Wednesday, July 15, 2009

"The Pink Rose" by Federico Andreotti (1847-1930)

Federico Andreotti was an Italian painter, who, like Marcus Stone, Edmund Blair Leighton and other painters of the 19th century, chose subject matter of the 16th and 17th centuries.
His picture of roses outlining the neckline of the woman's dress is similar to rose prints that I have seen on cotton chintz.
This was a fabric with different colors of roses that I bought just because I liked it, and it reminded me of a rose garden. I liked the sage green background. The patterns are the same as the skirts and blouse in previous posts, with changes in the neckline. The skirt has a facing, instead of a waistband, and a 7 inch zipper. You can get patterns for skirts with elastic waists, also, and they are a little easier, if you are a beginner.

Here is a close up of the neckline and buttons. To be really creative with a print like this, you could sew on buttons of the different colors of the roses in the print, and maybe even find buttons shaped like roses. When I laid out the patterns, I did not notice that I got all print going the other way,(the rose bouquets are upside down) but I wear it at home, anyway. This is one thing you really have to be careful about when dealing with some kinds of prints. If you make mistakes with your sewing, you can still use them.

Fabric is 100% cotton, and does not need ironing if dryer is used. If line-dried, always needs ironin, however, with prints, wrinkles do not show as badly. This was higher priced at about $4.50 a yard, but it takes an average of 4 yards to make a simple dress or skirt and blouse, using patterns noted in previous posts.
You really do not need a painting to inspire you to make a dress from beautiful fabric. Just check out the roses in your garden, or look at the beautiful meadows. I thought these were a lot like the fabric here. This fabric is also a decorator weight fabric, used for various household things, so it is very sturdy and takes a lot of wear and tear and washings.

You have a lot more choice, and control over the colors and styles of your garment, when you sew, or get someone to sew for you. It is almost a guarantee that you will not see a dress exactly like yours, on anyone else. That makes you an individual, a non-c0nformist, and independent.

If you comment, please click "anonymous" to protect your email and your blog!


Anonymous said...

Oh I have sewn with the pattern going the wrong direction myself more times than I care to admit!
Actually, I didn't notice yours was upside down 'til you pointed it out.( even thought I thought something didn't look quite right.)

I have to say I like my skirts and tops best for nursing, and the mix and match factor- more variety, but fewer items needed.

Another lovely outfit!

Anonymous said...

Lady Lydia,

Thanks for showing these beautiful paintings and the dresses you have made and modeled.


Anonymous said...

Your dresses are magnificent! :)

And that painting.. wow! I didn't even have to read the underlines to see it was an italian painter.. that woman he painted is SO outspokenly italian!

Love the roses... :D

Greetings from the netherlands!

Lydia said...

I rejected several comments that had the blog electronically clickable. Sorry for the inconvenience. Please post again, anonymously! In case you have not been reading from the beginning of the modesty and dressmaking series, I have opened up anonymous comments only. It prevents people from flaming your email or going to your blog and leaving unwanted remarks. It seems that modesty is a very political and emotional subject, and there is a great uproar whenever people publish about it. However, those who favor immodesty do not "own" the subject of modesty, and women everywhere are wanting a change of the public display of flesh. WHen the subject is posted, many trolls and flamers "screech and cast dust into the air," over it publicly. IF you post anonymously, it keeps them away for awhile.

Anonymous said...

Modesty protects a woman much better than immodesty, and for that matter, even a nation. One sign that a nation is nearing communism, is the length of the skirts on women. I personally saw this in a small country. The person who commented on communism and its use of nudity, had it right. Only in free countries, if freedom is not guarded and self restraint practiced, they will allow the unruly to establish the course of events, and the designers are certainly partly accountable for the shameless display of nudity in the west.It is not just a personal danger to everyone who wears these things, it is a national danger.

Anonymous said...

I love this idea of cotton two-piece dresses, Lydia. So comfortable, and good for ease of movement (the whole dress doesn't rise up with you when you lift your arms to do work).

I go to J. C. Penney's for two-piece dresses to wear to church. These are "dressy" dresses, though, made of polyester. I "watch" them (every time I go to the mall, about once a month, I cruise into Penneys to see what is on sale) until I see them come down to $30 or less. I usually pay about $20 for them, plus tax. Originall, they sell for about $80.

