Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Norwegian Artist Hans Gude, 1825-1903


To see a slide show of Hans Gude paintings,
go here:

(please view all sites first, before showing young children)
To view more beautiful paintings of Hans Gude, go here:

A biography of the life of Hans Gude can be found here

Many, if not most, of these wonderful painters were sent scurrying into privacy by the trolls and critics of the time, who were bent on and getting rid of realistic painting.

I am certainly glad this artist resisted the attempt to change his style in compliance with the elitist view of the times.

These paintings from the 18th and 19th century are surfacing in auctions. I find it sad that, in many cases, they were not available to the public for a hundred years, so I want to be sure and show them on this blog.

Hans Gude (not to be confused with Hans Dahl, whose paintings I showed at the beginning of this painting-inspired-clothing series) "painted Norwegian scenery in a distinctive and truthful manner."

In our heat wave across the northern hemisphere, these paintings bring a cool feeling. I was particularly noticing the women in the paintings. Some were doing hard, outdoor work, but you could from a distance, still see that they were female.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Colorful Garments Painted by Eugene de Blaas (1815-1894)

This artist enjoyed depicting scenes of fisher women in their vibrant clothing.You can see them mending nets, in the above picture. Being a fisherman's daughter, I am quite familiar with putting out nets, picking nets and mending nets, and these paintings seem so full of life. In all his paintings, including once called "The Catch of the Day," Eugene de Blaas created scenes of action.

A Helping Hand

Eugene de Blaas had Austrian parents. His father , Karl, was also a painter and a teacher at the Academy in Rome and the Academy at Venice. Eugene often used his wife, Paola, as a model for women in the scenes.

The New Suitor

I love this picture, showing the shoes and stockings, and the aprons and different swaths of cloth draped about the women's skirts, as well as the scarves around the bodices of the dresses. The clutter in the house gives a glimpse of life in that era.

The Farewell

In this painting, t looks like the vest or cumber band they wore as a bodice outside the peasant blouse, was of tapestry or a colorful print. This collar is like the one I made for the yellow dress in a previous post in this series. The little shoes you see on the woman are similar to ones on sale right now in various shoe stores. (Wal Mart $5.00-$7.00)
This is the same fabric in a different print, as the black and pink dress on the post before last.This is pattern Its So Easy Simplicity 2901, no zip. I used a longer sleeve. I cut this a bigger size to make it very loose, and I use a length of wide black satin ribbon by Offray from WalMart (9 ft, and it has matching bows and roses),for a tie.

This fabric had matching grosgrain ribbon, so I bought a roll of it and just tied it in my hair over an elastic band. Grosgrain ribbon is a thicker ribbon which is woven with ridges in it. It does not wrinkle and it is great for ties on dresses. I plan to get a narrow grosgrain ribbon of this type and make ties for this dress. You can put ties on, even after you have sewn the dress, and I will try to show you how sometime. You can see the black piping trim on the neckline of the dress, which is 100% cotton. No, I do not streak my hair with chemicals. The lighter color is what we fondly call "farmers streaks," similar to a farmer's tan, where you get sun up to the sleeves and necklines of your clothes.I wanted to show the drape of the skirt here and how much fabric is in it, although, standing, the skirt is quite slimming. The casual flats are on sale now for 5 to 7 dollars at WalMart, and these matched the almost salmon-pink shade of the fabric. This will be worn for best for awhile and then, as it wears out, for every day house work.

After doing a few more casual dresses, I may move on to wedding dresses, childrens clothes, costumes, kitchen decor, home accessories, which you can make from cotton.
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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sensibility Regency Pattern

Summer Loveby Eduard Niczky, German, 1850-1919

(order this poster from Lovely Whatevers)

On the Balcony

by Australian artist, Abbey Altson 1866-1949

Picking Flowers for a Posy

by Charles Haigh-Wood 1856-1927

(order this poster from Lovely Whatevers)

This pattern is available to order here

This gown was made from Jenny Chancey's Sensibility pattern a few years ago, of raw silk and is fully lined with white cotton muslin. It is a more formal dress, worn to re-enactments and historical events.

The clothes displayed in this sewing series were not all made in one year. I made about 4 garments per year. If a person just sewed four dresses a year, they could build up a collection. Naturally, the first year's clothes would wear more, but eventually it could built up to a substantial collection of good clothing.

