Album de la Mode Illustrée – A guide

I love browsing through fashion plates for inspiration. Although not always a perfect representation of what was ‘normal’ during an era, you can get a very good idea of what was ideal. This means loads of very pretty dresses, a good look at the ideal silhouette, and a picture of a full ‘look’ including accessories.

Hat, gloves, fan, umbrella, collar. Very important for finishing a look!

 

Those who’ve been following my blog might have noticed that the most recent inspiration posts with fashion plates were all from the same series. This is a version of the Album de la Mode Illustrée, and it’s probably my favorite of all series I’ve seen. There are multiple versions of this album around, but this particular one is special because of the beautiful watercolors. It also runs from 1861 to 1895, so covers a solid part of the Victorian era.

One of the earliest plates. I have a weakness for black lace on a light fabric, so love this dress.

 

The next question is of course: where can I find them?

All fashion plates are online in high resolution, courtesy of of the Bunka Gakuen Library. You need to do some searching on the website though, and once in the album there’s no direct way to search for a certain year. There are shortcuts though, and I have found a way to find a specific year, so the rest of this post is a guide towards finding what you want from this amazing source!

Firstly, the website, which is here

To find the album, a quick way is to go to ‘fashion plates’, and then go to ‘Nineteenth century’. This will give a list of fashion plate albums, the watercolor one is the ‘Album de la Mode Illustrée’ is at the top at number 1.

Untitled-1

 

This will bring you to an overview of the plates. To get the full size picture, click on the thumbnail, you then get a slightly larger version.

Untitled-3

 

There is a larger version though, which you can get to by simply clicking on the image. Pretty details galore!

Untitled-4

 

To browse through the images, it is easiest to use the thumbnail view. You can leaf through the album using the numbers at the top.

Untitled-2

 

The only difficulty left is finding what date a plate is, as it’s not actually on the picture, and there’s no info per image.

Very pretty, but what year is this?

 

However, there’s an easy way to do it anyway, using the file numbers! As you can see in the screenshots, there’s a filename beneath each thumbnail. This filename consists of 3 numbers. Let’s take the first fashion plate, which has number 014-0001-002.jpg.

The 014 is the same for all, probably this refers to the album itself. The second number is the most interesting, as it refers to the ‘book’ in the series. Luckily for us, there’s one book per year, so this number can be used to find what year a picture is in! The last number is the number of the individual picture within that year.

So in this case, the number 1 refers to 1861. However, 1862 is missing, so the number 2 is 1863. To make it a little less confusing, I’ve made a table to look up what numbers refer to what year.

In this table, the first column is the year. The second is the number of fashion plates in the album for that year. The Start ID is the middle number in the file name. So if you have a filename with 0021 in the middle, it will be a plate from 1882.

Year Number of plates Start ID Pagenr start (all)
1861 47 0001 1
1863 49 0002 6
1864 40 0003 11
1865 48 0004 15
1866 50 0005 20
1867 49 0006 25
1868 50 0007 30
1869 50 0008 35
1870 52 0009 40
1871 52 0010 46
1872 52 0011 51
1873 52 0012 57
1874 52 0013 62
1875 52 0014 68
1876 52 0015 73
1877 52 0016 79
1878 52 0017 85
1879 52 0018 91
1880 52 0019 97
1881 52 0020 102
1882 53 0021 109
1883 52 0022 115
1884 52 0023 121
1885 52 0024 127
1886 52 0025 133
1887 52 0026 138
1888 53 0027 144
1889 52 0028 151
1890 52 0029 157
1891 52 0030 163
1892 52 0031 169
1893 53 0032 175
1894 53 0033 181
1895 50 0034 187
1896 52 0035 192

 

There’s a final column in this table, to help make the searching even easier. This number is the page number when browsing through the thumbnails, where this year begins. (After the red cover picture). The page numbers are the numbers within the red box on the screenshot below. So  for example, if you want to find plates from 1893, you need to go to page 181. As you can see below, you initially don’t see this number. Just click on ‘180’, and then the 10 pages before and after will also show up.

Just be careful to not click on the ‘Plates only’ button under the thumbnails, as this will remove the album cover/backs, and therefore mess up the page numbers.

Untitled-2

 

Have fun browsing, and one final pretty to finish up!

