A Timeline of Fashion’s Influence

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A few weeks ago, I was contacted by the British men’s clothing company T.M. Lewin.  While I never have personally purchased clothing from them, I was very aware of the name and longevity. Established in 1898, they have spent the past one hundred years providing high quality men’s clothing and are well-known for the introduction of the button down shirt.  So what, may you ask, is a men’s clothing store doing reaching out to me, a women’s historical clothing blog?  Well, the company wished to celebrate 300 years of British influence on men’s fashion and wondered if I would be interested in participating.  At first, I wasn’t sure what I could do.  I mean, I enjoy men’s clothing, but enough to write about it?  I just wasn’t sure.  So I thought and spent some time studying the fabulous timeline graphic they sent me, and realized the large connection between men and women’s clothing. I thoroughly enjoyed my time researching and loved finding examples of women’s fashion that directly corresponded with men’s.

So, with all that said, I decided to participate in their celebration…but with my own twist.  Below you will find sections of their timeline along with examples of women’s fashion which bears influence and connection….although with a bit more grace and femininity!

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The 1700’s

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I choose to highlight the floral impact on fashion for this particular century.  While today, most individuals equate floral prints exclusively as women’s clothing, that was not always the case.  Notice the embroidery on the men’s suit, along with the influence on the floral print of the women’s gown below!  Both are absolutely stunning!

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1770’s Floral Gown from the Digitalt Museum

The 1800’s

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I have a slight obsession with anything Regency.  I just do.  So clearly, out of this century, I had to pick something from the 1810’s.  And what better choice than showing examples of the riding coat!

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1815 Men’s and Women’s Riding Outfits, Kyoto Costume Institute 

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My second choice to highlight from this century is the Sack Coat from the years 1850-1860.  A loose fitting outwear garment that was worn by both men and women.  Similar in shape, color and decorations were the two only real ways that this coat differed.

Men’s Version

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Women’s Version

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The 1900’s

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From this century, the first item that stood out to me is the trench coat.  A item that is just as popular today as it was a hundred years ago.  Similar in color and shape, women tweaked this item to create a coat known as a duster.  A handy little item used to protect one’s gown from those dusty automobile rides!

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Of course, post on 20th century fashion would not be complete without a little 1940’s love.  With the suit a well established staple for men, women, especially during the second world war, followed suit…no pun intended! 🙂  Similar in pattern and shape, both genders embraced the structured look the suit of the 1940’s offered.

Men’s Version

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Women’s Version

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This reciprocal exchange of fashion influence will continue to shape fashion for decades, and I daresay, centuries to come.  But with tweaks here  and there, each gender can appreciate and enjoy something unique!

Many thanks to T.M. Lewin for inspiring this post!!

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A Regency Era Photoshoot

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What do you get when you take two friends, a plethora of historical gowns, and two large Pumpkin Spice Lattes?  A wonderfully fun time with some fabulous pictures to prove it!

 A few weeks ago I decided that I wanted to photograph a large portion of my historical gown stock using real life models.  So armed with a fully charged camera, my friend Cassandra and I braved the rainy and slightly chilly elements over the past two weekends to photograph some really stunning images!  And since there are so many pictures to see, I will just get right to it!!  

I hope you enjoy!!!

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Oh and one last picture of Cassandra discovering the most perfect fall leaf of all….lovingly named “Leif Erikson”

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All of these gowns are available on my Etsy Shop!

I hope you enjoyed these photos as they were an absolute delight to take!

Have a fabulous Monday!!

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From My Sewing Table: October

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Yesterday I put out the last, finishing detail of my fall decorations: pumpkins!  Pumpkins have to be one of the most diverse vegetables out there.  They come in different colors, shape, sizes, textures, and looks.  And the more various types pumpkins you display, the more colorful and decorated your house appears.  I am especially excited about the pumpkins I purchased this year, and hope that we are still a few weeks away from frost so I can enjoy them!

Now that football season is upon us, I have been looking for a sewing project that I can work on while sitting on the couch.  As many of you may know, when you do garment sewing, you are tied to your sewing machine.  And if your sewing machine is in another room, or on a another floor, it becomes tricky (and inconvenient) to move it about.  So, after some thinking, I decided to work on a quilted jacket.  A simply, mindless project that allows me to sit comfortably on the couch with everyone, yet still feel like I’m not wasting a day that could be spent sewing! 🙂  Here are a few examples of some quilted pieces that one can do:

A late 1700’s quilted petticoat

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A Regency Era Redingote

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A 1930’s quilted Lame Jacket

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I decided to create a 1810’s quilted Spencer jacket.  So the past few weekends have been spent quilting each individual pattern piece.  Working on this jacket has been great fun and I am excited to see how the finished product turns out!

