Friday, July 10, 2009

Painting Inspired Dress # 1

"Off" by Edmund Blair Leighton (1853-1922)



(Please be sure to click on the picture, for a more detailed view of the dress!)


Edmund Blair Leighton admired the chivalry of the past, and his art shows details of mothers and their children, and floral gardens of country homes. He also illustrated the stories of dashing heroes of the past. His paintings were shown for over 40 years in the Royal Academy.




This dress is sewn from Simplicity "It's So Easy" number 2901. It works well with wovens, and requires no zipper. There is a tie from the side at the front to the back. There was no adjustment at the neckline necessary, which was nice, since most patterns are simply too low at the neckline and do not cover the shoulders well. Simplicity Its So Easy 2901 seems to be out of print, but if you go to your fabric store where patterns are sold, you might find some on the special Its So Easy Pattern rack that usually sits on the cabinet.It features a sleeveless dress and a tote bag.

It was quite easy to add a collar to this dress, using a piece of curtain panel that someone gave me. I attached a length of pre-gathered, metallic looking lace to the edges, and finished it off with two buttons that matched the flowers.


The long sleeves came from another pattern. When you have a 99c pattern sale, don't pass up patterns because you just do not like the entire garment. Take a look at it and see if you could use sleeves, collars, and other parts of it. This pattern was absolutely no trouble to attache "foreign" sleeves, which is not always the case when you mix patterns.


If you cut out a garment the night before, you should be able to sew it up the next day, unless, like us, you are in the middle of harvest time.

Close up of the 100 percent cotton fabric, purchased at JoAnn fabric store. This seemed to be a very good quality fabric, which was sold as a quilters favorite, but borders in strength between lightweight cotton and decorator fabric. It feels cool on hot days and does not cling. No matter how hot the weather, this dress is cool and comfortable.

Dressing Hint: This garment plays up the face and plays down the bustline and hips, partly because the fabric is more crisp, and partly because there are no trims on the hems or sleeves. If you are a large lady, and your face is very round, do not wear a broad collar like this, but keep the v-shape at the neck, perhaps outlined in a sew-in trim in a coordinating color. Elongate the figure with the flat panel in the front. In the back, the gathers that come from tying it, will give slimness also.

If you are interested in dressing more femininely, as opposed to masculinely, then look at the collars. The woman's collar has a softer look. The skirt area is drapey , and the shoulders fit well. The key to good fit is the shoulders.
Here is a reenactment of the Leighton painting. To make dresses for yourself, using a modern pattern, just choose a pattern you like, and add details.The hair bow is from the same fabric.
These photos are copyrighted, and under penalty of law. Do not remove or place anywhere else on the web. All rights reserved. Copyright 2009.


Please post anonymously, as usual. It protects your blog and protects your free speech.


34 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful dress. You must feel like such a lady!!! God bless you for your witness to the world. You inspire so many of us women to be lady's like you:)

Anonymous said...

That dress is absolutely beautiful!!!! my sister and I both agree that We would absolutely wear that dress!!!! I had never thought of the idea of mixing up pattern pieces. That makes so much since!!! Thank you for your inspirational paintings and wonderful ideas

Anonymous said...

What a lovely dress you've created and in a very pretty print. The collar is so feminine - using the curtain panel was a great idea and with the added lace-trim and buttons, it is perfect. I like the way the pattern has the fabric lay flat in the front mid-section area - this makes for a nice smooth appearance and with ties at the sides, there is room for adjustment, if necessary. I like the long sleeves and think it would also look nice with three-quarter length sleeves with lace as pictured in Mr. Leighton's painting. If one could SEE "a breath of fresh air" I think it could look like this dress!

Anonymous said...

That is lovely, and you did a nice job on it. I'll have to try to get patterns like this.

Anonymous said...

I like to cut out my fabric the night before also! It's the one part of sewing that doesn't need to get interrupted by family members' needs. After it's cut out and all the pieces are neatly in a basket, I can pick it up and work for a few minutes any time without minding stopping, and it's amazing how quickly the little bits of time add up to a finished project.