 

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Round gown inspiration

One of my most concrete plans for 2018 is to make an 18th century round gown. As this is my first round gown, and simultaneously my first 18th century dress, I’ve been doing some visual research (aka: spend too much time on pinterest).

One of my favorite round gowns, and one of the inspirations to use damask for my own project. (Mine will be silver, as that’s what I have. This green is stunning though!)

Round gown, American, ca. 1775. Metropolitan Museum of Art Popular around the 1770s through late 18th century, the round gown was similar to the robe a l'anglaise. It is not an open robe but rather the skirt and petticoat are as one. The gown has a front-closing bodice with no stomacher.

 

First, a brief definition. (I’m not a terminology expert, nor an 18th century expert, but this is what I believe ’round gown’ is mostly used for.) Quite simply put: a round gown is a dress with a full (’round’) skirt, of which the front is not attached to the bodice. You might say: don’t all dresses have a full skirt? But in the 18th century, most dresses were actually open in front, and had a (sometimes matching, sometimes not) petticoat underneath which shows in the front. The round gown is an exception to this ‘rule’. A round gown is different from most ‘later’ styles of dresses, in that he bodice is attached only to the back of the skirt, while the front of the skirt has ties and is attached underneath the front bodice with ties. The sides of the skirts have slits to allow for getting into the skirt. I’m using the term as applied to 1770’s and 1780’s gowns mostly, as the changing fashions in the 1790’s also seem to broaden the definition of the term.

Because pictures are clearer than words sometimes. This is a round gown:

Brown Cotton Round Gown from the Blog, Slightly Obsessed. http://slightly-obsessed.blogspot.com/

A bit difficult to see, but there’s no separate petticoat. This image shows how the front of the skirt is not attached to the bodice, while the back is.

Around and about ROCOCO 1780 Closed dress, cotton. Private collection.

 

I’ve seen examples of round gowns both with a pleated back (pleats stitched down), or with the (later) seamed back style. For my own dress, I’ll probably go with the seamed back, as that’s quite a bit easier to do.

Time for some more inspiration! Most round-gowns are relatively simple trim-wise, and there’s quite a number of chintz examples.

Gown, blue floral pattern on cream ground. Copperplate printed linen. Worn by Deborah Sampson, possibly as her wedding dress. Date: 1760-1790

Textiles (Clothing) - Dress, 1785-1795

 

One of my all-time favorite dresses is this red-ground chintz one.

Japon. Het japonlijf heeft een vierkante hals. Twee platte plooien lopen over de schouder langs de voorpanden en verdwijnen in de rok. Het lijfje heeft vestpanden die gesloten worden met haken en ogen met overdwars een split even in de taille. Vanaf de hals middenachter een brede aangehechte platte plooi die puntig toeloopt en in één stuk is geknipt met de rok. De mouwen zijn glad en uit één stuk tot op de elleboog en hebben een geplooid elleboogstukje...1780 - 1785

 

There’s also patterned silks. This is another fancy silk example.

eMuseum - View Media

 

And a ‘plain’ silk one. I love the styling with the belt on this one, and I’m thinking of adding one to my dress as well!

Levite or round gown, The Netherlands, 1780-1800. Sky blue silk taffeta with a light blue silk sash.

Dutch quilted petticoats

As it’s almost Christmas, something winter-themed for today, namely 18th century quilted petticoats!

When looking through the Dutch collections, I noticed a couple of skirts with very similar stitching patterns. You have to look carefully, but they’re all just slightly different. All of these are also in different museum collections! Apparently, this was a popular design.

Below is one of the best photographed of the lot. Clicking will bring you to the museum page, where you can zoom in to see the details.

 

Quilted petticoats were very popular during the 18th century all over Europe. They gave more volume to a skirt than a ‘regular’ petticoat due to their thickness. They were also nice and warm due to the wool inner layer. Although they went out of fashion at the end of the 18th century, some regional costumes in both the Netherlands and France kept them. This might be one of the reasons so many of them survive in the Netherlands. Another possible reason might be that there were some Dutch regions where the jacket/petticoat combination was worn more than full gowns, even for the middle upper classes. More use for pretty skirts!

Very similar to the first one! But this one has a small yoke at the top.

 

 

Many existing petticoats are of silk satin, with a wool inner layer and lined in linen. You see linen, cotton and wool examples as well though. The stitching is incredible to see up close, I’ve seen some originals and the workmanship is amazing. These petticoats would’ve often been made by specialist stitchers, a newspaper from Friesland mentions the move of such a professional lady in 1762 (https://www.modemuze.nl/blog/winterwarme-rokken-0).

