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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

19784774ab_Fb_zpspdvsvugw (600x275).jpg

 

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

56129100a-c_threequarter_front_CP4b_zpseh2hfzrc (600x385)

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.

19892467_d2_zpsxk8u45n1 (600x400).jpg

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.

2002252ab_Fb_zpsvb2y38ym (466x600)

Vintage wrap-around

I was browsing through 1950s vintage pattern images recently, and I found quite a number of patterns of ‘wrap-around’ dresses. These are basically dresses without a side seam, they only attach front & back at the shoulders and the skirt ties around the body to form a dress. The fun thing is that these also have a schematic image of what the pattern would look like laying flat. I’m not sure exactly how all of them would work, but some seem relatively simple and reproducible. In any case there seems to have been a bit of a trend for these, maybe even a specific line as they’re all Butterick patterns. I thought I’d share some pictures!

Butterick 6472:

Butterick 6472

 

Butterick 6119 - love that alluring sweetheart neckline. #vintage #1950s #sewing #patterns:

1950s Butterick Pattern 6150 WALK AWAY Wrap Dress Button Back Really Cute Style:

Butterick 6150

Vintage 50s Butterick 6836 Wrap Around Dress The Walk-Away Dress Flared or Slim Skirt Bust 32 or 34 Vintage Sewing Pattern UNCUT FF:

Butterick  6836

*:

MOMSPatterns Vintage Sewing Patterns - Butterick 7349 Vintage 50's Sewing Pattern AMAZING Rockabilly Halter Top Wrap Around Sheath or Overskirt Party Dress LIKE The Walk-Away Dress Butterick 6015!:

Butterick 8151 wrap-around dress similar to walkaway dress:

And, there are two reproduction vintage patterns from Butterick which fit the format. Although I haven’t tried these, I have read somewhere that they’re re-drafted or re-sized for ‘modern figures’ (whatever that means). So these might not have exactly the same pattern pieces as the original vintage patterns. They’ll be a lot easier to find though!

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor BUTTERICK - B6211

It has a new number, but exactly the same pattern envelope!

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor BUTTERICK - B4790

Again, they have taken the original images as pattern envelope.

Black bustles

Time for pretty pictures again, this time of black bustle dresses. I’d guess ranging from ca. 1875 to ca. 1885. All from La Mode Illustree. Beware of a very image-heavy post, because I’m bad at choosing. They’re placed chronologically, so you can see the progress in styles from big and fluffy to sleek to the revival of the bustle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inspiration – Early bustle ball gowns

I’ve been looking at early bustle period (ca. 1870-1876) ball-gowns lately, inspired by the theme of next-years Victorian ball in Bath (organized by Prior Attire). Because even though I don’t exaclty live in the same country, I’d still very much like to go. Don’t know if it’ll happen, but looking at inspiration images is fun non the less! Most of the 1870’s ball gowns are a little too frothy for my taste, as I don’t particulary like the combination of pastels with loads of ruffles and frills, but there are some nice examples out there.

These fashion prints are from the Bunka Gakunen Library, and I really love the way these were coloured. They all seem hand-painted with watercolors, little art pieces.

Beware of loads of pictures! Clicking should give the full-size version.

 




























Inspiration – Trimmed Regency outerwear

I’ve begun working on a new regency spencer, red to go with the red/white dress. I want this one to be a bit more fancy than my blue spencer, ideally with some surface decoration. So I went looking for inspiration images, and stumbled on a couple of spencers & pelisses which seem to have the same type of trim. I can’t be sure, but I suspect the trim is made with small tubes of fabric, which are then stitched on as a braid. This has the advantage of resulting in perfectly matched colors. There also seems a bit of a trend of flower/leaf patterns. I haven’t found a lot of examples, but enough to make me belief this was done more often. All of these are from ca. 1820.

So far, my plan has been to use soutache braid to decorate my spencer, but if I can’t find properly matching red braid I might try the fabric tube idea.

For this post, some pretty pictures!

The Met museum has 2 nearly identical spencers with a gorgeous trim design. This is the design I also plan to use for my red spencer.

Close-ups show the lay-out very well.

 

Another spencer in the Met which seems to use this technique has a more geometrical pattern.

A close-up shows the same fabric tubes. I especially love the sleeve treatment, and will try to copy it for my own jacket.

Untitled-1.jpg

 

Another one playing with lines, from the DAR Museum.

Eggplant-purple velvet and purple silk twill spencer, about 1818, from the DAR Museum, Washington DC. From the (John and Abigail) Adams family, possibly worn by a granddaughter.:

More wiggely lines, although a bit tricky to see with all the black, from the Germanischen Nationalmuseums.

This one is getting back into the floral theme. From the Chertsey Museum.

 

Spencers are most common, but I also found this pelisse is from the Museum of London. A lovely blue with a leaf/floral pattern, combined with embroidery.

But to really do it justice there’s the close-ups: