Saturday, September 05, 2009

Clothing in the Garden

Over the Garden Wall, by Helen Allingham
(England, 1848-1926)
Day Dreaming by Dewey Bates
(American, 1851-1899)

The Fair Gardener , by Arthur Hughes
(British, 1832-1915)
Country Girl Gleans After the Oat Harvest
(c. 1850)
If you will notice the photographs and the paintings of the peasants of the previous centuries, the clothing was not colorful.  There has been some discussion on this blog about today's dull colors marketed to women, in the form of browns and grays and mudied greens that look like army uniforms. 

 The garden clothing of the past had all those "dull" colors--black, brown, faded, etc, yet, you can tell it had a different affect. What was the difference? The length, and the folds in the skirts, created a more graceful look for women.

  The painters were certainly inspired by the look of a woman, surrounded by beautiful scenery, to capture the memory. I dont know if the clothing of today can inspire this kind of art. Yet, these fabrics were not bright colors and were not of any kind of beauty. It is the drape, and the length,  that makes even the darker colors (black, brown,)  womanly and feminine. 
So, if you like browns, and want to change from wearing pants, to skirts and dresses, here is an idea for you.  Just use the same dull colors, but make a long dress or skiert and a pretty top. This is fabric I bought at Joanns, a toile with an aqua background for the blouse or jacket, and the solid brown for the skirt. You can work in the garden and not feel you will be ruining it, as the colors are similar to what you will be working with. The brown fabric and the toile are all 100 % cotton, loosely woven, and tends to be more comfortable than a high thread count, in hot weather or hard work outside. (This just means it is not as high quality as the firmer cotton, but it is generally, in my opinion, more comfortable and not as expensive.)
One of the scenes on the cotton toile.
Here it is in brown. I'll use this piece for a long apron that will protect the bodice and skirt.
 Another scene from the brown toile. An over dress or "jumper" would be nice in this fabric, or it could be used to go with the brown skirt, and worn to work in the garden.
This is the new Thomas Kinkade fabric at Wal Mart.
It is expensive so I bought only a yard, to make an apron, and add some color to the brown dress I will be making. 

It is the longer length of any garment that gives it a soft and flowing look. You can take the same colors and prints, and put it in the shorter and tighter styles and it will not have the same effect at all.

The Young Shepherdess
by Johann Baptise Hoffner,
(German, 1832-1913)
If you will click on the link below and then click on the painting for a larger view, it will show the fabric more closely. The blue apron/skirt that she is wearing on the top of her skirt, looks as though it could be our modern day blue denim fabric, but what a difference it makes to the total appearance and demeanor of a woman when the fabric is loose and flowing and folded in a way that is different than a man's garment. The whole point of some of these "Painting-inspired dressing" posts is to emphasize that women should look different than men in their clothing.  Someone comment before, that the pants were worn under the skirts, and never would a woman wear them as outerwear. What was underwear a hundred years ago, is now outerwear.


Anonymous said...

One of my favorite paintings is "Prairie is my Garden" by Harvey Dunn. It shows a mother pausing outside her sod house in the Dakotas to pick wildflowers. She is dressed simply and looks as if she has worked hard that day but still feminine! Thank you for this awesome series!!!

Anonymous said...

I got some navy blue homespun last night for a work skirt and lighter blue for a work blouse. Now I think I'll make it like the Young Shepherdist. And I I'll go to Joann's and get the brown and brown/white print as well. Thanks for the inspiration.

Since you inspired me to go 100% dresses/skirts, I've learned a few things about keeping warm. We went to Yellowstone and the temps were in the 40s. Burrrr. I like to wear dark colored leggings under my skirts and nightgowns. I'm looking for a good pair of boots. Cold weather will not end my determination to wear dresses this time.

I have a bit of a problem. My husband, the dear man, bought me four dresses for everyday all of the same pattern--different fabrics. I really like them, however they are just a bit too short. Would it be considered modest to make a sort of petty coat with eyelet lace that is a few inches longer than the dress? I thought I might also just add a ruffle but don't think it would look as nice. What do you ladies think?

Anonymous said...

The Thomas Kincade fabric is beautiful! I have not seen any like that. I'll have to check my Wal Mart to see if they carry it. I hope you'll post pictures after you make the dress. I would love to see the toile made up.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I love all of that!

Anonymous said...