Nope, it’s not the same! See the little singular diamonds in the bottom pattern? Those aren’t there in the other ones.

 

 

I know that at least in some of the examples, the technique used was different from what we’d call ‘quilting’ nowadays. Instead of a layer of wool or flannel put between the outer and inner layer, wool threads were pulled through the stitched channels afterwards. This technique is called matelassé in French, and ‘Zaans stikwerk’ in Dutch, after the region where it was found a lot. I suspect that in these petticoats, the bottom part might be matelassé work.

Yet another one! This one is display with a chintz jacket, showing how it could be worn.

 

Hogwarts house bustle dresses

Yesterday marked the 20-year anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter. I didn’t actually read the book until a couple of years later when I got the translated version for my 10th birthday, but nonetheless I think this warrants a Harry Potter themed post!

So, inspired by this lovely Hufflepuff dress and this plan describing a Ravenclaw one, I thought I’d do some inspirations of Hogwarts house-themed bustle dresses! I tried to get both house colors in, which only failed for Slytherin as I couldn’t find any real green-silver dresses, so those are just pretty green.

Hufflepuff

Yellow-Black

robe en 2 parties | Centre de documentation des musées - Les Arts Décoratifs

Dinner dress ca. 1877

Dress,1872–74 Culture: American Medium: silk, cotton

ca 1870s two piece dress

 

Gryffindor

Red-Gold

Dress  1879  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Abito femminile in due pezzi. | Atelier Compagnie Lyonnaise, Roma (Designer) and Gabinetto fotografico SBAS, Otello Ciuffi, Antonio Quattrone (Photographer)

Dinner Dress, circa 1880

Charles Frederick Worth, Evening Dress (Bodice & Skirt). Paris, c. 1885. (View 2)

 

Ravenclaw

Blue-Bronze

tumblr_mu88pgofYC1qf46efo1_400

A very bright blue French afternoon dress from the early 1880s.

Dress  1888-1889  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Day dress ca. 1880. Blue & gold floral brocade with bustle back. Golden brown rouged silk trim at cuffs & front of bodice, which fastens center front with long line of covered buttons. Skirt tiers in contrasting fabric; silk with a bow at center front. Bonhams

 

 

Slytherin

Green-Silver

Promenade dress Emile Pingat (French, active 1860–96) Date: ca. 1888 Culture: French Medium: Silk, metallic

Circa 1874 Silk, Satin, and Taffeta Wedding Dress. Courtesy Of The Chicago History Museum.

Walking dress ca. 1885–86. Patrimonio Histórico Familiar PHF Pinterest & Instagram

Dress  1872  The Victoria & Albert Museum

 

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.

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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:

 

Black & White lace

I’ve been quite busy working on several projects, but none are quite ready yet to be blogged about. (For progress pictures etc. see my instagram and facebook page). So for now, some more very pretty pictures. The topic was inspired by the last inspiration post, where I couldn’t include all of these.

Lace has been used for centuries, but the height of it’s popularity might be the turn of the 20th century. I adore these dresses, and would love to recreate them, but the cost of suitable lace is frighting, so instead I just admire. Although there were a lot of solid white and colored dresses with lace, this post would be too long if I included them all. So the theme will be black & white.

 

DressJeanne Paquin, 1902The Museum at FIT:

Jeanne Paquin, 1902, The Museum at FIT

 

Ball gown dress of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. 1900-1901:

Dress of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. 1900-1901

 

From the collection of Alexandre Vassiliev:

From the collection of Alexandre Vassiliev

 

From the collection of Alexandre Vassiliev:

From the collection of Alexandre Vassiliev

 

Half-Mourning Dress  1889-1892:

Half-Mourning Dress 1889-1892

 

Circa 1906 black silk and lace evening gown, Bonnaire, Paris.:

Circa 1906 black silk and lace evening gown, Bonnaire, Paris

 

Dress, Evening  Date: 1898–99 Culture: American:

Dress, Evening Date: 1898–99 Culture: American, MetMuseum

 

1900s evening dress:

Musée de la Mode

 

 

30 times inspiration

At the beginning of this month, Jennifer from Historical Sewing started a 30-day inspiration sharing project. I only commented occasionally, but really liked the idea. So, in retrospect, my entries. For this post, I choose to do all existent pieces. Links to the museum pages are included.

