Depot visit – Gemeentemuseum Den Haag

The website ModeMuze brings together the fashion collections of several large Dutch museums. Aside from having an online collection of the items, they also write blog posts about items, and organize a lot of events! I went to one of them recently, where we got the chance to see some items in the Gemeentemuseum in the Hague up close, presented by the fashion curator Madelief Hohé.

In this post some pictures of the visit, as well as some of my own observations. This is a selection of the items, I’ll post these and some more on my Facebook page for who’s interested!

 

We saw a lot of 18th century things. Let’s start with this gorgeous blue silk Anglaise. Below is the museum’s picture, click to go to the collection page.

 

These are my pictures. This is a shot of the lining of the bodice. You can see the bodice was lined in linen, while the skirt is unlined. You can also see the stitching lines from the back, where the folded silk was stitched to the (unfolded) lining. You can also see the skirt is cartridge pleated onto the bodice, leaving quite a large allowance.

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A shot of the top of the bodice lining, also showing the robing (pleat over the shoulder). What I also liked was the little blue wool tapes attached to the shoulder corners for extra protection of the silk fabric. The little cord you see was in the neckline. Although the front closed with hooks & eyes, there was a little tunnel at the top for a cord to pull the dress close to the body.

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The dress closed center front, the center front flaps attached to the robings on either side. On top of the center front panels, these little horizontal strips ran, with the pleats on top, as you can see in the bottom left corner. They were lined as well, and closed with hooks & eyes. As you can see in the official museum image, the fichu would be worn on top of the dress, but underneath these flaps. I’ve seen this a lot on other Dutch jackets and gowns, so I believe this was most common in the Netherlands. The curator also mentioned that comparisons of collections show a relatively high amount of blue dresses in Dutch museums, which this is a gorgeous example of!

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The back of the dress! You can see the folded back pleats run into the skirt. They were very narrow. The back is heavily pleated with tiny pleats. If you look closely you can see that the threads running through the cartridge pleats actually extend a bit below the bodice to keep the pleats in place.

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An inside picture of the hem. The fabric was folded over for the hem, and on parts of the skirt this blue wool tape was attached to protect the fabric. I found it particularly interesting that it wasn’t actually attached all the way around on this particular dress!

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On to the next item, a stunning pair of stays in light blue. I couldn’t find an official, full image of these. The stays were continuously boned, but the stitching was covered both back and front. The tabs were covered separately, as you also often see in linings. The stays weren’t bound, as they were covered completely I think this wouldn’t have been needed.

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A view of the linen lining, stopping just before the eyelets. Again, the tabs are covered separately.

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The top, showing off the eyelets. I also love how tiny the tape is which covers the seams. It was super thin.

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More 18th century! This was a chintz jacket, below is the inventory picture, again, click the link for the official page.

My pictures. This one shows the back, and how the sleeves were actually cut on. I hadn’t seen this on 18th century garments before.

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The ‘skirt’ part of the jacket layed open (again, the jacket is on its back on the table). The whole jacket was lined in wool. I love how extremely wide it is. You can also see the deep pleat at the center back.

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The center front closed with hooks and eyes, but again also had a cord running through the neckline, you can see a tiny bit of gathering at the top. You can also see the stitches where the hooks & eyes are attached if you look carefully.

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The back pleat of the jacket, with a little stitching to protect the seam from ripping.

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Next up are two 18th century skirts, neither of which I could find a good full picture for.

First is a petticoat, made with matelasse, or ‘zaans stikwerk’. It’s quilted in a way, but through the little channels small cords would also be drawn to create the 3d effect.

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Showing the inside and hem. Again, a wool tape was attached on the inside. I found it interesting how the tape actually extends a couple of mm from the silk hem.

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The top of the petticoat wasn’t quilted, as this wouldn’t be seen anyway. Probably also to reduce some bulk. This is the front of the petticoat, which isn’t pleated.

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The back, however, is pleated to the waistband!

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Another skirt, this time in a glazed wool damask. Such a stunning fabric! The skirt is pleated to the waistband.

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A close-up of the fabric.

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The inside, showing the selvages are used for the main seams. No tape covering the hem this time, instead a narrow cord is stitched to the hem to protect it. You still see this method being used in some skirts of traditional Dutch costume!

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As a final step, we take a big leap from the 18th century to the 1840s. It’s the dress on the left of this image. Click the link for the official page.

This image shows that the center front point of the bodice isn’t actually attached to the skirt all the way. It’s definitely boned though! The point is finished with thin piping, and look how prettily the lines are matched!

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A slightly odd image, but it shows that the boning center front doesn’t actually extends all the way up, only to the fold in the fabric.

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This is the center back closure. The skirt is heavily pleated onto the bodice and actually consists of 2 layers! The top one is silk, and forms the top of the 2 flounces. The bottom layer is made of netting, but the bottom edge of the skirt is silk again to form the bottom flounce. Less need for the expensive silk! I also liked how there’s a small modesty placket beneath the eleyets, and how there’s a hook & eye closure at the bottom (& top, not in this image).

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The top of the back closure. Pretty lace at the top, and the neckline was finished in piping even tinier than around the bottom of the bodice. This was 1mm wide at the most! I also love how there is a small bit of flossing at the top of the bones in the back.

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Final image, showing the side back seam & sleeve insert, which is again piped. You can see how the seam isn’t a ‘normal’ seam. I was wondering how this was done, and the day after the visit saw a great blog post by the Fashionable past. She does it by cutting the fabric ‘bigger’ than necessary to the sides, folding the fabric over and stitching it down to create the effect of a seam. I suspect that on this dress though, the side back was actually cut separately instead. See how the lines match up perfectly? You can’t get that if you fold the fabric, it would shift slightly.

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Getting an (almost) historical look the easier way – or: how to cheat to most effect

A question which seems to pop-up a lot with historical costuming is ‘Where do I begin?’. The proper answer to this question is to 1. pick a time period, and 2. start with the underwear. There’s a good article at Historical Sewing about this topic.

But what if you’re not sure if it’s worth all that effort, or if you’re a slow sewer, or a bit scared of having to make a corset? Sewing undergarments can take quite some time and effort, my Edwardian outfit has 7 different pieces in the undergarments. I know that when I started, I didn’t want to have to spend months creating items before I could finally start on a dress. After all, if I’d loose interest half-way it’d be for nothing (nowhere to wear them without outer garments after all). And I’m not a particularly quick seamstress, nor do I have a lot of time.

So what if you’d want to take a first step into historical costuming, but you don’t want to first build a wardrobe of undergarments? Should you just not start at all? There are some people who might say so, but I’d personally say: just go for it your own way. There are some ways to still get close to a historical silhouette, without getting all the layers correct. Of course, having proper underwear will always be better, but a first try doesn’t need to be perfect, and it just might get you excited about doing more! For my own very first historical dress, I cheated and went right into dress-making, skipping underwear. The result wasn’t perfect, and I don’t think I’ll wear that dress again now my standards have risen, but it did get me excited. It gave me the confidence to continue and try to make the next one better. Sometimes, that’s more important than getting it 100% right the first time.

foto van Marije de Vries.

My first regency dress, worn on top of modern undergarments. There’s many things I’d do different now, but this dress did get me started, and excited to continue to learn and get better!

 

So how do you go about still having a reasonably correct silhouette without all the correct underwear? Firstly, by carefully picking a period and style which could work for your body type. Unfortunately, some body types will work better than others, and for some people some undergarments will always be necessary. But there’s a lot of history to choose from! A second option is to still create some undergarments, but only the most crucial ones. Some are more defining to the silhouette than others, and for some you can limit the difference by picking the correct materials for your outer outfit. Finally, there’s always the option to buy some parts of the outfit. Especially for beginning seamstresses this might be an option for corsets. In the rest of this post, I’ll try to give some tips on what to look out for, and where you can cheat a little without looking absolutely wrong. Again a slight disclaimer: you’ll always look better with all the correct undergarments! These are tips to get you closer to correct silhouette while cheating a little, but there’s nothing that’ll beat the real thing. If it’s okay for you to don’t be 100% right if that means you get to save time/money: read on.

 

1. Pick the correct period/style for your body shape, and you might be able to avoid underwear entirely.

The easiest style if one wishes to avoid foundation garments is to go medieval. There are certain periods in history where the cut of your kirtle (under-dress) basically provided all the support needed. Because most over-dresses still show the kirtle (for example in the sleeves), you’d need to make one anyway. The trick, however, is to cut the kirtle so that it follows your shape and supports the bust.

a woman wearing a green tunic, with a sleeveless reddish surcote layered over it:

A kirtle and overdress. You won’t need anything below the green kirtle to get the right shape.

 

For anything between, say 1550 and the end of the 18th century, the torso-shape is quite specific. This is usually achieved with stays, or boned under-bodices with a petticoat. For the 17th century, one can get away with heavily boning the bodice, but skirt supports/petticoats are always necessary in this period. Not such a great era to start if you want to avoid underwear!

My favorite Queen of them all was Queen Elizabeth 1 - The later years of Elizabeth's reign are sometimes referred to as a Golden Age.:

One of the most extreme examples; but can you imagine this without the underwear? I’d be incredibly sad…

 

For my first costume, I went with a regency dress. Regency is a relatively forgiving silhouette, as you don’t necessarily need any hoops/petticoats etc. to support the skirt. A petticoat will help with the flow of your skirt, but is not crucial. The bust-line of Regency is very high though. Because I’m pretty small up top, this works for my body type. If your larger, a very good push-up bra might get you into the right direction, but it will work less well.

 

L'Art de vivre au temps de Josephine.:

Slinky dresses means petticoats are not essential. Do keep in mind that the chest is meant to be pushed up and to the sides. Easier to cheat if you’re smaller chested.

