All posts tagged: 1850’s gown

On My Inspiration Board: Coral Gowns

Happy Thanksgiving week everyone!!   I can’t believe we are already at Thanksgiving!  While I feel that the summer went by at a normal pace, this fall has simply flew!! I have been very busy sewing these past days, not only getting ready for Black Friday and Cyber Monday on my shop (click HERE to see all the deals), but also with some fun projects just for the heck of it!  One such project, was this 1810’s day gown in such a fun shade of coral-ly pink. Now I know, that like so many colors, what one person may think is coral may not be what another person would describe it as.  So if you are sitting at home thinking that none of the gowns in this post are coral…that’s okay!  Agree to disagree! 🙂  Regardless, something about this happy color just sent me on a coral-hunting mission, and while there are not very many historical examples out there in coral, there are a few! Lets start with this lovely painting called La Jeune Musicienne created …

Creating an 1850’s Bloomer Gown

A few weeks ago, The New York State Museum reached out to me to acquire a Bloomer Gown I had created to display in their upcoming exhibit Votes for Women: Celebrating New York’s Suffrage Centennial which runs from November 4, 2017- May 13, 2018 in Albany, New York. I was thrilled and honored to be apart of such a wonderful exhibit and celebration that I thought I would share a some details of not only the gown I made, but also the women who made the outfit popular. To start with the Bloomer gown, as we know it, was not first worn by Amelia Bloomer but actually by Elizabeth Smith Miller of Geneva, New York.  Elizabeth Miller, who advocated for dress reform using the Turkish style of pants, quickly caught the attention and support of Bloomer.  With her newspaper, The Lily, which focused on women’s issues, Amelia popularized the look to the point where her name became associated with the gown. The outfit itself is composed of a gown with a short skirt which hits around the …

On My Inspiration Board: Embroidered Gowns

Whenever I watch a Jane Austen or Charlotte Bronte film, I always notice how many scenes have women sitting and embroidering.  While embroidering has never been a skill I have any great comfort with, I so admire the patience that goes into creating such unique pieces.  In addition to beauty, excellent embroidery (in the 18th and 19th century) was also a sign of your success at being a woman.  From samplers, to large designs, to small decals on ribbons, creating lovely scenes through thread was a talent to be embraced and cultivated. And when one looks back at gowns from the past two hundred years, the value placed upon such embroidered additions has not wavered.  Even today, when I see an embroidered design, even on garments in modern department stores, I find it more beautiful and attractive…and often worth the extra penny it will cost to take it home.  I am sure the same can be said of women a hundred years ago, as they painstakingly took the time to decorate their gowns with signs …

The Gowns that have Inspired My Sewing…

I have been sewing since I was a little girl and dabbled in the usual assortment of projects that new sewers try.  A few handbags, a dress or two, and perhaps a little quilting.  But there comes a time in every sewer’s journey when they begin to discover their particular niche.  While they still may sew a variety of things, they often find one particular style, or area, or system that is their most favorite.  And that is the beautiful thing about sewing.  Sewing is one of those rare hobbies that can be truly for enjoyment while still offering a wonderful service.  It will always be a needed talent and one that should be carefully and lovingly cultivated. I went on my own little journey of sewing during my summer vacations of college.  This was of course in the days before Pinterest and my access to historical fashion was limited, but I was able to Google a lot of the various images.  Through this process, I began finding gowns that spoke to me and continue to inspire …

An 1850’s Guide to Dressmaking: The Skirt

“General facts and rules to be remembered: Some few things are true about the making of all skirts, through every change of fashion, and whether the dress be of the courser stuff or the richest satin. In cutting off the breadths, be careful to have them all of precisely equal length; also see that regard is paid to the figure running up or down, when the breadths are being basted, previous to running them.  This is a matter that is frequently overlooked, even by experienced dressmakers.   The breadths should be basted or pinned securely while running them, because a puckered skirt will spoil the appearance of the most elegant dress.  Commence running each breadth at the bottom, first measuring off a length of silk sufficient to prevent the necessity of making any breaks of any sort in the seam.  Not one backstitch can be permitted , as it will show distinctly on the right side, especial if the material be stiff silk.   The fastenings of the dress should be sewed with great care, so …

How to Fold A Gown – The 1840’s Way

In our age of t-shirts and jeans, folding clothes is a fairly straight forward process that can be done while watching T.V. or some other form of media.  Yet, the art (because it is an art) of properly folding and packing away gowns of multiple yards of fabric is a skill that we reenactors can benefit from today!  With a few practice runs, any gown, of any decade, can be folded neatly and securely to ensure safe travel from reenactment to reenactment or simply to stay clean and safe on a shelf.  I have created a visual representation of the French method described by Sarah Josepha Buell Hale in her book titled: “The workwoman’s guide: containing instructions to the inexperienced in cutting out and completing those articles of wearing apparel, &c. which are ususally made at home : also, explanations on upholstery, straw-platting, bonnet-making, knitting, &c.” Yes, this is the title….No guessing at what the book will be about with a title like this! First, the text taken from the section of her book titled “Care …

Fashion Plates Galore…

When I reach a designing block, I often take to the internet to scour through the vast resources it has to offer.  I have learned that the internet is a marvelous tool for the historical costume designer, with large amounts of free scanned in collections! Here is a link that has dozens of color fashion plates from the 19th century!  Simply scroll through to find the desired fashion plate, click on the image and it will take you to a screen where you can view the image in amazing detail and focus.  Enjoy!! http://ccdl.libraries.claremont.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/fpc