1. Favorite Time Period

Immediately one of the most difficult. I don’t really have 1 favourite, I like different things about different eras and what I like most changes from moment to moment. But, one that has always been high on the list is the second bustle era, ca. 1883-1890. I love the clean lines, dramatic fabrics and shape.

MetMuseum

 

2. Blue

I’ve always had a soft spot for this dress. The fabric is absolutely stunning.

Evening Dress  1850-1852. With detachable long sleeves. Dark blue / Emerald green, patterned fabric such as in the picture.:

MetMuseum

 

3. 1890’s

One of those eras that needed to grow on me, but I quite like it now. Especially the jackets, those are maybe the best from all time periods.

Emily Reynolds Historic Costume collection

 

4. Skirt

The Dutch 18th century chintz skirts are one of my favourite items. This one has a border, using the pattern on the fabric to its fullest.

Fries Museum

 

5. Pleating

Loads of pleating on this Edwardian dress. Pin-tucks in the sleeves and main part, with another pleated drape around the shoulders.

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion - Edwardian Dress bodice detail:

Gemeentemuseum Den Haag

 

6. Darts/Tucks

I love the tiny gathering on 1840’s  and ’50s dresses to give shape.

Gemeentemuseum Den Haag

 

7. Red or Pink

I’m much more fond of red than pink, which is soon a little too sweet for my taste. I love the fabric on this dress, along with the cut-out design of the bodice.

Victoria & Albert

 

8. Bells

I’ve always loved the huge dramatic shape of the mid-19th century. My first big historical project was a recreation of this gown.

MetMuseum

 

9. Regency

Although rare, my absolute favorite Regency dresses are the ones made fully of lace. I’ve seen this one in person, and it’s even more stunning in real life.

Japon van zijden kant, `Blonde', in empirestijl met laag uitgesneden hals en pofmouwen., anoniem, ca. 1815 - ca. 1820:

Rijksmuseum

 

10. Shoes

Lattice-worked boots are probably my all-time favorite type of shoe. I want these.

1905 boots:

Vintage Textile (missing record)

 

11. Sewing Technique

One of the great joys of seeing historical garments in real life is seeing the details. Tiny stitches on the far left of this image, setting the pleat. Tiny cartridge pleats along the embroidered cuffs.

IMG_6780

Rijksmuseum

 

12. Fringe

I’m generally not a big fan of fringe, but the effect on a full dress can be stunning. This fringe I do really like, very creative.

Metmuseum

 

13. Braids

Intricate braiding on the sleeve of a regency spencer. I love details like this.

Spencer Date: ca. 1820 Culture: British Medium: silk, willow Dimensions: Length at CB: 18 in. (45.7 cm):

MetMuseum

 

14. Gathers

Smocking is a way of strategically gathering fabric to form a pattern. This blouse is a gorgeous example.

Paarse blouse in de stijl van reformkleding met lange mouwen en smockwerk langs de hals en op de mouwen. De sluiting is middenachter met knopen. De combinatie van blouse en rok was gebruikelijk in deze periode, maar in de reformbeweging werden doorgaans japonnen gedragen.:

Amsterdam Museum

 

15. Green

The 18th century does green really well. This is a beautiful example.

MetMuseum

 

16. 1830’s

Another one of those eras that had to grow on me, but I now quite like. This particular dress I’ve always loved though. Those sleeves!

1837 dress. printed challis lined with glazed cotton and linen.:

Victoria & Albert

 

17. Plaid

When Victoria showed an interest in Scotland, using tartan became very popular. Hence, there’s a large number of plaid mid 19th century dresses. This might be my favorite.

An exquisite Canadian plaid/tartan evening gown from circa 1860. The popularity of plaid exploded after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert chose Balmoral Castle in the Scottish Highlands as one of their royal residences:

Musee McCord

 

18. Reticules

This one was actually first shared by Historical Sewing, and caught my eye. My mother has picked up tatting for about 1,5 year now, so I immediately had to think of her. Also, she’s trying her hand now at recreating this in black, which is really cool!

foto van Historical Sewing with Jennifer Rosbrugh.