The catalog has them, too. They are also slimming and comfortable, as well as nice enough for church.

The cotton ones that you are wearing, however, are never seen in stores. We would have to make them, and I'm thankful that you are showing us how!! These are great, and you look so pretty in them!

Anonymous said...

Very pretty set. My first misadventure in laying out a pattern the wrong way came about when I first cut out a corduroy skirt- the nap wasn't going in the same direction on one piece. To the ladies who live where it is cold- there is very nice fine-wale corduroy available, sometimes in prints too. Or you can use a nice lightweight wool for skirts- with a petticoat underneath, it won't require frequent cleaning. Off to work on the new dresses I'm sewing! :)

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy these posts about feminine clothing!

I have a question though, and I'd like to get the thoughts of some of the ladies out there. Do you think all sleeveless dresses are imodest? If there is good coverage around the arm (no bra peeking out), high on the neck, long length would it be modest? I think it would be ok for casual summer days, but not for church or a dressy occasion. What are your thoughts?

Anonymous said...

Your dresses are so pretty and I am truly inspired by them and your posts in this series. Wish it could go on forever !

Anonymous said...

To the question of sleeveless dresses being immodest - I don't think they are immodest but then I do not embrace modesty for religious reasons. I am religious, but modesty for me has always been because I know women look better in modest clothes.

My mother put a lot of importance on behaving like a lady and that included appearance. She even sent me to a finishing school (yes, I know!) where we were taught how to wear clothes and concepts like the difference between fitted and tight. We never heard the word "sexy" but we did hear "ladyike" and "well fitted."

Now I live in the Arizonan desert and wear loose cotton and linen dresses that have 3/4 sleeves that I make myself from a few different patterns. I also try to remember to wear straw hats because of the sun.

I detest the horrible outfits I see women wear, on the streets, in stores, at schools and esp. at church. Even the poorest people used to appear at church looking quite presentable for Our Lord. Modest clothing, clean and pressed. But now....well you ladies know how bad it is.

Despite my mom's efforts, I have never been stylish and have a poor eye for fashion. My wardrobe consists of the aforementioned dresses which I frequently update. These are good for people like me with no fashion sense as you don't have to put things together, you just reach in the closet and get one. Also, I don't have a lot of money to spend on clothes and wouldn't anyway as the stores have such awful stuff.

This is just one person's experience and viewpoint, of course.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lady Lydia,
Yesterday I was wearing a brightly colored skirt when going into the library. There was a little toddler with his mother and he kept staring at my skirt and wanted to follow me! I think you made the point about children loving bright colors. Althought the library was crowded, there was nobody wearing a skirt or dress and I thought it a shame not to make oneself presentable in public.

Also I wanted to mention that collecting buttons from discarded clothing can yield some very good finds. I've been collecting since my teens and there is always something in the jar I can use.

Anonymous said...

I wore sleeveless dresses for years and struggled with the straps of underwear always showing. I eventually came to realize that sleeveless was immodest, for a number of reasons. If you allow sleeveless, it is only a small step to a sun dress with straps, then a bra top and then a strapless top or dress. I dont think any thing is wrong with little girls wearing sleeveless but I do think adult women or young adult women should not wear them, even if they have "fit and trim" arms. If you dress your little girls in modest clothing from childhood, it is less likely they will feel comfortable in strapless, sleeveless, or shorts or low cut, etc. We wear what we get used to. It took me some time to get used to wearing a long skirt or long dress, because I grew up in jeans.If designers can keep us in jeans from childhood on, we will be their customers (or slaves) forever.

Anonymous said...

A question: Does anyone know why or how the whole legalism issue abounds, when it comes to modesty? It used to be a very understood concept, even to the non-religious.

Anonymous said...

Oh, this one is pretty!

One commenter mentioned petticoats, and that reminded me one thing I learned a year ago (my first summer in dresses and skirts): MOST dresses/skirts NEED a petticoat. I mean really, the most modest dress becomes very immodest in the second you stand against the sun. Very few fabrics are thick enough on their own.

If you wear a petticoat made of cotton/linen it's not that much warmer that you couldn't wear it at summer.