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

Before cutting your fabric, fold it right sides in. That way, it is ready to sew right away and you wont have to fool around with the extra time getting two pieces to face right sides. The rough side, or wrong side, should face out , when you cut. Then just leave it that way and most pieces are matched up to sew.

A favorite pattern can be ironed on to interfacing, so you can use it over and over.

I do not pin my pattern. I gave that up years ago. Use your child's rock collection, or an extra set of table spoons, or any objects that will have some weight, to anchor down your pattern. Much, much faster, and not a danger to small children, as much as pins are. Pins take agonizingly forever if you need clothes!

Anonymous said...

If you wear dresses long, that is, below calf, it makes you look thinner. Length increases the look of thinness, and if you want to use prints, they will not broaden the look of your figure if they are long. Short dresses and skirts will make you appear fatter.

Anonymous said...

Just lovely! and thank you for posting it. However, one little favor to ask.Could we see an actual person modeling the dress. The reason I ask this is that it gives a person more of a 'for real life' idea of wearing such a garment. It brings it down to earth for me atleast. Thanks Lady Lydia for this blog and the time you put into promoting being feminine for the glory of God.

Anonymous said...

The imported clothing in the stores today is so cheap that it is much cheaper than sewing your own. The only problem is that the cheap imported clothing is skimpy. But, such prices are hard to resist, and apparently this has started the downward trend in the way we dress: "cheap, convenient, ugly, immodest and unfeminine" is easier than sewing your own appropriate clothing. We all do what is easiest.

Anonymous said...

One purpose of clothing is to show whether you are male or female. That can be done by choosing the feminine clothing for women and the masculine clothing for men. Clothes today are used not to show whether you are male or female, but how sexy you are. That should be reserved for marriage only. It does not need to be broadcast all over the public. Please, somebody, do something. It needs to stop! Let women be women, and dress beautifully without worrying about whether they are sexy.

Anonymous said...

Please comment on how an older women's clothes should differ from the clothes of a younger woman. What you wear as a 16 year old is different from what a 36 year old would wear I would think. Now I am much older than that. I am in my 60s. Would this style be suitable for tmy age? What is appropriate for me in dress patterns and styles. What prints if any are right? In other words what is approperate for an older woman so as not to look to girlish yet still feminine. I am at the age where God put me and need to dress accordingly. I love the dress you have shown but the light print might not be right for my age. I don't know. I love the light gathering at the sleeve cap but personally that does not look good on me so would eliminate that although I love it. I am trying to but my thinking cap on and do this right. Your guidance would be apprecited very much. Thankyou so much.

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

Women can wear whatever they like, no matter what their age, as long as they follow the modesty rules found in the Bible: hidden, draped, loose, appropriate, etc.

As for types of things that look good on older women, I would say it is still a matter of what you really like and what you enjoy wearing. If you can experiment and try wearing things you really love, you can determine what would be right for you.

In the 19th century photographs, the older women dressed the same as the younger women. It was the children that were different. Short dresses on little girls, but long dresses on women.Hair down on little girls but hair up on women. Teenage girls could hardly wait til they were old enough to put their hair up and let their hems down.
Little girls wore smocked dresses, but older women usually wore blouses and skirts.

Just avoid the things that don't really look good on you ( in your opinion) and wear the things you like.

Anonymous said...

'Candle on the Hill' and 'the King's Daughters' both sell patterns. For those of us who cannot sew (and for whom learning is a physical impossibility), 'the King's Daughters' are worth their weight in gold!! their selection of fabrics is incredible and their quality of workmanship, fit and material is unsurpassed. they are most helpful and their prices are value for money. I'm two years into my winter dresses and they're still holding up as well as they did when new; same goes for fabric - no fading or bleeching.

if you sew, it wouldn't take much to add feminine trim or ruffles to sleeves and collar, or use pretty buttons etc. Though their style is semi-'Plain', it is still beautiful; a good print can counter no collar or fancy trim (I go for very simple designs in my dresses; also long; either ankle or as near to once differences or inaccuracies in measurement on my part are taken into consideration). And i'm no runway model - 5'2" and 85kg :-)

As for shoes, having very hard to fit feet, I've got to make do with what i can find...black leather walking shoes for winter and navy leather enclosed sandles for summer (only one shoeshop in my city sells my size; the majority start two sizes too large; and my feet are two wide at the toe to wear childrens' footwear...