This field of daisies cotton fabric is something I am looking at for a future sewing project. I even found some daisy shaped buttons on sale for 50c. They are not all the same size, but it does not matter, as I will use them anyway. When you are sewing for yourself, you can do what you want. The piece of co-ordinating green fabric might be a sash or a border on the hem, border on the sleeves, or some other detail.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Paintings With Multi-Generations of Women

Peasant Women Chatting
by Wencelas de Broczic

By Loren Entz
Albertino Palau

Butterick costume pattern

Pink piping matches the pink in the fabric on this dress, made from Its So Easy Its Simplicity number 2901. This dress works well with cotton and has no zipper, and the neckline does not need adjustment.

Jacket made with the above Butterick costume pattern. If you try this, you need to know it runs smaller than normal and so it should be cut in a larger size. I cut it in a 10 but when I do it again I will cut it in a 12 or 14. It is lined in matching pink muslin, but any lightweight cotton will work. I did add sleeves to the dress, from another pattern, so that I could wear the dress without the jacket. The fabric is all cotton and does not need ironing.

Here it is trimmed in matching pink rick-rack.

Hanging dresses with the matching hair bow or belt , makes it much easier to locate these accessories.

I made a very long elastic hair band for this outfit. Satin sash is called "My Moments" by Offray, from the WalMart craft section , with matching satin bows and roses, will wrap around twice like an obi-belt and still have enough to make a big bow in the front. You will have to put loops on the sides of the dress if you want to secure the sash, as satin is slippery. This color matched the pink in the print of the dress. These come in all colors and I hope to get one of each in the colors I like.

Without the satin sash, this garment is nice and loose but still has some shape. I think it would look good on a lot of body types. This is the dress I made to wear to the airport when I went on a trip last year. The sleeves came from an older pattern. Also, the little flats can be purchased at WalMart at the end of the seasons, for as little as $5.00. If your dress only cost you $10-15 to sew, you are more likely to afford the matching shoes.

If you learn to cut costs, such as choosing patterns when they are only 99c, and finding ones that do not require zippers or lots of buttons, you can often squeeze quite a few extra things out of a twenty-dollar bill, such as a hat, or the satin ribbon, and maybe a cute pair of five dollar flats that you just wear to church or a tea party.
Regarding clothing for different age groups, I included the 18th and 19th century paintings to see if there was much difference. I found that although there was a difference in what the little girls wore, the adult women of all ages had similar clothes. The younger women perhaps wore more light colors like white and pink, while it appears that the older women in the paintings had darker clothes. If you look at 19th century photographs of women, you may be able to detect if there was any difference in the clothing between young and old.

For beginner sewing, go here

I wanted to show you one of the latest Martha Pullen Sewing magazines, which is worth buying if you can afford it (they are 10 percent less at Joanns) This issue shows novelty prints for little girls dresses, as well as using fabric yo-yo's and fabric leaves to decorate a dress. I've done this with a quilt but had not thought of doing it to a dress. The little girls dress inside is made with the sparkly cupcake fabric. I'll take a picture of the piece I have and show you. I hope to go on to little girls dresses and pantaloons and then to sewing for the home. I still have a few more dresses I plan to make, and with autumn coming, some very vibrant colors in fabrics. Not all colors look good on everyone, so I would strongly suggest you get ahold of a book called "Color Me Beautiful" by Carole Jackson. It showed a method of taking the bolt of fabric to a mirror in the store and pulling a large piece across your neckline to see if the color brightened or sallowed your skin. You learn this just by practice. What it means is that your skin tone is either blue or yellow, and it does not matter what the skin color is, or your race. Colors of fabrics will brighten your skin or yellow it. Carole had the colors defined into 4 color families: spring, summer, winter and fall. The summers were usually people who looked good in clear colors, on the pastel side, and the winters were clear but brighter and darker. The autumns and springs tended to look better in the colors with more yellows and oranges in them.
I just got this to make a girls dress like the one in the Martha Pullen magazine. This has a glitter on it. It comes with a light purple background, a light green background, and another color.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Light Yellow Cotton Dress

Feeding Doves
by E.K. Johnson 1825-1896

In a Pensive Mood
by Charles Lidderdale, 1831-1895

The fabrics worn by these subjects were probably natural, as opposed to the man-made fabrics (nylon, lycra, spandex, polyester, etc) today. I love the drape of them and the way the artists painted the folds of the skirts.

This is all cotton, a small butterfly print, in yellow. The fabric comes in pink also.

