Saturday, August 08, 2009

A Quiet Read, by George Goodwin Kilburne

Gathering Primroses by Annie Henniker

A Girl and Roses by August Toulmouche

A Pleasant Afternoon 1880 by Alfred Thomas Bricher

Promenade Park by Alfred Thomas Bricher

Prints of these paintings are available at, of which I am an affiliate.

Portrayed here are a few more artists of the 18th and 19th century and the women's clothing. Since I am sewing up any pink fabric I have, I was interested in the pink garments in these paintings. The artist biographies , dates, names and nationalities will be posted later.

Sewing hints: When you arise in the morning, get dressed as though you are ready for business, fix your hair and put on real shoes. Put a huge container of wonderful stew or soup on the stove and some kind of bread in the oven, as well as a big salad in the fridge. That way, meal times are easier and you can sew, uninterrupted for the day. Clean up the house in the cool of the morning or in the evening before bedtime, and leaves the major part of the day more free for sewing.


Anonymous said...

I've so enjoyed your sewing posts and all the lovely dresses you've made. I just finished New Look 6352 in a bright blue cotton print and finished the neckline with white cotton lace. My husband insists I wear this on our next trip. Thanks to you I've revived my sewing skills and made a summer wardrobe of 3 skirts, 1 cotton slip, a blouse and 2 dresses.
The only trouble I had with 6352 is that the neckline is too low for me. I lifted the shoulder line and used the lace and it took care of the problem.

Anonymous said...

Lydia, go to this link and read this post by Roxanne. Also, click on the word "here" to read another link that she has provided. Great!

Anonymous said...

Great ideas to start your day, Lydia.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lady Lydia,

thank you for your advice. It's a good idea to prepare all the food first in the morning. I will do this tomorrow, since I want to finish my pink linnen dress. Here in Switzerland it's evening now and I'm cleaning an neatening up the house so that I don't have all the mess before me tomorrow morning.
This is especially necessary, because we had visitors today and I've been cooking and cleaning for the whole day.
I'm looking forward to a hopefully more relaxing day tomorrow, where I can do some sewing for my pleasure.
I'm obviously the only one here who prepared real invitations with the tables set before the guests arrive, with dishcloths and everything pretty. I'm apparently also the only one who does the cooking on her own and prepares it beforehand. I realize this, when I see my friends reactions, who seem to be so surprised that everything is prepared and beautiful.

Yes, you need to be organized in order to enjoy a sewing day. Else there won't be any supper on the table nor the house cleaned up.

Looking at your beautiful paintings is always my extra pleasure during my days, like drinking a cup of tea or so. They are so beautiful and inspiring.
For example, I have seen, that a couple of these pink dresses have some black ribbon added, so I intend to do this too.

I wish you a restful evening, dear Lady Lydia.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lady Lydia,
Thank you for all of your posts. They are so inspiring and help me realize that there are other women out there who follow God's plan for women.May God bless you and your family.
On another vein,do you know of any patterns for slips and underwear ? I've looked but haven't found any.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much dearest Lydia for all your wonderful work on this blog! (And to the ladies who comment.)

Maybe some of you might be interested in reading a 50s blog where 50sgal has some encouraging homekeeping insights.

Lydia said...

I agree that black and pink just look smashing together. I also like green and pink.

The 50's year blogspot is GREAT and thanks for showing it!! I remember the 50's women! They wore pants when they had to chop wood or shovel snow but They didn't use them as a sign of their equality or independence. They still loved a beautiful dress! My daisy fabric is sort of a 50's nostalgia look.

No you dont need a dummy for getting the size right. But if you get one , make sure you get a really good one that comes undone in the right places for adjustment to match your size. Maybe others with experience with dress-forms can give some tips on choosing and using one.

I like to use it to get the shoulder and neckline right and the upper part of the chest just below the collar bone, where fabric tends to buckle and lurch forward and fold. But, I sewed for years and years without one.

