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.


Anonymous said...

That's pretty, too! I like the idea of nature colors.

Donalacasa said...

When I first saw the smaller pictures of the dress, honestly I didn't think much of it, but with you modeling it, I thought it was absolutely lovely! Thanks for sharing!


Anonymous said...

Lady Lydia,
I just have to share with you how blessed I am! I am currently away from home, ministering to an elderly parent for a somewhat extended period of time, separated by the distance from my husband, with an extremely active 5yo in tow. Some times, for mental health, I take a break and drive to a nearby town and browse thrift stores (I take other kinds of breaks, too!).

I was glad to be able to catch up on several of your posts on beautiful clothing a couple of days ago, and began looking online at some of the patterns you suggested. I really loved Simplicity 2901 but found that it is indeed out of print, but I was thrilled to be able to purchase it online still for $3.29 including shipping. (Simplicity 5189 is very similar, and available in stores.)Next day, I went to the above mentioned thrift store, and was delighted to find they had four drawers of old patterns for sale for 25 cents each. I searched through all four drawers and pulled out no less than 34 patterns...most from the 80's and early 90's, all of beautiful, feminine, modest dresses, blouses and skirts, several I took just for parts to put on others. I was even more thrilled to learn that the store was having a 35% off sale, so each pattern was 16 cents, I think I got all of them for $5.83!! I had to laugh, as the ladies who checked me out looked at me in astonishment (!) and asked, not once, but three times, "Are you sure you want ALL of these patterns?!" I assured them with a big grin that indeed I did.

You see, many years ago I got rid of almost all of my patterns and fabrics, as I was working full time and "didn't have time to sew."
I think I only had 5 or 6 patterns left. Now, I know that it was no great loss, as most of those patterns would not work for me now, as I am a different person with different values than I had then. Over the past 5-6 years I've pretty much quit buying retail clothing as I hated the current fashions. Thrifting was much more fun, and I found things that were more feminine.

I'm happy to say that I've been "unemployed" for the past year and a half, able to learn at last to be a wife to my husband, homemaker, homeschool our child and care for both of my elderly parents. I still "work", but the pay is much different than the automatic bank draft!! We choose to sacrifice financially in order for me to be home and allow us to live out our higher values, and I can testify that God truly does provide!!

Thank you for the information and encouragement you provide. I am learning a lot from your postings. Some days this is a lonely path, it is always good to connect with kindred spirits!!

Oh, and I learned Hobby Lobby is having 99 cent sale on Simplicity patterns this week! (I stocked up on some I'd been eyeing for a long time but couldn't afford!!) I am so grateful, feeling so blessed.

One last thought (sorry this is so long!) I've been reading "Little Bear" by Else Holmelund Minarik with pictures by Maurice Sendak to my child the past couple of weeks as part of our homeschool curriculum. She loves it, and begs for it daily!! Since reading your posts, I've really noticed the illustrations of Mother Bear's clothing, and they resonate very well with me. Mother Bear has quite a large, um, bear-like figure, but her clothing is beautiful, feminine, modest, elegant. (MUCH better than what is seen on the street!) It made me muse about the illustrations in Peter Rabbit, and Country Mouse and City Mouse as well. Larger figures can be beautiful, modest and feminine too, and I needed to be reminded of that as I don't have the figure I did 25 years ago!!

Thank you for your continued commitment to this ministry. I greatly appreciate it. Please know that you are making a difference--all for His Glory!

Lydia said...

You certainly got a good deal! You can preserve the pieces you like, longer, by ironing them on to interfacing. I believe your patterns are probably for wovens, like cottons, also. The new patterns do not accommodate wovens as much. I see a lot of women buying calicos and cottons for quilting projects but they do not make clothes with them. All these that I have demonstrated are sold as quilters fabrics.

I still think that you end up better off at home, even if you give up a salary. The one problem with working is that you have to trade your time. That means you get caught in a cycle of buying things that you could make yourself, if you only had the time.

Honestly, I wonder if women were busy at home and in the garden, if they would have had time to be discontent.

One reason I have been sewing so furiously is that as I get older, I cannot be sure what will be on the market for a woman at the age of 60 to buy and I dont want to wear what "they" have planned for me--yuck. I also do not know if I will be in good health or have the stamina to make my own clothes, at that age, so I am trying to sew while I can. I do not want to spent my money on expensive clothes. These dresses of cotton average $10 to $12 each. Not using a zip cuts the cost. If you sign up for the Joanns brochure, you can use your 40-50 percent off coupon on one cut of fabric. It is certainly worth it. Also do not ever buy patterns unless they are 99c. It is advertised in the brochure. This week it is Butterick. Go look at the costume pattern section and get a few accessories for fun. Check for the fabric recommendations.

Donalalacasa, thanks so much for the nice compliment. I prefer the dress form--it has a perfect figure ;-)

Lydia said...

If your patterns are from the 80's, I can tell you that they will teach you everything you need to know about parts and how to apply them. They have much better step by step instructions.

