Sunday, October 11, 2009

Texas Women and Their Fashions: 1830-1910

Reading (1865)
by Jerry Barret

The Sewing Class
by Carl Frederick Aagaar1835-1895

Calico Chronicle: Texas Women and Their Fashions,  by Betty J. Mills, is a wonderful history book about the clothing of the Texas homesteading women. Calico was a fine cloth, made from cotton in  Texas. Isolated from most of the world and the fashion designers of the time,  these women made beautiful fashions from their own cloth made in Texas.  People who visited Texas in that era, expected to find women dressed in humble, poor looking clothing, and were impressed to see how elegantly dressed they were, using this colorful cloth.

Those who have read this book have said that it makes you want to sew, and that it inspired them to do more with what they had. 

This calico is called "lily pond."  This is a newer print, but many calicos are reproductions of the prints used by Texas woman in the 1800's. Calico was a common dress fabric. Women used their scraps to make quilts. When their dresses began to wear out, they would alter them by replacing cuffs and collars and piecing various areas. Later, used clothing was used to make rugs and things for the home.

Bathing fashions of the 1800's
 (from Karen's Whimsey Victorian Graphics)


Laura Ashley said...

I love western US fashion. I love the pairing of florals and other natural patterns with demin.

Lydia said...

I always thought Texas was southern. I lived there and so did my forefathers and they referred to it as the south,but now that you mention it, it is part of the western culture of the cowboy and cowgirl and the boots and hats and horses. Denim is wonderful paired with eyelet lace and the calicos.

Anonymous said...

You have the most thought provoking posts. I'm thinking of a cute denim shirtwaist with a longer eyelet underskirt and calico used like bias tape for accents. I'll use some vintage pewter-like buttons.

I put a request in for Inter-Library Loan for the book. I'm not from Texas but from Arixzona with a similar cowboy heritage. My grandfather was forn on the day AZ became a state. My G-grandfather was a rancher in the Phoenix area.

Anonymous said...

The same person getting back to you about copying -

I can highlight, use the edit command at the top, like the other commenter said, and copy to Word now. I cannot left click and copy. No problem for me, just FYI.

Before (month or two ago), when I tried to highlight, and use the edit command, it would allow me to choose "copy". Then I would go to Word, and it would not paste what I had copied from you. That is why I was wondering if it was some block on your website.

Now, since I tried it again, it does paste into Word for me.

I know it sounds like a problem with my computer, but I tried it on some other websites, to make sure, and I didn't have any problem.

So, I do have a way to copy now, thank you for whatever you looked into because of it! I'm not sure if you changed anything, but I am glad to know it works now for me.

LadyLee said...

Dear Mrs Sherman,
Thank you for this blog. I have truly been encouraged, for His glory. I want you to know how helpful your writting have been, to draw my attention to all the beauty God has placed around us. "For the beauty of the earth, for the beauty of the skies, for the love which from our birth over and around us lies, Christ our God, to thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise."
Folliott S. Pierpoint

Gail said...

I imagine it was a nice, breathable fabric for the ladies to wear in the hot, Texas weather.

Lydia said...

The book explained how Texas had been a republic, a country of its own, and described the culture the women created. Some were women who came from better circumstances, and they created a life for their families in hard times.

Lydia said...

In the top painting of the woman in the blue skirt, I like the roominess in the blouse. Most patterns are too tight in the bodice and the sleeves. My next project will be bigger sleeves.

You can use cotton flannel (that they use for pyjamas and nightgowns) for dresses and cotton corduroy and cotton velveteen. All are warm fabrics for winter or outerwear like capes and coats. Coasts are VERY expensive. That is why I have taken to buying fleece and just wrapping it around the dress for outer wear.

I have made a white flannel blouse that was very nice, and I wore it with a vest and skirt made of corduroy. The pinwale cord is thinner and sews easier on the machine. It comes in wonderful colors and prints.

Gail said...

The secret to keeping warm in the winter, at least what works for me, is to wear a hat or something on my head, and to wrap a scarf around my neck. I have done very well with a wool blend sweater and these accessories, even when I am up home for a visit in upstate NY.

Lydia said...

Sometimes people think of the southron states as warm. I lived there for quite awhile, and my parents before me, and found it actually snows in winter. A person does still need some warm clothing. Texas can get some fierce snow storms too. Having your head covered and feet warm and dry are essential to personal warmth in winter.

Joanns has some cordoroy that is quite nice. I will post some here soon.

Anonymous said...

About every 3rd post, I thank you for your example and encouragement, and here I go again. I love this post about Texas women. We've struggled with debt for a long time, and it's very discouraging to me. My husband would like me to put the kids in school and get a job, but I just can't bring myself to do it. Knowing I don't have his full support is frustrating. But, I have to think of my sisters in the past who made a beautiful life with what they had to work with.

Thanks again!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing about winter weight fabrics being used for all winter garments.

I have already been saving and purchasing a selection of winter fabrics such as corduroy, woolens, micro-suede and flannel to start making some winter garments.

I'll be including, a couple dresses, tops, skirts, a few wraps and head coverings.
I sure enjoyed your last post on clothing planning for a year. Funny I seem to remember being taught that in Jr. Highschool. Thanks for jogging my memory again.

Again thank you so much for sharing.

LLMajer said...

This is a wonderful post! I'm a Texan and found this fascinating! Thank you for sharing with us.

Lydia said...

I have a Texas father and a host of Texan relatives. I lived in Texas also and love it very much!! Long live the lone star.