Some hairstyles in history are complicated. Some hairstyles in history make you very happy that you didn’t live during that time period (i.e.1830’s). Some seem so impossible to recreate that the hair must be fake, while others will continue to find rebirths in modern decades. But one particular look, it seems no matter who you ask, tends to be an all time favorite. Which look am I talking about? The Edwardian look of the 1900-1920’s. From the Gibson Girl pouf, to the delicate waves of low buns, Edwardian women knew how to make their hair work for them. And while curling irons were just becoming more commonly used, many relied on tried and true techniques of their mothers to complete these heavenly creations.
I have gathered a wonderful sampling of these looks to drool over…and maybe recreate for yourself! 🙂
I simply adore these looks, and it was one of the reasons I decided to go with an Edwardian image for my blog logo. Grecian in style, with a sprinkling of Regency, and a dash of something completely unique, the hairstyles of the early 1900’s will forever, at least in my opinion, be some of the most romantic ever created!
There are so many wonderful tutorials, both old and new, on creating the perfect vintage hairdo that I wanted to pile as many as I could into one place! While my hair is too long to really take advantage of many of these styles, I am still fascinated with the variety and elegance the pin curl can create in one’s hair.
“When we were sixteen, we desire prettiness; ten years later; good looks. A refreshing appearance, however is much more essential than either, and if we would present ourselves to the world, as all-around, modern women, we must keep up on all matters of dress and personal grooming; as well as on home arts, children, literature, politics, etc.
A delicate use of cosmetics is desirable; a burlesque-type use is vulgar and detracts a hundred times more than it adds. Too much rouge, too much powder, like chewing gum, is seldom evidence by woman of refinement. Keep folks guessing: don’t tell your secret. Rouge so cleverly that everyone will wonder whether your color is real.
Here are some basic rules to follow:
1. Comb out your hair and brush it lightly. if you have curlers in the night before, the amount of combing and brushing should be measured by the length of hair and the ‘permanency of the wave.’ Next, pin the hair back out of the way and give attention to the face.
2. A little rouge, oh so little, is allowable. A tangerine color, the best beauty folks say, is good for all complexions. If the skin is very white, the chin may also have a little.
3. Now powder the face and neck thoroughly, but don’t “load” the powder on. Dust smoothly just as though you were putting sugar on a jelly roll, and not as though you were icing a cake.
4. Then, if your eyes need it, touch a wee, wet brush to a little pad of mascara and brush the eyelashes lightly.
5. Put your clothes on carefully, stockings straight, corsets well-pulled down with plenty of supporters, and be sure that your shoes are neat and well kept.
6. After breakfast, brush your teeth again, wiping the mouth very clean, and apply a little lip rouge as needed. Always apply it with the tip of our finger, for then you will not be liable to use too much.
7. Finally, brush your clothes and step out into the world, full of assurance that you are a good example of a type of woman worthy of the deference accorded your sex and a credit to your sisters, no matter where or how you meet them.”
– Excerpt taken from The ABC’s of Good Looks by Marilyn Madison, Inspiration, January 1925.
A few weeks ago, I watched one of my favorite Ginger Rogers’ movie Bachelor Mother and could not stop drooling over her wardrobe. One article of clothing struck me in particular, which led to several late nights in my sewing studio trying to perfect the pattern. What was this piece that threw me into a tizzy? A small, collared capelet which adds such an air of grace and femininity to even the simplest of frocks. Although I made mine of a very sheer fabric, the fabric choice is really up to you. The key is to drape the capelet over your dress form when you pin the shoulder darts.
1 yard of choice fabric
Use the following guide to cut out your pattern pieces. Adjust for your personal body size as needed.
Create a French seam down the center back of the capelet.
I added a collar to my capelet. If you do not wish to have one, simply hand sew the neck edges and attach the ties as normal after you sew the shoulder seams. If you are using a collar, make sure to test on your dress form to ensure a good drape.
In keeping with this month’s theme, it would be wrong to avoid the ever going routine of keeping oneself neat and clean. Sometimes I wake up in the morning, look in the mirror and think “do I really have enough time to make this look good?”….anyone else? 😉
But nothing boosts more confidence than a clean and put together house…and person. While keeping clean relies on a lot of water and soap, the additional concoctions to aid in the overall beauty can be just as important. But on the road to a clean body, it is important to start with the basics!
