Venetian Life, 1884
by Frank Topham
by Francesco Didoni
One reason that I show the clothing of the Victorian period, was that it was the closest period to our own generation, where men and women dressed so distinctly differently. Differences in male and female clothing could be seen details such as collars, cuffs, buttons, sleeves, waists, hems, pockets, and hats. Such elements always had male and female differences. The womens clothing was most often tailored to fit the woman's body, rather than one-size fits all, or unisex. From a distance, a man was easily distinguishd from a woman. I wish it were true, today.
I found this skirt at Victorian Trading Company catalog, online. It was nearly $80.00, so I searched around to see how I could imitate it for $10.00.
House on the Harbor
by T.C. Chiu
I found the fabric, below, which is cotton flannel. The Victorian Trading Company skirt and this flannel fabric I bought, reflect the colors in this painting of the Victorian house, above.
I draped the fabric on the dressform, to show what I want the skirt to look like. I will make a vest to go with it, and wear it with a white cotton flannel blouse. The fabric is perfect for cooler months, yet cheerful and can be worn at home with an apron. When you want to go out, just remove the apron.
I might use a pattern similar to this Simplicity pattern, View D. If you are a beginner, do not choose a pattern like this. I will try to get time to post a few patterns that just have a front and back, and not a lot of pieces, for beginners.
When choosing a pattern, look at the back under "suggested fabrics" and make sure the garment was designed for WOVENS such as cottons and denims and other natural fabrics. IF you try to sew a cotton fabric , using a pattern made for STRETCH fabrics, you will not have good results.
I chose the paintings, above, to show some of the elements in women's clothing that made them so feminine and opposite of men's clothing.
This is another ensemble at Victorian Trading Company, and this is the pattern I will be using. It is an older pattern that I have had around for years. The vest will be the same fabric as the skirt.
You do not have to have very many skirts and blouses for winter. One or two will do, and you can make all the aprons you like, to put color and mood into the outfit for home.
Do not be influenced by the myths about 18th or 19th century clothing, in example, the false belief that the clothing was not adequate and that the women did not like it. On the contrary, clothing was a top priority for women, and it was very appealing and beautiful. Re-enactors have said that the clothing was a lot more comfortable than modern clothing. If you will scroll through my previous posts on this subject of clothing, you will see quite a few paintings of women with this clothing, which was actually quite casual. In fact, the every day wear was not very fancy. Special occasions, such as parties at home, required more elaborate trims (ruffles and lace) but daily wear was really quite simple: a skirt, an blouse, an apron.
Another myth about Victorian or Colonial clothing and anything before the 20th century, is that women were limited in their activities, while wearing these clothes. The paintings and photographs show that this is simply not true. Women did a lot more than they do today, on the whole, wearing long skirts and dresses. They often had to walk everywhere, and they worked hard in their gardens and their homes. The 20th century progressives spread such myths in order to make the future generations despise the customs and beliefs of the previous generations. What they had to replace it, has sent fashion in a total tizzy. Look around you and see women who, like Eve, have believed the hairdressers and the clothing designers and fallen for just about anything. Like the Emperors New Clothes, people walk around in public in things that pose for clothes. Has anyone ever wanted to tell the truth about the clothing that is worn today? Well, be sure to post anonymously.