 

From the late 1820s to the 1840s, skirts become fuller and petticoats are again an absolute necessity. From the 1850s to the 1880s, this turns into crinolines and bustles, which usually need an additional petticoat as well. Corsets are worn throughout this period, but if you’re petite you might be able to get away with only boning the bodice. There’s no getting around the big skirts though. Nothing looks as sad as a bustle-skirt worn without proper support. The only exception is a very brief span around 1880, where the bustle nearly disappears, often called the natural form period. Ladies did still wear slight bum-pads, and petticoats do a lot to help the shape, but with the correct fabric/pattern you might be able to do without. Do try to pick patterns/shapes suitable for this period though, if you get a pattern meant for a later/earlier period your skirt will look very sad!

Revue de la Mode 1881:

Around 1880 the bustle nearly disappeared for a bit, for this skirt shape you might be able to get away not using any support. The only way to get the bodice shape like this is to be petite & bone the bodice. Otherwise a corset is necessary.

 

Although I needed a lot of help to get a proper Edwardian shape, this is already more forgiving than the previous era’s. The key to a proper Edwardian silhouette is that the bust is at it’s natural point (which, by the way, is lower than it’d be with a modern bra on!), and there’s a strong hourglass shape. If you have a natural hourglass shape, this might work for you! Go without a bra, or wear one with the straps very long so it’s low, lower than you’d normally be comfortable with. To control the mid-section, a high-waisted skirt might help, as these are boned. Be careful though not to put too much stress on the closure though. A lot of loose blouses were worn, so these disguise a lot! Try to avoid slinky evening dresses if you’re skimping on underwear, those won’t work without a proper corset. If you’re the straight and slim type, Edwardian is not the best choice. I personally need quite a bit of help achieving the curvy look.

1898-1908 Women's day wear: The trumpet shape skirts and shirtwaist were popular in the early 1900s.. This shows women's change in society. (Denny P.):

A loose blouse can disguise the lack of a corset. If you’re smaller chested like me though, you’ll need a little help filling up the blouse, and it’s not as suitable.

 

The 1910s  saw a distinct change from the Edwardian silhouette. From hourglass, the ideal went to straight and flat. Although corsets and petticoats were still worn in the 1910s, you might be able to skip these if you have a slimmer shape.

Ladies Home Journal (March, 1913):

Straighter shapes for 1913

 

From the 1920s we get into underwear which is more like what we wear today. Because that’s also generally where we go from historical to vintage, I’ll not go into those.

So, a summary of what period is most forgiving for what body shape. Where can you get away with leaving out all underwear?

  • Small bust (everyone): Regency
  • Small bust & petite: Natural form 1880 (do bone the bodice & pick the right skirt shapes!) or 1910’s (again: bone the bodice!)
  • Hourglass (bigger hip/breast size, smaller waist size): Edwardian. Don’t wear a modern bra, and wearing a high skirt with boning can help with the waist definition.
  • Everyone: Medieval

If you don’t want to go Medieval, but don’t fit into the other categories, don’t despair! You might not get away with leaving out underwear entirely, but for some periods you still might be able to take some shortcuts. This brings us to options 2 & 3:

2. Skip some undergarments

Some types of undergarments are more important than others. In general, chemises, drawers and corset-covers don’t add hugely to the silhouette, so could be skipped. So:

  • First tip: skip on chemises, drawers and corset covers. Wear a slip-dress or tank top instead. Not as nice as a linen/cotton base layer, but it won’t show in the silhouette.

 

Chemise Date: early 1870s Culture: American or European:

A chemise keeps your corset clean, but a tank top can go a long way too. Cotton/linen is always nicer than polyester though!

 

The rest is a bit more complicated, and depends both on the period and the fabric of your outfit. So let’s go over corsets, skirt-support and petticoats.

Corsets were worn continually from about 1700 to the 1910’s. Before that, heavily boned bodices or under-dresses took the support role. In the 18th century, stays (as corsets were called) functioned to give the body a conical shape. There’s no real getting around this, I wouldn’t recommend wearing an 18th century dress without stays. A rounded bust-line is very wrong for this period.

The Chocolate Pot - Pastels - Jean-Etienne Liotard - c. 1745:

The straight front, as seen from the side, is very 18th century. You’ll need stays to get the conical shape.

 

For Regency, the bust-line becomes higher, pushed up and separated. A good bra can provide some of the lift-effect, but tends to squish everything together which is not ideal. It’s a lot less noticeable though, especially if you have a smaller chest you might get away with not wearing stays.

Lady with coral necklace, French, 1820:

Lift and separate. You’ll not be able to get it this extreme without proper stays, but if you’re more petite the lift is possible with a bra.

 

After a brief transitional period, Victorian corsets with an hourglass shape came into play around 1830-1840. These can make a big difference in shape, and are most important for smoothing out the surface and keeping the bust in place. (No, it’s not necessarily a small waist!). If you’re petite with a small chest, if might be possible to skip the corset, provided you take care to bone your bodice well. This way, the bodice provides the smoothing and structural effect. (Be careful of the weight of your skirts if you do this, normally a corset supports the weight. Without a corset, the waistband of your skirt could cut into your hips depending on the weight).

Faces of the Victorian Era                                                                                                                                                      More:

Contrary to popular belief, the corset is more important as a base to smooth out the figure than as a waist-reducer. If you’re petite, you can approach this shape by heavily boning the bodice. Otherwise, you’ll need a corset. (See how there’s no clear underbust line? That’s what you’re going for)

 

In the Edwardian period, corsets change to leave the bust mostly in the natural place. For slinky dresses you’ll need a corset, but for loose blouses you might get away without. In the 1910s we’re back to a straight figure. This might work if you’re petite and bone the bodice.

Ha!! And this is just her UNDERWEAR! Edwardian lady in underwear, corset with attached garters.:

See how low the bust is here? If you have an hourglass shape and wear a loose blouse you can get a similar effect without a corset.

 

So, in summary, when could you skimp on a corset/stays without looking absolutely wrong? (Focused on 1700-1910, as that’s when they were worn)

  • 18th century: Always wear stays, no way around it.
  • Regency: Wearing a good bra can go a long way. It won’t give you a perfect silhouette, but if you’re smaller chested it can work.
  • Victorian: If you’re petite you might get away with only heavily boning your bodice and wearing a push-up bra. I won’t recommend this for anyone above a B cup, or those who prefer some tummy control. Do be careful of heavy skirts though, as they might dig into your hips/waist without a corset.
  • Edwardian: If you don’t need too much tummy control you could go without corset. It’s best to choose a blouse/skirt option as they’re loose fitted trough the bust, evening dresses will look bad without a corset. 
  • 1910s: If you’re petite and bone the bodice you can get away without a corset. Corsets were generally underbust anyway, but the goal is to get the midsection as flat as possible.

So, onto skirt supports & petticoats!

Nearly all periods from the 1500’s to the 1920’s see some type of skirt support. These make sure the skirts hold the correct shape. They’re also absolutely essential to getting the correct silhouette. For 1500-1800 this is usually a wide skirt with extra width from the hips (depending on the period). In the 18th century, there’s also a period where panniers were worn to widen the hips. But even without those, hip-pads and bun-pads and extra petticoats were worn throughout the period to support the skirt. These can’t be skipped.

Journal des Luxus, February 1792. And just FYI, I'm officially calling dibs on this one!:

Approaching the end of the 18th century, skirts have never been slimmer than this. But see how big her but still looks? That shape can only be achieved with a little help.

 

Regency is more forgiving, as it only occasionally saw a small bum-pad. Most dresses will work without anything underneath.

Muslin Dresses about 1800 Hamburg Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe:

Unless your fabric is sheer like these, you won’t need a petticoat, the shape is correct without one.

 

From the 1820’s to the 1840’s, structured petticoats are again necessary. After this, there’s the era of crinolines and bustles. Needless to say, any dress from the 1850’s to 1880’s absolutely needs support in some form.

ANTIQUE-ROYALS:

Imagine a dress like this without hoops, it’d be very sad, and dragging on the floor…

 

The only slight exception is 1880, around which the bustle had shrunk to nearly nothing. This ‘natural form’ period can deal with only a slight bum-pad, no extra steel contraptions needed. From the 1890’s on, only petticoats were worn.

Paquin evening dress ca. 1895  From the Kunstgewerbemuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin via Europeana Fashion Fripperies and Fobs:

Dresses like these only had minimal skirt supports, but definitely need a couple of petticoats to keep it in shape.

 

Petticoats were also worn almost always, and are often necessary to make the skirt fuller. Aside from regency and the 1910s, I can’t think of any period after 1500 where you can forgo with a petticoat. If you really don’t want to make one, you can, however, closely consider your outer fabric. If your outer fabric is stiffer and thicker, it will need a petticoat less. Basically, because it will stand out on itself more. Very thick wool you might get away with. Thin cotton, not so much. If you’re wearing a hoop and skirt without a petticoat, always check very well if the hoops aren’t visible! I’ve seen a lot of outfits with great potential ruined by hoop-lines showing through, so be careful.

So, in summary, when could you skimp on skirt supports without looking absolutely wrong?

  • Anything between 1500 and 1800: You’ll need some skirt support. If you’re doing lower class and you have wide hips in ratio to your waist you might be able to wear a thick woolen skirt without petticoat. That’s the only exception I can think of however, and it’d need to be heavily pleated to the waistband to stand out.
  • Regency: you can get away without a petticoat unless your fabric is sheer or super-thin. Now they liked those fabrics in this era, so you’d need to go to the slightly thicker cottons or stiffer silks.
  • 1820-1845: No crinoline cages in this era, just petticoats, which are essential for the shape. No cheating here, alas.
  • 1850-1890: The era of crinolines and bustles (Except for the short natural form period, I’ll go into that below). You’ll always need something to support your skirt, be it crinoline or bustle depending on the period, you won’t be able to do without. If your dress fabric is very thick (think heavy wool/velvet), you might be able to forgo a petticoat. Be careful though, if crinoline hoops/bustle bones show through the fabric you really need a petticoat (or 2, depending on your fabric). Bones showing through can ruin the look.
  • 1880, Natural form: A brief era without big bustles. In the slimmest years you could get away without any skirt support. Only if you’re not wearing a train though, those do need support of a petticoat!
  • 1890’s & Edwardian: If your skirt fabric is heavy (say; heavier wool) you might get away without a petticoat. Flounces at the bottom can help to have your skirt stand out. Lighter fabrics (ie cotton) will need a petticoat though. My own Edwardian skirt was light weight wool and looked loads better with a petticoat.
  • 1910s: Very slim skirt silhouette means a petticoat is not essential!

