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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On My Inspiration Board: Camel Gowns

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I have learned several things in preparation of today’s post.

  1. The camel color stems from the use of camel hair as a fabric which has been used for centuries.
  2. The term cameline describes a knock off the above mentioned fabric of camel hair.
  3. The color camel is very subjective from decade to decade and person to person.

Is it going out on a limb to say that camel looks good on everyone?  I think that it does.  In finding images for my board, I noticed that people of all ages and colors looked great in this warm tan tone.  I personally love camel and have several pieces of it in my wardrobe.  As neutral as navy, brown, or black, camel offers a more sophisticated look.  And designers have made a fortune launching this color into high fashion.

But what about historical fashion?  Well, this was a bit tricky.  I was able to find a few examples of camel colored gowns, however there appeared to be a large gap from 1830-1860.  In between these decades, brown seems to have been the more dominate color of choice.  In addition, I noticed that what I think is the color camel, is not what other people make think is camel.  Take a look at this gown from the late 1860’s.  It is described as camel with brown trim, yet to me I see tan or butterscotch:

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Hmmmm….I’m just not sure.

But, I suppose if one is looking for camel colored gowns, this one would certainly fit.

Anyways, whiles I was not able to find as many examples as I have in the past, I still found the choices available to be absolutely stunning.  So, here is this month’s inspiration board of camel colored gowns:

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As always, feel free to visit my Pinterest Page to see more gowns of this color.

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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


A 2015 Year End Reflection

2015 year end reflection

The past few weeks have been very busy planning for January’ blog posts, as well as the rather long list of sewing projects I wish to create.

And it was during one of these planning sessions, that I began to reflect on the journey my blog and my sewing has taken over this past year. I have delved into various topics of writing, found a voice I didn’t know I had, explored new time periods of sewing, met some wonderful friends…and all through blogging! Sometimes it is easy to compare yourself with others and see how far you haven’t gone….and it is at those very moments that you must snap yourself out of it and be happy with what you have accomplished!

So as the last few days of December begin tick by, I thought I would take some time to reflect on those things of which I am most proud.

Let’s begin with some of my most favorite sewing projects:

My 1920’s Sheer Kimono was a very fun project although the silkiness of the fabric was a bit tricky at parts.

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My 1950’s Little Dress with a Big Bow proved to be a wonderful success and one of the favorites of this year’s projects.

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My One Yard Blouse and Cummberbund Skirt were fun creations I adapted from a 1950’s McCall’s magazine.

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This 1940’s Navy Blue Suit with Ruffled Blouse was inspired by an outfit Lucille Ball wore in one of my favorite movies Best Foot Forward.
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This 1919 Brown Plaid Dress with Faux Fur Trim was a fun adventure….if winding up at the eye doctors counts as a fun adventure! 😉

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A daunting project, this 1880 Navy Blue Princess Seam Gown with Train took over four weeks to complete!

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While I have many tips, tricks, and skills to improve upon, I am very pleased with my outfits from this year!

And now for my most favorite posts of the year!

Traveling in Style: An Overview of the Golden Ages of Travel

Golden Age of Travel

The Art of Chicology

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Color and You!

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Though grammar may still not be my strong suit, I have come a long way since my early days of blogging!

Tutorials and Accessories

1940’s Hat

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1930’s Scarf Tying Tutorials

May scarves

1940’s Manicure

August 1940's Manicure

New Friends

This year, I had the pleasure to work with Grey Dove and Isabelle from Les Belle Bouclettes.  Take a tour of their Farm “Ferme Bonne Mine” or visit their website to see a few of the wonderful goodies  that I was fortunate enough to test.  They also have added beautiful new knitting and crocheting patterns.  I was so honored to be able to name one of their creations (pictured below) which was designed by Nataliya Polyakov.  Grey Dove and Isabelle are currently in the testing stage and are looking for knitters to test the pattern with their handmade yarn available at a special rate.  If interested, please contact Grey Dove and Isabelle HERE.

The Jacqueline Ensemble

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Tanya Dawson from Vintorian Publications was kind enough to publish two of my articles in her premier edition of her magazine Vintorian as well as two articles on her blog.