Kent State University Museum

 

19. Challenge

This is a close-up of a spencer jacket I’m using as inspiration. My recreation has proven to be a bit of a challenge, and so far the most time-consuming project I’ve ever done, but it’s also starting to be really pretty. My trim won’t be quite as ‘close’ as in the original, but close enough. I also really like how even the original isn’t 100% symmetrical, obviously hand-work, and a challenge to get as perfect as possible!

Maart historical - Spencer Jakcet - in progress:

MetMuseum

 

20. Outdoors

This couldn’t be anything but a large big cloak. Still on my wish-list to make.

MetMuseum

 

21. Undergarments

You’ve got to love Edwardian underwear. It’s the epitome of ruffled and lace undergarments.

MetMuseum

 

22. Lace

I love all types of lace, but black might be my absolute favorite.

Museum of Decorative Arts

 

23. Black or White

I have a weakness for black dresses in general actually.

MetMuseum

 

24. Parasols

I repeat the black lace comment from above.

MetMuseum

 

25. Edwardian

Not initial my favorite era, but once you look at it more the details are so gorgeous.

Dress      1909–11:

MetMuseum

 

26. Ruffles

No era does ruffles like early 1870’s.

MetMuseum

 

27. Oop-sies!

Not so much an oops in the dress as in the display. Museums are generally pretty good at displaying their costumes, and getting even better. Auction houses are more of a hit-and miss. This 1770’s dress looks like it’s got a round crinoline underneath. That counts as a miss.

STRIPED SATIN GOWN, 1770’s.:

Withaker auctions

 

28. Corset

This one was difficult just because there are so many gorgeous examples. I always love flossing on corsets, and the contrast on this one decided me.

Corset ca. 1893-97 From the exhibition “A Century of Style: Costume and Colour 1800-1899″ at Glasgow Museums:

Glasgow Museums

 

29. Unusual

Maybe not so much unusual as rare, this is one of the few surviving 17th century gowns. It will be on display when I visit Bath in May, so really excited to see it in person.

9f04d1519def01b735f28ef4570f7589.jpg (736×1605):

Bath fashion museum

 

30. Favorite Costume

This is another really difficult one, but at the moment it’s this chintz ensemble. Probably not worn together originally, but such print mixes were common in parts of the Netherlands in the 18th century. I absolutely love chintz, and very excited for the upcoming exhibition where this will also be on display.

Activiteiten sitsen - Activiteiten - Te zien en te doen - Fries Museum:

Fries Museum

Christmas tones

For some reason, christmas in the Victorian era is linked to Dickens. It might be all the Dickens festivities around christmas, and probably a Christmas Carol has something to do with it. So for this post, some christmassy dress inspiration from the Dickens era! Most Dickens events tend to bring 1860’s clothing, but his books were written from 1836 to about 1865, so these images cover that whole period. Prepare for loads of red, green and plaid, in chronological order (as far as I could find out).

 

Court dress | probably German | The Met:

l:

Le Bon ton fashion plate 1837:

Day dress ca. 1840’s:

Lady's Cabinet Fashion Plate - "MORNING VISITING DRESS (Green)" - Hand-Colored Engraving - 1840:

Litografia di moda d'epoca 1848: due signore di AntiquePrintsOnly:

Two-piece woolen plaid dress, 1855-1865, via In the Swan's Shadow.:

An exquisite Canadian plaid/tartan evening gown from circa 1860. The popularity of plaid exploded after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert chose Balmoral Castle in the Scottish Highlands as one of their royal residences:

The Victorian Needle:1860 fashion plate:

La Mode Illustrée, 1864:

March 1865, Les Modes Parisiennes. From LAPL.:

1863 Vintage Victorian Fashion Plate from Les by PastPaperNPostcards,:

 

1870’s underskirt trim

While making the trim for my 1870’s dress, I also looked a lot at images of other underskirts of the period. There’s loads of different ways to trim the skirt, and although  skirts without any trim do exist, they seem quite rare. In fact, there are so many options available that I can imagine it’s difficult to pick how to trim a dress! In Dutch there’s a saying, that you ‘can’t see the forest through the trees’. Basically it means there’s so many options that you can’t clearly see any one choice clearly. So in this post I’ll give a brief description of different types of popular trim.

To illustrate how different trims were used in combination, I’ll be using pictures of existent 1870’s dresses. All of these are in the Metropolitan museum of Art. I’ve decided to only use this source, as it’s very extensive and many of the dresses are photographed in high resolution so close-ups of the trim are available.