I went to the Allposter website and looked up the girl with blue apron.
I believe that fabric looks more like a rough linen possible a homespun fabric.
Linen especially when washed and worn a lot is very soft and hangs with soft folds such as the fabric in the painting. It is made of flax that was grown and used a lot in that time era.
Linen is great fabric for the summer as it's weave is such that it would allow air to circulate about the body. Absorbant also, it is good for toweling, napkins, table clothes, etc.
I have several summer tops made of fine linen. They are the most comfortable garments.

Anonymous said...

Brown and aqua/turquoise are gorgeous together, as are brown and pale pink, cream and even a very pale lavendar or lilac. Earth tones can be so lovely if worn well; I've a chocolate brown cord skirt (to the ankle) just a simple elastic wasted number, and it goes with so much; I've a matching chocolate vest, but also wear with a light caramel, burgundy & chocolate vest (cream blouse) or alternatively my pink vest with matching pink long T.

This also works with my powder blue long sleeve T and chocolate vest.

Same goes for the denham skirt and vest; this matches with virtually everything!!

Keep up the marvellous work - gotta run!! late for church!!!!! :-) :-)

Anonymous said...

Yet again more wonderful ideas. Thank you for taking the time to post. Excellent examples as usual. Love, Linda

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 12:53 PM:

Would it be possible to add just a band of a coordinating color/ pattern to lengthen your dresses?
If that ends up looking to "blocky", you may be able to add some trim over the seam (where the band joins the dress) to help break things up. If you are still wondering about a longer petticoat, do you have something similar to try on under the dresses to see what the effect would look like?(even if its not long, just so you can get an idea) It sounds like a reasonable solution, but may just end up looking like your slip is showing!

Unknown said...

Could you please picture of your dress/skirt/blouse when you are done sewing them up? I'd really like to see them.

Anonymous said...

To the lady, who got the too short skirts from her husband:
I think, a little lace from a petticoat showing under the skirt would be very pretty.
I have a pattern from the eighties, where this effect is achieved deliberately by sewing a petticoat that is longer than the dress.
So go for it!

Lydia said...

It is not so much the color, whether dull or bright, that makes a garment look good on a woman, but the length and the folds of it. A long denim skirt always looks better than a pair of jeans.

The short skirt could be lengthend by adding a ruffle to it of any color. It does not necessarily have to look like a petticoat. An alternative might be to wear a peasant skirt of any color under the shorter skirts. That layered look was really popular in the patterns of the early 90's.

Anonymous said...

That shepherdess painting is beautiful!!!!

Anonymous said...

I am making a skirt at the moment and am adding a ruffle at the hem-line. I think it has a very pretty effect, and somehow finishes some skirts off!


Gail Kellogg Hope said...

You are so right that underwear is worn as outerwear today. This is true for both men and women.
Even in the 1950's, a man would never have dreamed of going to work, factory or office, without wearing pants, a t-shirt, button-down shirt, vest, suit coat & tie. Today they go to high-power meetings in just a button-down and a tie, and walk around in t-shirts.
Women as recently as the 50's wore chemises (slips), bras or corsets (which are comfortable when they fit right), corset covers, tights or bloomers, petticoats, and only then dresses or skirts & blouses.

All these layers seem terribly hot to our modern sensibilities, but in reality they help regulate your body temperature, and natural materials are wonderful for keeping you warm in the cold, and cool when it's hot. I wouldn't try all that with polyester, but cotton, linen and silk are comfortable, beautiful and if you hunt for them, affordable.

And darker or neutral colors can be so incredibly beautiful!

Anonymous said...

I like these observations about darker colors. The dark colors are still more slimming and where I live in the Northeast, no one wears florals in the fall and winter. I don't want to stand out by doing so, either, as wearing a bright floral dress around here from fall onwards would seem like a bid for attention, not modest at all. Today, I am wearing a good long skirt of dark black jersey (tea length)that I got at a boutique and a nice long gray blouse in a light cotton with pintucks and ruffles in the bib that I just got at Target.

One observation about the dark colors if you buy them in the store: you get what you pay for. If you go for a black skirt, go for quality. The dye will fade out very quickly if you go too cheap with the dark colors, including reds and blues. I don't know how that is with purchased fabric, but that is true of ready-made clothes.

Anonymous said...

I love that toile! in fact I just made a corduroy jacket using the toile as the lining. Here are a couple links to pics:
(the buttons are from the La Mode historical line)