If you want do do an era for which you’ll really need a corset, but are afraid to make one, there’s still option nr. 3:

3. Buy foundation pieces

This especially holds for corsets, as they’re generally the most difficult and time-consuming piece of underwear to make. This doesn’t mean they’re impossible though! There’s a lot of good patterns out there, so no need to be scared. If you do want to buy one, it’s important to do your research well. Corsets are very form-fitting, so they need to fit you really well. A good fitting corset can be tight, but should not be uncomfortable and definitely not painful! So check the sizing well. I personally cannot get away with an off-the-rack corset, because I have a large hip-spring. There’s a big difference between my waist size and hip size, and as a result nearly all pre-made corsets are too small in the hips for my waist, and shift upwards. Because all bodies are different, a lot of people cannot find a corset with fits them well off-the-rack. In that case, there are a lot of corsetiers who make custom corsets, but this will, of course, show in the price. Also check how suitable your corset if for the period you’re aiming for. Most modern corsets are reasonably similar to Victorian corsets in shape, but there are differences. Most notably, most Victorian corsets are mid-bust instead of high-bust. A high bustline can show underneath a dress. And obviously, if you’re aiming for 18th century, don’t wear a Victorian corset underneath, look for stays instead.

Clermont State Historic Site: Is it Really Necessary? Of Corset is!:

Nice infographic on corset shapes, by Clermont State Historical. Pick the right shape for the right period!

Vintage spring

Spring is finally here! Well, theoretically, the weather here has turned grey again after the sun of last week. But we’ll just ignore the rain and focus on the calendar! So I figured it’d be time for something a little spring themed. I’ve been looking a lot at vintage sewing pattern covers. They’re a great example of fashion from a period. I always preferred the 1950s above the 40s and 30s, but they’ve been calling to me lately. Although I still love the wide-skirt silhouette, you see a lot of interesting detail in seaming and patterning in 40s and 30s dresses. 50s tends to be a bit more clean-cut, which makes dress patterns slightly less interesting. I love circle skirts, but pattern wise once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.

So, for this post, a focus on 30s and 40s vintage dresses! I love the pastel tones with these dresses, and figured pastel blue would be perfect for a spring theme.

1930s with a nice waistline treatment. I really like how the blue dotted fabric is sheer at the top. Not entirely sure about the hat it’s been paired with though…

30s 40s red floral white dot sheer print swing war era  McCall 9653 Vintage 1930s Sewing Pattern Dress by studioGpatterns, $28.50:

I love these styles, they seem very comfortable yet fun at the same time. I think I prefer the one in the middle, with pintucks and lace detail.

-z36qVAdeWA.jpg (751×1024):

Clean lines for a sophisticated look. The little details are what makes this period. I love how the overlap on the neckline features a round edge.

1930s McCall 3344 Misses Flared Skirt DAY DRESS womens vintage sewing pattern by mbchills:

Another lovely grey-blue pattern. Also, this has a bow on the back, which is just perfect.

1940s Misses Short Sleeve Dress:

A lot of 1940s dresses feature buttons all along the front. You can see the skirt starting to widen at the bottom, but the top is still pleated for a closer fit.

Fashion Frocks 1940 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!:

Lovely zigzag trims on this one. And again; a bow in the back! The bodice is fairly simple construction wise, signalling we’re getting on in time.

1940s Misses Dress Vintage Sewing Pattern day dress casual floral red white pink blue war era WWII color illustration fashion style house wife looks:

A slightly darker blue. I love how they provide different detail/style options on this pattern. Exactly what home-sewing is all about! (Also, I’d love for patterns to be 15cts again 😉 )

lovely dress:

 

Burgundian gown – Placket theories

I’ve been brainstorming about making a burgundian gown from my brocade silk. With the brainstorming came some research. I’ve never done anything before 1800 before, so 15th century is entirely new.

Most burgundian gowns seems to be made up in 2 different ‘fabrics’. One for the main gown, and one for the collar and cuffs. Some also have a strip along the hem of the second fabric. The main gown can be plain or very fancy. The collar and cuffs often seem to be made of fur, although fabric/velvet examples also exist.

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Fur collars. Brown left, ermine right.

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Fabric collars

 

The burgundian gown itself is fairly simple to figure out. It either has loose or fitting sleeves, a full skirt and a collar. The back often shows that the collar also runs in a v shape in the back. The dress is fitted around the bust and looser underneath, worn with a belt to fit it through the waist. Different variations exist, in the exact shape of the neckline, the fullness of the gathers and the sleeve shape.

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Some back views

 

It gets a little more complicated when looking at what’s worn underneath. Most medieval dresses seem to have both a linnen shift and a kirtle underneath. A kirtle is basically an underdress and can either have short or long sleeves. It can also be worn on it’s own, or layered. Most kirtles lace/button in either the front or at the sides.

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Shifts, with straps or sleeves

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Kirtles. Side-laced left, front-laced right. Either with long or short sleeves. Separate sleeves could also be pinned to the short sleeve of the kirtle.

 

When wearing the burgundian gown, you can see a little of what’s worn underneath. Because the neckline is a deep v, you always see a little ‘placket’ there. Also often shown in paintings are the skirts, as ladies lift the skirts of their burgundian gown to show the one underneath.

That’s where it gets interesting. One would think (this was my original thought as well), that both the placket in the v and the underskirt would simply be those of the kirtle worn underneath. Side-lacing ones when you don’t see lacing, front-lacing ones when you do. And maybe they are in some occasions, but often in paintings you see a different color underskirt than placket. The big question therefore is, how would this work?

 photo Different colors_zpscphwot1a.jpg

All of these show a different color placket than skirt underneath.

 

I’ve done some googling, and from what I can find there are a few different theories. No one is conclusive, as so little original material exists. Images of women dressing & undressing exist, but are not all that common. No images I’ve seen are really obvious. These are the different theories, I’ve provided a link to the pages where I first read about each of them. (Ergo: none of these are my own, so I don’t take credit for any of them)

1. There’s a simple square/triangle of fabric pinned over the kirtle along the neckline. (Theory credit/where I first read about it)

The page where I first found this has an image about this as well. I should note that this person has since moved on to theory nr. 2.

2. Two different kirtles are worn. One below with a high square neck, one on top with a lower neckline. This way you see the bottom gown in the v neckline but the top one when raising the skirts of the burgundian gown. (Theory credit/where I first read about it)

Supported by these images, depicting several stages in a story. Left you see the red kirtle and first gown with black collar and lacing in front. In the second image, she wears the burgundian with blue collar on top of the one with the black collar. This way, when lifting the overskirt you’d see the laced gown(black collar), not the red kirtle. I do have to say I’m not 100% convinced by this image, as the belt also changes color from left to right image. It might just’ve been an inconsistency in coloring by the artist. Nevertheless, it’s a valid theory and layering dresses seems to’ve been quite common.

 

3. There is a piece of fabric attached to the burgundian itself. Connected on one side of the v, pinned shut on the other side.  (Theory credit/where I first read about it)

This sounds logical as well, but somehow doesn’t seem as plausible to me as the other theories. The author of this one preferred theory nr. 4 herself, also because of some of the evidence for that.

 

4. There is some sort of ‘wrap’ bodice worn on top of the kirtle. (Theory credit/where I first read about it)

Inspired by these images. On all of these, there seems to be a very short bodice worn. In the leftmost image, you can see where it stops around the waist. In the second image, you see something is covering the lacing at the top. In the third image, you see the black ‘under-layer’ stops just below the waist. The glimpse of white at the sleeves also suggests this doesn’t have sleeves.

The author of this theory gives some more ideas on this, just follow the link above to her page to read more.

Stark Triptyque 1480 -detail

 

5. Skirt theories. There’s a separate skirt underneath the kirtle, there’s an under dress with a different skirt/bodice fabric or the skirt of the under dress has a broad border of different fabric.  This seems a bit less likely, as even a waist seam was pretty new in the late 15th century. It doesn’t seem so likely that they would’ve made completely separate skirts, or skirts of a different fabric than the bodice. The border you see on outer dresses as well, but none as wide as would seem necessary for the effect you see in paintings. (Theory credit/where I first read about it)

6. Final options would be that two under dresses were worn, and both the burgundian and upper under dress are lifted to show the skirt of the dress at the bottom. Although it’s likely that more than 1 under dress was worn at times (as shown by paintings with different skirt layers), I’m not entirely convinced. It seems to make most sense to just lift your outer dress, to grab 2 layers and leave the 3rd just seems a bit too fiddly to me. (Theory credit/where I first read about it)

 

I quite like the 4th theory myself. I want a black silk placket under my burgundian gown myself, but I already knew I wouldn’t have enough fabric for a full kirtle. This solution seems more ‘stable’ than theory 1 or 3, but still requires little enough fabric to make it feasible for me. That means I’ll probably make a chemise, kirtle, placket/bodice, burgundian & headdress for this project. Whenever I get started on it, that is.

Digital design tutorial – how I do it

When starting a new project, I like to make some sketches and images of what I want to do. I generally start with some paper sketches, but these have the disadvantage of 1. me not being a great artist and 2. being difficult to color, especially with patterned fabrics.

So generally, once the design is clearer in my head, I make a digital ‘sketch’ of what I want the finished project to look like. Below two examples of past and current projects:

 

In this post, I’ll attempt to show how I make my images in photoshop. A similar post was written by American Duchess, but her method is slightly different from mine. You can, of course, also use a combination of methods, just pick whatever works for you! The main difference is that I don’t have a tablet, so draw my lines differently (I’m also not as good a sketcher as she is!). My method should also work if you’re no good at drawing. I also tend to use layer masks for coloring instead of erasing outlines.

This tutorial will assume a slight familiarity with photoshop, but I’ll try to be as clear as possible, and questions are always welcome!

To start with, I always look for a base picture. This is because I’m not a great artist, and drawing with a mouse is very tricky. This shape of this base should resemble your finished vision as closely as possible. Color, etc. doesn’t matter. It’s also possible to use a combination of pictures. I tend to look for fashion plates and pictures of existent dresses. If you wish to use (modern) art, or a modern photo it would be good to first ask if you’re allowed to use the image! Especially if you’ll be posting it online.

For this tutorial, I’ll be using this dress from the Glasgow Museums. The dress I’ll be designing will have the same shape, but have a chintz dress and a plain petticoat with a ruffle at the bottom.

Damask robe a l’Anglaise with floral pattern, 18th century </br> © CSG CIC:

So let’s start with opening this image in photoshop! The picture will be your base layer. The outlines of the different ‘garments’ (dress, petticoat) will all be on separate layers. The colors will each have their own layers as well.

I always start with the outlines. To draw the outlines, I use the pen tool. This can be a bit tricky to use at first, but I’ve found it much nicer than the mouse when figured out.

To start, open photoshop, make a new document and copy your base into it. The first thing to do now is to select the brush for the lines. Select the brush tool on the left, and select your brush at the top. I personally like this ‘brush’ tool (the one bordered in blue), at the smallest size.

 photo Screenshots 1_zpsn4jk0bdb.jpg

I always first check if my line won’t be too wide by drawing a bit. In this case, I find it a bit too thick. The pencil can’t be smaller (it’s already at size 1), so let’s make the base image a bit bigger. (First, to remove the line, undo one step or use ctrl-z)

 photo Screenshots 2_zpscz2jpbe5.jpg

To do this, select Image -> Image size. I generally just enlarge the image by 2 by setting it to 200 percent.

 photo Screenshots 3_zpsg3oqbcen.jpg

Now lets start making the line. First, switch to the Pen tool in the left toolbar. Click where you want your line to start, a small square will appear here. Next, click where you want the first section of line to end. You will see the two dots connected like this. (it’s a very thin line, click on my images to enlarge if it’s not visible)

 photo Screenshots 4_zps99e0n1xp.jpg

The problem now is that the line is straight, but I want it to follow the neckline. To do this, you don’t release the mouse on the second click, but drag it away to the side. You will see the thin line becoming curved. Drag it until the line is at the right place, and then release the mouse. It’ll look something like this.

 photo Screenshots 5_zps8ffsgfnp.jpg

It’s now following the curve. The great thing about the pen tool is that it will make the next curve nicely follow the last one. That’s also the annoying thing about the pen tool, because it’s not always what you want. To give an example, if my next click is somewhere above the last point, it’ll do this.

 photo Screenshots 6_zpsnbzji3sh.jpg

You can see the curve between the second and last point. If you don’t want this, but just want a straight line from the second to third point, you can press ALT and click on the second point before you make the third. You’ll see that one of the ‘guidelines’ sticking out from that point will disappear. This is what it’d look like.

 photo Screenshots 7_zpssol2vthe.jpg

From this point, you can keep clicking where you want your line to come. I usually do this in small parts, so I don’t select the entire outline at once. In this case, my first segment is the neckline and part of one sleeve.

 photo Screenshots 8_zps8ifxn7op.jpg

I now want to turn this guideline (path) into an actual black outline. First, make a new empty layer for the lines in the layer menu bottom left. Next, right-click on the path and select ‘Stroke’. Make sure the ‘Tool’ is set to ‘Brush’, and that your foreground color (bottom left square) is the color you want the outline to be (black). Then click OK.

 photo Screenshots 9_zpskbcuuitv.jpg

You will now see the black outline in the same place as the path!

 photo Screenshots 10_zps1lfclq6h.jpg

To continue, first delete the path you just made. You can do this by pressing Enter, or right-click on the path and delete. Continue on making paths, stroking them and deleting paths until you’ve outlined the whole dress. Don’t do the petticoat yet, as this will be a different layer. General guideline: everything which needs to be a different color on a different layer. The whole dress done:

 photo Screenshots 11_zpsjmgmtvkn.jpg

For the petticoat lines, make a new layer and do the missing lines same as the dress. In this case that’s just the hem. I also drew a squiggly line to mark the top of where I want my ruffles to be. These type of lines are easier using the mouse and the brush tool.

 photo Screenshots 12_zpsmfcwsyac.jpg

The ruffle still looks a bit weird, some lines resembling the pleats can improve the image a lot. Always try to draw there ruffle or pleat lines in a new layer! This will make it easier to color everything the same color later on.

After all the lines are drawn, you can hide the base layer, getting this outline!

 photo Screenshots 13_zps7ob5abzv.jpg

Now it’s time for coloring! The dress will be a chintz fabric. I usually just google for images resembling the fabric I want to use. In this case, it’s a chintz from Betina Printing.

Copy the image onto a new layer, underneath the layers with the outlines.

 photo Screenshots 14_zpsy1oqaeoz.jpg

It’s not quite big enough, but I like the scale. If the print is too big, just make the picture smaller. Then I just copy that print layer and move the copies to fill the whole dress. I generally don’t look too much at seamless lines, you barely see it anyway with a busy print like this.

 photo Screenshots 15_zps8nnpatix.jpg

The whole dress is filled! Now, first make sure all the prints are on the same layer again. You can merge layers by selecting all layers you want to merge and clicking ‘Merge layers’.

 photo Screenshots 16_zps8ax6hldg.jpg

Now let’s make sure only the dress is colored. We’ll do this with layer masks. For now, hide the layer with the print on it. Select the ‘wand’ tool from the toolbar left. Make sure that at the top, both ‘Contagious’ and ‘Sample all layers’ are on. (Tollerance can be low, 0 even).

 photo Screenshots 17_zpsqaf1gxdg.jpg

We’re now going to select all the areas within the dress, so the areas we want colored by the chintz. Click on one part at a time. To add the next part, hold SHIFT while you click. This will add the selection to your current one, instead of replacing it.

 photo Screenshots 18_zps4kliurgt.jpg

Once you’ve got the whole dress selected, you can make the selection a tiny bit larger. This will make sure the color will go up to the line, and not stop a couple of pixels before. To do this, click Select -> Modify -> Expand. Set it to 1 pixel, that should be enough, and click OK.

 photo Screenshots 19_zpshjsambfj.jpg

Now, for the magic! Turn on your fill layer again, and go to this layer. At the bottom of the layer menu, there’s a ‘Mask’ button. The little black square with a white circle inside. If you click that button, a layer mask will be added. This will hide all the non-selected parts of your document, making sure only the parts of the dress are still visible!

 photo Screenshots 20_zpslwv0huio.jpg

Similarly, you can also color the same way just using a solid color. We’ll do that for the petticoat. Add another layer (below the lines), and fill this with the color you want the garment to be.

 photo Screenshots 21_zpsntonchgt.jpg

Now we’ll do the same thing again, starting with hiding the color layers. Then, hide the layer on which you drew ruffles etc. This will make the selecting process easier!

 photo Screenshots 22_zpsnrocltep.jpg

Select the entire petticoat, enlarge the selection by 1 pixel, unhide the color layer, select that layer and click ‘Mask’ in the layer menu.

 photo Screenshots 23_zpskakxhb6j.jpg

Unhiding the color for the dress and the ruffles, you’ve now got a basic design done.

 photo Screenshots 24_zpsvlobbrpw.jpg

What if you change your mind, or want to compare different colorways? It’s quite easy to add another color option. (Of course, for the fill layer, you can also just fill the layer with another color. This option will keep both versions though).

Let’s try to give the dress a solid red color. First make a new layer for the red, and fill this with the chosen color.

 photo Screenshots 25_zpsdm6y4r2i.jpg

Now we want to give this layer the same mask as the original dress layer. You can, of course, repeat the whole process, but there’s also an easier way. Hold CTRL on your keyboard, and click the mask layer for the dress. (So the one with the black-white outline!). Doing this will select all the white parts of that particular layer. In this case, the dress!

 photo Screenshots 26_zpssw79ckyh.jpg

Now you can just go back to your color layer and click ‘Mask’ again to apply the mask!

 photo Screenshots 27_zpslsmldyb6.jpg

You can switch layers to compare versions, or you can copy the whole image (Select everything, Image -> Select merged) to a new document. This is usually what I do, so I can see the versions side-by-side and choose which one I like best.

 photo Screenshots 28_zpstcn3ienq.jpg

This is basically how I do my digital designs! I personally find it very useful to see colors and patterns applied side-by-side when picking a design. I hope this was helpful.

Oorijzers – ‘Ear-irons’ – Part 2

Time for part 2! In my first post about oorijzers I shared the history, what the original oorijzers were and looked liked, as well as one example of how they continued to exist to the early 20th century. The oorijzer is currently best known for its part in various regional costumes in the Netherlands. So for this post, an attempted overview of how and where the oorijzer evolved from the 16th/17th century practical object to the many variations we have today. Prepare for a lot of pictures!