Anonymous said...

Lady Lydia,

I just wanted to thank you so much for this series, even this blog in general. I have learned so much over these last few weeks, things that are not even completely related to modest dressing! I am loving this so much...too much! I come to my computer frequently (every HOUR) hoping for a new post or an addition to a post or a new comment to have popped up and every time there has been no change, I murmur to myself...why doesn't she post something new??? at which point the Holy Spirit usually corrects me with she is busy living her life, caring for her family, keeping her home, and sewing beautiful clothes! Get busy!!! Ahh, wonderful correction.

I have been so motivated to make these beautiful dresses from the material that I have on hand, but I am already looking forward to the day when I can buy new fabric (that is more feminine!) so when my husband (forced) me to run an errand this morning, we were also able to run into Hobby Lobby (just to look...). I was searching in the fabric section, which was having a 30% off sale of woven cottons, (unfortunately Hobby Lobby over-prices their fabric and even with the discount, they were still over my budget) and I was already done being inspired by the beautiful prints when I noticed that the Simplicity patterns were 99 cents!!! Be still my heart! I immediately grabbed a scrap paper from my purse and began browsing in earnest for patterns that I have been wanting but have been unable to purchase because of cost. I ended up with 7 patterns; a handbag, nightgown, smock style apron, mother-daughter apron, boys/men dress shirt and pants, girls dress, and a ladies dress for myself. The dress for myself is one of the dress patterns I have wanted since I began sewing, but I thought it would be too difficult. Now that I have improved my sewing skills (and my determination), I purchased it and can't wait to try it out!!! My daughter's dress is one of those "Project Runway" patterns, which I don't normally like, but this pattern had quite a few variations, four different sleeve choices, two bodices, and two pocket patterns that it seemed like a good deal. The dress is a little too short, but that is an easy fix.

Speaking of which, Lady Lydia, do you have any guidelines or advice about dressing daughters, particularly younger girls?

To the commenter about the kids' books: I have loved "Little Bear" books for the same reason. Why is it that plus sized women (of which I am one) feel dowdy and unfeminine in beautiful dresses? Why is it that we think that somehow snug pants and a "structured" top are more flattering? Is it really unflattering to wear a dress? Does the amount of material make one look larger than they really are? Does that even matter? I have been struggling with this issue for over a year now and even though I have lost 30 pounds (hooray), I still feel obese and unfeminine and more dowdy in my clothes than the other people I see or the models on the plus sized pattern. (Incidentally, what's up with having skinny models model the plus size patterns? Duh, we know it's NOT going to look the same on us...why tease us? Why not show the pattern made for a woman of the size intended on the pattern?) At any rate, I enjoy seeing feminine clothes in the books I read to my children.

Anonymous said...

Did you buy this fabric at Joanne's? Once again, your article shows how we can pull of yesterday's fashions today. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the link to the other article on the return of the "grunge" look. I was in college in the early 90's, and I looked grungy then because that was all I could afford to wear at the time. I find it hilarious that now they want to charge $225 for a shirt that looks like exactly what I wore when I had no money. That's what you call "ironic". I think I'll pass...

Lydia said...

Like the painting shows, you can make a shawl out of the same fabric. I find that 2 and a half or 3 yards of 45 inch fabric makes a nice shawl. All you have to do is hem each long end. The selvedges are on the sides and do not need hemming. You can add a length of fringe at each end, purchased or hand made.

Lydia said...

Dressing daughters: use the same fabric and if you do not have enough, reverse the colors by using mostly white and then use the aqua for the collars and sleeves, etc. They love to look like Mama and enjoy having matching dresses.Little girls usually have shorter dresses and short sleeves. As they get bigger, the dresses are supposed to get longer.

Anonymous said...

I feel bad saying "Please keep this up!" because I know how hard it is to carve time out for sewing. But, I can't begin to tell you how much I am enjoying your creations. Your tips on picking out patterns, combining patterns, and using trims are priceless. I feel energized about sewing for myself for the first time in years.
I've always enjoyed sewing pretty little girls dresses - there is almost no problem with the fit. I can see that with the right choice of patterns, I can pretty much eliminate that problem on my dresses, too. I'm going to try one of the patterns you suggested even though I probably would have overlooked this type in the past. Now I think I can look past the picture on the envelope and see beautiful creations in my minds eye. Thank you for awaking my creativity!
I also liked your beach post. Many years ago, I decided that I would just stop swimming on family vacations. We go with all our children and grandchildren and I hated putting on a suit and being a 'good sport'. I bought some gauzy separates and a big hat and have enjoyed sitting on a chaise reading a book or commenting on the exploits of the young ones ever since.

Lydia said...