Lydia said...

Go to to the sewing board to find out about sewing a petticoat. Jenny Chancey's Simplicity pattern for slip and stay and modesty insert is number 4052 Simplicity in the historical pattern section. Wait til the Joanns brochure has a 99c sale and get one. There are other historical patterns with good petticoats that you can adapt to the length you want and you can leave off the big lower ruffle to make one for the straighter garments like I have been showing.

A slip protects the clothing from sweat and is a piece of underwear that can be often washed, saving your dress to be washed less. A slip also protects when the dress is thin, from bug bites, sunburn, and weather. Wear a slip UNDER the dress and an apron OVER the dress. Wash the slips and aprons a lot, in hot water, and even bleech them. The dress then, will remain without so much wear an tear and you can wash it gently in cold water.

You can remove the apron before going out or when someone comes to see you, but I would really recommend it for the home. Make several of them from old dresses by cutting the front off and making ties for the back and neckline, or cut out the back neckline and put it over your head. Serge or zig zag edges all around, and you get more mileage out of a worn dress.

Worn dresses of 100 percent cotton can be cut up and used for table napkins or handkerchiefs, pillows and many other things. There is just no waste when you make a dress. Our grandmothers could cut down an unused dress and make a child's dress from it.

Petticoats were no longer promoted because the clingy fabric was cut in such a way as to not accomodate the slip. Wierd shaped short hems also contributed to the demise of the slip.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this series of posts. Like another poster, I was raised in jeans, and always thought of myself as a tomboy. Now in my mid-40's, I have a hard time feeling at home in a dress for everyday. It just doesn't fit my image of myself, I guess. :-( Once I come home from church, I am ready to get out of the dress and into jeans and feel like "me" again... This dress you featured, though, is something I think I could feel at home in. When finances permit, I hope to buy(or make??) some dresses. With no sewing skills, though, I am a bit nervous...and we do not have a sewing machine...has anyone had success with sewing by hand??? Thank you again, Lydia, and I look forward to more posts. This tomboy would like to be more feminine...just having a hard time figuring out how, and frustrated that I feel like a "dork" when wearing a dress!

Anonymous said...

So pretty! It's so neat that you use art and nature to inspire you. I love roses and have a beautiful dress I made years ago. It's pink chintz with large cabbage roses all over. Very hard to find that kind of fabric right now. The dress is too small now, but I might cut it up to make an apron or something for my daughter!

Anonymous said...

In response about sleeveless dresses or tops, I would say that, if you don't know for sure, err on the modest side. If you like sleeveless, wear it in the presence of your husband. When you go out in public, you can put on a light sweater, shrug, or a pretty lacy wrap or shawl. A lady at our church once wore a gorgeous sleeveless dress with a knit poncho over it. The look was summery but very modest. I live in the SE, where it's very hot, so I'm looking at these kinds of ways to stay cool. I, too, was raised in jeans or pants, though, happily, my mother was raised in the South and had some strict views on appropriate dressing. We still dress up for just about everything, though most people don't anymore.

Anonymous said...

To the poster who felt like a "dork" in dresses...I feel the same way often!!! What I have found is this: first, wear shorts (mine are tight workout shorts) under your dress. For me, this gave me the security that I have with pants, as well as avoiding the thigh-rubbing feeling. Next, find something you like. My first skirt was a long khaki twill that I made. It is not the most feminine thing but the more I got used to the sensation of wearing something flowing about my legs, the more I started wanting to branch out into the more "delicate" prints and patterns. Now I am going to be turning that first twill skirt into a great multi-purpose apron to wear over my dresses. It takes time to give yourself the freedom to explore your feminine side. Give yourself permission to feel frilly, even if you feel silly at the same time. Or, just begin to add feminine touches to your current wardrobe. There are a lot of feminine blouses with pretty ruffles or gathers, even the "puffed sleeve" has come back on ladies shirts.

A great resource for the beginning seamstress is Sew What? Skirts! which I bought through Amazon. They walk you through how to measure, what to purchase, and how to sew. I have found lots of great tips and tricks with this book and there are quite a few unique skirts that you can learn to sew from the book. You can find a basic sewing machine pretty inexpensively, especially if you search out ebay and craigslist; learning to sew is just practice, practice, practice. Start with skirts...they are easy and you can find simple blouses to pair with them at the store. Then when you get comfortable with your sewing skills, move into blouses and dresses (sleeves can be tricky). Before you know it, you will have a wonderful skill (and a brand new wardrobe!!!)

As for the questions about sleeveless dresses, I find them immodest, but I still wear tank tops and such AT HOME in the summer because we live in a hot climate in a house with no air conditioning! As soon as I think about going outside, I put on a decent shirt. I also try to prevent my almost five year old daughter from wearing sleeveless clothes as anything but "underwear" which is what she assumes it is now...bedtime wear or underclothing wear. I also have her wearing modesty shorts under her dresses, which are really just leggings that I have cut and hemmed. At her age, she just doesn't understand how to "keep her knees together" :)

Anonymous said...

For the modesty shorts idea for girls, I found a neat resource a year or so ago. I bought 2 for my little girl, and they work wonderfully. The item is called a Skirty, and you can get one from They're $16, which is probably a little pricey for some, but you only really need 2. I wash them and hang them to dry after each use, and they have held up very well.

Anonymous said...

This series is wonderful! I love your hints. My shawl collar dress will be done tonight. Tomorrow I start on my work dresses.

I looked for a few months. My daughter didn't have a machine and wanted one. With no money to spare, it was impossible. We've had great luck buing most of our furniture at estate sales. That's where I got her 1940s Singer in a maple cabinet for $30. You know the kind that still was made very well and is not plastic. It sews like a dream. Keep your eyes open

Anonymous said...

I made a Scottish style kilt out of a length of plaid acrylic material that somebody gave me to cut up for rag rugs. It was too pretty to cut up for a rug, and there was a lot of it, so I got a kilt that I already had out of my closet and used it for an example to make one out of this material.

You don't need a pattern for a kilt -- just another one to look at for an example, like how many pleats to put in and how big the bottom and top front flaps should be. Then make a waist band to sew on, then make button holes and sew on buttons. Hem. Iron in the pleats.

Don't take your existing kilt apart to use for a pattern. This is unnecessary.

I sewed this kilt together, the two side seams, the waistband, buttonholes, and hem, all by hand -- for the lady who wants to know if you can make a garment by hand.

Use a back-stitch, and make the stitches fairly close together. A machine stitch is better and more professional looking, but you can sew a garment together by hand.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE WHAT YOU ARE DOING!!! This is awesome....and catching on. I was in the Goodwill the other day and bought 5-6 pretty articles for $18. That was less than the price of one skirt on sale in a department store. I look for good quality things and I find them! The best part was I went to Walmart today to get a blouse that would match a skirt I found. I paid $11 since I HAD to find one that would work with that. Something or Someone told me to go back to Goodwill. I did and I found a perfect blouse for a dollar! As I was browsing in the Goodwill, I noticed not one, but two ladies dressed in very feminine attire. One lady was a bit on the chubby side and was dressed in a BEAUTIFUL bright red floral 'everyday' dress. That encouraged me even more so since I'm chubby too! No need to wear yucky clothes. She helped me see we are all beautiful when we treat ourselves that way! Thank you all so much for getting this movement going!

Anonymous said...

Dear Mrs. Sherman,

Your dresses are beautiful!

I have found a great way to keep wrinkles at bay when drip drying. I put them in the clothes dryer on hot for 5 minutes for childrens' clothes and 10 minutes for adult. I then hang them after this. Everything comes out looking very presentable.

Anonymous said...

Regarding sleeveless dresses - I can say from the point of view of an observer that most women should avoid them, simply because they are not flattering to any but the most fit and trim. On full-busted women they give an awkward appearance and draw attention to the bust. Even if you think your arms look okay as you see yourself in the mirror, when you're moving around and being seen from behind it's another matter.

I can see using sleeveless garments at home, but I would definitely cover up at least the top half of the upper arm upon going out. Of course, I was raised in a day when a woman with anything but the most perfectly sculpted, trim arms would never so much as consider wearing a sleeveless anything!

Anonymous said...

Dear Lady Lydia,
What is a facing versus a waistband ? I sew but am unfamiliar with that terminology. Thanks.