Regional costume

To start this post, a little map of places I’ll be discussing!

 photo netherlands-303419_960_720_zpsjgliynel.jpg

The regions best known for their oorijzers in traditional costume are Friesland (a province in the very north) and Zeeland (a province in the very south). It stuck around in several other places as well though, surviving in the traditional costume of towns like Urk and Staphorst. These towns have their own traditional costume worn very locally. Staphorst sees women wearing traditional clothing on a daily base up to today. The oorijzer evolved in different ways in different places, so you can usually tell which oorijzer comes from which place and which period. I’ll be discussing the most well-known of traditional costumes with oorijzers. Just as a quick disclaimer, these aren’t the only places with an oorijzer in the past of their traditional costume, just the ones most familiar (to me) and well known.

Let’s start with the costume from the Zaanstreek. This is a region above Amsterdam and the traditional costume died out in the early 20th century. It had it’s own typical headwear, which stayed nearly the same during the 18th and 19th centuries. The rest of the clothing largely kept following regular fashion.

This is a 19th century image of the 18th century costume

 photo download_zps7j7jcszr.png

Source: Het geheugen van Nederland. Part of drawing by Duyvetter

The oorijzer  was gold, quite a bit wider than the 17th century version and has large golden plates to the sides. Its worn fairly straight across the back of the head and is not so much a practical thing as a piece of jewelry.

An oorijzer from 1834. You can see the gorgeous filligree on the plates.

 

And a picture from the costume group the ‘Zaanse Kaper’, this is a reproduction of the 18th century costume. She’s also wearing a ‘voorhoofdsnaald’ (the thing across her forhead), two ‘zijnaalden’ (the two ‘needle’ things at the top, you can only see one) and pins behind the plates of the oorijzer. These pin the cap to the oorijzer.

Source: Zaanse Kaper

 

Another village which managed to keep it’s traditional costume despite nearness to a big city is Scheveningen. Now technically a part of the Hague, it used to be a fishing village. The costume has nearly died out, being worn only by a handful of elderly ladies today. There are several groups (from museums or choirs) which keep the knowledge about the clothing alive.

In Scheveningen the oorijzer today is silver with golden knobs. It has a distinctive shape and is used very much to give the cap it’s shape.The golden knobs are worn very close together high on the head.

In the 18th century the oorijzer was mostly silver with golden knobs, which were sometimes decorated with golden ‘bells’, jewels which would hang from the knobs. In the 19th century, some golden oorijzers also existed along side the silver ones. The knobs also took various shapes, settling on the round ones similar to the modern ones at the end of the century.

This is an image from 1850 depicting the costume around that time, also showing the ‘bells’ hanging from the oorijzer in the center top. These also disappeared later in the century. You can see the different types of knobs, as well as the swooping shape the oorijzer has in the back.

 photo urn-gvn-NOMA01-PR18591-large_zpshhvx4fi6.jpeg

Image by Bing & Braet, Source: Het geheugen van Nederland

 

In the current costume, the oorijzer has become longer in the back, giving shape to the cap. The knobs are no longer at the sides of the head but nearly meet at the top and are a distinctive round shape. The pins are put through the knobs to keep the cap in place. (I always have to think of knitting needles sticking through a little ball of wool when I see them)

A lovely picture from the 1950’s showing the shape of the oorijzer and cap. The oorijzer sticks out in the back so keeping the cap in place.

 

An oorijzer from Scheveningen made in 1919

 

Next up is the town of Huizen. This used to be fishing town, before the Afsluitdijk (dike) made the inland sea of the Netherlands into a lake, and before the province of Flevoland was ‘created’.

This is an image of the costume around 1850, showing a simple cap on top of a silver oorijzer with small pins through the knobs.

 photo urn-gvn-NOMA01-PR10666-large_zpssghqlnst.jpeg

Image by Bing & Braet, Source: Het geheugen van Nederland

 

The clothing in Huizen followed regular fashion and eventually became all black between 1870 and 1920, probably also due to religious influences. From 1870 on the cap also went through a great change, becoming the main point of interest, mostly due to its size. The oorijzer seems to have stayed relatively similar, changing slightly to accommodate the new style of cap. Two different types of large caps were worn, the ‘isabee’ for daily wear without oorijzer, and the oorijzermuts (oorijzer cap) for Sundays and special occasions. The cap with oorijzer was also a lot more difficult to put on, nearly impossible to do alone.

These pictures show the progress of putting on the cap. This one shows the under cap and the oorijzer before the outer cap is put on.

The cap is put in place with the pins, attaching to the oorijzer. This eventually creates a type of ‘loop’ in the fabric as shown in the next image of the final cap.

 photo urn-gvn-NOMA01-AA3791-large_zpsf76qkabv.jpegAfbeeldingsresultaat voor dracht huizen

And an image of the oorijzer only. You can clearly see the knobs with holes to put the pins through.

 

Another fishing town where the oorijzer survived is Urk. Urk used to be an island, before the province of Flevoland was basically created around it in the 1930s and 40s. It still very much retains its island culture today. The traditional costume has all but died out, but is sometimes worn for special occasions.

I couldn’t find any information on the 18th century costume, but this image shows the clothing ca. 1850. The oorijzer is silver with silver knobs, little pins stuck through. The knobs are worn on the cheeks.

By Bing & Braet, Source: Het Geheugen van Nederland

 

Around 1900 the costume reached its current state, the changes mostly being in the clothing. The cap changed little, the version today being a under-cap, a white cap with yellow lace at the front, pinned to the oorijzer and if the lady is married a black over-cap on the back. The red bands disappeared. The white cap and oorijzer would’ve been pinned together first and then put on. These pictures are from the early 20th century, showing the oorijzer beneath the cap. The little round balls are the tops of the pins which pin the cap to the oorijzer.

 

The oorijzer, this one made in the late 19th century. It’s very narrow in the front, which shows that it’s meant to press into the cheeks.

 

Staphorst-Rouwveen is a town which even today is known very much for its wearers of traditional costume. It has got the highest number of women still wearing the traditional clothes on a daily basis of the whole country, a couple of hundred today. The youngest is in her 40s though, and most wearers are over 60, so also in Staphorst traditional costume is dying out.

Again, I couln’t find any images from the 18th century costume. The image below is a small picture from ca. 1850 showing the headwear including oorijzer. The oorijzer is silver, still quite narrow and has small golden ‘curls’ at the ends. It’s worn quite low, both in the neck and on the cheeks.

 photo Untitled-1_zpshjj42byf.jpg

Excerpt from Bing & Breat. Source

 

From the 1850s costume, it changed quite a bit until around 1900. After that, small changes kept happening up to at least the 1970s. As the flow of ‘new’ wearers stops, the same usually happens to the changes in fashion.

Staphorst today actually sees two examples of the oorijzer. There’s a girl version, which isn’t worn daily anymore today. The other version is for adult women. Aside from the headwear with the oorijzer, another cap exists. That one is a small decorated cap of fabric and usually the daily wear today. The oorijzer is reserved for special occasions.

The ‘girl-oorijzer’ has the same basic shape as the one for adults, and is made fully of silver. It has very basic knobs at the ends.

The girl-oorijzer, this one was made in 1909.

 

For ‘neat’ wear (opknapdracht) the oorijzer was worn on top of the black under-cap, but without a lace cap on top. For church and special occasions, the lace ‘toefmuts’ was worn on top. The oorijzer changed from being worn low in the neck, going up over the ears and back down, to being worn almost on top of the head, going over the ears and ending low on the cheeks.

A picture of a girl in opknapdracht, picture from the 1940’s.

 

And with the lace cap for church, also from the 1940’s.

 

The oorijzer for adult women is similar in shape to the girls. The knobs at the ends are different, and are replaced by golden curls. In the 1850s image you can already see small curls, but these grow bigger.

This oorijzer is from ca. 1900, showing medium-sized golden curls.

 

This next oorijzer was made a bit later, in 1954. You can see the curls have grown, and tilted slightly.

 

A picture of a woman wearing the oorijzer in opknapdracht in the 1940’s.

 

And a picture taken in the 1990’s, of three women who still wear these clothes on a daily base. From left to right they’re dressed in regular, light mourning and mourning clothes, all fit for church.

 

Friesland

Friesland is a province in the north of the Netherlands, but (more so than most others) has a large ‘national’ Frisian identity. They have a flag, and their own official language. In some specific places a specific costume was worn, such as in the town of Hindeloopen or on the islands at the north. In most of the province though, traditional costume mostly took shape through the headwear while the rest of the clothing followed fashion. Friesland is one of the most interesting regions when it comes to the oorijzer. That’s because it had quite a large number of wealthy farmers, that wealth allowing the oorijzer to grow to epic proportions.

In the 18th century Frisian headwear was most commonly the ‘German cap’. I’m not sure of it’s exact origins, but it grew to be quite large. The oorijzer beneath however, was still quite modest. It’s already often made of silver or gold plated.

An 18th century Frisian costume with the German cap and oorijzer.

 

Titel:Trouwkostuum, gestreepte changeantzijde met gebrocheerd bloempatroon, afgezet met franje  Vervaardiger: onbekend  Soort object:trouwkostuum; rok; jak  Vervaardigingsdatum: 1782  Afmeting:hoogte: 75.0 cm  Materiaal: zijde, linnen:

Source: Fries museum

 

An early 18th century gilded oorijzer from Friesland.

Source: Fries museum

 

At the beginning of the 19th century the cap changes quite drastically, and this marks the beginning of a growth in the oorijzer. The band becomes bigger, the knobs growing as well and becoming more ornate.

The headwear at the turn of the 19th century was named a ‘Floddermuts’. This one is for mourning, as it’s plain. The ‘regular’ one would be made of lace.

 

Around this time, the oorijzer starts to grow. This is a gilded copper one from ca. 1800. You see that the knobs at the end grow with the band. Because the front shows best through the cap, the front starts growing first.

Source: Fries museum

 

In time the cap becomes shorter again in the back. Up to around 1850, the oorijzer keeps growing. Along with the base, the knobs at the end grow out to large ornate ornaments. Instead of a practical accessory which keeps the cap to the head, the oorijzer starts to have a more public function. Because it shows quite well beneath the sheer lace caps, your neighbors can see your oorijzer. Being made of silver or gold, a large oorijzer is expensive, a sign of wealth. And of course, it won’t do if your neighbor has one larger than you. With the growing wealth among Frisian farmers, the oorijzer grows to almost be a helmet of gold. Silver was, of course also still worn in less rich families.

The shorter cap. This is what the early Floddermuts evolved to between 1820 and 1880.

Source: Fries museum

 

A gilded copper oorijzer from around 1840. The fronts become larger, and the knobs start to become wider and even more ornate.

Source: Fries museum

 

A golden oorijzer from 1873. This is about as large as the oorijzers got. This one obviously  belonged to a wealthy lady.

Source: Fries museum

 

If you were not quite as rich, you could still have a large golden oorijzer, but the back would be unconnected, needing less metal. This one is gilded brass.

 

Silver versions also existed. It would be common as well to own both silver and gold, with the gold being for Sundays and special occasions and silver for daily wear. In this one from 1879 you can again see the narrow back.

Source: Fries museum

The Frisian costume (i.e. the cap) disappear after 1880/1890. Quite a strong national identity exists though, so a form of the costume (the ca. 1840 version) keeps being worn at events. Nowadays you can still see it being worn in dance groups, costume groups or in the traditional coach races (with Frisian horses). Nearly all of the jewelry, including the oorijzers, are antiques and even today worth quite a lot. (After all, you’re wearing a helmet of gold).

 

Zeeland

Zeeland is the province in the very south-west of the Netherlands, and mostly consists of islands. It’s probably partly due to this island culture that Zeeland evolved to have a rich variety of traditional costume.

The variation in dress in Zeeland existed mostly in the headwear. Small variations also exist in dress, though mainly in the upper-body. For the oorijzer though, the 17th century version evolved into two basic variations worn throughout the province.

In the 18th century, the oorijzer remained largely the same. It was silver and thin, but did develop round/rectangular golden pieces at the ends. These are all images from the 18th century fashion in Zeeland. You can see the small golden oorijzers, the round balls are probably the pins sticking through.

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Source: Het geheugen van Nederland. Left to right Zuid-Beveland, Zuid Beveland & Walcheren

 

And a late 18th century / early 19th century (pre 1814) oorijzer. You can see the small golden plates at the ends. It still has the same shape as the 17th century oorijzer, and hasn’t really become wider.

 

Before we continue, another map, this time of Zeeland. Most of the names I’ll be throwing around are the islands. Walcheren and Zuid-Beveland are two regions on the same island. Arnemuiden and Axel are specific towns. I’ll also be considering costume from just north of Zeeland, the light blue island at the top of this map. These are the islands of Zuid-Holland. Another province, but the oorijzer existed there as well and is most similar to that of Zeeland.

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In the first half of the 19th century, the oorijzer starts evolving in two different ways. In most of Zeeland, the knobs turn into golden curls. In Zuid-Beveland, however, they stay plates and become larger. Most back parts of oorijzers are silver, though brass is also seen. The decorative knobs are generally gold, but also sometimes gilded brass.

Oorijzers from Zuid-Beveland. 1864, 1886 & 1964. The first one is rather unusual, being made of filligree. Most oorijzers would be more similar to the other two, with plain golden plates. Through time, you see the plates growing in size.  This reflects the growth in wealth during the late 19th and 20th centuries.

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Although the oorijzer in the rest of Zeeland and islands of Zuid-Holland all developed into spiraled curls, you do see some slight regional differences. In Walcheren and Axel, you get spirals which are even in size. As well as with the plates, you do also see them growing slightly over time, although they keep the 4 tiers.

Oorijzers from Walcheren (ca. 1800-1825), Axel (1899) & Walcheren (1920)

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An interesting case is the town of Arnemuiden. At some point the back part of the oorijzer disappears, leaving only the curls. This happens exclusively in the town of Arnemuiden. These ‘curls’, as they’re called (this term is also often used for the whole oorijzer by the way), are pinned to the bonnet. You see here that all practical function of the oorijzer has gone, leaving only the decorative part.

A pair of curls made in 1909.

 

In Noord-Beveland, Schouwen-Duiveland and Tholen you get spirals with 4 tiers, but decreasing in size. The process of growth is similar to the other regions. The twisted spiral seen in the oorijzer of Tholen was typical for this island.

Oorijzers from Schouwen (1856) Noord-Beveland (1872-1904) & Tholen (1954)

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In the islands of Zuid-Holland, you also see spirals decreasing in size as they go upwards. Unlike the spirals from Zeeland, however, these are not limited to 4 tiers. Over time, they get more and more spirals.

Oorijzers from the islands of Zuid Holland, (1879, 1898, 1900-1910 worn in Heenvliet)

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These following images all show the oorijzers as worn with the different costumes in Zeeland and the islands of Zuid-Holland, throughout time. Most of these images will show the costume and cap as worn on Sundays, this being the most elaborate version. The most recent images for each costume are also roughly where the changes stopped. This is different per region, depending on how long the costume was still worn. The only one being worn daily today is the one of Arnemuiden.

Zuid-Beveland. On the left is a print ca. 1850. Next to this you see the 2 different ways the cap evolved. Top row is protestant, first image ca. 1905, second one is ca. 1940. The catholic cap is in basis the same, but folded and pleated differently to get a different shape. The first image is ca. 1900, the second one ca. 1950. You can see how the oorijzer was worn much higher on the head than before in the catholic version.

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Walcheren. On the left the costume ca. 1850.  Top right is an image from what I’d guess to be early 20th century. The girls on either side are wearing the ‘girls-cap’, with the long back. The cap in the center is the one generally worn by adult woman. Lower right shows pitures from the 1950’s. Left the adult cap, right the girl cap.

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Arnemuiden. Left the costume ca. 1850. In the middle a girl ca. 1890. On the right the cap ca. 1930. This was roughly the size the cap stayed afterwards.

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Axel. To the left an image depicting Zeeuws-Vlaandren ca. 1850. Top middle is a woman from Axel ca. 1880, bottom middle girls ca. 1905. The right image was taken in 1950.

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Noord-Beveland. Left ca. 1850. Top right is ca. 1900, bottom right 1950’s.

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Tholen. The Bing & Braet series doesn’t cover Tholen, so on the left a print from 1874. On the right a woman in the 1950’s.

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Schouwen-Duiveland. Ca. 1850 on the left, ca. 1910 on the right. The hair was typical for Schouwen and worn slightly different in Duiveland.

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Islands of Zuid-Holland. The left image depicts the costume from Goeree Overflakkee, Voorne, Beijerland and IJsselmonde ca. 1850. In the middle a girl from Voorne ca. 1880, the right image was taken ca. 1910.

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This post turned out slightly longer than anticipated, but I wanted to be complete, so I hope it wasn’t too long. This concludes the post. Below some sources, by far most information and images were taken from the website ‘Het Geheugen van Nederland’, which has a large image archive about Dutch traditional costume. This includes wonderful information from about the objects, from the museums they belong to.

 

Sources:

Het Geheugen van Nederland

Fries Museum

De Scheveningse Klederdracht, Koolbergen 1990

Historische Kring Huizen

Oorijzers – ‘Ear-irons’ – Part 1

Oorijzers are a type of metal headgear which have been worn in the Netherlands for a very long time. Literally translated the name means ‘ear-iron’, but I don’t think there’s an official English word for them, so I’ll keep using the Dutch term. I wanted to just write one post about oorijzers, but it became a bit long, so this is part 1 of 2! In this article I’ll give a little background on the history of the oorijzer and one example of it’s continued use throughout history. The next article will be about the oorijzer in various traditional Dutch costumes!

Just a quick disclaimer: I’m writing this article as an interested layman, I’m not a scholar on this subject by any means. My information comes from museums and books, and I’ll try to give an overview of sources at the bottom. I’m also writing this more as knowledgeable on Dutch traditional costume than on 16th and 17th century dress, to give an idea of my perspective.

But back to the topic on hand! What is an oorijzer? The basic description would be ‘a piece of metal  worn on the head underneath a cap’. That’s a very bare description, mostly because the function, appearance and material of the oorijzer all changed throughout time and place. Below you see a collage of different existent oorijzers ranging from 16th to 20th century, all worn in different parts of the Netherlands (source for all images: Het Geheugen van Nederland ).

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Origin

In origin, the oorijzer was a simple wire often made of brass. It was worn around the head and meant to keep the cap (which was worn on top) in place. It was a very utilitarian object, of which the largest part was not seen. The tips could be a little decorated with wire or small knobs, because these would stick out a little in the front. The rest of the wire was narrow and undecorated. Below is a brass oorijzer with copper wire around the tips found in Amsterdam, believed to be made in the 16th century. This is a good example of the style and shape of oorijzers around this time.

This type of oorijzer was worn throughout the entire country as a part of regular fashions of the time. These would’ve gone out of fashion for the elite around 1650. The lower classes would keep wearing them for a little longer. After 1700, you see oorijzers mostly in regional and local wear.

Although the earliest examples of oorijzers are twisted wire, at some point you also start seeing plated (I’m not sure if this is the correct technical term for how they’re made, sorry!) examples with little loops attached. The one below is from the last quarter of the 17th century, made of gilded brass. This one might’ve been for a wealthier woman, given the gilding and decoration of the knobs. It might have been worn with an early version of regional clothing as well, given the date.

Oorijzer, vermoedelijk laatste kwart 16de eeuw

The oorijzer would be made such that it would grip the head, preventing the cap from sliding off. The cap could be pinned to the ear iron. Because it was a bit tight (otherwise the grip wouldn’t work), you often see the knobs or ends making indentations of the cheeks of wearers.