The one pattern still available on the New Look rack is #6352 and it has no zip, is one piece in front, and one piece in back. Raise the neckline and add a bit on the shoulders if necessary to hide straps, and mark the waistline so you can sew on ties to pull it closer in the back. I will show how to put elastic in the back of these looser dresses if you do not like ties (I dont like them because they tend to dig into the back when seated, and they catch on things and fall into water, etc) but there are ways of making this pattern more fitted by adding tabs on the sides or putting one of those elastic clips in the back. Add your own sleeve, a shawl, your hair accessories.

To the one who bought all the patterns at the thrift --they are more likely to be true to size. I rarely had to adjust a pattern made in the 80's. You have to really watch the Simplicity "runway" patterns, if they are not made for wovens such as cotton,, as they can be frustrating and not match up in certain areas. Use old fabric you do not want, for a trial run, or make a muslin. If it fits, dye the muslin and wear every day.

Lydia said...

The bodice is lined with no iron bleached muslin. It makes the dress much more comfortable and is smoother than a facing.

Anonymous said...

Re: the recent comment about plus-sized women who feel dowdy in today's clothes: I once had a neighbor who was less than 5 feet tall,and was a plus-size. But this lady made all her own clothing, which fit her beautifully. She used large prints, and as I recall, her wardrobe consisted of knee-length shorts(we lived in a warm climate) with shirts to match(the shirts were loose-fitting and designed to hit below the hip. She also made loose-fitting long dresses in beautiful fabrics. And when seeing her, the first thought was, "What beautiful clothing, and how well-put-together she looks!" Her clothing adorned her so well that you never gave a thought to her weight. Thanks, Lydia, for doing your part to give us all more freedom to look our best!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your posts on feminine dress and promoting beauty, Lady Lydia. I, too, have written articles on it and other issues concerning women & men's roles.
Your inspirational posts are appreciated so much, part of the reason why I have started writing these.
Thank you again.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for all the pattern and sewing tips. I've decided to print off your series on modest dressing, including comments, and keep it in a notebook especially for future reference. I may even make copies of favorite pattern envelopes, with other pictures of dresses I like, and keep them in one section, sort of a design journal. This will be good for inspiration, especially when I don't have good internet reception, or just want to sit down with a book and pen and paper.
(I was going to keep it in my home management binder, but I think it has grown to deserve a binder of it's own!!)

I am definately better off being at home full time. I was blessed with motherhood by adoption at 41, and it took almost 4 years for me to get home, so I know of what I speak! My husband LOVES having me at home for so many reasons; my child is much better behaved since out of daycare; I have freedom to help my elders; I am never bored!!
And though we live in the 10% tax bracket, our overall quality of life and satisfaction is far better than it was when I was bringing home a salary.
I never watch TV, I'm always busy learning and doing. I am content. I consider myself blessed among women to be able to make this "change of career" in midlife!! It is an adventure, with much more to come.

To the other "Little Bear" reader:
(You mean there are OTHER Little Bear books?? This is my first one to read...I will definately look for more at the library!) I think it is difficult to be contra-cultural, which is what I see myself as becoming, as well as the kindred spirits here. We are so brainwashed, have been for so long, by the media...
But, like some one said in previous comments, I think you have to make up your mind to "stare down the fashion police" and live according to your own values.
I've made up my mind to be who I am, to live authentically, even if I'm considered "eccentric" by some others, and I expect others to respect my decision. Know what? It works. I find people really do love me for who I am, even if I dress differently than they do. (At the same time, I don't make an issue of how THEY choose to dress, even if I disagree with it. Better to live my values than to preach them. I believe God convicts each of us of different things at different times. He's working on me in the area of dress, ect right now, maybe he's working on another specific area of their life at present, He'll convict them of other things when His timing is right!)
Another thing, knowing your body "type" and what lines work well to flatter you figure makes a huge difference in how you look and feel in whatever you wear. One of the best things I did (before I was convicted to become dresses only) was sign up for a short term at a website called learned some specifics that have changed what I buy and wear, and consequently how I look and feel. I used to be a tall, thin, willowy size 10 (back in the 80's!--sizes are much different now!) and now am chunkier, wear 12-16 depending on the garment. I look best in princess lines, A-line or straight skirts, and v-necks. Jackets and tops must hit me around the top of my hip bones to look right. I love gathered skirts alone and on dresses, but they make me look heavier. (Sometimes I choose to wear them anyway...) You might find it helpful to try something like that.
Or just make it a point to try different designs on at your next trip to a clothing store (thrift stores included--selection is bigger!) with the intent to educate your eye as to what is most flattering for you.

I must say, one thing that still holds me back from sewing a lot of beautiful dresses at present is my desire to lose about 30 pounds and tone up--I don't want to "waste" the time and materials on dresses that might not fit in the future. I like Lydia's idea of making them a bit on the loose side, with ties or elastic--these could still look nice at a different weight, maybe even be taken in/altered when that time comes.

--from the Blessed Thrift Store Pattern Finder :D

Lydia said...

these dots come in a huge array of colors at Joanns and the fabric seems very soft. I always line the bodice with muslin, and sometimes the skirt, as well. I noticed there was purple and red and black and variations of pink and blues and greens.