Getting Attached to “Detachable” Items

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If you are interested in getting a different look for your outfit, accessories can make a huge difference!  Today, we mostly turn to scarves and jewelry to spice up or alter our clothes.  However, these go-tos were not always the first choice in decades past.  Many women used what we can think of as “detachable” items that were either pinned, buttoned, or basted onto their clothes. This allowed for everyday clothes to be given a little pick-me-up for a very affordable price.  Simply remove for cleaning and then use on any garment that could use a little something extra.

Collars were the most common form of the “detachable” items, although under sleeves, as seen during the Regency era or during the 1850’s-1860’s, were also quite common.  Mostly made of stark white cotton, linen, or lace, these little beauties came in various sizes, shapes, and textures.

This 1860’s lace capelet/collar is fascinating as it appears to be covering up an evening gown…perhaps making it more appropriate for daywear!

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This woman wears both a detachable collar as well as under sleeves, a very common and economic look during the 1860’s.

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Although some color enhancements on this particular  1860’s image highlight the trim, notice the wide Peter Pan collar and ruffled under sleeves.  

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Here are a few more wonderful examples from the 1860’s of collars, chemisettes, and under sleeves showing the wide variety a woman could create for herself.

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Women’s fashion at the turn of the century also featured detachable collars, although I must say they look extremely uncomfortable to wear!

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Detachable collars also saw a rebirth during the 1930’s in a wide range of sizes, lengths, and finishes!

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So why not create your own detachable item for that blouse or dress that maybe has seen better days!

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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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Fashion Plate Fun

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Today I thought it would be fun to browse through a variety of fashion plates!  I mean, who doesn’t love a little gown envy?!  

I decided to share a few of my favorites starting around 1830 and going up to 1940.  Ranging from daywear to evening wear, these fashion plates are just the thing to get your fashion juices flowing!  

Let’s get started!

This 1830’s evening gown is in the most amazing color of blue I have ever seen!

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These 1850’s gowns are perfect examples of visiting or afternoon gowns.

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While it is a toss up between the two, I am in love with the yellow 1860’s ballgown with red floral accents.

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While I am sure walking was very difficult in this particular creation, I still love the color and pattern combinations of this 1880’s gown.

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A lovely array of turn of the century shirtwaists.  

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Sigh….I adore every single one of these 1910’s outfits.  

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Perfect for summer vacations, these 1920’s outfits are just made for an ocean resort.

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This soft blue 1930’s gown looks wonderful with or without the jacket!

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The pleated floral dress on this 1940’s fashion plate is adorable!

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So whether you love 19th or 20th century fashion, are a seamstress or costume designer, or simply appreciate the look of the past, I hope these fashion plates offer inspirations and a few day dreams!

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A 1770’s Fashion Shoot

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What better way to start off the new year than with a historical fashion shoot!  This particular shoot highlighted two new 1770’s gown I created last month.  Which was a miracle I was able to get any sewing done, since I spent quite a few weeks hugging the toilet….I’m four months pregnant just in case you missed last week’s post! 🙂

Anyways!!!  I am so happy to be feeling better and what better way to celebrate than with a wonderful snowy day and some wonderful photographs. So with a big thank you to my model Cassandra, here are a few of my favorite images from this fun photo adventure!

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Both gown are currently for sale on my Etsy Shop along with many new Regency custom order listings!  

Well, now I’m going to grab a snack and go work on a 1916 skirt….fingers crossed!! 

Have a fabulous Wednesday everyone!

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A 2016 Year End Review

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Well, we have made it to the end of 2016 and, boy, what a year!  Many highs, a few lows, and one big life change would sum up my past 12 months.  While I haven’t been able to post as much as I would like over the past few weeks, I plan on getting right back on track for the new year!

One of my most favorite posts to do at this time of year is the review of my favorite sewing projects.  I love looking back and seeing all the various creations I have made, and hopefully I will be able to notice a few improvements on my technique as well! 

So let’s take a look at a few of my favorite projects from this year!!

I loved creating this 1943 ruffled blouse!  Click this link to see how to make one of your own!

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This 1930’s beach wrap was created from scrap fabric which I got for $1 a yard!!  Love those kinds of savings!

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One major accomplishment this year was the publication of my very own vintage sewing pattern book!  Click HERE for more information!

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I designed this 1940’s salmon pink suit by taking inspiration from three separate designs!

