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Scroop Patterns Kilbirnie Skirt scrooppatterns.com

Introducing the Kilbirnie Skirt!

When I first started Scroop Patterns I just turned whatever garment I was researching and making to fill a gap in my own daily wardrobe or costuming wardrobe into a pattern.

The Rilla Corset happened because there were no mid-1910s corset patterns available in PDF form at the time – and I needed one for my Fortnight in 1916 living history research project.  The Fantail Skirt also happened because I needed simple Edwardian daywear.  There was nothing available in New Zealand pattern-wise, and I got carried away researching.

Patterns like the Te Aro Dress & Top and Otari Hoodie came about because I just really wanted to wear them.  The Robin Dress happened because I wanted it for my mother.

My current objective as a patternmaker is to build families for all my patterns, so that you can make a complete outfit from Scroop Patterns. (well, complete-ish.  I’m not going to make a pattern if another maker has a good similar pattern in the same size range.  I like my sewing collaborative rather than competitive!)

The modern wardrobe Scroop Patterns already work well with each other.  I frequently wear all Scroop everyday outfits: Ngaio Blouses with Eastbourne Trousers and Mahina Cardigans, for example.

But the historical Scroop patterns were orphans – and fixing that was my 2021 goal.

So I made the Selina Blouse to go over the Rilla Corset.

And now there’s a skirt to go with both!

The Kilbirnie Skirt

Scroop Patterns Kilbirnie Skirt scrooppatterns.com

The Kilbirnie Skirt is a playful gathered skirt based on an extant 1910s skirt in my collection.  With two quirky pocket options, the Edwardian version of a ‘paper-bag’ waist, and thoughtful instructions based on the extant example and period sewing manuals, the Kilbirnie is a fabulous addition to your historical costuming wardrobe – or your everyday wardrobe!

Scroop Patterns Kilbirnie Skirt scrooppatterns.com

Plus, it’s on sale!

That’s right, to celebrate the launch, it’s on sale for the next week!  Get 10% off the pattern from now until midnight NZ time on Tuesday the 22nd of June.

The discount is applied automatically at checkout – no need to do anything!

(and if you’ve paid attention to the Scroop sale schedule, you can probably guess it’s unlikely there will be another sale on this pattern until the end of November).

The Details

The Kilbirnie comes in sizes 30-56 (waist 24”/61cm to 50”/127cm

Scroop Patterns Kilbirnie Skirt scrooppatterns.com

View A is taken directly from the extant inspiration skirt, and features rounded patch pockets with cord gathered ruffles that mirror the waist ruffle.

Scroop Patterns Kilbirnie Skirt scrooppatterns.com

View B is inspired by other skirts of the period.  It features decorative front buttons and triangular pockets with buttoned flaps.

Scroop Patterns Kilbirnie Skirt scrooppatterns.com

And both views go perfectly with the Selina Blouse!

How perfectly the Selina and Kilbirnie pair together is kismet.  Both patterns are based on extant garments: a blouse I purchased over the internet from the US, and a skirt I found in an antique store in New Zealand.

Both garments are homemade.  Both were probably made from commercial sewing patterns.

Despite being inspired by garments made halfway across the world from each other, they pair as if they were made as a set.

Scroop Patterns Kilbirnie Skirt scrooppatterns.com

The way the buttons of the blouse and the View B skirt buttons balance makes me extremely happy!

But the Kilbirnie really isn’t just limited to historical costuming.

The test group had so much fun creating fabulous outfits, modern and historical, from the pattern.  They take it to the office, and on holiday as resort wear over swimsuits.  I can’t wait to show you their makes.  And I really can’t wait to see what you did with the pattern!

Get the Kilbirnie Skirt Pattern here!

Tea Gown, 1910–15, French, silk, Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2009.300.3093

Rate the Dress: a tea gown for the teens

Last week’s spun sugar confection of a frock was as popular as a pavlova (aka, almost everyone was delighted by it, but a small percentage thought it was revoltingly sweet).

I did think of choosing an 18th century purple garment for this week’s Rate the Dress, but none of the available options seemed like a good pick.  Instead I went for something that’s been on my RTD options list for a while: a 1910s tea gown.