Nearly all trim on bustle skirts is a combination of lace, fringe, fabric/ribbon strips, ruffles and pleats.

Lace

Lace existed in many forms and shapes, and would be made out of silk, linen or cotton. In the 1870’s, lace could already be made by machines although hand-made lace was still an industry as well. I’m not an expert on lace, so I won’t go too much into types and history here. From what I’ve seen, nearly all lace used on dresses was either a shade of white  (white to yellow-ish) or black.

1995352andashc_Fb_zpsojhtpr8e (600x326).jpg

A skirt close-up. Rows of lace attached to ruffles of sheer fabric.

 

Fringe

Fringe is the type of trim Victorians loved but which doesn’t get used a lot today. It seems it’s just not that appealing to the modern eye. Fringe is mostly seen on the lower edge of the over-skirts, but it does also occasionally pop up on underskirts. Fringe can also be beaded, or consist of more adventurous shapes.

19752273_d_zpst28o8r8k (313x600)

An example of very pretty fringe, with tiny tassels and what looks like beads

 

Fabric/Ribbon strips

Contrasting strips of fabric or ribbon are often used to create (mostly horizontal) stripes. These strips can be turned over, used as bias tape or finished by bias strips themselves.

1986304b_d2_zpspa7yxxsg (600x400).jpg

Fabric strip decorations. You can see how they’re cut on the bias, the edges seem to be folded under.

 

Ruffles & Pleats

Ruffles & pleats are by far the most common way to decorate a skirt and come in a massive number of variations. A ruffle is a gathered strip of fabric, a pleat is folded. You get strips of ruffles, strips of pleats, folded pleats, or gathering on the whole fabric creating a smocked effect. Loads of different versions exist.

197934670andashc_Fb_zpsaslfdubz (600x468).jpg

Three rows of ruffles. The top one is gathered with multiple rows to create a smocked effect.

 

451684a-b_front_CP4b_zps431owmzn (600x429)

Two rows of pleats. The top strip is frayed and box pleated, stitched down in the middle. The lower strip has spaced double box pleats. (and a row of lace at the bottom).

 

Some more examples, for inspiration. The dress below has a dark brown skirt with a lot of tiny pleats.

In the close-up you can see that the top two rows of pleats have tiny folds in them. They seem to be knife pleats, stitched down at the top. The bottom has just 2, wider rows. The fabric in-between seems gathered down just a bit. There are some folds as well, but they’re very uneven, so I’d guess that this is just a result of the gathering. Might be that they originally had very shallow box pleats as well.

12b_zpsrxb4osmg (563x600)

Another one. A very dark blue one with light accents.

Mourning dress | American | The Met

In the close-up you see that black lace was used in a very clever way. A lighter strip of fabric was sewn on, with the lace overlay. Below are ruffles, slightly gathered. The ruffles are lined in the light fabric, being sewn in such a way it just shows around the edges.

Picture 003

Another blue number

Afternoon dress | French | The Met

This dress also has trim lined in a contrast fabric showing around the edges, similarly to the previous one. In this case the strip is knife pleated and then folded in the middle to create the zig-zag effect.

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A combination of a lot of different things! On the overskirt, a strip of lace covered in a strip of fabric. The underskirt has a wide strip of fabric, which seems to have been gathered near the top, in the middle and near the bottom. These gathers are covered by fabric strips. The slightly ‘poufy’ effect is probably created by placing the top and bottom gathers just a bit closer to the middle gather than necessary. The bottom part has short sections of knife pleats with unpleated bits in the middle.

Walking dress | American | The Met

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Another brown dress. There’s only a little bit of underskirt visible.

Dress | American | The Met

In the close-up, you can see that a brown lace trim is used, with very small knife pleats underneath.

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A very classy dress. From this distance it’s difficult to see what’s going on.

Mon. Vignon | Dinner dress | French | The Met

Close-up! You see that the main part of the skirt is gathered with five narrow rows of stitching. This create the smocked effect, and creates the gathers in the rest of the fabric. The bottom is ‘finished off’ with two rows of small knife pleats.

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To finish off, a white cotton dress.

Dress | American | The Met

A close up shows that there are small rows of ruffles, with what seems like a knife pleated bottom part, stitched down at the bottom.

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