I bought a beautiful wide-brim straw bonnet from prayercoverings.com this past autumn and can't wait to wear it this coming Summer! (A collection of co-ordinated lace kerchiefs made by the lady who runs prayercoverings help keep flyaway hair under control without having to use mountains of clips or tons of styling product...

http://www.liliesapparel.com/

Sells beautiful accessories; you might like her lace summer umbrellas; they sound gorgeous!

I've just posted an order for four new dress sets for summer with TKD and am eagerly awaiting their response!!

I'm inspired!!

Anonymous said...

I'm on my way to Walmart right now to see if I can find this pattern. By the way, I started sewing up HInto of History's Shawl Collar dress yesterday and became stumped with the batiste collar. With your demo here, I can move forward with confidence. Thank you!!

I haven't worn pants except in the garden all week. Before I can totally give up the jeans, I need a dress I feel comfortable getting muddy.

Anonymous said...

This is a beautiful dress and a wonderful example of modifying a pattern. I used to do a lot of this and hope to do more in the future. I sometimes used canned goods (especially little cans of tomato paste) to hold my pattern down while cutting (my LEAST FAVORITE part of the project).

I had never though of pressing the fabric onto interfacing to re-use! That's a wonderful idea. Patterns sold today can barely be used once, they are so thin, as compared to years ago. I would usually try to trace onto newspaper or freezer paper, and that took awhile!

The fabric pattern is beautiful, too, and usually the best place to find nice prints is the quilting section, I've heard.

It is just so pretty, Lady Lydia, and thank you for the tips on creating a slimming style!

Anonymous said...

Lady Lydia, thank you so much for this lovely example. As a lady who sews, I appreciate the work you put into this dress, collar and feminine details. The buttons are just the right ones to set off the collar perfectly ! Some issues of Threads magazines have articles on details like those. Also, the re-issued book Make Your Own Dress Patterns by Adele Margolis has directions on creating collars, sleeves, etc. to add to patterns. Hope to see more of your creations, tho I know it takes time and effort in your busy life. Thank you again !

Anonymous said...

I love this dress. Now I'll have to look for the pattern. I've thought of adding sleeves to sleeveless-but-otherwise-modest patterns, or just using them as a jumper, but I'm always afraid it won't work and I'll be wasting time, energy and money! Glad to know this 'tried and true' pattern!

My style falls more along the 'Little House on the Prairie' than victorian...but I think that dress would be great (w/a few improvisions on the collar...but you've inspiried me!).

I love when little girls look like little girls and there is a certain 'age' that they're more grown up. I think that makes it more special. I know of some Mennonite groups that the girls wear braids until about 14-15, then switch to the bun and covering. Can you imagine the thrill a young girl would get when she daydreams of that day? Or when that special birthday is coming, how you'd feel?

It saddens me when I see little girls dressed so provacativly. What are the parents thinking? And the shoes they make for little girls? All those chunky soles... how can a three year old learn to walk right when wearing those. That's why they shuffle their feet.

But to the older lady concerned about looking too 'young dressed'. Trust me, you could wear that dress with a Disney princess fabric and look more classy than most women your age, with the tatoos, ears pierced at the top, (sometimes nose!) cleavage showing. Grandmothers are wearing what the teenages wear- and I don't even like it on the teens! So, have no fear, you'd look like a LADY not a streetwalker, and THAT is classy.

Anonymous said...