“Baths have many functions aside from their avowed intention of keeping the body clean. There is the early morning bath of warm water or tepid water followed by a cooler spray and a brisk rub that brings a healthy glow to the skin and sets you up for the day.
There is the relaxing bath to be taken just before going to bed. A tepid bath is most relaxing if you’re tense and tired, for water that is too hot is likely to be more stimulating than soothing.
Then there is the warm, luxurious bath that draws all the ache out of tired muscles, that gently soothes and restores ragged nerves and frayed dispositions. The ideal time for this is in the afternoon or evening, especially if one is going out afterwards and wishes to feel particularly fit and relaxed.” (1.)
Now that you are feeling clean and refreshed, why not try any one of these toilet recipes taken from the late 1800’s
Oil of lavender, two ounces; orris root, half an ounce; spirits of wine, one pint. Mix and keep two or three weeks. It may then be strained through two thicknesses of blotting paper and is ready for use.
Melt one ounce oil of almonds, half-ounce spermaceti*, one drachm** white wax, and then add two ounces of rose-water, and stir it constantly until cold.
Melt one ounce white wax, one ounce sweet oil, one drachm** spermaceti*, and throw in a piece of askant root to color it, and, when cooling, perfume it with oil rose, and tun pour it into small white jars or boxes.
Toilet or Face Powder
Take a quarter of a a pound of wheat starch pounded fine; sift it through a fine sieve, or a piece of lace; add to it eight drops of oil of rose, oil of lemon thirty drops, oil of bergamot fifteen drops. Rub thoroughly together. The French throw this powder into alcohol, shaking it, letting it settle, then pouring off the alcohol and drying the powder. In that case, the perfume is added lastly. (2)
Soak and be beautiful!
Painting: At the Dressing Table by Berthe Morisot
1. Fashion Service, 1928
2. The Original White House Cook Book, 1887
*a white waxy substance obtained from oil from the head of the sperm whale: used in cosmetics, candles, ointments, etc.
In keeping with the theme of spring cleaning, this little tutorial will be sure to keep you hairdo dust free!
While there are many ways to create the adorable 1940’s hair turban, I wanted to create something a little different. My turban has extra long ties to create a bow on top of the head, while a hammock like piece wraps around the head to keep your hair tucked away.
*** The size of the rectangle can be altered according to head size and hair length. Some bobby pinning may be required to achieve a secure fit.
Here is what you will need:
– 1/2 yard of cotton fabric
Lay out your fabric and create shapes with the following measurements. Cut out. Cut two ties out of the 6″ wide section (3″ wide.) You can make the ties as wide as you like. For a more fluffy bow, try ties that are 5-6 ” wide.
Then hem the long sides of the rectangle.
Run a gathering stitch along the shorter sides.
Now take the ties, fold them right sides together, stitch, turn out and press.
Gather up the shorter sides to the length of the ties and pin. Stitch right sides together.
Trim excess fabric and press.
And there you have a unique 1940’s inspired turban!
….”Study the contour of your face. Study pictures of beautiful women. Magazines, especially beauty advertisements in them, contain many pictures of beautiful women. Study these for new ideas of dressing your hair, and when you find a way that you think is just right for you, practice doing your hair like it until you have perfected the style.
Do not try to do your hair all up in one twist. A capable hair dresser will divide the hair into four to eight sections and carefully pin each section in its place until she gets the effect she desires. A woman who carefully arranges her hair in the morning, using enough hairpins to give security, will not have a disheveled, careless-appearing head of hair at the end of the day.
And this prompts me to tell you about hair pins. Bone hair pins are softer in the hair then wire ones and should receive the preference. They should be medium small, and of a color that matches the hair, if possible, so as to be inconspicuous. Small wire hairpins are a necessity and should be used generously to keep all stray locks in place.
Your hair, then, demands careful attention, for it proclaims the well-groomed woman. ‘In cultivating a rose, we care for it, tend, water, and protect it. As a cultivated flower surpasses a weed, so a well-groomed woman surpasses the woman who neglects herself.’ ”
Excerpt from The Secrets of Distinctive Dress – Harmonious, Becoming, and Beautiful Dress – Its Value and How to Achieve It. By Mary Brooks Picken, 1918
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!
A Few of the Many Upcoming Posts to Look for This Month: