Friday, July 22, 2011

Feminine Dress Portrayed by Victorian Artists

by Ernest Walbourne, England, 1872-1927




by Frederick Gad Clement,  Denmark 1867-1933

The artists wife with their two daughters
by Laurets Regner Tuxen. Denmark, 1853-1927


by Michael Ancher,  Denmark  1849-1927

by Paul Fischer,  Denmark,1860-1934



by Eric Henningson, Denmark, 1855-1930


Indoors and outside, the Victorian women wore beautiful clothing. Inspired by their own surroundings, whether it was the seaside or the parlor, the Victorian woman seemed to have a dress that matched the occasion. I have picked some Danish painters to illustrate women wearing dresses, not just out where they will be seen, but in quiet settings like their own gardens or kitchens.


The Victorian Painters Showed What Photographs Did Not
 Have you ever looked at old black and white photographs of the Victorian era and wondered what the women's clothes were really like?  While the cameras of the time did not pick up color, the painters  who lived during that period did, and that unlocks the mystery of the kinds of garments they wore. With their brushes, they recorded for all time the colorful folds of the ladies skirts and the lovely drape of their dresses for us to observe today.

  A few years ago I posted a series on painting-inspired clothing, to show you how it was possible to get ideas from these paintings using today's fabrics and patterns and
make dresses like the ones depicted in the paintings, without making a costume. Just find a simple pattern and make a long dress. I've picked out a few to post here, that are simple to sew and require no zipper. Everyone will have their own preference, as every figure is different, but these are just examples.

Make a Paper Plan for Your Sewing or  Clothing Shopping
For women who really want to dress more beautifully, modestly, and femininely, I've worked up an idea here on paper that might eliminate closet clutter and reduce the confusion of so many choices: make dresses. They are one piece garments that hang neatly on the hanger in the closet and require no decisions to be made about what top matches what skirt. I did include some skirts and blouses on my planning sheet, but they are not mix and match. Of course, everyone has their own needs, and sewing is so flexible, because you can make whatever you need.

 I've chosen some  easy patterns but if you are a beginner I would suggest you find patterns for wovens that have a front piece and a back piece and a sleeve and facing. These which I have chosen require some knowledge of making a princess seam, which has to be eased on the curves.  They way you do that is that you stitch loosely between notches on the curved areas, and pull up the threads so that the piece matches the corresponding piece of the dress. It takes some practice to stitch them together without puckering the seams, but even if they do pucker, it can be quite a nice dress.

A Dress, An Apron, and a Jacket
My formula for dressing femininely at home is to make a dress, an apron and a jacket or blouse. At home, wear a pretty cotton dress with an apron. It covers the dress and protects it while you do various things at home. When you need to go to the grocery store or post office, remove the apron and put on the jacket.  You can have several dresses in different prints and solids, with maybe a white jacket and a black jacket to wear with them. You can have as many aprons as you like to wear during the week, with a special one for Sunday after church. This way, you never have to change your dress. You just change the apron or the jacket according to what you'll be doing.

If you are a knitter, you might consider making a cardigan sweater instead of a jacket.


I've drawn out my ideas here, and have already sewn three of the dresses, changing the necklines for variety. To make a more formal, dressier garment, just add some of the exciting trims that are available these days. There are even some shiny metallic looking braids and trims that you can put on sleeves and necklines, if you like. I prefer piping or leaving the necklines just plain, but you can add a ruffle on the wrist of the sleeve and the neckline, if you like, of the same fabric, or of gathered eyelet.


Feeding the Chickens
by Julien Dupre, French, 1851-1910

Cotton is Easy to Sew, Washes Well, and Gets Softer
Of course, I've picked out 100% cotton for all these things. My favorite cottons are from South Carolina. You can see on the top of the bolt where the fabric is made. Everyone will have their preference of course and it matters most how much you like the print and what it makes you think of when you look at it. I like to think of rose gardens, pretty landscapes and fields of daisies when I'm sewing for summer. These clothes work for winter, too, because they have long sleeved jackets which can be worn with them. Cotton is a natural fibre and it feels nice on the skin. As the garment gets older and thinner it gets softer. Recycle the dress into an apron or other things as it wears out.



A Dress, An Apron and a Jacket is all You Need:
My sketch here will give you an inspiration for your own planning. If you have an apron and a jacket, you do not have to change your dress to a better one when you have to go somewhere or receive company. Just put the apron over the dress for house work, and remove it to put the jacket on for other things.
To print this, click for a larger view and then click "print." I've left one of the aprons white, as I'm making it to wear over a Sunday dress after church. One of the dresses is white, also, with a Swiss dot jacket to wear over it to church.  When the church dress starts to wear out, it will be worn as an every day dress and then I'll replace the more formal dress. With this pattern, you can use a different fabric in the middle, making it look like two garments, as you can see in the aqua and white one on the left of the page.


Pick Out Your Patterns Online, Write Down the Number, and Wait for a 99 cent Sale
Create a planning sheet for your summer or winter sewing, by placing fabric swatches next to sketches of the dresses you want. I've picked out some patterns from Simplicity that go on sale for 99 cents apiece every few weeks. Pick out your pattern on their website, and then when the sales start, you can go to the fabric store with your list of pattern numbers and get them right away.

You might try buying a small piece of the fabrics you like, and bring them home to look at, like you would paint chips, before you decide to buy four yards or more.




I found that the sash, or tie on this dress worked better if it was put in the to back seams or on the side seams, rather than in the front seams as is shown. Also, it is not at the waist, but you can easily place it lower.

Sleeves

Sleeves are really what "makes" the garment, and so I substitute a more puffed sleeve from a costume pattern or an older pattern. You can get costume patterns at the 99c sale.  The modern sleeves have not been anything too desireable, so I always find sleeves from other patterns, which you will see when I post photographs of the sewn dresses and jackets.


This is called a bolero and it is really easy to make, as opposed to the one below it, 4032.



However, this jacket has some very feminine features and differs from the corporate looking blazer because it has a ruffle on the lower edge of one view, and a nice shawl-like collar.
I've sewn this skirt without the fake wrap around piece and it is very easy. You just put one pattern piece on four layers of fabric and cut it out, then joint together matching the notches. The waistband is elastic. This skirt is also very flattering.

I have not made this blouse but I picked it out of the Simplicity pattern book because it was so feminine. It looks like the neckline may need to be adjusted, or else a modesty panel added. Sometimes all you have to do to make a modesty panel is buy a large doily at the Dollar Store and fold it in half and attach it with Velcro, small safety pins, or buttons, inside the blouse.




I have not tried this dress, but it also requires no zipper.

Please note: the photographs below are all privately owned. Please do not place on other message boards or blogs or anywhere on the web. You are welcome to print them out for your notebooks.
Four pretty cotton dresses with neckline variations.  Sleeves are from other patterns.
This one has a matching hair clip:
It is a bow from the same fabric, sewn on to a hair clip that you can buy in a package of 20 from any fabric or craft store. If you buy the extra fabric that the salesperson is supposed to offer you at the end of the bolt, you can make matching purses, scrunchies (a cloth covered rubber band to tie a pony tail), sashes, and even hats. You can also make little fabric clips for your shoes.







The middle one is made of the fabric I was using for beginner sewing projects last year on the blog.
This fabric looks like a pale blue sky with pale peach roses against it. Here are some trims I might use on the sleeve edges or neckline:

In selecting trims, I try to coordinate them with the prints. If the fabric has roses, the trim or buttons can be roses, and if the fabric has a print with some other thing on it, I would buy buttons or trims that were similar.


Hawaiian Traditional Dress is One of the Most Flattering to Women
I linked once to some Hawaiian dresses that I believed suited every figure and size, and I think these patterns are similar to those. You can make them loose by choosing a larger size and then using the tie in the back to pull in the dress a little more if you need it tighter.



See Saw
by Frederick Morgan
1847-1927
Children Look at Their Mama's Pretty Skirts and Dresses
And now I would like to say what I think is important about wearing dresses. If you have children, they see your pretty prints on the dresses. It is in my opinion really dull for a child to look at jeans all day in this world. If you've seen one pair of jeans, you've seen the lot of them.  And, jeans are so unimaginative. They do not come in the pretty cotton prints that you see in skirts and dresses, like on the planning sheet I've shown.  We are not living in such a rough world that jeans are required. Most women live in beautiful homes with conveniences and comforts that even the Victorian women did not have, and yet, they wear jeans, as though they are going to dig ditches all day.

Clothing Has an Effect on the Mood of a Woman.
Wearing a dress can improve your mood, too. There is no denying that women are more nervous, burdened and upset than ever, these days. Part of it I think, is due to the frustration of finding clothing that fits them properly or is modest enough and pretty enough to wear. I've seen women leaving dress shops in tears because the clothing was so awful. There are a number of links you can find where you can order clothes that look nice, if you do not sew.You do not have to wear jeans.

Wearing Dresses Shows Your Respect for Yourself and Your Family
When you dress up, you are telling your husband and children and friends that they are important. You are honoring them by wearing something pretty every day. Making 10 new dresses for yourself every few years is better than buying jeans.  If you are farming, you can shower after your chores and change into a pretty western style farm dress. Calico, gingham and other cottons are very western and durable yet feminine.



Dainty Fares
by Frederick Morgan, 1847-1927

Feminine Dress Creates Memories

Dress for each new day. You do not know if it will be the last. Why not enjoy it in something feminine and pretty?  Life is shorter than you think. Do not allow it to fly by without wearing something nice. Even at home, out in the country, where you think no one sees you, you can boost your enthusiasm quite a bit by dressing in a pretty "dress of the day." There are plenty of seamstresses who have blog sharing to encourage a -dress-a-day. The cotton fabrics are beautiful these days. Seize the time and go for it. Even the smallest occasion with your family, weather it be tea at home or an  excursion somewhere else, warrants wearing a pretty dress, long and modest.


By the Pond
by Ernest Walbourn

A Lot of Men Do Not Think Women Look Good in Jeans
The other thing you might want to consider is that really masculine men prefer women to wear dresses, and like them to wear longer dresses, below the knees, at least.  They say jeans do not look good on women, and will always appreciate a woman in a dress. Designers have stolen every article of men's clothing and made them into women's wear, so that men hardly have anything left that is really theirs anymore. There is so little left for them to be different about. If women would wear dresses, and let men wear the pants, there might be more appreciation for women by men.


Think of the people who lived a hundred years ago. Look at the old photographs and the paintings of the women in their lovely dresses and the men in their masculine clothes and try to imagine what they would all think if they could see the deterioration of feminine clothing through the ages. I'm sure at least the artists would be aghast and wonder what happened to their world.

Even 50 years ago women thought nothing of sewing for their whole family. You might get some inspiration from this article http://my50syear.blogspot.com/2011/07/20-july-1957-she-sews-for-whole-family.html

Young Women Can Get In the Habit of Wearing Long Dresses
Young ladies, summer is too fleeting and youth is too short to go around looking drab and depressing in jeans and tee shirts.  Watch some old movies, where women used to wear dresses and notice the contrast with the women today. You'll see that they walk differently and they talk differently and they behave more masculine today. You need to know that really worthy, manly men do not admire the masculine things in women. They don't like women to dress  or act like smaller versions of men. They want women to be women, to be a contrast to the masculine, and there is nothing more feminine than a long dress.


Older Women Need to Be Examples
Older women in the church: your later years could be spent guiding the younger women into being more womanly and feminine, and less masculine. You might not be able to make anyone listen to you, but you can be sure that young women will look at you in your feminine clothing. Just wearing a long dress will make a big statement for modesty and femininity.  It is a shame that young women dress in jeans and tee shirts and masculine, or immodest clothing, but it is even more shameful for older women to look like men. Just look at a street scene in your own town, or go inside a store where women are shopping and look around. Notice how many of them look like men from the back.  In Victorian times, designers and dressmakers thought the rear end view was as important as the front view, and they designed the clothing to show as much dignity  both ways. Pants today show every inch of a woman's body that ought not to be revealed in public.

Spring Shower
by Kevin Daniel (will provide link soon)


Modest Dresses Give Elderly Women Gracefulness and Dignity.
 Elderly women need to get back to wearing soft skirts that flow gently over their bodies and give some dignity to their appearance.Unless you have had a prolonged illness, there is no need to go around looking like you are a patient.  By the time you have raised your children and taken care of the home for many years, you deserve something better than pants and tee shirts.  As years go by, you will have family albums for your descendants to look at and you need to think of the influence it has on younger people.

 Older women need to inspire younger woman. People complain that the younger women want to wear the popular, immodest styles, but what have older women got for these younger ones to admire and to seek to one day emulate?  Older, Christian women, especially, should not go around in low slung trousers, jeans, shorts, tee shirts, horrid looking shoes, shaved heads or masculine hair styles.  If you have to have short hair, why not start wearing pretty hats?  They are feminine, and they shade your face and make your appearance encouraging to younger women.

Find Out What Conservative Men Really Think About Women's Appearance
For further reading on the opinion on men on women in jeans, read "The Imitation of Man." (Warning: bad language in the comment section of this article.) In this article, he mentions flip-flops. This kind of footwear is dangerous and unhealthy, as it does nothing to protect the feet from possible injury both on the street and in the home.  Women need to think more of themselves and dress in shoes and dresses that they really deserve.  The kind of clothing you wear reflects who you identify yourself with. As one woman commented here recently:  "I decided to quit wearing jeans because I was not sure I wanted to be identify with thousands of people I do not even know." 


Sadly, even the Indian and Pakistani women I admire so much because of their modest and feminine, beautiful traditional saris, are allowing changes in their culture by wearing the tee shirts and jeans. I think they will regret the loss of that part of their culture.  It is going to take a while to get women wearing pretty clothes again, but older women can give the next generation something to aspire to by dressing more like a woman, and less like a man.



A Day on the River
by Frederick Morgan

This dress could be sewn from one of the patterns I posted here, by adding a detachable collar)
Start Small and Plan a More Feminine Wardrobe
Start by drawing out a small selection of feminine clothing for yourself: a dress, an apron and a jacket. Look for something similar to buy, or sew it yourself. Choose shoes to match the dress, and wear it at home. You might notice a change in how you feel at home. Some women I know who wear dresses at home say it makes them feel like they are in a grand house, and they give greater attention to the details of homemaking because they are dressed in a more feminine way.

Dressing like women is more than just trying to please the men in your life. It shows God that you are glad He made you a woman and that you want to reflect His beautiful creation by the clothing that you wear.

Some Victorian costumes made by a friend of mine:

White walking skirt over blouse


Blue Walking Skirt Over Blouse

Pink Gibson shirtwaist

Blue Walking Skirt and Jacket


This apron would work well with any of the everyday dresses I've shown. Each dress cost about $15 dollars, and there was material left over for other things. An apron like this would be a great Sunday apron for wearing in the kitchen after church. That way, you would not have to change your clothes right away.
Thank you Mrs. J.! Your sewing is wonderful!

For those readers inquiring about Hawaiian Dresses,  go here:

68 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lydia,

A thorough and delightful article!! thank you for taking the time to compile the various categories of apparrel presented here.

Important!!

In summer heat and the cool of Winter alike, the right smallclothes make or break the dress/skirt wearing experience regarding comfort, modesty and utility.

Keep up your magnificent ministry to we women all over the world.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you posted what masculine men think of women and the way they dress.
Two or three years ago I started wearing long dresses and skirts. I can tell you there was a drastic change in the way I was treated by men.
While I was wearing jeans, men walked in a store ahead of me and let the door close in my face, men walked past me and sometimes made sexual comments. Sometimes I was even treated like a rival. They didn't think twice about using fowl language in my presence either. This was unnerving. I didn't like being treated like another guy.
When I chose to change my attire to something modest and feminine the men started opening doors for me and letting me walk ahead of them, they were very polite. Men even started tipping their heads and taking their hats off in my presence.
If someone swore in front of me the other guys would get on his case and he'd apologize. I am treated with much kindness, dignity and respect now.
I have a theory that display of modest femininity makes the men feel more masculine.
I believe women need to act like ladies too if they want to be treated like them by men. Nothing throws cold water on a beautiful painting then a mouth full of fowl words or unladylike behavior. Its like a gold ring in a pigs snout.
Thank you again for this post. I'd be interested in hearing from the guys on this one also.
Mrs. J.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lydia,
Your post on the combination of dress, apron and jacket have inspired me to start doing some sewing planning.
I also found that in some of the paintings you showed, the ladies were wearing a type of vest that was more like a corset, sort of laced up the front with a blouse, a skirt and and apron. What are those vests called? They are very feminine. They appear sort of "old country", I like them very much and I noticed there are patterns for them in the costume section of some pattern catalogs. Was this one of those modesty garments or do they serve some other purpose?

LadyLydia said...

they look like vests, and you can find patterns easily. Vests are nice when you do not need a jacket but you want to put something on over the dress. They wore shawls also but I find shawls uncomfortable when you are busy and they fall off. A capelet, jacket or vest is just neater. Vests worn over a dress makes it look like a skirt and blouse.

Alyssa C. said...

Wow! Great, great post. Thanks for the pictures and the thoughts and ideas. You've given me some ideas about how to dress!

Anonymous said...

I have been able to find some very pretty white pintucked blouses this season. I wore one the other evening to go out boating, with a long skirt to cover up my legs completely. The blouse was buttoned right up to the neck and down to the wrists. Everyone else out on the river was in shorts and teeshirts but I was well protected from the mosquitos and my husband later told me he had thought how pretty I looked sat in the boat!

Thank you for returning to this subject and offering further inspiration to us. I shall certainly take notes :) Gill.

Anonymous said...

You mentioned short hair and hats. I have a medical condition that is is not uncommon in women, and it has left my hair thin enough that I look much better with it short. You are right that hats look good, especially in winter. I try to find hats with a brim that frames my face.

Other things that women with short hair can do to look more feminine is not allowing a "razor cut" and choosing a flattering color, if coloring is a good choice. I have highlights in my hair, and while I know they are not for everyone, they make my hair look thicker and more feminine. Making sure the hair is cut long enough to curl a bit and wearing pretty earrings also help. There is a variety of short hairstyles available, and there is no need to adopt a masculine look or attitude if you have to have short hair. In fact, it makes all the other ways a woman can be feminine even more important!

Ginger said...

Once again you've inspired me. I know I keep using that word, but that is the feeling I get with these posts. I haven't worn anything but dresses and skirts for a few years now. Your continued posts on this subject remind me why I get dressed up each day, why I keep my hair long, why I don't want to act like a man. Thank you very much.

Rightthinker said...

What a beautiful post! As a lady who never learned to properly sew, I've been branching out now, on my own!

I thank you so deeply for caring about bringing women home, and helping them to fulfill their blessed and God ordained roles.

I would love to be added to your blog roll, if you are so inclined to.

God Bless, and thank you again, for being a voice of truth!

Anonymous said...

LL,

This was a wonderful post! And I am so tired of flip-flops. First of all most people have ugly feet and second of all flip-flops were intended to protect your feet when getting out of a pool or when you had to use a public shower at camp or something. I don't understand how they became daily footwear. Are we really so lazy that we can't put on real shoes?

Also, I wanted to make you aware that there are some terrible words in the comments of the post you linked to. So you may wish to warn your readers to not read the comments of the article.

Anonymous said...

I like the fact that you show different combinations of accessories to wear with the same dress or skirt and blouse. Can you show more, please.

Also can you show a tutorial of a modesty panel, how to attach them and how to wear them with different outfits?

Thank you, Mrs. J.

Anonymous said...

Lydia,

I did read the comments in the Vox Day blog. I am aware that men's blogs are more blunt than homemakers and so if you are reading the comments there, expect strong language. One thing I did see was that women were jumping all over the place in anger over his flip flop comment. It amazes me, because some women get so offended if you say anything about flip flops (which used to be called thongs)--rubber soles that were indeed designed for the swimming pool area. At the White House a few years ago a group of students were visiting, and the camera recorded the sound of the flip flops going down the hall, and photographs showed every female student wearing them. I think they are unhealthy for the feet,not made of natural products, and unprotective.

Usually when anyone has a high-place in their heart, or let us say a treasure or a god-like attatchment to some object, they will defend it fiercely and get very very offended if you say anything about it. People really do have a high place where jeans, thongs (flip flops) tshirts, short, shaved hair on women, are concerned. The worse thing I ever saw was a woman clan in jeans and flip flops, wearing a tee shirt with a beer ad on it, shaved hair, sitting in a bar at the airport. I cant imagine an artist getting out his brushes to paint the memory for the next generation. What have we got to be proud of in this decade? The quiet house wives and homemakers patiently making beautiful clothes and lovely homes and gardens are the only things that will be of beauty to pass on. Stay with that course, ladies, and may the only high place in your heart be that of the home, home schooling, spiritual songs, sewing lovely modest dresses, decorating, and your lovely crafts and hobbies. I notice that magazines are now seeking pretty blogs to use for publishing . They are finding the best of bloggers to fill their pages. We are changing things just by minding our own business and making a lovely world arond us.

Anonymous said...

I vouch for wearing shoes and not flip-flops. I've had some terrible accidents that could have been avoided by wearing shoes that covered my feet.

To my shame, over the years all the toes on both feet have been broken due to foolish and lazy foot wear. I either stubbed, cut, dropped objects on them or slipped off ladders and fallen on them, to say nothing of stepping on things to injure my feet by going barefoot. You'd think one would learn.
I now wear real shoes and boots to protect my feet all year long. Too early we get old, too late we get smart. (old German proverb)

LadyLydia said...

Ladies,

I do not print all comments, particularly when they want to go in the direction of class, rich, poor, etc.

I dislike all this "money" talk (from Meg in "Little Women")---my article is intented to encourage ALL women to dress more femininely, and to use the old paintings and photographs for inspiration and ideas.

Clothing that is pretty and modest is available for ALL women no matter what their income. Even the poorest women of the Victorian period had CLOTHES on, and a lot more fabric in them than the rich women today. Its a pity. How strange they would look at us walking arond in our shorts and flip flops and halter tops today. At least even the most oppressed and poor women had some pride and dignity and didnt walk around with tattoos all over their arms, wearing as little as possible as though they cannot afford anything modest.

Tea time, pretty fabric, homemaking---it has nothing to do with oppression, richness, poverty. It is for everyone.

Two comments came in mentioning factories. Well, these days, you are better off making your own clothes, as JEANS and flip flops are made by poor women in factories.

I dont know why mere paintings often attract the naysayers who think that they were just fantasies. Look at the painting of the woman with her husband and son sitting on the hill looking over a village. They are not dressed richly. Have you never had the experience of sitting on a shore as a family and looking out to sea? Would not that make a pretty painting? Why then, say that it was not reality, when you see a painting that has a family in travel clothes of the 1800's looking over a village? Will this criticism of the past never stop? Criticise your own era, instead. We have much to be ashamed of: abortion on demand, promotion of strange-flesh relationships, money lenders taking people's hard earned homes because they cannot pay the interest, wars of aggression, women out working instead of minding their own business at home, women untrained in sewing and cooking and homemaking, women not teaching their children at home manners, and modesty, etc.

There were of course, horrid Victorians, such as Darwin, Dewey, Marx, Sanger, and yes, even some artists like Picasso who claimed to hate freedom and love communism.

I am simply pulling out the good side of the Victorian era and showing some things we could use for our learning.

Even the Bible has its bad parts, showing the weaknesses of Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon and others. Are we therefore to reject the teachings and the comparisons because it did not show only the good? It was written for our learning.

And it is wrong to trash the past. we are to seek the old paths where the good walk is, and walk in it, the Bible teaches.

So in showing the beautiful paintings, I'm showing what the black and white photographs really looked like.

Dressing and behaving femininely is not a matter of class or money, and NEVER HAS BEEN.

Anonymous said...

I have old photographs, black and white, from the late Victorian era, of my relatives, male and female, having tea out in the area where their homestead was built. It looked barren, compared to today, and I know they were just getting by, but there they were with their wedding tea cups having tea.

LadyLydia said...

Mrs. J.

Today I hope to include:

How to make a modesty panel with a doily or fabric.

The dresses from this layout that I have finished sewing.

Shoes to wear at home (yes I agree with previous commenter that little short boots are the best--keeps your feet safe from falling objects--even scissors, while sewing, can once in awhile slip off the table and on to your foot! Flip flops are a hazard)

The new hats are called fascinators, and if you cant have long hair, you could always make one of these. they are made with a headband or clip, adding all kinds of interesting millinery (fabric roses, fake pearls, etc) if you are inclined to wear a hat of some kind. If you do have short hair, at least make the rest of your attire as feminine as possible!

Anonymous said...

Lydia,

I imagine in a hundred years people will get out the glossy magazines featuring models, vacation spots and Hollywood stars and say that it was not reality; that it was only reserved for the rich, while everyone else worked in factories.

Well, we have a worse problem today. Those magazines do promote an urealistic lifestsyle for women. Look at Cosmopolitan and even Good Housekeeping, which promote divorce and promote women working, promote the glamorization of women beyond reality. Truly we have a problem today, in that the modern photographs often tell lies. Look at the stars of the movies, always smiling and looking like they have a good time, and yet, they have broken families and failed marriages. We are the most hypocritical in our era. Victorian era had its problems but much progress was made in the way of hospitals and care for orphans and good roads and public sanitation was improved. People fail to realize that they invented the camera and the movies and all the things that our moderns corrupt.

LadyLydia said...

Gill,

That is the kind of thing I am trying to describe here. Create a memory for your family by wearing nice clothes, feminine, long, modest and pretty. That vision of you in the boat with your skirt will remain in the minds of your loved ones.

I too have a family album of photographs of relatives dating back to when the camera was first invented and am proud to see none of the women in shorts or flesh-revealing clothing. They did not look oppressed by their lovely white blouses and long skirts, at all! I think we are more oppressed by modern clothes today. I feel oppressed when I go shopping and see all that junk out there that the designers and manufacturers (where poor women work) are pushing on the public. A lot of the blame goes to what is out there and cheap and easy to buy, and lack of choice. Isnt this a generation of choice? Why then do we have so few choices in clothing and footwear? Elderly women cant find anything decent to wear so they wear pants and tee shirts.It is not the teenager's fault completely, for what they wear, either. It is all out on the rack, easy to buy.

Anonymous said...

Designers and manufacturers of these rags do not show any concience or social responsiblity to life the moral of people and promote dignity and modesty or femininity. They are too busy trying to make women look like young boys.

Women at home make the biggest difference in life. Long after these crazy styles are gone, that woman at home who labored at her sewing machine to provide lovely clothes for her family, will be rewarded in many ways and will have impacted life around her greatly.

LadyLydia said...

Ladies,
some people are having problems getting the printer friendly feature on the side bar to work for this article. Please let me know if you are unable to print this article. I am trying to fix it.

Anonymous said...

I think you are making an excellent point regarding not needing much of an income to dress well or live well as a homemaker.

I spent some time today at my local Goodwill, where I bought a beautiful, sturdy chair and several dresses for my daughter that are good enough to wear to church. I spent less than the cost of one of the dresses new! I used some orange oil on the chair and plan to recover the seat in floral fabric. It already looks like something that sells for a small fortune in antique stores. The dresses are in the wash, and when they come out, I will starch and iron them. Then, they will look like very good outfits that have been carefully worn maybe twice before.

While I was at Goodwill, I found but did not buy many other good things a homemaker could use to brighten her home for very little, such as a Laura Ashley teacup and saucer, a coffee caraf with flowers on it, some milk glass, a sturdy bread box, lace curtains and many pretty framed prints. Anyone who thinks one has to be rich to have nice things for her home or has obviously never been to Goodwill or similiar places.

What homemakers may lack in funds, they have in time. They can fix up antiques, searh thrift stores for bargains, iron their clothes, sew, cook great food and so on. These things can make one look far richer than they really are!

Anonymous said...

I've never posted here before but I enjoyed your post. Just wanted to say that Anna at the "Pleasantview Schoolhouse" blog has a tutorial on adding in a modesty panel that is very thorough. The doily idea is a good one also.

LadyLydia said...

Yes Homemakers are richer in time. We can make things that other people have to buy, because of time restraints. Your comment made me interested in checking out Goodwill again. As trends come and go, some of the nicest things are abandoned at Goodwill and can be had for just a few dollars.

Homemakers have to get used not fitting in with the rest of the world, before they will learn to dress nice. Since everyone wears jeans, it is hard to take the feeling of being odd around others when dressed in a humble cotton dress. You will endure remarks like, "Why are you all dressed up?" or "How can you do anything in a dress?" I posted some paintings of farm women of the Victorian era, painted by the Victorian painters, showing them in a blouse, vest and long skirt. I do not think the long skirt hindered their simple rural activies. Even today, those who have chickens manage to gather the eggs and feed the hens in a denim dress or skirt and boots. There is no shame in wearing a dress. It is just that there is a lot of oppression toward women who want to wear dresses, and they feel it from the attitudes expressed toward them.

Anonymous said...

It should be known that even the Victorian artists thought that bare feet were quite private and sensuous and when they painted them, it was considered quite daring. Feet really are private and I do not know why everyone needs to see everyone's toes and knarled, wrinkled heels. In some countries, you cannot enter unless you have your toes and heels covered with proper shoes. I've been through too many foot injuries to endorse even sandals or open-toed shoes of any kind. I enter my kitchen in flats that have both heels and toes covered, or boots.

I think many women believe there is so little hard work to do, that they do not even need decent shoes. They probably think putting a pizza in the microwave does not require an apron or a dress or shoes. If that is the way they live most of the time, they are not really being serious about homemaking. A serious minded homemaker should dress the part, be feminine, wear long dress with an apron, and good shoes that will protect the feet from hot water spills, dropped silverward, broken glass, etc. Even if most of the time it is safe to be barefoot or wear flip flops in the house, there will be one time that there will be an accident, whether you inadvertently open a door onto your bare toes, or step on rocks outside. To go around the way women do today shows they think they are on perpetual vacation, and perhaps have maids around to do all their work. If you do not have a maid, you need dress well for the home and not hang around in shorts, tee shirts, bare or flip-flopped feet.

LadyLydia said...