Last Week: an 1810s dress with spotted lace and scalloped trim

Similarly to the week before, ratings on last week fell solidly into a large cluster of extremely positive 8-10 ratings, with a small smattering of people who really weren’t keen on the dress.

The Total: 8.7 out of 10

A similar rating pattern to last week, but a better result!

This week: a 1910s take on the tea gown

I feature tea gowns on Rate the Dress so often I feel like I have to ration them!  I can’t help it: they are such interesting garments that they make perfect options for rating.  Tea gowns, by their nature, get to play with the styles of their era.

As personal garments for an intimate setting, they didn’t have to fit any rules of convention, or please anyone but the wearer.  As luxury garments they aren’t bound by practicality or budget.  The combination of these two means they are often uniquely inventive.

This particular tea gown is an excellent example of that.  It’s enough of its time to be recognisable and datable to within a few years (although the museum is conservative in its 1910-15 estimate, I’m quite confident in dating it to 1913-15), but also has a distinctive voice all its own.

Tea Gown, 1910–15, French, silk, Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2009.300.3093

Tea Gown, 1910–15, French, silk, Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2009.300.3093

One of the things I like about this tea gown is that it looks like it would actually be very comfortable to wear.  It’s also not made for a particularly small woman: note the waist size in comparison to the overall length.

This tea gown has probably suffered slightly with age: the tulle underlayers appear to have yellowed significantly over time, giving a strange cast to the sheer violet chiffon of the front bodice and upper skirt.

Tea Gown, 1910–15, French, silk, Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2009.300.3093

Tea Gown, 1910–15, French, silk, Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2009.300.3093

As always, try to overlook the changes of time, and imagine the garment as it was.

What do you think of this one?

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.

Miniature, late 1770s

18th century purple

Every once in a while when I post a purple 18th century dress on Instagram someone comments in surprise that they didn’t think there were purple fabrics in the 18th century.

The fame of mauvine, and the story of the first aniline dye, means that people sometimes think that it was so exciting because it was the first purple dye.  Not at all!  All shades of purple were already wildly popular before Perkin’s found mauvine, because Queen Victoria had chosen to wear purple at her oldest daughter’s wedding in January 1858, and lilac was fashion trendsetter Empress Eugenie’s favourite colour.

Mauvine was exciting because it was a shade that was incredibly hard to dye with natural dyes, and was cheaper and faster than natural alternatives.

There were indeed natural alternatives, and purple fabrics were absolutely available before 1859, and in the 18th century.

Here’s a quick survey of extant garments, paintings, and fashion plates from the second half of the 18th century showing purple garments, as well as some fabric samples.  I’ve arranged them chronologically.  Together they give some idea of the shades of purple available, and types of garments that came in purple.

Purple wasn’t the most common colour in century: almost all purples available at the time were relatively tricky to dye, relatively expensive, and prone to fading and colour change.  Over time they could turn brown, blue, pink, or grey as the dye faded or underwent a chemical change.

Purple dye’s tendency to be fugitive means there are less extant 18th century garments in purple.  It also means that we can’t be certain that the shade of purple we see today is the same shade the fabric was when it was first woven.

The 1760s:

This dress was probably less brown when new:

Robe à la française, c.1760, Denmark, Violet and pink iridescent silk brocade. Museum at FIT.

Robe à la française, c.1760, Denmark, Violet and pink iridescent silk brocade. Museum at FIT.

Robe à la française, c.1760, Denmark, Violet and pink iridescent silk brocade. Museum at FIT.

Robe à la française, c.1760, Denmark, Violet and pink iridescent silk brocade. Museum at FIT.

There isn’t much information available on this bodice, but the style of fabric suggests its an Turkish silk, made somewhere in the Ottoman Empire:

Corset, back view, 1760-1780, Centre de Documentació i Museu Tèxtil

Corset, back view, 1760-1780, Centre de Documentació i Museu Tèxtil

Interestingly, this portrait of Mrs Jerathmael Bowers shows her in Turkish inspired dress.  Was purple particularly associated with the Ottoman Empire?  They were certainly master weavers and dyers.  Was purple one of their specialities?

