trimmed 1870s sports dress

Last week’s sports frock started out strong, and mostly got every ball through the hoop with minimal swings and maximum points – but a few of you weren’t quite so impressed.

In some ways the poor dress couldn’t win.  It lost points from some commentators for not being interesting enough, and from others for being too fancy!

The Total: 9.1 out of 10

Not so unbeatable that it completely dominates in its field, but still likely to win most tournaments.

This week: a ca. 1895 dinner dress in shot silk

This week’s ca. 1895 dinner dress is covered from chin to toe, but I’d venture to say there’s still something rather sexy about the dress, despite all the fabric.

The extremely fitted bodice is quite body-conscious, emphasising every curve.

The pleated draping and lines of velvet trim imply wrapping – and thus unwrapping.  I’m fairly certain that this dress opens in the front, under the pleating.  There’s always something a little more sensual about a garment you can get into and out of on your own.

The double-puff sleeves are an interesting variant on the fashionable gigot sleeve of the mid-1890s.  Together with the front fastening and muted colour scheme, they give this dress a slightly Aesthetic aesthetic.  It’s just a little more artistic, and a little less mainstream.

I do love that Augusta Auctions included close-up photos, so we can see the ribbed texture of the silk faille.

What do you think?  Does this dinner dress tempt your sartorial tastebuds?

Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10

A reminder about rating – feel free to be critical if you don’t like a thing, but make sure that your comments aren’t actually insulting to those who do like a garment.  Phrase criticism as your opinion, rather than a flat fact. Our different tastes are what make Rate the Dress so interesting.  It’s no fun when a comment implies that anyone who doesn’t agree with it, or who would wear a garment, is totally lacking in taste.

As usual, nothing more complicated than a .5.  I also hugely appreciate it if you only do one rating, and set it on a line at the very end of your comment.