I will try to post the link about making a modesty panel in the article. Thanks for letting me know. I will also include some other versions of it.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
I would say the staged photographs for today's magazines and the air-brushed photography for popular models and actresses are indeed superficial and not representative of real life today. However i do think the artists you portray here have simply captured some very ordinary things: a woman serving coffee in her humble house, a woman feeding her chickens, a woman taking a walk outside, a woman sitting on a bench in a rose garden. That could ALL be done today. It is not unreality. It is possible. I sometimes think every time someone posts a cup of tea or a bouquet of flowers, that critics are waiting in the wings to say "Don't you know that these are only privileges for the new rich? For those who do not have to slave away in factories?" Even in the factories in northern England, people took tea breaks, and the women did not wear the slut-wear of today. What we have today is unreal, as they try to live in a fantasy world, dressing like television stars instead of every day women in normal clothes.If anyone is living in a fantasy world, it is the modern feminist who insists that you cannot wear a long dress or have a cup of tea unless you are upper class. Totally untrue. In fact, it is poorer among us that are reviving these niceties. It allows them some luxury and ease for very little effort and cost. Tea rooms are all over the US now, and everyone is out and about going to visit them. Long dresses are becoming more prevalent and women are wearing them. Does that mean they are privileged or something? I think not, especially in this day and age when class or money is not really the issue: it is modesty and femininity.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your choice of Danish painters tremendously, as my mother was Danish, born in Denmark in 1914, and came across the ocean in a ship in 1923, coming through Ellis Island. Her mother was 40 at the time. We have NO photographs of my mother or her family prior to that time and very few after that, so the paintings of this era are especially delightful to me! Thank you so much!

LadyLydia said...

I plan to feature Danish artists on Lovely Whatevers.

Anonymous said...

I get so discouraged with my sewing. I love dresses that are long and flowing. I only have one though. Flowing long skirts are easier to find and it's easier to "nurse" a baby with a loose fitting top than with a dress. Still, I wish you were closer so you could help me with sewing.

Anonymous said...

I want to thank you for the beautiful artwork that you share on your blog, I used one to make a new blog header for my blog. (o:

Anonymous said...

Lady Lydia,

I have been reading your blog for awhile now, and you have inspired me to dress more feminine. I have even sewn some long floral skirts, with a seven inch flounce, they are such fun to wear.

I think that there is only one lady in my town who wears skirts all the time, and I'm trying to be the second.

Please keep writing all your wonderful posts, I check here many time a day.

Nicki

Anonymous said...

Lydia,
I too find myself feeling a little out of place at times wearing dresses...however, to fit in to the current culture robs me of who I am trying to become in Christ. It is so encouraging to hear all these ladies staying by their convictions. What a blessing you all are. Lydia, I am very encouraged by your wardrobe plan. If any ladies are like me, sometimes looking at the amount of sewing ahead of me can be daunting. A plan like yours, helps me to break my tasks down into doable projects. Also, for those of you who do not own a sewing machine, do not let the thought of hand sewing put you off. After my sewing machine went on the blink, I have found hand sewing more enjoyable and really more easier. I can sew almost anywhere, whereas before I would wait to sew until I had time to pull my machine out on the dining table and then worry about putting away in time for dinner. Also, I found that the dress I made had a more pleasing drape to it . . . maybe because the stitches weren't quite as tight as a machine. Nonetheless, the dress is holding up wonderfully and has extraordinary appeal!

Anonymous said...

The painting with the skirt and blouse with a vest remind me of a farm museum with a guide dressed in that style. She wore a vest and skirt over a white "blouse" but the blouse was very long. She said at night the vest and skirt would be removed and the long blouse would become the nightgown. Double duty clothing. :-)

Anonymous said...

I have found some really feminine blouses, tops, jackets and lace collars in the thrift stores for $3-$4 each,over the past two years. I also found lots of rayon dresses that are mid-calf length, soft and comfortable for summer.
I wear these every day over A-line long skirts that I sew and they are very comfortable as the air flows around them nicely.
They look feminine, are modest and can be dressed up with accessories for special occasions.
An apron worn over them protects them from dirt and water splashes while doing house work and gardening.

There is really no good excuse to wear clothes that are not feminine or modest. I notice that people are lots more friendly and social when they don't feel intimidated by a woman wearing immodest clothing.
Mrs.J

LadyLydia said...

It worked out beautifully as a blog header and I hope others will go look at it. I tried to use that one once, but had a problem with its largeness. I have a new one coming up that I like a lot that hopefully no one has yet seen. Go see more paintings at www.lovelywhatevers.blogspot.com

LadyLydia said...

Michelle, be sure to give some kind of credit to the artist or state who painted it. He is still living ;-) you might be able to use paint and put the title and artists name right on the picture, or under it.

Anonymous said...

Lydia,
Your sewing is wonderful too. A dress a day, wow!
I love your new dresses. They are feminine, bright and pretty. Very practical too because it looks like they would launder well and dry fast with little or no pressing if hung to drip dry.

Just love all the great ideas and thoughts you bring out in this blog. Keep up the good work.

Mrs. J.

Anonymous said...

I read the men's opinions of women in jeans. I agree that the women do not look good in them. The rear end is the largest part of a woman's body and jeans make them look larger. What is so terribly difficult about wearing a long dress or skirt? Women act like it is just going to kill them if they wear a dress.

Anonymous said...

Thanks LL, I put the artist's name on the painting as well as a link in my sidebar. I couldn't remember what the name of the painting was, do you know the name of it?

LadyLydia said...

Michele, as no one seems to have published the name of that painting, maybe you could just write, "Painting by Alan R. Banks" He has paintings on display at Rehs Gallery and at art renewal center, both online. I didnt see this one on any of those collections.

Anonymous said...

To readers/commenters who believe only the moneyed classes dressed with dignity in times past, artists of the 18th, 19th and pre WWI 20th centuries depicted everyone from fisherwomen to peasant farmers in attire that was at once practical yet modest and feminine. Even photographs of match producers in 19th century england portray the woman workers dressed neatly and with dignity. go through any family photographic history where material has survived from this era, and one will quickly learn that even those far from being considered wealthy attired themselves in a dignified, feminine way.

The blouse, over-bodice, skirt and apron ensemble prevalent from the Nordic countries to Central Europe is commonly known as a 'Dirndal'.

Pick up any encyclopaedia of historical costume/world fashion and the myths swallowed by the liberal 'college class' will be seen for what they are; myths.

To get educated, read

Illustrated Encyclopedia of World Costume by Doreen Yarwood (Dover Books

Costume and Fashion; a Concise History, James Laver,

Costume; 1066 to the Present, John Peacock

Anatomy of Costume, robert Selbie.

Patterns for Theatrical Costume, Katherine Strand Holkeboer.

This is good for ideas and gives a thorough overview of mens and womens clothing from ancient to WWI, over and undergarments included for most eras, all pieces to scale. This would be ideal either for the sewer able to transcribe from scale to full-size pattern, or to give ideas that can be modified for contemporary wear.

"Breeches & bustles: an illustrated history of clothes worn in Australia , Elizabeth Scandrett.

Take time to investigate these titles and one will come away with a greater understanding of what we wore pre the 1920's first wave of rebellion and the fact that the Maoist androgyny of the present does not give freedom, but robs us of our God given identity as men and women.

Note to readers; titles penned in the 70's peddle feminist bias and inaccuracies about clothing comfort of the past; have worn full reproduction victorian wear made to spec and if properly fitted, does not cause pain, discomfort or any other mythical side effect; quite the contrary.

Lydia, might you re-issue your article on 'wear of the poor' for want of a more suitable term, to demonstrate to the naysayers the folly they are caught in?


Keep up the good work!

LadyLydia said...

You could get by with one jacket and apron, and make several dresses.

Vests look nice with these dresses. Look at the Simplicity costume section, on the web and see the colonial looking vest, which is like the Julien Dupre painting. Notice that the women could tie the front loosely or close it if they liked. I think these were worn also by the pilgrim women who came to America in the 1600's. There are several paintings depicting them in really colorful vests and skirts, using the textile dyes of the times--deep burgundy and forest green. There costumes were not all black and white as often portrayed, but very colorful.

A dress, an apron and a jacket will make you an indoor-outdoor wardrobe for quite a while. If all you have is that one dress, those two other things--the apron and the jacket, will get you more mileage out of it.

Mrs. Eliot,
One source of misinformation leading to disdain of the Victorian period and their way of life is the museams, where every tour guide is obligated to pay obeience to the hatred of the past, by saying "Of course, what you see here in the paintings is merely an idealized view of the people who really never lived like that."

This will no doubt happen to the photographs of proms, weddings, graduations and tea party get togethers, where everyone is all dressed up and cleaned up. The next generation will say, "Of course these photographs are nothing more than expressions of fantasy lives which never actually existed. In reality these people worked in factories all day and never had the money to dress up like that."

Of course a photographer or a painter or even a realtor will want to show pictures of perfection. They would want to present their very best to the world. Just because they do not show the horrors in life, does not mean they are idealizing it. It just means that they have the sense to show what is good, lovely, and of good report. We have too much "reality" today in the shows and the wacky fashions and hairstyles that are created for shock value.

The Victorians, even the poor ones, would cry at the hatred that this generation has for their existence and their clothing.

LadyLydia said...

Mrs. Eliot,

I found a lot of paintings of women gleaning or keeping their own gardens, which show them fully dressed in the 1800's. Imagine that. Even the poor, oppressed women had sense enough to dress modestly and femininely. They wouldnt have wanted to dress like men. I will post the paintings in a new article soon.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this article! I am 41 and have pretty much worn jeans and shirts my whole life.
5 or 6 years ago I started wanting to change but to break the habit of what I've always worn was tough so I have gone back and forth from jeans to dresses. One thing I have realized is that I can dress my girls in pretty feminine outfits but for me....I have a hard time picking and choosing what matches, what looks good together and coordinating it all. So I really appreciate this and all of the information/encouragement you have given!! I love to sew, however in the past, I have spent all of my time sewing for my girls. I am looking forward to using what you have planned out.

Thank you!!,
Mrs. B

LadyLydia said...

Mrs. B, if you just pick some casual looking calico and do not take the dress making too seriously, you'll find it easier to break through your sewer's block! Just buy some inexpensive calico and cut with carefree abandon a dress. Determine to wear it only at home and you might find the confidence to wear it elsewhere too.

The way jeans became worn in public was this: women were wearing them every day at home for casual wear, to work in the garden, or to clean house. THen when they needed something at the store, they would not bother to change, but go to town the way they were dressed. It can happen the other way, too. Wear dresses each day at home and you will find there is no time to change when you need to go out, so you get used to going to town in your dresses.

Anonymous said...

Mrs. B.,

If you've sewer's block and have been accustomed to a lifetime of jeans wearing, perhaps try denham skirts. Lightweight denham, dark or paler, is durable, practical and can be dressed up or dressed down. a two-pannel elastic skirt (just two pieces of fabric sewn together, an elastic casing at one end and hemm at the other is a good start. (ensure you use very good quality wider band elastic that will serve you well). These skirts are very very easy to make, practical and durable. They're also inexpensive. make a cotton calico slip a couple of inches shorter than the skirt length with a finer elastic to wear underneath, and if your abilities are up to it, make pettipants by either following a pattern or using a baggy short pattern, disguarding buttons, zips etc for a casing waistband with elastic. Honestly, because the slip and p/pant elastic is fine, you won't feel bound or pinched at the waist. Alternatively, wear pre-made undershorts, leggings, bloomers or bikepants beneath your skirt and slip. Keep length between ankle and 3" above ankle; this is practical and not a trip hazard whilst remaining modest when sitting, standing, bending or crouching.

on top, you can wear a pretty t-shirt and overshirt for a more casual look, or skivy and denham jacket for cooler weather, or denham vest (waistcoat) and blouse, three-quarter sleeve T or peasant shirt with underblouse/cammie/high neckline tank in warmer weather (with the overshirt, it doesn't matter if there are no sleeves on the inner layer). AVOID SYNTHETICS!!!! these are nothing but doom in summer!

closed toe sandals keep the feet cool but protected from loss of nails and other nasty injuries, plus are smarter and more serviceable.

In time, you can make additional skirts that match in with your existing shirts and blouses, then go on to dress making.

Hope this helps,

Anonymous said...

I thought THIS LINK might be a help to plus-size ladies who don't sew and are having trouble finding skirts. I love this skirt because it has an adjustable waist, no slits, and an A-line shape. I have it in denim (which is a light-weight denim, not heavy like jeans), white, khaki, and brown.

Anonymous said...

Earlier in the comments, someone noted the polite way in which she was treated by men, when she quit wearing jeans and began to dress more femininely. She said she had doors opened for her and many privileges granted.

Women would get a lot further as far as getting things they want and need from men, if they would do this simple thing: dress and behave like feminine women.

There is no need to push your way through life, or demand your rights, if you behave in a mannerly way and are submissive. Men will move the earth for women like that. No need for women's lib or rights. Just do as the Bible says and you'll have life brought to you.

LadyLydia said...

