Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Franz Xavier Winterhalter (available from allposters) German painter, 1805-1873,


"Young Italian Woman at the Well"


This is an interesting garment from the 1800's, and the color is splendid. Many of the paintings of women in the past centuries are placed against exquisite natural backgrounds of flowers, rivers, skies and seas. Winterhalter was the artist hired by Queen Victoria's family, and his portraits are considered historical records. If you live in England, you might be able to find a gallery where his paintings are on display. They were in our country a few years ago, and many people who attended said they were just exquisite to behold up close. The photographs I use here are nothing, compared to the quality in reality.


These flowers from the garden have a similar color as the painting, above, and give me some good ideas for color combination in sewing. You can get inspiration all around you, and I believe that sewing your own clothing is 50 percent inspiration.





Here is a pattern in the costume section of the Butterick patterns, that shows the sleeve covers. These patterns will be going on sale soon, for $1.99 or 99c. I never buy a commercial pattern for more than that. I do buy speciality patterns made by private companies, like Sensibility or Smoke and Fire, or Wendy's at full price, but they are made of better paper and last much longer.





Sewing hint: Sew neat. As you cut out each piece, fold the pattern and put it away. I keep mine in a large zip lock plastic bag. Dispose of small scraps as you cut. Put larger scraps together and keep neatly near your machine. There is no need to clutter the entire home with a sewing project, if you neaten and clean as you sew. Each project should be small enough to put on a little folded table or tv tray near the sewing machine, or a basket, out of the way. Take a break after completing the cutting out portion of the project, to go to the main parts of the house and pick up clutter and straighten. Keeping surroundings orderly makes the sewing more relaxing.







Observe which sewn garments you tend to wear the most, and use that pattern often. This white one with the antique gathered cotton lace that a sweet friend sent me, seems to be the one I wear the most. It has the under dress; the slip with the sleeves, and it has no ties or waistline. I cannot recommend the slip, enough. Because of the slip with sleeves, the dress rarely needs to be laundered. That slip will prolong the life of all the dresses, and I would suggest you make one of them first, as a try-on model for a dress, from white muslin. That way, if it does not work out exactly as you like, you can still use it for a slip or night gown. The slip and pattern suggestion are on this post http://homeliving.blogspot.com/2009/07/alfred-augustus-glendening-1861-1903.htmlThis is the most comfortable dress, and does not stain easily. As long as it is, even with the added ruffle at the hem, it never touches the ground.




Do not duplicate photos anywhere. Copyright Lydia Sherman. All rights reserved





Do not duplicate these privately owned photos or place anywhere else on the web.



I have been reaching for this dress more than any other. It is made from Quilters Keepsake cotton; a flocked print with white hearts. Because the garment is fairly loose, it does not seem to wrinkle, and I have not had to iron it, so far. The under dress, or slip that I made to go with it, helps it to fit well.



I will be making more of these with different kinds of sleeves and necklines. I wore this dress to shop, to tea, and for a walk on the beach. I am enjoying the pattern, and would like to try different colors, sleeves and trims. This Keepsake Quilters flocked white fabric also can be dyed in whatever shade you like. Here I have tried a piece of it with a light rose fabric dye. It makes the print appear more distinctly.

Some viewers have inquired about lotions and creams for the face and hands. I recently sampled a product from a family business and would like to recommend it. I especially liked the spice scented hand lotion...mmmm. It smelled like cinnamon. It contains no mineral oils, no parabens, and no petroleum products. To order, go to http://www.countrylotions.com/ I also have used other products and scents from this line, to great satisfaction.



This is an "anonymous only" blog, so please do not post your identity or your blog name. It protects your privacy and eliminates online identity theft.





32 comments:

Anonymous said...

those sleeve covers are really interesting, worth some research:) Thanks for your art posts! I really enjoy looking at them, as I would not take the time otherwise to search them out :)

Anonymous said...

This painting is very pretty. As I am of Italian heritage, I appreciate it even more.

Anonymous said...

A photo could not have captured the play of light and shadow any better.

Anonymous said...

Lady Lydia,

I am so glad for these post they are very inspiring.I have not yet attempted to sew a dress.But you are getting me inspired to do so.
In your post I can't see the slip you are speaking about do you have a link for what it looks like. That sounds like a great idea. I often will not get to re-wear something because I have perspired in it and an under dress and or shirt and slip sounds ideal.

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

I will post the live link to the slip, on the article.

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

The slip with sleeve was worn usually under blouses and dresses clear up until the 20th century designers changed all that. It is a pity, because it turns out they knew what they were doing. It is the most comfortable thing and a great way to save the outer garment. Of course, one could get tired of a dress and not care if the under arms were stained or if an oder stuck to it...however, with home sewn dresses, you can alter them and dye them and do other things to them. After they are worn out you can use them for aprons or just wear them to do yardwork. IT is worth preserving them, if you have worked hard to create them.