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I returned to my roots, and began sewing Regency era gowns again and had great fun photographing them out in nature!

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…and in lovely historic settings.

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Now that my life has return to a more normal status, I can’t wait to get back into my sewing room and starting whipping up more creations!  My 2017 plans include some 1700’s clothing, 1910’s, and everything in between! 🙂

I wish you all a very happy and healthy end to 2016 and beginning of 2017!  

Cheers!!!!

Oh and that big life change I mentioned earlier???….it will be making it’s sweet debut June 2017!! 🙂

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From My Sewing Table: November

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I know that this saying usually applies to March, but my goodness has November come in like a lamb.  It has been so mild that I haven’t even needed to wear a jacket…and if you follow my blog, you know that makes me so sad! 🙁  Let’s hope that cooler weather shows up soon!

But with the arrival of November comes the official start of the holiday season!  I may or may not be listening to Christmas music already…I can’t help it!!! 🙂  This is my most favorite times of the year and I can’t wait for Thanksgiving to get here!  Many of you may not be as eager as I am for the holidays to arrive, but I embrace them with arms wide open.  The holiday commercials, the special logos on items at the grocery store, the boxes of Christmas cards beginning to be displayed, and of course the start of the most cherished seasonal films and shows!  I mean, who doesn’t love watching This is America Charlie Brown…that poor kid is literally seasick the entire time!

Yet with all that excitement headed my way, I am also struggling.  Struggling with maintaining some balance in my life.  There is just so much going on that at times I can’t seem to get my bearings.  I would be lying if I said I was trying to enjoy each day.  Quite the opposite actually.  I find myself wishing the weeks to go by so my life can return to some sort of normalcy where I can end my day feeling accomplished rather than defeated.  Allowing myself to relax and not wish away this particular time in my life is very difficult.  I know time will go by and this rather trying time will be over…but that doesn’t always work when I’m staring at a to-do list that doesn’t get shorter.

So you see, that’s what I am so eager for the holidays.  They give me hope and excitement that the present will not last forever and so I must choose to celebrate their approach with eagerness and joy.  Not exhaustion and resentment.

***Cue determined squaring of shoulders and lifted chin**

My sewing has been a bit spotty of late, although not completely forgotten.  While I have been able to create a few pieces, my sewing videos have been put on hold for a little bit.  But never fear!  They shall be coming your way soon! 🙂

I know that today’s post may not be the norm for me.  But it is real, honest, and what I am going through.  I know I am not alone, as many of us go through these rough patches every so often.  So for now I shall think happy thoughts about turkey, pies…and oh yes, Charlie Brown doing his best to keep down his lunch on the Mayflower!

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Happy November everyone!  Let’s make it a good one!! 🙂

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An Eye (and Envy) for Detail

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Which came first for me? Learning to sew by hand or by machine?  I’m sitting here trying to remember….I think it was by hand first?  Maybe?  Regardless, when I did learn to sew by hand, I remember as a young girl, sitting as patiently as possible with some old scrap of calico, trying to get my stitches as even and neat as possible.  You know, like Laura Ingalls Wilder had to do when she was a child.  I remember really struggling with not bunching up the thread on the back side of the fabric, and trying to make sure knots didn’t form on the thread itself….it was a very stressful experience! 🙂  But, like so many things in life, the more practice and time I put in, the easier and better looking my hand sewing became.

This is why when I see any examples of hand sewing so stunning that one questions if a machine did it, it makes me simply giddy with envy and happiness.  Whoever that person was who created that magnificent item, valued and understood the importance of practice, practice, practice.  A needed skill and character trait that is so important when trying to better oneself.  I’ve collected four pictures of such garments that really show the skill and detail of really, I mean really, high quality hand sewing!

Let’s begin with this late 1700’s bodice.  I mean, look at all that hand detail!  The stitches, the curves, the ruffles….. absolutely gorgeous!! 

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These stays also show the skill and hand strength needed to create small, identical stitches through very stiff fabric and boning!

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The back of this bodice also shows the delicate hand stitching that can really take a garment up to the next level:

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And of course, the most amazing of all is this 1820’s bonnet, complete with tatting, that shows not only a person’s skill, but the needed height to accommodate the hairstyle of the period!

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Even in the age of computerized sewing machines, high quality hand sewing is still a much needed and much appreciated skill!

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