Thankyou for answering my questions on appropriate dress features for into your 60s. I believe I heard several places that years past we did not have teen clothing selections...just as you said girls then into women's. Boys then men's. I really don't remember that much different in clothing and labeling as such age clothing when I was a teen. I shopped in the juniors or Misses department and just picked what I thought appropriate for the occassion. The same shelf I bought my blouses from was the same one my mother got her's from. They did not have departents shouting rock music and weird clothing set aside for the teen set. I can still walk through the lovely big stores we had back then in my mind. The stores were the same ones my grandparents first shopped in. We knew the clerks and which stores or departments had what was the best buys for the money. Now stores are not genteel in any way and the clerks change it seems every week. How sad that this generation may not know this beautiful life we knew.

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

To the woman nearing her 60s--I found this to be true also: in the store, there was women's wear and children's wear, and you could choose a dress and a hat and it would be similar choices for the younger women. The younger women might not have as much black, which was something reserved for widows, but their style was not different or trendy. Now when you go into a store there is a video playing in the background of the special teen clothing area, and the teen girls do not venture further to investigate if they might find a skirt or a dress in another department.

Anonymous said...

I am an older woman and I do as I like, ignoring the trends or the approval of peers. I love flowers and I wear them. I like hats. I like gloves. I wear long dresses. I dont want to look like "a sack of potatoes tied in the middle with a string," and I dont believe that just because we are older we should be denied pretty clothing.

Anonymous said...

Walmat didn't have the pattern but it is still available online at the Simplicity website. I never would have considered a sleevless dress pattern. With your pattern combining idea in mind, I saw a blouse pattern that will make a cute Sense and Sensibility like dress if I lengthen it to dress length--Simplicity 3842. Thanks for opening my eyes and mind. $2.50is way cheaper than the prices charged at other companies.

Anonymous said...

As a teen, though I enjoyed the clothing of the 80's, my love of historical costume made me feel short changed that I couldn't look forward to the long dresses ec (though even then, the 'teen' shops sold beautiful long skirts and those blouses with lace or ruffles at sleeve and collar; I wanted to keep the skirts long, but hmm; didn't win there...

To look forward to graduating from girl's clothing and hairstyles to that of a young lady must have given girls such a rush; exciting! What have we universally allowed our society to throw away? way too much...

Like the lady who commented re hats and gloves, I love the beauty of it all... and we can reclaim our freedom to dress modestly and femininely, it's our God given right, after all - all the naysayers crow on about their 'rights', let's mount a little revolution of our own, one lady at a time. In similar nature to that phraise 'let's claim back the night' concerning street crime, let us as ladies, no matter our age, situation, nationality, denomination, claim the right to be modest and uphold beautiful womanhood - a type of womanhood that's kind to all ages, all shapes and sizes.

To the gardener who wants a dress suitable for this activity, you might like something in denim, chambree or cotton drill; these wear well and scrub up nicely, perhaps in a gardening-suitable colour.

Anonymous said...

I found the Simplicity pattern on eBay and bought one. I will add sleeves, too. Thank you for the inspiration!

I am in my 50s and find it very hard to find ready-to-wear clothing that is appropriate for my age, in a style that I like. I even tried shopping on-line. Yes, I agree with others that have posted, almost everything is touted as "sexy".

Anonymous said...

Dear Lydia,

I agree with the other ladies that this dress is beautiful, flattering and inspiring!

I've several modern dress patterns that would work perfectly well with some attention to a collar treatment and sleeve variation. Love the buttons at the collar, by the way. Collars are very nice if you have a pretty brooch to pin on them, too! So many options!

May I ask where you find a ready-made slip/petticoat that is long enough to wear underneath or do you make those as well?

Thank you for sharing your pretty dress ideas with us - this is one of the few places I know of where ladies can discuss appropriate dress and receive practical advice.

Kind regards!

Anonymous said...

For the anon who needed skirts that can get muddy: remember, all clothing gets dirty -- dresses, skirts, jeans, everything. We ladies can re-program ourselves to realize that since all clothing gets dirty, we can get a housedress dirty and just toss it in the wash like a pair of jeans. I tell myself this all the time to encourage myself to wear skirts and blouses or dresses more often. We can also wear aprons when appropriate.