October is one of my favorite months as the cooler weather brings with it a renewed sense of energy and excitement.  It is a time to enjoy a warm cup of apple cider while watching the leaves change to the brightest shades of gold, red, and orange.
Enjoy my friends!

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My Favorite 1860’s Sewing Patterns and Finished Projects

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Today’s post has been a blast to put together!  I wanted to share some of my favorite sewing patterns, but I wasn’t sure which ones I wanted to share.  So as I was looking back at some of my sewing projects, I decided to do a true throwback and share my favorite 1860’s patterns.  Plus, with reenactment season almost in full swing, this could be the perfect time for all you re-enactors to whip up something new!

If you have been following my blog since its beginning, you might have noticed that over the last year  I have expanded my sewing focus from mid 19th century to include more recent decades.  The reasons for this are numerous but the overarching one is passion.  I have learned, the hard way at times, to let my creativity go where it wants to.  If I restrict it to simply one area (decade, century…) I will get burnt out rather quickly and will end up with large droughts of uninspired nothingness.  This is why I choose to let my creative soul lead the way!

But that still doesn’t mean I can’t look back fondly on some of my most favorite creations!  And with that said, I feel the need to list a few fun things I noticed and remember about the following pictures:

  1. I photographed all of these on a black background…I don’t know why…but I did.
  2. I hand-hemmed every one one of these dresses..including the cover photo…and I developed a pretty impressive callous as a result.

So without further ado, let’s get started.  Each pattern I feature can be reached by clicking the underlined link below the pattern picture!

Enjoy!

1860’s Garibaldi Blouse by Past Patterns

This lovely blouse is great for beginners as it doesn’t require any darts or fitting.  The only thing you need to have patience for is sewing all the buttonholes.  Below you will see one of the blouses I made in a royal blue.

 

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Garibaldi Blouse Pattern

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1860’s Day Dress by Peachtree Mercantile

This pattern is probably one of my favorites and most made pieces.  I could make it with my eyes closed…or at least without looking at the instructions.  The wonderful thing about this pattern is the fabulous instruction booklet that comes with it.  Unfortunately it is rather tricky to track down and the only size I could find is the 18-28 size on Etsy, however one of my lovely readers found the smaller patterns size available on Amazon Dry Goods.     Also, below is one of my favorite versions of this gown!

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Peach Tree Mercantile Pattern

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Period Impression Day/Camp Dress

Okay, this pattern is in some ways my favorite and in others, not so much.   The dress itself is rather awkward to make as it has a gored skirt with a front closure….it looks awkward and it wear awkward….at least in my opinion.  However, I adore the bodice of it and have found it to be one of the best for basic 1860’s dresses.  I will most often make just the bodice and pair it with a basic 5 yard skirt.  The picture below shows such a combination….

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Period Impressions Camp/Day Dress

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Period Impression 1860’s Tea Bodice

Another one of my favorites, this bodice features as basque and small pagoda sleeves.  I love using fun trims and contrasting colors to create a truly unique day dress.  I have received many compliments when I have worn a bodice like this…plus, it is surprisingly easy to make!  Below is one of my favorite versions made out of fabric purchased from www.reproductionfabrics.com…although, I am not sure if this particular fabric is still available.

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Period Impressions Day Bodice

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Do you have a favorite 1860’s pattern you would like to share?  Or have you created a piece from any of the patterns listed?  Let’s share by commenting below!

Have a wonderful weekend my friends!

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HAVE YOU HEARD THE NEWS?????

Very soon I will be sharing some exciting details about the official release date for my vintage pattern book entitled Aimee’s Vintage Armoire: 1940’s-1950’s AND information about my new vintage fashion line inspired by the patterns featured in the book!

With a fun giveaway and sneak peeks to be featured both on my blog AND my newsletter, you won’t want to miss out!

Thank you all for your support and love….none of this would be possible without you!


On My Inspiration Board: Calico Gowns

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It is hard to believe that a fabric which evokes simplicity, homey-ness, and (if you are me) Little House on the Prairie, has a very fascinating and international history.  Originating from Calicut, India, the fabric we know as calico gained popularity from it’s early 11th century birth and well into our modern age.  Known for a sold color on which a simply design repeats all over, calico has become a much used piece of fabric.

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An example of an early calico fabric

Long used for a variety of sewing projects which ranged from dresses to quilts to kitchen linens, calico is easily one of the most widely used and widely appreciated fabrics around.  The other wonderful thing about calico is it’s very affordable price tag.  I love picking up yards of happy calico, even if I don’t have a particular project in mind, because of its versatility.  While not exactly known for it’s luxury, there are many examples of gowns constructed from calico.  In fact, Hollywood has some wonderfully fun samples of calico dresses, even if they aren’t completely accurate:

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So with all these wonderful choices, I had a very fun time creating this month’s inspiration board!  I hope you enjoy!

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Click HERE to visit my Pinterest Page for more examples.

Have a wonderful Monday,

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General Rules of Fashion: Part 2

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Today we will complete the general rules of fashion and advice that are truly timeless for women of any century.

 Hope you enjoy!

Style and form of dress

Be always careful when making up the various parts of your wardrobe, that each article fits you accurately. Not in the outside garments alone must this rule be followed, an ill-fitting pair of corsets, or wrinkles in any other article of the under-clothes, will make a dress set badly, even if it has been itself fitted with the utmost accuracy. A stocking which is too large, will make the boot uncomfortably tight, and too small will compress the foot, making the shoe loose and untidy. In a dress, no outlay upon the material will compensate for a badly fitting garment. A cheap calico made to fit the form accurately and easily, will give the wearer a more lady-like air than the richest silk which either wrinkles or is too tightly strained over the figure. Collars or sleeves, pinned over or tightly strained to meet, will entirely mar the effect of the prettiest dress.

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Economy

And by economy I do not mean mere cheapness. To buy a poor, flimsy fabric merely because the price is low, is extravagance, not economy; still worse if you buy articles because they are offered cheap, when you have no use for them. In purchasing goods for the wardrobe, let each material be the best of its kind. The same amount of sewing that is put into a good material, must be put into a poor one, and, as the latter will very soon wash or wear out, there must be another one to supply its place, purchased and made up, when, by buying a good article at first, this time and labor might have been saved. A good, strong material will be found cheapest in the end, though the actual expenditure of money may be larger at first.

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Comfort

Many ladies have to trace months of severe suffering to an improper disregard of comfort, in preparing their wardrobe, or in exposure after they are dressed. The most exquisite ball costume will never compensate for the injury done by tight lacing, the prettiest foot is dearly paid for by the pain a tight boot entails, and the most graceful effects will not prevent suffering from exposure to cold. A light ball dress and exquisite arrangement of the hair, too often make the wearer dare the inclemency of the coldest night, by wearing a light shawl or hood, to prevent crushing delicate lace or flowers. Make it a fixed rule to have the head, feet, and chest well protected when going to a party, even at the risk of a crushed flower or a stray curl. Many a fair head has been laid in a coffin, a victim to consumption, from rashly venturing out of a heated ball room, flushed and excited, with only a light protection against keen night air. The excitement of the occasion may prevent immediate discomfort in such cases, but it adds to the subsequent danger.

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Details

Be careful always that the details of your dress are perfectly finished in every point. The small articles of a wardrobe require constant care to keep in perfect order, yet they will wofully revenge themselves if neglected. Let the collar, handkerchief, boots, gloves, and belts be always whole, neat, and adapted to the dress. A lace collar will look as badly over a chintz dress, as a linen one would with velvet, though each may be perfect of its kind. Attention to these minor points are sure tests of taste in a lady’s dress. A shabby or ill fitting boot or glove will ruin the most elaborate walking dress, while one of much plainer make and coarser fabric will be becoming and lady-like, if all the details are accurately fitted, clean, and well put on. In arranging a dress for every occasion, be careful that there is no missing string, hook, or button, that the folds hang well, and that every part is even and properly adjusted. Let the skirts hang smoothly, the outside ones being always about an inch longer than the under ones; let the dress set smoothly, carefully hooked or buttoned; let the collar fit neatly, and be fastened firmly and smoothly at the throat; let shoes and stockings be whole, clean, and fit nicely; let the hair be smooth and glossy, the skin pure, and the colors and fabric of your dress harmonize and be suitable for the occasion, and you will always appear both lady-like and well-dressed.

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Click to see PART ONE.

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Source:

Hartley, Florence. The Ladies’ Book of Etiquette and Manual of Politeness. 1860. G.W. Cottrell Publisher. Boston


General Rules of Fashion: Part 1

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I am such a big believer in the idea that fashion rules are timeless.  With only the garment in question changing shape and length over the years, the motivating focus and purpose of fashion has stayed the same.  So with that in mind, and especially for you 1860’s lovers out there, here are some general rules of fashion straight from the decade.

 Stay tuned for Part Two on Friday!

Neatness

This is the first of all rules to be observed with regard to dress. Perfect cleanliness and careful adjustment of each article in the dress are indispensable in a finished toilet. Let the hair be always smooth and becomingly arranged, each article exquisitely clean, neat collar and sleeves, and tidy shoes and stockings, and the simplest dress will appear well, while a torn or soiled collar, rough hair, or untidy feet will entirely ruin the effect of the most costly and elaborate dress. The many articles required in a lady’s wardrobe make a neat arrangement of her drawers and closets necessary, and also require care in selecting and keeping goods in proper order. A fine collar or lace, if tumbled or soiled, will lose its beauty when contrasted with the same article in the coarsest material perfectly pure and smooth. Each article of dress, when taken off, should be placed carefully and smoothly in its proper place. Nice dresses should be hung up by a loop on the inside of the waistband, with the skirts turned inside out, and the body turned inside of the skirt. Cloaks should hang in smooth folds from a loop on the inside of the neck. Shawls should be always folded in the creases in which they were purchased. All fine articles, lace, embroidery, and handkerchiefs, should be placed by themselves in a drawer, always laid out smoothly, and kept from dust. Furs should be kept in a box, alone, and in summer carefully packed, with a quantity of lump camphor to protect from moths. The bonnet should always rest upon a stand in the band-box, as the shape and trimming will both be injured by letting it lie either on the face, sides, or crown.

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Adaptiveness

Let each dress worn by a lady be suitable to the occasion upon which she wears it. A toilet may be as offensive to good taste and propriety by being too elaborate, as by being slovenly. Never wear a dress which is out of place or out of season under the impression that “it will do for once,” or “nobody will notice it.” It is in as bad taste to receive your morning calls in an elaborate evening dress, as it would be to attend a ball in your morning wrapper.

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Harmony

To appear well dressed without harmony, both in color and materials, is impossible. When arranging any dress, whether for home, street, or evening, be careful that each color harmonizes well with the rest, and let no one article, by its glaring costliness, make all the rest appear mean. A costly lace worn over a thin, flimsy silk, will only make the dress appear poorer, not, as some suppose, hide its defects. A rich trimming looks as badly upon a cheap dress, as a mean one does  upon an expensive fabric. Observe this rule always in purchasing goods. One costly article will entirely ruin the harmony in a dress, which, without it, though plain and inexpensive, would be becoming and beautiful. Do not save on the dress or cloak to buy a more elaborate bonnet, but let the cost be well equalized and the effect will be good. A plain merino or dark silk, with a cloth cloak, will look much better than the most expensive velvet cloak over a cheap delaine dress.

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Fashion

Do not be too submissive to the dictates of fashion; at the same time avoid oddity or eccentricity in your dress. There are some persons who will follow, in defiance of taste and judgment, the fashion to its most extreme point; this is a sure mark of vulgarity. Every new style of dress will admit of adaptation to individual cases, thus producing a pleasing, as well as fashionable effect. Not only good taste, but health is often sacrificed to the silly error of dressing in the extreme of fashion. Be careful to have your dress comfortable and becoming, and let the prevailing mode come into secondary consideration; avoiding, always, the other extreme of oddity or eccentricity in costume.

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Source:

Hartley, Florence. The Ladies Book of Etiquette and Manual of Politiness. 1860. G.W. Cottrell Publisher. Boston.


On My Inspiration Board: Lovely Green Gowns

Growing up green was (and still is) my favorite color!  Rich, deep emerald and hunter greens being my absolute favorite tones.  I remember when I turned 12 and was getting ready to start junior high school.  My eyes, up that point, had been blue…sort of a deep, rather muddy blue.  I always dreamed of having green eyes…but had resigned myself to a noncommittal blue that nature seem to have bestowed upon me.  But then…it happened.  My eyes changed to green!  Many thought I had lost my mind.  “How do eyes change?” they said.  But nonetheless, they did and I took it as a good omen for the beginning of my 7th grade year.

Green in its various shades can ooze an aura of calm, of control, of earthiness, or of richness.  As well loved as the color blue, but not as often worn.  In fact those wearing green may find their daily quota of compliments delightfully increase!

The same can be true for women of past centuries who paid a pretty penny for numerous yards of the richly dyed fabric.  Seen mostly in evening wear, green gowns of various hues have been gracing ballrooms and tea rooms for decades.

So in honor of March, St. Patrick’s Day and the Emerald Isle, I hope you enjoy a few of my favorite green gowns!

~Aimee

 -To see gowns that didn’t make the final cut, check out my Pinterest Board.

March green inspiration