Mrs Jerathmael Bowers, 1763, John Singleton Copley (1738-1815)

Mrs Jerathmael Bowers, 1763, John Singleton Copley (1738-1815)

Here’s a Francaise in a darker purple from the second half of the 1760s, although the fabric may be slightly earlier:

Sack and petticoat, purple silk, brocaded with flowers and lace, French, 1765-1770. Museum Number T.708&A-1913.

Sack and petticoat, purple silk, brocaded with flowers and lace, French, 1765-1770. Victoria and Albert Museum, T.708&A-1913.

The 1770s:

And another one, this time in a silk that’s more typical of 1770:

This fabric is between pink and purple but I thought it was worth including:

Robe a la Francaise, Italian, about 1775, Silk taffeta brocaded with silk and metallic threads, MFA Boston, 77.6a-b

Robe a la Francaise, Italian, about 1775, Silk taffeta brocaded with silk and metallic threads, MFA Boston, 77.6a-b

If that doesn’t quite qualify as purple for you, the dress in this charming miniature unequivocally qualifies:

Miniature, late 1770s

Miniature, late 1770s

Here’s another one that’s quite tricky, especially as different images of this garment show different shades.  If the first image is correct, this is a shade that was sometimes called ‘garnet’.

A shot mauve-grey silk gown, late 1770s. with boned, low pointed back panels, internal skirt loops, the sleeves applied with 1770s double tiered embroidered muslin engageants sold by Kerry Taylor Auctions

A shot mauve-grey silk gown, late 1770s. with boned, low pointed back panels and internal skirt loops, sold by Kerry Taylor Auctions

A shot mauve-grey silk gown, late 1770s. with boned, low pointed back panels and internal skirt loops, sold by Kerry Taylor Auctions

A shot mauve-grey silk gown, late 1770s. with boned, low pointed back panels and internal skirt loops, sold by Kerry Taylor Auctions

Fashion plates aren’t the most reliable sources for garment colours, as the colourists could choose their own combinations (as demonstrated by the two differently coloured fashion plates of a lady at her toilette), but the colours do match up with what we see in extant garments and portraits.  They also presumably reflect what was seen as fashionable, tasteful, and correct in la modé.

Gallerie des Modes et Costumes Francais. “Femme en Caraco plissé de taffetas changeant gorge de pigeon..” 1778, MFA Boston

Femme galante à sa toilette ployant un billet. French, 1778. Designed by Pierre-Thomas LeClerc, MFA Boston

Femme galante à sa toilette ployant un billet. French, 1778, Designed by Pierre-Thomas LeClerc, MFA Boston

Purple also appears as touches of colour in prints.  This mainly pink dress has purple flowers:

Overdress of a robe à l’anglaise, Chintz: painted and resist-dyed cotton tabby, English dress made of Indian export chint, c.1780, Royal Ontario Museum, 972.202.12

Overdress of a robe à l’anglaise, Chintz: painted and resist-dyed cotton tabby, English dress made of Indian export chintz, c.1780, Royal Ontario Museum, 972.202.12

Read more about it in this Rate the Dress.

Overdress of a robe à l’anglaise, Chintz: painted and resist-dyed cotton tabby, English dress made of Indian export chint, c.1780, Royal Ontario Museum, 972.202.12

Overdress of a robe à l’anglaise, Chintz: painted and resist-dyed cotton tabby, English dress made of Indian export chintz, c.1780, Royal Ontario Museum, 972.202.12

The 1780s:

Here purple appears as lilac flowers on a hand-painted silk gown, which was also the focus of a Rate the Dress:

Robe à la Polonaise, ca. 1780, French, silk, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1976.146a, b

Robe à la Polonaise (actually a Robe à l’anglaise retrousée), ca. 1780, French, silk, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1976.146a, b

Here’s another example of a very pinky purple:

Elisabeth Louise Vigée-Lebrun, self-portrait with a straw hat, after 1782

As well as dark garnet, and lavender combined in one garment:

Gallerie des Modes et Costumes Français, Plate 208

Gallerie des Modes et Costumes Français, Plate 208

And a jacket in purple and blue stripes, and petticoat in garnet and lilac:

Galerie des Modes, 46e Cahier, 5e Figure, 1785

Galerie des Modes, 46e Cahier, 5e Figure, 1785

On the theme of purple stripes, this late 18th century jacket from the Met’s collection has bold ombre stripes in green and violet:

 

This embroidered panel was never sewn up into a jacket, which means the purple group is quite unfaded.

Vigée Le Brun seems particularly fond of painting subjects in purple.  Was it more fashionable amongst the French?

Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun (French, 1755 - 1842) The Vicomtesse de Vaudreuil, 1785, Oil on panel 83.2 × 64.8 cm (32 3:4 × 25 1:2 in.), 85.PB.443 The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun (French, 1755 – 1842) The Vicomtesse de Vaudreuil, 1785, Oil on panel 83.2 × 64.8 cm (32 3:4 × 25 1:2 in.), 85.PB.443 The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

This fashion plate, discussed in this 2019 Rate the Dress post, shows a nearly identical fabric, identified in the caption as violet taffeta.

Redingote of violet taffeta, revers, collar, and cuffs white, steel buttons, striped and spotted muslin petticoat- puce straw hat trimmed with large steel buckles- it is edged and belted with black velvet. 1787

This matelassé (learn about the fabric here) jacket is also French in origin, and shows another example of purple verging on brown.

Caraco en toile imprimée matelassée 1770-1790 Museon Arlaten

Caraco en toile imprimée matelassée, 1770-1790, Museon Arlaten

But Catherine the Great takes us back to bright lilac, in the shade that Eugenie would later favour:

Portrait of Empress Catherine II of Russia, Fyodor Rokotov after Roslin 1780s, Hermitage

Portrait of Empress Catherine II of Russia, Fyodor Rokotov after Roslin 1780s, Hermitage

Purple Fabrics:

I’ll finish off with a selection of pages from Barbara Johnson’s fantastic album of fashion plates and fabric samples.

A garnet paduasoy and matching fringe from 1762, as well as a printed stuff (a worsted wool) in similar hues:

Barbara Johnson Album, England, 1746-1823, Paper, parchment, textiles, Victoria & Albert T.219-1973

Barbara Johnson Album, England, 1746-1823, Paper, parchment, textiles, Victoria & Albert T.219-1973

Barbara Johnson Album, England, 1746-1823, Paper, parchment, textiles, Victoria & Albert T.219-1973

Barbara Johnson Album, England, 1746-1823, Paper, parchment, textiles, Victoria & Albert T.219-1973

Johnson calls this striped lustring ‘pink’, but I’d call it purple:

Barbara Johnson Album, England, 1746-1823, Paper, parchment, textiles, Victoria & Albert T.219-1973

Barbara Johnson Album, England, 1746-1823, Paper, parchment, textiles, Victoria & Albert T.219-1973

The figured silk in the upper left corner is also quite pink, but the smaller floral in the upper right is definitely described as ‘purple and yellow’, and the cotton in the lower right is also identified as purple:

Barbara Johnson Album, England, 1746-1823, Paper, parchment, textiles, Victoria & Albert T.219-1973

Barbara Johnson Album, England, 1746-1823, Paper, parchment, textiles, Victoria & Albert T.219-1973

The broadcloth for a riding dress is called Pompadour, which, at least in some decades, was used for purple shades.  There’s also another delightful purple and white cotton print from 1760.

Barbara Johnson Album, England, 1746-1823, Paper, parchment, textiles, Victoria & Albert T.219-1973

Barbara Johnson Album, England, 1746-1823, Paper, parchment, textiles, Victoria & Albert T.219-1973

And an utterly charming floral over shepherds check:

Barbara Johnson Album, England, 1746-1823, Paper, parchment, textiles, Victoria & Albert T.219-1973

Barbara Johnson Album, England, 1746-1823, Paper, parchment, textiles, Victoria & Albert T.219-1973

And finally, a lutestring in the red-purple called garnet:

Barbara Johnson Album, England, 1746-1823, Paper, parchment, textiles, Victoria & Albert T.219-1973

Barbara Johnson Album, England, 1746-1823, Paper, parchment, textiles, Victoria & Albert T.219-1973