Anonymous said...

I remember back in the early 60's it became popular for mothers to put their little girls in "dungarees" and get them "pixie" haircuts, and brag that they were "tomboys." Too bad!

Anonymous said...

Can anyone reccomend books, or websites that teach "ladylike ways"( sitting, standing,gracefullness (I haven't got the grace God gave a cow)) for lack of a better term? I pretty much grew up a barefoot tomboy, and at nearly 30, I am still trying to become more lady-like. Thankyou ever so much!

Anonymous said...

Just lovely, Mrs. Sherman...& your clever use of a different sleeve along with this dress is inspiring & encouraging to those of us who want to try to be better seamstresses!

I have some pretty cotton fabric, a paler yellow with some pink roses on it, & every now & then I come across it when I'm hunting for something else. It calls out to me, so to speak, to be made into something a bit nicer than pillow cases or a tablecloth. And it seems to me that I have just the right dress pattern to showcase this fabric. Maybe I'll have to give that further thought this next week. :o)

It's great that you are sharing your handiwork with us, the beautiful historical paintings, & your efforts to "raise the bar" for every woman who sees herself in more feminine attire. Many thanks!

Anonymous said...

For the lady who wanted to learn "ladylike ways": you might glean something from www.elegantwoman.org. The book *Beauty and the Best" by Beneth Peters Jones also has instruction on walking and sitting gracefully, as well as dress and other feminine things.

All the best!

Anonymous said...

For those who can't find Simplicity It's So Easy 2901, take a look at Simplicity 5189. I think it's basically the same pattern and it has a short and a 3/4 sleeve variation too.

Thank you Lady Lydia for all the time and effort you take for the benefit of all of us ladies!

Anonymous said...

Lady Lydia,

First, could you explain the anon comment thing? I have not been by to visit for some time and probably missed something...

Second, I adore this dress! The colors are so beautiful. You are a amazing with your ability to produce such lovely dresses. I am envious for sure!

Thank you -

Anon

Anonymous said...

This dress reminds me of my "best dress" in the 1980s when I was a teen, it was bought at Laura Ashley and did for all parties and weddings.

Can you remember 7 or 8 years ago when designers were saying home interiors should be "minimal" and "simple"? Bare white walls, chrome legged sofas, black leather - really masculine and clinical. Well, we all got a bit sick of it, didn't we? And who's in fashion now, Cath Kidston and her shabby chic look, all pretty chintz, soft pastels, feminine touches. It's what women want for their homes, comfortable and pretty interiors. So perhaps we women should rebel against the prevailing tide of masculine clothes fashion as well, just buy what we like, things which are pretty, elegant and feminine. Money talks and designers will soon change their tune. Perhaps we should all write letters to the major department stores to let them know we're a bit sick of the kind of clothes they try to sell us.

Anonymous said...

I would really love it if you could provide some tips on how to merge a sleeve from one pattern to an armscye on another. I don't have any experience with this and it might save me and others some aggravation if you can share any tips you've learned along the way.

I am hoping to sew aprons that coordinate somewhat with my dresses, blouses and skirts. I feel comfortable in an apron, with the ready pockets and the feeling of my clothes being protected.

About getting dresses dirty, over time they will get more worn looking. Then you won't worry about wearing that skirt or dress while gardening. If you normally wear jeans, you don't put on your new jeans to much around in the garden. You put on an old pair. The same is done with dresses and skirts.

Anonymous said...

So great to see pictures of your creations and you in them.
May I offer a photo tip? If your camera is adjustble, set your settings on you in the shade and not for the bright backgroud...or use a hand-held light meter. OR...you could shoot yourself on an overcast day...that ususally works best. Hope you don't mind my suggestions...we will be able to see everything better. Blessings and thank you for your inspired dressmaking ideas.
Lynn

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