I agree that New Look pattern has a problem at the neckline. It is too low. I think thinner fabrics, like laundered cottons might work better. Also if you try cutting it on the bias, it might make a difference but I have not yet tried that.

Hope you are enjoying the sewing series.

I sew in snatches here and there, inbetween hanging out the laundry, ironing, cooking and doing all the other things people have to do.It does help to get some major things done ahead of time in anticipation of sewing. It makes it a smoother effort.

Anonymous said...

I have to warn you that a dress form has an eerie presence in the home, especially at night. My husband got up in the night and thought it was a woman standing near the window, the way the moonlight outlined it. I have several of these dress forms and have to keep them hidden or they scare people, even in the daytime.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lady Lydia,

I have enjoyed your blog for a number of years now but have never commented before. I am so encouraged by your posts and read many over and over. Most of my friends, even at church, do not feel the same way I do about homemaking. My mother and grandmothers have all passed away and your articles seem to fill up some of the wisdom I used to receive from them.

I am trying to wear dresses on most occassions and these articles have been a great help and very inspiring. I do have a question. My family spends much of our time at our log cabin in the mountains during the summer. Could you possibly suggest some patterns and fabric that may be suitable for this? I cannot wear dresses all the time there, but with the right ones I believe I could more often.
My 12 and 14 year old daughters are learning also as I dust off my sewing machine and skills.

Thank you again for all your Godly wisdom and encouragement.

Anonymous said...

Like the first commenter here, your recent sewing posts have gotten me back into sewing mode, even to the point where I finally cut that camel hair wool that I've had sitting around forever and ever, and made a skirt that I desperately needed. There is enough left for a jacket, and the Butterick Victorian jacket you showed is going to be what I make of it, so I have a feminine and warm suit.

Tomorrow, I finally cut that white on white fabric with the pattern of flying herons, and make a Mexican dress out of it. My husband is over the moon that I'm sewing again, and wants some vests and ties. This has been great!

Lydia said...

in the 50's we used something called "pique", which was a stiffer fabric that suited rough conditions. We just loved it because it had so many pretty prints that made it more girlish than other heavy fabrics. Denim came in numerous dyes and it was fun to make things with it. I do not know if you can get colored denim anymore, but we used to be a able to get inexpensive canvas shoes the same color as the denim. We also wore blue denim clothes and added pretty trims and bright colored rick rack to them.

Lydia said...

If I get time, I will try to show some of the clothing that seems to work well with outdoor life or more primitive conditions.

Anonymous said...

You give such great encouragement for homemakers today. There seems to be no encouragement or hard to find for those of us who know our true biblical calling.

I love the dresses and am cutting my patterns out to sew some myself. I actually prefer skirts and nice tops. So, I have two questions...

1. How do I put in pockets on the skirts when the pattern doesn't have them?

2. I am trying to replace some of my tops from last year that are quite manish looking(didn't realize it until I came to this blog) and I am trying to replace them with something more feminine. Can you give me any suggestions where I might purchase these things? I am a plus size woman.
3. (Just thought of one) What kind of tops would you wear with denim skirts (do you wear them?) on a daily bases? I only dress in my nicer clothes for special occasions.

Thanks for such great posts!
Anon in KY

Anonymous said...

You wrote - "Clean up the house in the cool of the morning or in the evening before bedtime, and leaves the major part of the day more free for sewing."

I don't sew but I find that just as you said when I do my cleaning in the cool of the morning I am indeed free for the rest of the day to take care of other projects.

Anonymous said...

Kwik- Sew has patterns for all kinds of underthings. They also have a book on how to sew lingerie that includes patterns.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful pictures! Well guess what....I was referred to as June Cleaver today in a round about way! I'm doing it right!! Hope all is well with everyone here! Keep dressing pretty!! ;)

Anonymous said...

To make a half slip I used an elastic waist skirt pattern cut shorter and trimmed bottom with narrow lace. Also used 1/2 inch elastic instead of the the wider type and made a casing.
For a pocket I use a pattern piece from another pattern and have put it in right below the waist on the right side as I am right-handed. I've done this on skirts and dresses with no problem.

Anonymous said...

I read a historical novel a long time ago where the two women (an older sister and a younger sister) stopped into the mercantile and saw the slips in the ready-made section and got so excited over a bit of pink lace trim on one of them. They had to put it back, even though they loved it, because they had limited means.

I love the idea of making simple undergarments that have fun feminine detail, especially because by sewing at home I save a substantial amount of money and can afford that flat lace, even though I'm also of limited means. Putting a little bit of flat lace on the slip is something that no one is going to see, except for you (and maybe your husband) but it just gives me a little thrill to go "all frilly" on the inside where no one can see it. I tend to make my dresses and skirts a little more "modern" feeling so I don't trim them overly much. However, I'm learning that I can get just as much thrill when I put some lace on my hem than on my slip, but whenever I glance it in the mirror or going down the stairs, I smile at myself. It's fun.

As for patterns for underwear, I am using a basic skirt pattern, whichever one I like best or have the fabric for. I try to make my half-slips from a-line cut skirts because I don't want a lot of gathers around my middle, but a slip is really dictated by color and fabric. For mine, I use the cheapest muslin I can find, which is unbleached. I am trimming them with lace or rickrack or just a plain hem. This winter, when I am sitting more in the evening, I will probably try out some new embroidery patterns on them. As for a full-slip, I make a simple top and a-line skirt from one of my patterns, which an elasticated waist and shorter hem. I like to put lace around the collar and hem (if I can afford it) and I rarely put sleeves on them. Nightgowns you don't really need patterns for, but I found a simplicity pattern, number 2731 that I bought when the patterns went on sale for 99 cents. Otherwise, pick a loose fitting dress pattern, buy flannel for winter, cotton for summer and make it up.

Buying the basics in patterns really does give you options. You are not forced to assemble ONLY that pattern for that particular purpose. Use what you have. If you like the gored skirt pattern from a dress you have, try making a skirt out of it (it might need gathers at the waist, but it would be less than a fully gathered skirt). I try not to purchase two patterns that are similar, instead I opt for distinct variations that I can combine the way I see fit.

My "better than basic" starter sewing machine is just about kaput, can anyone give me a good suggestion for an intermediate/advanced machine that will let me quilt too? Thanks!!!

Anonymous said...

For the poster who visits the log cabin in the summers... I have worn exclusively dresses/skirts for the last 5 years. We camp, canoe, work in the garden, and even help with 'farm' chores of helping my husband fell trees or stretch fence ... all in my trusty denim skirts or jumpers. I wear good shoes when I do all this, and possibly an apron if I think to pull it on before I head outside. My skirts are mid-calf, and my dresses usually fall between there and my ankles, so movement is not a problem. I've also made some 'bloomer' pettitpants to wear mostly for warmth,(under my skirts) but a long-time dresses-only friend suggested them for ease of sitting on the floor, or more active duties in a dress. Just like for our little girls! They give extra coverage, and can make you feel a little easier somehow. I hope you have fun in the adventure of beautiful, proficient womanhood!

Anonymous said...

"My "better than basic" starter sewing machine is just about kaput, can anyone give me a good suggestion for an intermediate/advanced machine that will let me quilt too? Thanks!!!"

I love my Janome Memory Craft 5000. I can embroider names on baby blankets (my favorite baby gift to give), there are several different 'fancy' stitches, the buttonhole is very easy to use, you can attach a walking foot for quilting and you can also buy cards with embroidery designs to use in the machine. (I don't own any myself as I have 2 sources I can borrow from......they can be spendy.) I bought it used and it has been worth every dollar spent and more!!! I have no idea about current models and costs, though.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lady Lydia,
I have been reading your blog for quite some time but never commented. I must seem a lurker, but I enjoy looking at the pictures and reading the articles and comments. You have changed the way I look at homemaking and my marriage. As the daughter of a feminist and military wife in a foreign country, I thank you for all you do. As with others, because of this series, I am going to finally teach myself to sew for myself and my daughter. God Bless you and thanks again.

Lydia said...

Greetings to this IP address: in India looking for the following:

"Pictures photos success of combined families India"

I understand that Indian culture is very family oriented.

Lydia said...

Special Greetings to the young lady viewing this blog from Temple University,

the young lady from Broward County Public Schools,

the young lady reading this blog from San Diego State University,

University of Utah, and the lady at

Campbellsville College.

For all of you who are doing research, please look at my article called "Don't Miss Out on Life." Also, a book that is integral to understanding many aspects of the 19th century and what it means to us today, read the book, "The Benevolence of Manners" (or Simple Social Graces) by Linda Lichter. It was written by a woman who set out to prove that before modern feminism, women were "oppressed" but her researched revealed that instead of being oppressed, they were protected and favored and held in high esteem, even though the majority of them were home makers.

Greetings to the young women working at the following banks, who have been viewing my blog during their "breaks"--please remember to study the education section on the side bar of this blog.

Greetings to the ladies at

Wells Fargo
Lehman Brothers
JP Morgan and chase
World Bank

I hate to ask you to use more time from work, where they are so strict about coffee breaks, but when you get a chance, go read the articles on the sidebar. They are an education.Thanks so much for visting, and God Bless.

Anonymous said...

I am glad I bought patterns for undergarments and night clothes years ago. They don't seem to have many in the books anymore. Years ago women used to have such pretty coats and night robes. They had individuality and lots of yardage. When you look at the old catalogs or movies you see such variety. They give you may ideas for your own sewing too.
Slips used to be so beautiful and feminine too. They had insets of lace and maybe embrodery little tucks or satin ribbon shoulder straps. They were more like what today they call heirloom sewing.
When you sew you can make your things special. As you gain talents in your sewing you can change and add things to make your clothes like your would want.
I am glad you have continued this series. I was just thinking I needed a new apron and think I will use some old pretty hankies for the pockets. I am looking forward to your articles later on sewing for the home too. Thankyou again for inspiring me! :)

Lydia said...

Simplicity 5189 is very nice!! I hope to get it also, when it is on sale. Thanks for telling us about this.

I have a huge garden, and there is always something to do that is hard work and active. I enjoy sitting down to sew! I am using up my stash and looking forward to seeing what kind of combinations I can use for other kinds of sewing projects.

If you only sewed 4 garments a year, it would not be stressful and even if you didn't like them much, you would have some things to wear at home. You would be surprised how long home sewn fabrics in cotton last.

I was listening to a friend talk about clothing. She said that women cannot find anything pretty that is not "sexy" --they dont want to look "sexy" so they just end up back in their jeans and the shirts. Some women think that they do not want anyone to tell them what to wear, when it comes to modesty. However, the designers are telling them what to wear. The sale papers tell them what to wear. The "group" at school tells them what to wear. WHen are women going to declare their independence from that group mentality , and design their own clothing? We have been dependent on the clothing in stores, far too long. Clothing used to be home made for the most part and gradually the whole responsibilty was taken away from the home. It is not that women need more to do, but that the women's fashions seem to be the ones that are being attacked by the invasion of the wacky designs, and that is where women need to step in and take back their territory. In families of mostly men and boys, if a woman sews her own dresses, she can lift the load a little for the family budget. If she sews for herself, then she can buy the boys jeans and shirts.

One reason so many young girls are unhappy and have a dull look in their eyes is that they have not been exposed to the wonderful world of fabric and nature. If they are introduced to the delights of fabric, they can spend many hours of contentment at home.