This is a removeable collar I made, and the wide lace cotton was added to the cuffs to make the sleeve longer. The hair band is from matching material.Notice the little elastic piece in the back. This is pattern New Look 6352 again. Just mark the waist line or above it--wherever you want it, and then sew the elastic on the back piece, inside, before you join the side seams. You learn a lot of these techniques from the older patterns from the 80's and early 90's, which had all kinds of details such as peplums and bows and flounces.

It is a gloomy day here, very windy and cold, with no bright light or sun, so yellow is the perfect thing to wear, in my opinion. Why wear gray on a gray day? Here is the dress with the collar removed.
New Look 6352, with added sleeves
In a little while I will make aprons to go over these dresses.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

At the Garden Gate
by Charles Lidderdale 1831-1895

Charles Lidderdale was a British artist who painted women in rural settings.
by Harry Watson 1871-1936 -British

This dress is 100 percent cotton ( of course!) and the colors are available in pink, sky blue, aqua, lime green and lemon. I liked the fabric so much, because it was soft, and I do plan on getting some in every color. I liked this dress so much that I plan to make another one in a different pattern. Shown here is piping on the neckline. Piping was invented to reinforce seams where they would get a lot of wear, but it was also decorative. You can make your own piping using bias strips that enclose string, or you can purchase it.

This is what the sleeves look like

Tied with a satin ribbon

You can get inspiration for choosing cloth and styles, from nature. This was something I liked because the color has the freshness of a blue sky and the pure white of clouds.

When seated, the dress hem is still nice and long. If you are used to wearing jeans and want to try wearing dresses, you will find the longer dresses feel more comfortable. As jeans go down to the ankle, so do the long dresses.
This pattern has a slightly low waist, which is more comfortable. The sleeves come from a different pattern, and it does have a zipper.I cut the neckline into the shape I wanted it.

This is what it looks like full length. It also has the same piping trim on the edge of the hem.
This is the elastic made from the same fabric, to wrap around the hair.

I am not the only one who thinks the fashions perpetrated on other people via the designers, manufacturers and stores, are wacked out and impossible to wear comfortably, not to mention immodest. Check this out

Then, take a look to see what these girls are doing with history lessons and costumes:

I used the first painting as inspiration for the aqua dress that I sewed, here. The pattern no. is New Look 6586. Hints for sewing this: the neckline will be too low so you will have to raise it or alter it to the shape you prefer, as I did in this photo. It does have a zipper. The bodice has to be made looser if you want to wear it for every day, so cut a larger size on the sides and bust line, and you have to add over 10 inches to the hemline. Since you add your own sleeves, you have to move the outer shoulder line in a bit. I chose this pattern because it had a slightly lower waist. You can make any fabric into any pattern and immitate any painting. The key is color and trim. I do prefer the one piece dress shown in previous posts from the New Look Pattern and the Easy pattern mentioned, and the ones coming up are all made from those two patterns.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Beach Scenes


by Michael Peter Ancher

Promenade on the Beach
by Michael Peter Ancher 1849-1927

On the Cliffs
by Arthur Hopkins 1848-1930

by Henry John Yeend King
Beach Scene
by John Gadsby Chapman
The Promenade, Scarborough
by John Syer
The Quay
Painted by Emmanuel Phillips Fox, Australian artist

It is interesting to see the women's clothing on public beaches, before the 20th century. I can understand why an artist would choose them as a theme for a painting.

It is also kind of relieving to the eyes to see women on the beach fully clothed, yet relaxed and enjoying the sun. There were special light weight clothes for this activity, which were less hot than many summer outfits today.

Several people have asked about bathings suits of previous centuries. There are pictures of these on the web and there are patterns you can still get. They looked like a sailor suit with leggings and a skirt. You can also find 19th century photographs of women swimming in these outfits.

If you lack motivation for sewing, here are a few ideas: Spring and Summer are a time to dress in fabrics that reflect the beauty of the season. You can get a lot of ideas for clothing, just by observing what is going on during the season, and creating clothing to go with an activity. For example, you make a special outfit to wear to the sea shore, by using the fabrics available with tiny prints or colors of the beach. A rose garden can give you ideas for fabrics and colors of flowers, and having friends over for tea or a visit, can inspire you to make something for the occasion. Sometimes you can get fabrics with tea cups on them, or, you can create a costume. Someone who had hosted a lunch for some friends, made her table cloth and place mats, and then made an apron for herself of the same fabric. Her dress matched the setting she had created with her dishes and table cloth.