Anonymous said...

I live in the hot, steamy South, so I think I would find wearing slips (or anything like it) too hot, especially at this time of my life (hot flashes and such) I am originally from the North, so find these temps hard to deal with anyway. However, your sewing posts have inspired me so much. My husband bought me a sewing machine not long ago and I have just finished my 2nd skirt. I can't say how happy I am to be able to choose my own lovely fabrics and know that the garment is well constructed (and much less expensive!) than store bought. The skirts I had been buying of late often needed mending almost as soon as I laundered them! I am like a child in a candy store in the fabric shop......I can't wait to start another skirt :o) Keep the sewing stories and photos coming!

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

This slip is 100 percent cotton, thin muslin, and is surprisingly not hot. It does not cling to the body. The dress is loose and so it does not crush the slip into the body. This slip kept me very dry in weather that was 108 degrees. I was very surprised. It did need washing after one wear, but the dress did not. I would suggest you try it once, and make sure the cottons you use for the dress and the slip are thin and not a blend of polyester.

Anonymous said...

Here is a link to another Winterhalter painting: http://forum.alexanderpalace.org/index.php?topic=1629.15
If you scroll down to Reply #25, you can see this beautiful painting at it's German palace location. This was a huge Winterhalter painting I was priveledged to see in person several years ago when it traveled to this country. The painting of the tulle around her is truly breathtaking.
Thank you for all your posts. I thoroughly enjoy your blog & wisdom.

Anonymous said...

I love your ideas, as usual. But I would suggest a different "best practice" for dealing with pattern pieces, especially for beginners. Keep the tissue pinned to the piece until you're ready to use it. That way you can easily identify which piece is which, and you can review what the different marks indicate before taking the tissue off.

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

Oh yes. Good idea. Beginners will need to know the name of the piece they are sewing.

Anonymous said...

You are so right about finding inspiration all around. I can be driving down the road, & get an idea for a color combination just from admiring the way certain plants look next to each other. If I have time, I will sometimes sketch out a sample with colored pencils (I am NOT an artist, by any means....but I enjoy playing with color, & will simply place samples of color side by side). This is as useful for knitting as you have proved it to be for your sewing! :o)

Anonymous said...

I am from the south, as well as being overweight. I switched to cotton, but it didn't help all that much. I realized that I needed to change my underwear to cotton as well. I bought some new bras and took off my polyester slip (I will have to make a cotton one next), and it made every bit of difference in the world this week. I am wearing cotton skirts and shirts, and feel comfortable in the heat. If these things get sweaty they can just be changed during the day to a dry set.

Polyester pantyhose are probably not really healthy for our feminine areas in the heat!

I am the one who has made a lot of dresses in this pattern, modifying as I went. One of the early ones I made had the enormous neck that I just haven't found any way to make work, since the garment was already finished. I couldn't stand to throw it out completely.

I finally had an idea from looking at your daughter's website, that I could just cut off and finish the armholes of the sleeves to make it into a jumper, with a peasant blouse underneath. Now I am thinking of how to make my blouse a "peasant slip" instead, and let the ruffle of it show at the bottom.

I'm also the one who made the pink tiered skirt. My son told me I looked beautiful on Sunday when I wore it, which he has not done since he was a toddler.

He also thought he recognized your picture at the ocean as the cover for an album he had seen on Pandora, on the classical station we listen to. I cannot believe how sweet you look in this dress.

Anonymous said...

This dress, along with the Sense & Sensibility dress, are my favorites! I just love white... This actually reminds me of Anne of Green Gables...
:)

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

I really liked that Winterhauser--is there some way I can use it on my blog if I give the source? I usually take pictures from allposters because of being an affiliate. I dont know how those artists got the filmy look of the soft shawls!

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

You are right about the synthetics and nylon products. They lay on the skin or close to the skin and are not good in hot weather, or if you are of a certain age and getting over heated. I must tell you that a loose dress like the one I showed, eliminates the need for stocking or nylons of any kind, and the cotton under dress was also not close to the body. I used to wonder why women in re-enactments said that the hoop skirts were so cool and comfortable. It was because it held it away from the body and it was not clingy.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, the closest Jo-Ann's fabric store to me is 150 miles away -- at least a 3-hour drive. Another fabric store is 90 miles away!

However, when you recommended quilting cotton, I remembered a quilting store that is only 25 miles from my home, near my doctor's office, so, since I had an appointment today, I dropped in.

Oh, what a delight!!! The beautiful quality cottons, in every print imaginable!!! Some of them on sale for $5 per yard. Beautiful floral prints, one with large tulips on it, and blue-and-white swirly prints like the ocean, and if you like geometrics, they had those too. I couldn't believe the variety, even here in our rural area, and the beauty!

