Piping – Is it Needed?

piping

It’s confession time.

I have not always used nor understood the point of piping.  I didn’t get it.  I didn’t know when to use it, and I was pretty sure it was a waste of my time.

And then, I got a bit better at my sewing.  So I stopped using excuses as to why I didn’t pipe and finally acknowledged that it was because I didn’t know how to use it at all.

Piping, in this context, refers to a 1 1/2″-2″ wide strip of fabric, cut on the bias, which has then been folded in half with a piece of cording place in between.  A tight stitch along the side of the cording creates a smooth finish.  This piping is then used in various places on bodices, and occasionally skirts, to add strength, texture, and contrast.  The tricky part is you have to keep your stitches tight. I mean tight.  You just want to see the cording peeping through in a neat and tidy fashion.  And this is where I would become frustrated and give up…I just couldn’t seem to make my stitches tight enough.

So piping was left on the back burner for several years, until one day when I decided to try it again.

I took a deep breath, stitched as close as as could to the cording and would you believe it!!! – It came out perfectly!!  In fact, it looked so great, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t been using this technique all along.  So now I’m back on the piping train and loving it!  And I thought nothing would do but to create a post celebrating this wonderful little technique.

My return to piping on a 1860’s Garibaldi blouse.

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Piping is most commonly found around the armsyce, or armhole, of bodices from the early 20th century and back.  Here is an example of an 1840’s gown from the Tasha Tudor collection:

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Notice the cord like piece between the sleeve gathers and the shoulder?  That’s piping!  While most commonly used in the same fabric as the gown itself, one can sometimes use coordinating fabric to add a bit of pop!

Piping can also be used in between bodice seams. Notice the very small piping along the back seams of this 1860’s bodice as well as the 1810’s Pelisse.

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Piping can also be used to add details to sleeves…

notice the sleeve of this Regency jacket.  The piping adds interest.

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The same can be said for this 1860’s sleeve where the bands have piped edges.

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And let’s not forget the rather advanced skill of putting piping around the edges of bodices to keep a smooth and clean finish!

This 1840’s gold gown has some wonderful examples:

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If you have never tried piping, or haven’t in a long time, I highly recommend bringing back this very fun and relatively easy technique!!

 

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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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Vintage rooms I would love to visit….

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Sometimes I wish I could redo some room in my house in historical theme and then switch it back when I was through.  Unfortunately I have neither the time, energy, or money to accomplish such a task.  Therefore, I am left to dream about the fun of experiencing and living in various rooms from various time periods…without spending a dime.

Here are a few of my favorite vintage rooms I would just love to spend a week living in!

While I would never go so aggressive with one color in my bedroom today, I would love to try it out!  And this 1940’s purple inspired room would be so fun!

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This 1950’s kitchen is so homey and inviting.  I can already smell the apple pie cooking!

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I would absolutely love to having a living room just like the Ricardo’s second apartment…love the curtains!

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This 1950’s living room would be a wonderful place to read, chat, or take a nap!

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Equally as lovely is this 1940’s sitting room! 

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And who wouldn’t love to sip an ice cold glass of lemonade on a veranda such as this 1950’s example?!

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Even if I can’t create and visit rooms like this today, I can still appreciate their charm and appeal!!

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My Christmas Gift Giving Guide

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Well, the days before Christmas are beginning to dwindle down, but if you are looking for that last minute gift for friend, a family member, or yourself, I have five fantastic options!!

 

Vintage Gold Sewing Prints by Mod Pop Deco– $15 + 

I love these prints by Mod Pop Deco!  They are elegant and can easily go in a sewing room or a bedroom.

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ModPop Deco

 

Monthly Sewing box by Stitch Box Monthly  – $30 for one month

With a different box each month, this fun little gift is a welcome surprise for anyone after the holidays.  Each box comes with fabric, tools, a pattern, and variety of other items.  A great present for that sewer who has everything!

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Stitch Box Monthly 

 

12 Days Advent Calendar from The Vintage Cosmetic Company – $42

This is a wonderful idea for the person who can’t simply wait for Christmas to get here!  With a little surprise each day, any makeup lover will adore this advent calendar.

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The Vintage Cosmetic Company 

 

Bath Fizzies from Les Belles Bouclettes – $3 for 10 pcs.

With all the stress of the holiday season, nothing would feel better than a warm and fizzy bubble bath.  And these lovelies from the ladies at Les Belles Bouclettes are perfect for a friend, neighbor, or (with such a great price) a few for yourself!  Try them in their new scents of Olivia (chocolate mocha) or Citrus Splash…yum!

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Les Belles Bouclettes

 

Instant Downloadable Print for a 1940’s/1950’s Capelet by Aimee’s Victorian Armoire – $7.50

Perfect for the beginner who is looking to break into the skill of pattern drafting, this pattern, created by me, is perfect for those chilly days…or create one in a lighter fabric in preparation for spring!

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Aimee’s Victorian Armoire

So have fun crossing off those final names on your gift giving list, and celebrate with a cup of hot chocolate…and a warm fuzzy bubble bath! 🙂

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Fun Vintage Sewing Projects

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Sometimes it can be a fun change to sew something vintage that isn’t an apron, a skirt, or a dress.  Often when I think vintage, my mind immediately goes to garments.  I begin browsing my patterns, books, and Pinterest for the perfect item.  But sometimes its fun to think outside of the box…or at least outside of the closet.  So I challenged myself to find three easy yet very vintage-y projects that would satisfy my retro need while still offering a nice change.

Here is what I found!

All links are listed below the image.

These hangers are a perfect way to still focus on vintage garments, while letting you go absolutely wild with color!  I love how these hangers are finished with little puff balls and tassels!  These would be wonderful to give as Christmas gifts!!  

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Vintage Wrapped Hangers by Sugar Beans.org

These burp clothes are sooooo sweet!!  Make them for a friend, a family member, or for your own little one! Just be sure you don’t mind them getting covered in formula!

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Vintage Burp Cloths from Polka Dot Chair

My last vintage sewing project is this adorable tomato pincushion!  What I love is the switch from solid red fabric to a happy red gingham!  Make a whole crop of these tomatoes in various tones and patterns!

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Tomato Pincushion by Bee in my Bonnet

Sewing vintage can relate to a wide variety of projects.  And with Christmas coming soon, why not create a few of these projects to give away to loved ones.  Not only may you save a few dollars, but the thought and time that goes into them will most certainly be appreciated!

Have fun!

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