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Jessica Cangiano from Chronically Vintage created  a seven rapid-fire-question interview with me that was featured on her blog!  It was a such a joy to work with her! 🙂

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I was honored this year to be nominated for The Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award by Erin and Sophia from Romancing the Sewn Blog.

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All in all 2015 has proved to be a wonderful year full of self-discovery, personal growth and plenty of pricked fingers! And I think 2016 will be even better ! 😉

I hope you all take time to reflect back on your accomplishments, big or small.  It’s isn’t bragging to be proud of what you have achieved….it’s valuing yourself and all the hard work you have put into being a more creative and more confident person.  

And that is a beautiful thing!

See you in in 2016!

~Aimee

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Cover Photo: From Paris with Love by Emile Vernon


HSM #3 – Stash Busting: 1780’s Round Gown

I am actually shocked that this gown was completed this month.  There were many days when I thought I should just stop trying and quickly find something easier to make for this challenge.  But I persevered and finished it Tuesday night!

For this challenge I used some beautiful light blue fabric that had been left over from a custom order that didn’t go through, so I thought this would be a great use of the material.  Following the creation of the pattern and the extra difficulty of only being able to “shop” in my sewing room, the gown slowly but surely began to take shape.

All one piece, this gown features a false front skirt that ties about the waist and underneath the back portion of the skirt.  I struggled with the inner lacing as I was reduced to taking old ribbon and the small amount of boning I had to create the lacing panels.  I am not happy with them…at all.  But again, be creative was the theme!  The collar looked great before I turned it out and pressed it.  The points were no where near as clean as I have made in the past…so again, not the happiest.

Overall, I am pleased that I finished the gown and am really looking forward to my plan for next month!!

Here is the info:

The Challenge: # 3 – Stash Busting

Fabric: 8 yds light blue cotton blend, 1 yard white muslin

Pattern: Based on an 1780 round gown as seen in Janet Arnold’s book

Year: 1780’s

Notions: 5 yards of cording, 1 yard wide ribbon, 1 yard boning, thread, snap tape, and twill tape

How Historically Accurate is it?: Fairly accurate, although due to only using items from my current stash, not all the notions used would be appropriate

Hours to Complete: 25 Hours

First Worn: Not yet…hopefully soon!

Total Cost: $0

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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


From My Sewing Table: March

 

Welcome to a new monthly post entitled “From My Sewing Table.”  This written reflection will not only focus on what I am currently working on in my sewing room, but on other unique areas of historical living.  As you may have noticed, I have added several new categories to the header of my blog homepage.   These new categories reflect the new style and content of material to be featured in upcoming posts.  From 1600-1950, I look forward to sharing fun, interesting, and creative topics with you.  To see a brief description of each category, along with the posting schedule, please visit my About Page.

For all my international friends, please pardon me if my weather complaints seem minor, but my, has it been cold!  So cold in fact, that it has made me long for spring with unusual intensity.  Originally from the southern portion of the United States, I was comfortably used to mild winters and long springs.  In fact, March was usually the signal to the start of my favorite season.  Not so in the north!  March usually means “hang on, you’re almost through…almost.”  So I must content myself with store bought tulips and the promise of the warmth to come.

My Inspiration Board has been filled recently with pictures of 1780’s gowns…round gowns to be exact.  Work has already begun on a powered blue, round gown with a large collar.  On the opposite end of the historic timeline, I have also been pining over any 1920’s house wear.  Simple, densely patterned shifts and aprons dripping in rickrack…..heavenly!

With the purchase of Voices of Fashion, which many have encouraged me of it’s fairly easy construction, I am excited to start unlocking the design of the early 1900’s – and possibly recreate several Gibson Girl inspired hairstyles.  We will just have to see!

So let March, wherever you are, be a month of dreaming, planning, and enjoying any little shot of color Mother Nature may share!

Happy Creating,

Aimee

A Few of the Many Upcoming Posts to Look for This Month:

  • How to Make a Mini Sewing Crate
  • 1920’s House Apron (a one yard wonder)
  • Folding a Gown the 1840’s Way

 

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