I'll be back to get that tulip print, and will be looking around for nice patterns.

Thanks for the recommendation and inspiration!

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

If you cannot afford the entire 4 or 5 yards for a simple dress, here is what you might do: buy just a half yard of every thing you like and pair it up with cheaper fabric of solid color or check or something coordinating, and make your sleeves, collars, hems, cuffs, bodices, etc. with the quilters fabric.

That all used to be called dress fabric but since women quit making dresses, it would do no good to advertise it as dress fabric. I like one with cherries on it and plan to make a "cherry" dress some day. The quilters store has very high prices but in general is very high quality.

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

greetings to the young lady at Boston University! I am always happy to see students here. I have an educational list that you are welcome to check out. Particularly helpful are these articles: Womens Lib by Taylor Caldwell, Keeper of the Springs by Peter Marshall, The Wife, by Washington Irving, When Queens Ride By. The rest are listed on the side and are well worth reading, including a theme article called "Don't Miss Out on Life." Check out one also called "WHo will your children follow?" and learn about one of the founders of American education, John Dewey. You might also try reading the book "Home Comforts" by Cheryl Mendollsen,and the book "The Benevolence of Manners"--a history of the Victorians, by Linda Lichter. It really opens the eyes.

Anonymous said...

Your dresses look so beautiful! Do you recommend a pattern for a beginner?

Anonymous said...

Your dresses look so beautiful! Do you recommend a pattern for a beginner?

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

Greetings to the young lady working at Fannie Mae visiting today. This week there has been quite a few visits from banks and lending companies. I hope you find something of personal value you here and go away with visions of beauty and color and possibilities for the home.

Anonymous said...

I had a glorious day yesterday. For the first time since I had grandchildren, one granddaughter sat next to me watching me sew. Her job was to put the pins back in the pin cushion. I used to do this with my grandmother. And my daughters with me until I taught them to sew at 4 or 5.

I've been busy sewing many of the dresses you've recommended. Now that I'm traveling, I am loving my dresses/skirts only policy. I'm also doing quite a bit of hand sewing in the car. I've never done much of it but find it very soothing. I carry my current project, pins, needles, and such in a back pack in the trunk.

Thank you for helping me re-discover this lost love of mine.

Anonymous said...

I work outside the home and find great inspiration in your blog. I certainly hope that is the case with your other "visitors". Of course they shouldn't take advantage of their employer by "surfing" the internet when they are supposed to be working. Please know that this working (outside the home) woman really appreciates you.

Jaye

Anonymous said...

I bought a dress pattern today that seems pretty easy. It is Simplicity #5189. I also bought some pretty dark blue fabric to make it. There are no zippers or buttons, just a tie back.

I am going to let you know how it goes making this.

Anonymous said...

I am working on sewing a dress and I thought of something. I noticed awhile back you mentioned possibly making a little "book" out of the comments left here. That seemed like a good idea but I have another you might want to consider.
I think I also recall you saying at one point you gave sewing lessons so that got me thinking.

If you made online sewing tutorials available for a fee, I would certainly be interested. I have basic sewing skills, but that's about it. I think it would be great if you had tutorials showing how to make things like basic dresses, simple aprons, a holiday project to give as a gift, etc. You are already sewing beautiful things. What if you took more pictures as you went along and added some instructions for those who willing to pay to learn more? You already offer so many tips here, you could, for a fee, elaborate for those who are interested. I subscribe to two homemaking sites that do this for a variety of homemaking topics. They offer an overview of a topic, then go more in depth for those who subscribe. One offers single lessons for a fee. Neither provides much in the way of sewing.

This dress segment of your blog has been so helpful and informative for me and you have received such a response here, I am sure I am not alone in thinking I'd pay for more detailed instructions. I don't mean to suggest you do a lot of work you don't want to or anything like that. I am a homemaker and I know how busy one can be. But, maybe you could consider this if you are still thinking of publishing something? Thank you.

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

Thank you for these ideas. I had thought of doing a streaming video on these subjects.

Anonymous said...

Streaming video would be great accept I only have dial-up available and you can't watch video. Unless someone can tell me how to download it faster. :)
Have been enjoying your pictures and have come away with alot of ideas - now just the time to sew, maybe after all the canning is done.

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

I will certainly think through these suggestions and begin a tutorial of some kind. Thank you for your interest!

sarah said...

You are such an example of how to look good, wholesome, and lovely at the life stage of grandmother. I hope to have your same sense of warmth and sweetness when I am your age. :)

Candy-Faith said...

This white dress is my favorite!!!
candy

Candy-Faith said...

So sorry i forgot to make myself anonymous. Its a habit..
Will try to remember next time..

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