If you have never sewn, start with a table napkin or some small thing that is easy.

Below is a detail of the collar on a dress made of flocked muslin. It is gathered in the center and secured with a cameo button, which you can get in the button section of any fabric store.

The dress is made from a pattern similar to New Look #6352. Narrow-shouldered women will have to mark the neckline closer to the neck. It is easy to add sleeves from another pattern, and ties, to this pattern. You may also have to raise the neckline. If you have large upper arms, use a puff sleeve pattern, as it seems to be a bit more roomy. Make sure you measure around your arm and then measure around the pattern to determine your size. We used to pin the pattern completely together and try on the pattern, before we cut out the dress.
To make the bust large, cut the pattern larger at the bustline. To make shoulders narrow, cut the pattern smaller on armholes and shoulder tops.

(This has not been ironed yet. I was anxious to get it on the dress form for a photo)

I lengthened the hem by adding a piece of battenburg lace curtain that I had saved.

This is shown at the beach, with an easy shawl, that I hope to do a tutorial on, so that you can make one yourself.

On this trial run at wearing the dress outside,I did find out that the collar should be tacked down in front and at the sides.

hint: If you are using a cotton fabric you want to iron with a hot iron, you should try to use cotton trims. Synthetic collars and cuffs and other insets will melt under a hot iron.

If you are not used to sewing, do not plunge in headlong. Just sew something small and simple so that you can have a quick success. Do not choose patterns that are complicated. Just find one with a front and a back and no zipper. Look at the fabric suggestions on the back of the envelope. If you aren't an experienced seamstress, you will do better using cotton. Also, cotton does not dull the scissors or pins or needles as fast as synthetics do.

If your daughters want to sew, encourage them to keep a record or album of their dresses. As they grow up and get rid of things, it is always nice to have a photo if they want to make one like it in the future.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Inspirational Sewing

"At the Stile"
by Henry John Yeend King

Henry John Yeend King was a British Victorian artist, who painted young farm women doing their chores, or just enjoying the beauty of the country. His daughter, Lilian, also became an artist. To view more of the absolutely wonderful paintings, (even more beautiful than the scene above) go here Note throughout all these paintings, the aprons the women wore. Also, women are so worried about appearing "dowdy," but these paintings do not show magnificent clothing, just feminine clothing--skirts and dresses. Some of the clothes are not especially bright or attractive, yet the over all effect of the dress does its work. Today's fashions of jeans and tee shirts dont hold a candle to the women's clothing--even the worst, poorest women's clothing, of the past.

I call this my butterfly dress, which I sewed a few years ago. Click on the picture for a larger view. It is made of 100 percent cotton, and has a glitter sheen on it, which does not wash out. For a bit of whimsy, I added these butterfly buttons on the bodice. There are holes on the sides of the buttons to sew through, so that they lie flat, as opposed to buttons with a shank. A shank is an added piece that is useful in some garments, but uncomfortable in others. The neckline of this dress is one that I made up, myself, by cutting a shape on the fold of the fabric, just above the neckline on the pattern. This is where a knowledge of folding paper and cutting shapes, really comes in handy.

The sleeve has a pleated tuck in it. You make it before you hem the sleeve. All my sleeves and hems are machined sewn, and are done by ironing one-fourth of an inch down, twice. This fabric comes with a pink background, a light blue back ground, a green back ground and a lavender back ground. It is an all-over print that does not go just "one way" so there is no danger of getting the butterflies upside-down.

The skirt is circular, but when wearing, it hangs straight. This kind of style and fabric certainly will not suit everyone, but the idea is just to find out what you like and what looks nice on you and what inspires you and makes you happy when you wear it.

I think womens clothing should be fun. We are not tied down to a certain kind of uniform, and we do not have to follow the styles and spend our lives in jeans and tee shirts. A really creative person could take the left over fabric and iron it on to interfacing, then cut out some of the whole butterflies, and stitch them together, tying them with ribbon for the neck.

Make a scrunchie to tie up the hair, by cutting a long strip of fabric, sewing the sides together and inserting elastic.
To answer the question as to what I would wear on a homestead: anything pretty! The birds and the flowers are all dressed up, and the beautiful reflections of the sky in the water is not something ordinary. Dressing to reflect the creation gives you a lot of good ideas for creating your own style.
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