Although few oorijzers from the 16th and 17th centuries have survived (being the practical accessories they were), they were worn widely. Luckily for us, the 17th century is a great era for the Dutch painters. Even though most of the upper class stopped wearing them at some point during the century, lower class portraits were also done. This means a fair number of paintings have survived which show women wearing oorijzers. Below a small selection.

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Top left to right: “Vrouw aan de maaltijd” Gabriël Metsu ca. 1661, ca. 1664 – “Portrait of Catharina Hooghsaet (1607-1685)”  Rembrandt, 1657 – “Studie van een oude vrouw in een witte dop” Rembrandt  – “Woman eating”  Gabriël Metsu 1664-1666. Bottom left to right:  “Meisje maakt kant”  Caspar Netscher – “Portrait of a Lady” Frans Pourbus the Elder 1580 – “Portrait Of A Young Woman” Frans Hals 1655,1660 – “Portrait of a woman” Frans Hals 1640

 

In the 18th century the oorijzer disappears from regular fashions. In some regional costumes the oorijzer disappears (if it ever existed at all, sources pre 1700 being scarce). In others though, it is kept on and starts to transform. The 18th century is the base of most of the regional traditional costume we see today, it’s when the differences start becoming larger. The same is true for the oorijzer, which becomes different for different regions.

Burgerweeshuis

One very interesting place where the oorijzer is kept is the Burgerweeshuis in Amsterdam, the main orphanage in Amsterdam. Founded in the 16th century, the orphanage was quite well known and located in the same place up to 1954. The uniform for the girls was very distinctive, with dresses which were black on one side and red on the other, worn with white caps including oorijzers. After the oorijzer goes out of fashion in the 17th century the orphans keep wearing it and it serves as a part of their dowry when they leave. Throughout time it grows a bit from the 17th century version, becoming wider. The oorijzers worn in the Burgerweeshuis are eventually made of silver, making it one of the most valuable possessions the orphans were likely to have. The costume, including oorijzers was worn up to 1919 when they stopped wearing the uniform. This is an example of a costume which is not as much regional but institutional, but which therefore stays nearly the same for centuries. I couldn’t find any pictures of the uniform before late 19th century, so these images below best reflect the uniform as worn in the last years.

Below is a print of the costume made in 1914 after a doll (date unknown, but I’d guess late 19th/early 20th century) which clearly shows the silver oorijzer beneath the cap. At this point, it has become wider than the original 17th century oorijzer and the little knobs are high on the head.

Some existent examples. The pins would’ve been put through the knobs at the top

The painter Nicolaas de Waay painted a good number of paintings of girls of the Burgerweeshuis in the early 20th century. This is one of his portraits, again clearly showing the oorijzers beneath the caps.

Currently, most Dutch people know the oorijzer purely from their use in various traditional Dutch costumes. In Part 2 of this topic I’ll attempt to give an overview of how the oorijzer evolved in different regional wear, and how they’re still worn today!

Sources:

Het Geheugen van Nederland

Amsterdam Museum – Burgerweeshuis

Wikipedia page Burgerweeshuis

A timeline of fashion

I love timelines showing changes of fashion through time. It’s a very interesting subject, and gives a very good overview of what types of garments were worn when. Especially silhouette has gone through a lot of changes. Although several such timelines exist, I decided to make my own! It’s focused on 19th century fashion, but with a slight expansion of +- 20 years in either direction to give a little context. I started off with +-10 year increments, but it switches to 5 years from the 1870’s on because I felt with 10 years some silhouettes would be skipped. I focused on day-wear. As I’m not a very good artist, I shamelessly traced all silhouettes from fashion plates. I chose fashion plates over extant examples or portraits because they show the ideal silhouette and shape of that time. The originals can be found here, all credit goes to the original artists of course.

And this is what it turned out like, click for full size!

Silhouette change timeline web

And, for those who are interested, a write-up of the changes.

1780-1791: During this time, the width of the skirts starts to narrow, transforming from a wide shape to a more rounded one with emphasis on the back. The general silhouette of the bodice stays largely the same, with fitted sleeves.

1791-1798: A time of a lot of turmoil, which is reflected in a dramatic change in silhouette. The waistline rises to just below the bust, bodices are generally gathered and where before the torso was a conical shape, the bust is now lifted. Skirts are gathered from the waistline, still quite full and sleeves stay fitted.

1798-1811: The waistline stays roughly where it is, but the gathered bodice disappears mostly in favor of a smooth fit. The skirts become less full, now gathered only at the center back. Although fitted sleeves still exist, puffed sleeves make an entrance.

1811-1823: From about 1820, waistlines start to drop, although still above the natural waist. The puffed sleeve is here to stay and growing bigger. Skirts become more A-lined, with more fullness at the bottom.

1823-1830: Waistlines slowly drop to the natural waist. Sleeves continue to grow, becoming epic in size. The onset of the sleeve is low on the shoulder. Skirts keep widening at the bottom, becoming fuller and a little shorter.

1830-1840: The giant sleeve disappears, but fullness at the lower sleeve still exists. Sleeves still start low on the shoulders. Skirts become a little longer again, and are full and bell-shaped.

1840-1852: Skirts continue to grow, with a bell-shaped form. The onset of the sleeves rises a bit back up the shoulders.

1852-1861: The cage crinoline is invented in 1855, allowing skirts to grow to epic proportions. By 1860 the skirts are becoming slightly elliptic in shape, with an emphasis on the back.

1861-1870: The emphasis on the back of the skirt continues to grow, while the circumference of the skirt starts to become less. 1870 marks start of the first bustle era. The waist is just a little above natural.

1870-1875: The bustle keeps growing for a while, but around 1875 it starts to drop into a low sloping line back from the waist marking the beginning of the natural form period. Trains are all-abundant.

1875-1881: The bustle keeps getting lower in the back, until it’s nearly gone in 1879. From that time on, a small new bustle starts to appear high at the back. The bodices start to become even curvier.

1881-1885: From about 1882, the second bustle era starts as the bustle keeps growing bigger. Around 1885 it’s at its largest.

1885-1890: During this period the bustle starts to shrink again, being nearly almost gone around 1890. While before sleeves for day-wear were fitted, a slight puff starts to appear.

1890-1895: The bustle disappears completely and skirts start to widen from the waist. The hourglass figure becomes exaggerated. Sleeves keep growing quickly until they’re huge in 1895.

1895-1900: The giant sleeves disappear again, although a slight puff still exists. Skirts become slimmer giving emphasis on the waist-hip ratio. The ‘pigeon-breast’ makes its appearance, the bustline is quite low but with a strong emphasis on the waist.

1900-1905: Not a lot of change happens. A slight puffed sleeve still appears and the pigeon-breast silhouette is at its peak.

1905-1910: Changes are happening again. The emphasis on the hourglass figure quickly disappears for a straight silhouette. Sleeves are fitted again, with a smooth skirt.

1910-1915: Waistlines rise slightly for just a bit, fit across the bodice is becoming looser. Skirts start to shorten.

1915-1920: Hemlines keep rising and the waist drops to the high hip. The silhouette becomes straighter and straighter, with very little waist emphasis.

1920-1925: Waistlines drop even more, and hemlines rise. The silhouette is almost perfectly straight in the late 1920’s.

 

Historical accuracy – Regency

The term ‘historical accuracy’ is often found in historical costuming. It’s that elusive ‘getting it exactly right’ in making historical clothing. Making something which a contemporary wouldn’t be able to distinguish from their own wardrobe, even on close inspection.

Of course, there’s a lot of different levels of historical accuracy, and often the ultimate goal is not to get it right at all costs. Money, skill and time can all effect how far you wish to go, and there’s nothing wrong with just wanting to make a pretty dress! I’ve personally never tried to make anything 100% accurate, but I do always like to know when I’m deviating from history.

But it can be difficult to find out what’s ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ when you’re just starting out. There are a lot of different aspects to it, and a lot of information in different places. So I thought I’d try to give an overview of  what to pay attention to, and how it applies to dresses from ca. 1805-1820. A little disclaimer: all of the info below is from my own experience of looking at and reading about historical clothing. If there’s any ‘mistakes’ or nuances I’m missing I’d love to know!

Fabrics

The fabrics of existent dresses are most often silk or cotton. Wool and (fine-woven) linen are also seen. Although cotton and silk are seen more often, it is good to remember that the fancy dresses are also the ones most likely to survive and be preserved. It’s very probable that ‘back in the day’, cotton and especially wool was more common than museum collections might suggest. Anything which has a synthetic fiber, viscose, rayon or polyester, is not historically correct, as these weren’t invented yet. For silks and cottons, look for thinner fabrics. Very thin white cotton was often used. Heavier draped fabrics aren’t seen much. Silks are usually either satin or taffeta, but again, rather thin. Crepe silk was also used, very thin and and almost sheer. The examples of crepe I’ve seen aren’t shiny, and have a different look than modern chiffon. Dupion silk is very modern, the ‘slubs’ in the fabric weren’t appreciated. If you have a very smooth dupion you might get away with it. Silk velvet is also seen sometimes, though a bit too heavy for evening wear.

‘Back in the day’ the term ‘muslin’ was used for the very fine cotton. Be aware that modern ‘muslin’ doesn’t refer to the same fabric, it’s a lot heavier. Terminology can change over time (to make it easy on us…). A similar thing holds for the term taffeta, which is often used to refer to poly taffeta. The historical variant is always pure silk. Also, be aware that ‘velvet’ and ‘satin’ refer to the way in which a fabric is made, not the fiber content. Historically, these would’ve mostly been silk or sometimes wool. Velvet nowadays is usually cotton, polyester, or a silk/polyester mix. The last one is usually referred to as silk velvet, so be aware that it’s usually not 100% silk!

