Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Women's Dresses in Marcus Stone's Paintings (1840-1921)

"Olivia 1888"
by Marcus Stone



Marcus Stone was a British painter who began his career as a book illustrator for Charles Dickens. His drawings in the story "Our Mutual Friend" show many of the styles of womens clothing that later he produced in color on canvas.

This is a dress you can easily make, using the pattern mentioned in a previous post, or one similar. The fabric was a dollar a yard and 100 percent cotton. When you are using cotton, there is no need to wash it in hot water or treat it roughly. Just use your delicate cycle and cold water and the colors will stay better. They do need ironing, but some fabrics actually look okay wrinkled. I am not able to iron the upper part of the sleeve on this one, so I just leave it wrinkled and it looks like smocking.

Here is a close up of the fabric and the neckline trim. It is a good way to use up left over pieces of laces, and this piece is cotton, too. You are talking to the queen of cotton, here. The neckline is curved, and that can be done by inserting a piece of paper under your pattern and re-drawing your neckline. You can make scallops and sweetheart necklines and all kinds of shapes yourself.

This is what it looks like with a big sash around it...

...and here you see some trim on the cuffs, to give it a bit more length. Sleeves are never long enough for my arms. I chose the piece of lace because it has roses on it, which reflected the roses on the fabric print.
This garment hangs very beautifully from the shoulders and has some shaping at the side, for a nice, defined waistline, yet is very loose. I pulled my hair over to the side to show the scrunchie that was made from the same fabric.



Sewing hint: to prevent your garments from becoming faded too fast, always have one started and ready to sew. It prevents wear and tear on one or two outfits if you have LOTS of them. One piece dresses are not hard to make. They are easier than a skirt and a blouse because you only have to make one hem. If you are in a hurry, a dress is the way to sew. No waistbands or buttons, and no zip, and it becomes easy. Check out your New Look patterns on the revolving rack and see if you can find one that will sew up in a few hours, and add your own sleeves and decorations.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Do you notice that the woman seems quite ample in the hips in the Marcus Stone painting? Ladies, what is happening to our fashion industry that we have allowed them to dictate our shape? Clothing should be made for the woman's body, and the woman's body should not be squeezed into the clothing that tries to make her look like a man! Love the dress and the painting. I enjoy seeing how to adapt a 19th century style into something you can move around in to do housework and gardening. As for people saying that women of that era "did nothing," well I don't think hanging around the malls or in groups and just hanging out is doing much of anything either. Smoking, drinking, partying, etc.--is that something better? At least the woman in the picture looks as though she was walking in a garden, and is holding a rose she picked. Girls ought to be walking in rose gardens, not beer gardens. It would make a much prettier picture and smell nicer too.

Anonymous said...

I know covetting is wrong, wrong wrong, but I WANT THIS DRESS!!!!! Lydia, if only I could employ you as my dressmaker! (sigh)

Anonymous said...

That is a LOVELY dress, and you look lovely, too. Good idea about the scrunchie. You are an inspiration to us. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Ha-Ha! Girls ought to be walking in rose gardens, not beer gardens! Truer words were never spoken!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the comment about the woman in the painting appearing to be quite ample in the hips. It made me go back and look at all the paintings and dresses Lady Lydia has been posting and look at the variations in shapes and sizes.....interesting. I'm inspired, motivated, sewing a new dress, and enjoying a sense of freedom to follow what I feel about dressing femininely and modestly.

Thank you, Lydia, for all the time you have spent on this project! I feel like I have been in agreement with you on this issue since I began reading your blog and yet at the same time just catching on to what you've been saying about the difference we can make in our own lives and, maybe, others around us by dressing more beautifully as well as modestly.

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

There is nothing wrong with wearing wrinkled clothing, but there is nothing wrong with ironing it, either. For cottons, put iron with steam setting on hottest it will go. Sprinkle with some kind of water--plain or scented and iron away. Keep your iron board up and your iron ready. All seamstresses do that. Ironing is part of homemaking. It is part of life. Good fabrics with natural fibres do wrinkle. some of the permanent press is treated with chemicals, and that is why it is non wrinkle. Others do not wrinkle because of the way they are woven. You have to scrunch the fabric on the bolt. If the wrinkles fall away faster after you have let go of a handful of fabric, that fabric is less likely to wrinkle and will probably dry without wrinkles. If you scrunch it up and it is stiff and has a more paper like feel, it is probably going to wrinkle. Check for made in USA on the end of the bolt. Use your 40 or 50 percent off coupon at Joans every week and get 4 or 5 yards for 12 to 15 dollars, or less.

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

To test out wrinkled fabric, just buy a fourth yard first and wash it and see what happens. Then go back and get more, if you like it.

I guarantee, though, most of your clothing will need ironing if you are using cotton, unless it is a heavier fabric like denim or twill

Anonymous said...

This one is my favorite so far. I just love it. Thank you for sharing. I also appreciate the way you are giving tips to save money on sewing. Your creations have inspired me. Today I am going to go pick out a pattern and some fabric to make a new dress.

You are proof that "where there is a will, there is a way"!

Anonymous said...

Lovely! And, I love the painting as well.

Anonymous said...

Very pretty! My head is full of sewing plans.

My husband was against the dress thing, when I tried it a few years back. Now that the dresses are not jeans with the legs sewn in a different direction, he is all for it.

Volunteer programs India said...

It’s so nice to know that you based the styles of your dresses on paintings. I love the style and color of the dress.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...