Left is dupion silk. With a lot of texture, which wasn’t used. Middle is silk taffeta, with a smooth surface and crisp texture. Right is silk satin, shiny, with a drapey texture. Taffeta and satin are correct, taffeta being the more common choice.

Fabric

Fabrics in those days were often narrower than modern fabrics, which can have effects for how for instance skirt panels were cut. This also means they could use the selvage sides of narrower fabrics more often than we can. It’s nearly impossible to find historical-width fabrics nowadays though, so don’t feel bad for not using them.

If you are going for a non-historical fabric (silk is expensive…), you can always try to find something which has the look/feel of the real thing. My white/red regency dress is made of a cotton/polyester mix, but it looks and drapes quite similar to satin. It won’t pass close inspection, but it’s a lot better than my first regency dress, which was made of floral upholstery fabric. Really lovely, but way too heavy and roughly woven for the time period.

Left: wrong fabric (upholstery cotton), too heavy and too roughly woven (never mind the floral, also not completely right).  Right: still wrong fabric (cotton/poly mix), but in looks way closer to something historical (satin), so you have to look closely to see it.

 

Fabrics could be plain, patterned or embroidered. You get stripes, checkers and dot patterns, stripes being the most common. Flowers are also often seen, but you have to be careful with modern flower patterns! Generally, flower patterns were a left-over from the 18th century so you see them most often in the early regency. Anytime after 1810 it’d be old fashioned. A very fashionable lady wouldn’t have a printed flower fabric, but a rural lady re-using old fabric might. Flowers in those times were also often stylized, and the more modern ‘English rose’ type of flowers didn’t exist yet.

On the left, a very modern flower. Not regency at all. In the middle and on the right flowered prints from actual dresses.

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Color-wise, nearly everything goes. Be aware though, that very bright colors usually need chemical dyes which weren’t invented yet. Bright emerald green or hot pink/purple didn’t exist. White/ivory/beige/blush were very popular, but definitely not exclusive!

Shades of white:

White

Some decidedly non-white examples:

Colors

Full lace dresses also existed, though due to the fragility of the fabric not a lot have lasted. This is usually silk blonde-lace.

Lace

Cut

The next thing to look at is cut. With this I mean the shape of the pattern pieces. Regency bodices had a very specific cut to the back of the bodices. The shoulder seam was to the back of the natural shoulder, and the center-back panel was very narrow in the middle.

This picture clearly shows the seam lines. The diamond-shaped back panel, the side panels extending towards the back and the front panel extending towards the back. The sleeves are also set very far to the back.

1981.393B

For the skirts a relatively simple pattern was used. Generally speaking, there were either 2 rectangles (one for the front, one wider one for the back, gathered mid-back), or a combination of rectangles (front/back) and triangles (sides). The further along in the regency, the more common the rectangle/triangle shape became. This gives more of a flared skirt. Skirts were always gathered at the back to the bodice. Sometimes they were gathered all the way round, sometimes from the sides to the back, sometimes only in the very center of the back.

Two examples from (http://www.19thus.com/WomensClothing/) show the shapes. As you can see, sometimes multiple panels were used (could be due to smaller fabric width), and the triangles often cut together with the rectangles.

Pattern

Sleeves were either short (halfway upper arm-ish) or long (to the hand or even a bit longer). I’ve never seen elbow-length sleeves. Short sleeves were sometimes fitted in the early Regency, but became more universally puffed later on, even though many versions existed. Long sleeves are either fitted all the way, with a little gathering at the top and fitted at the bottom, a puffed sleeve with a longer fitted one attached or little puffs all the way down. Longer sleeves were more common for day-wear and short for evening-wear, but it was mixed up as well. Dresses always had sleeves! Sometimes a sleeveless over-dress was worn, but these wouldn’t be worn on their own. Shoulders never showed.

Top row left-right: A fitted sleeve, a puff sleeve with lower sleeve, the little puffs all the way down (not very common, but very typical for the period), a wide sleeve at the top becoming narrow near the bottom – this is later Regency and would become more popular in the 1820’s and 1830’s, and a straight sleeve with wider top.

Bottom row left – right: The classical puffed sleeve, a straight short sleeve and example of a sleeveless over-dress.

Sleeves 2

Waistlines were high, right underneath the bust. Around 1820, the waistline starts to lower a bit, but is still well above the natural waistline. Necklines are generally low, but there’s a lot of variation here. Remember that square low necklines were also sometimes filled in with a chemisette. This is the common way to get coverage, full dresses with a neckline right underneath the chin are very rare. Very low necklines did happen often, although it might depend a bit on class and country (high-born French ladies being more risque than say, lower-class English).

Some portraits showing the point for the neckline to sit. The top-row ladies all wear chemisettes in different types to cover up (yes, they’re often transparant, covering up is relative..). The bottom row are some of the lower necklines I could find. Notice though, how even the ladies in the top row have very low necklines on their dresses. Just above the mid-bust point was very common. Remember, in these days ankles were considered decidedly more sexy than cleavage.

Necklines

The portrait on the bottom right and top middle also show the bust-shape really well. The chest was pushed up by stays, and separated. The fashionable shape wasn’t pushed up and pushed together, as modern push-up bras tend to do.

Finishings

The sewing-machine was invented in the 1850’s, so all dresses during the Regency were sewn by hand. This means a fully historically correct dress is sewn entirely by hand. Many people also ‘cheat’ for the inside (invisible) seams, but hand-sew the visible parts, such as on the hem. If you want to be totally correct, also keep in mind the ‘natural fibers’ for sewing thread and don’t use polyester threads.

Generally, bodices were lined (most often in cotton), skirts were usually unlined. As far as I could find out from pictures, bodice linings were often constructed separately and put in raw-edges facing each other. The lining was then stitched in place along the main seams. The outer-fabric bodice edges were turned over inside and stitched to the lining to keep them in place. (So no stitching the lining to the bodice neckline right sides together and then turning them inside-out). (If anyone has more info on construction techniques I’d love to know)

A picture showing the lining of a dress and the stitches keeping it in place. You can see the sleeves were attached after the bodice lining.

Dresses closed in a myriad of ways, but some methods were more common than other. By far the most common method was using drawstrings in the neckline and waistline to close in the back. Gowns closing in the front used a combination of drawstrings and pins to close. Buttons down the back existed, but were pretty rare. (Fabric covered buttons are most common). Hooks and eyes were probably also used, and occasionally lacing is seen. Be aware that metal eyelets didn’t exist yet, the eyelets would always be hand-sewn.

At the top two examples of laces tying shut. On the right an example of a front closing dress, the lining closing with lacing the rest with tapes and pins. At the bottom three less common examples. Lacing, buttons and hooks and eyes.

Closures

Trim on regency dresses is relatively rare. Ribbon was often used, put around the waistline, but I suspect also used separately from the dress. You see it more often in portraits than in existing dresses. Embroidery is one the most common decoration methods. A lot of trims are also made of the same fabric as the dress. Piping is sometimes used in sleeve decorations, but not really seen anywhere else.  Lace is sometimes used as edging around the neckline and/or sleeves. Later in the regency, fabric ‘tubes’ are also used to create designs. Generally speaking, later in the regency the emphasis on the hemline grows stronger and with it grows the amount of trim on the hem. Always be aware of modern ready-made trims, most of them are not very fitting. If in doubt, look for images of dresses and see if you find anything similar.

At the top 3 examples where all trim is embroidered on. A the bottom from let to right: self-made trim, lace, and fabric tubes.

Trimming

 

 

 

Edwardian winter jacket

Last year I stumbled on an add on Marktplaats, a Dutch version of Ebay, advertising an old jacket. There were no exact dates, or provenance, just ‘antique 19th century’. But it looked really lovely, and for the asking price I figured I’d probably even want it if it wasn’t actually 19th century. So I bought it, and it’s absolutely gorgeous! Not entirely sure if the ’19th’ century is correct, but I’d date it between 1897 and 1910, so close enough. The inside is beautifully finished, and the trimming is obviously done by hand. It’s made of wool, and unlined. The only damage is that 4 of 6 buttons are missing, and the braid has turned slightly brown. This last thing is also what made me conclude on the dating, as there’s been some research to this type of discoloring. It probably happened in the early stages of viscose production and dyeing, because the proces wasn’t perfected yet, ageing turns the viscose brown. (There’s a full Dutch article on it here, based on research for a master’s thesis: https://www.modemuze.nl/blog/verkleuringen-bij-een-zwarte-damesjas).

I’m still planning to see if I can take a pattern from the jacket and the braid pattern, but haven’t gotten around to that quite yet. So for now, I just tried to take some proper pictures! There’s loads of them, so if you don’t like a lot of images maybe stop reading now. I personally always get frustrated when museums don’t post all views, so I tried to give plenty of perspectives!

The full jacket:

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Some detail shots of the finishing and the jacket on the dummy:

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The jacket closes with a double-layered flap which hides the buttons and buttonholes. Only 2 of the buttons are left, the others have fallen off.

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Some images of the construction and the jacket lying flat. The jacket is not lined, but all the inside raw edges are covered with tape including the arm holes, so it’s beautifully finished. The buttonholes are also obviously worked by hand, and the stitching of the braid shows on the inside. The collar has a facing for extra protection and two hooks and eyes to keep it closed. The tag is still included and says ‘Nouveaute’.

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Finally, I tried to take some images of the pattern of the braiding lying flat. Of course, it didn’t want to lie flat at all, so apologies if it’s still a bit wobbly. The braiding is gorgeous, and done by hand. I also appreciate how it’s not 100% symmetrical, there are some slight differences. That’s also the reason I tried to photograph both sides. When wearing the jacket, half of the braiding on the right side isn’t even visible, but the attention to detail is amazing. On the collar, both the inside and the outside are also decorated.

The left (viewer perspective) side of the front braiding.

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And the right side:

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The inside collar

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And the outside:

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