Thank you so much Michele. Plus size women ought to be especially careful to wear modest dresses instead of pants and jeans.

Mrs. A. Elizabeth Lee designs has nursing and maternity patterns. Maybe someone could sew some for you.

Don and Shelly said...

Lydia, thanks for this post... the info. was great and so were the pics! One of the things you addressed was how men view us and wearing masculine clothing. I can tell you the NOTHING gets my husband's attention than when I'm wearing a skirt! It is do distinctly feminine that he also seems to display more affection for me when I wear them. Perhaps the women of the world aren't being treated like ladies, in part, because they don't look like ladies...?

Shelly
www.hlministries.blogspot.com

LadyLydia said...

To make this formula even more simmple, you just have to wear an apron over the dress at home. Remove it when you need to go somewhere else. There is really no need for a jacket, unless you want to be more dressed up. In summer, especially, just wearing the dress gives you a more formal appearance, and using the apron makes it more casual. All in all, I think the cotton feels really nice and if it stains or gets worn out, it means it is time to make another one.

Anonymous said...

There is a very simple apron pattern that anyone can make, even as a first project. It is the "one yard apron" at the about.com sewing site. It features pockets, but a beginner sewer could even skip those to make it extra simple. The one yard apron can be made in about two hours, and can cost as little as $1.50 if fabric from WalMart is used. Variations that come to mind include using rick-rack on the bottom, using a different color fabric for the ties and pockets, adding appliques. If someone sincerely wanted to follow the formula for dressing that you suggest, which is excellent, they could make a week's worth of aprons with this pattern in a very short amount of time. I have made more complex aprons, including the one I am currently making from a vintage pattern, but the one yard pattern is the perfect pattern, in my opinion. It allows me to make the most of my limited sewing time. I have even made these aprons as gifts.

Anonymous said...

Where do you get 99 cent patterns?

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Lady Lydia.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I am a beginning sewer hoping to improve the prettiness quotient of my wardobe. This article about sewing dresses is exactly the perspective of encouragement and sanity that I needed so much.

Thank you again.

The Lady of the House said...

On a regular basis, Hobby Lobby and Hancock Fabrics will place on sale for 99 cents certain brands of patterns. One time it may be Simplicity, another time it may be McCall's. If you possibly can, wait until they are on sale for 99 cents.

LadyLydia said...

If you sign up to get their ads in the mail, you can find out when the 99c sales occur. It takes a couple of weeks to get the JoAnns brochure in your mail box after you sign up for it. You ask at the check out if they have the form for you to fill out.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reply. It doesn't help me, though. The only Hancocks fabric I know of is 75 miles away.We go there once every few years. Joann's was taken out by natural disaster.
I noticed vogue has a sale online.
Anyone else know of good places to get patterns?
I do buy from yard sales,thrifting,etc.
Thanks.

The Kitchen Witch said...

I have to say I really enjoyed your post. I can tell it was well thought out and well written. I hadn't thought about it before but you are right with a dress apron and jacket you could be ready for anything. I am taking your words to heart and plan to get some things together for sewing this winter. I do have a few questions:

Where do you find your fabric? Do you order it online, I am asking because the only craft store in my area that carries fabric has nothing like you've shown! I would gladly make myself a very nice dress with the simple flowering fabric but the only kind I can find locally is the kind of fabric you would use for drapes or chairs.

Also do you still have the pattern for the last apron you have shown? I have always wanted an apron like that but have yet to find a pattern for it.

LadyLydia said...

If you put a sleeve on the dress, you might not even need a jacket for going out. Just remove the apron.

I think the apron pattern is in the costume section of Simplicity, Butterick, or McCalls. Check online and look at the pattern category of any one of these companies. Then wait for a sale and go get it for 99cents or 1.99.

LadyLydia said...

I know someone who lives out on an island away from any major town. She comes to the city once a year and buys hundreds of dollars worth of fabric. Her friends buy fabric from her when they need to.

Anonymous said...

Goodwill and thrift stores often have patterns for 50 cents or so.

If you have thrift shops (or even sales at the local superstores) you can look for yardage in sheets, skirts, and cotton curtains or table cloths. You would have to be creative and see what you could combine to make a dress (perhaps with a deep contrasting hem, contrasting sleeves or bodice, etc.)

If I lived far away from a fabric shop, I think I would have to make a list and go on a shopping spree next time I was in town:)

Here are some articles about building a sewing stash:
http://www.elizabethlee.com/info/sewingstash.htm

http://www.elizabethlee.com/info/sewingstash2.htm

Anonymous said...

If people know you sew and like fabric, you will never lack for supplies.

Word gets around that you might need fabric, and people will be glad to give you fabric they do not think they will use.

One lady gave me a tub full of flannel fabric. She had been sewing for her childdren and they got older and she forgot about it and it was as good as new when she found it again.

Another woman got too arthritic to sew anymore and she gave me patterns and fabric that she could not use.

Other women buy fabric on sale and then maybe their plans change and they can no longer use it. One woman bought a lot of cotton print fabric to decorate her kitchen with for curtains and accessories. They suddenly had to move away and she could not use it in her next house. She gave it all to me.

If you have friends who sew, they will always give you fabric that they have changed their minds about or didnt have enough of for the project they had in mind, or had too much, etc.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your article with so much inspiration, I love to see how you plan your sewing - I always just write lists but if I have time I will try drawing too.

I have a different challenge at the moment as although I never wear trousers (pants), I mostly wear skirts but recently decided that it was time to sew up some more dresses - I'm fed up with tight waist bands (that was one of my many reasons for quitting trousers) but I have found it difficult to find modest dresses that are suitable for nursing (or pregnancy - we pray God will give us the blessing of another child), I have adapted one dress for nursing discretely and am currently sewing a button front dress which I will add a modest nursing panel under unfortunately the skirt section uses a large amount of fabric - it is something like 1 - 1 1/2 circle I think. I plan to buy a few patterns from Elizabeth Lee patterns - there are a number of modest dresses and all allow modest nursing.

A tip for hot weather is to avoid the need for a slip with thin fabric (where one can often see the silhouette of the persons legs - or worse still their underwear) by sewing a lining into the skirt of the dress itself - the air can circulate so much better and you will stay so cool, it also protects against a cool breeze if you go to the coast.

LadyLydia said...

I will try to show the Elizabeth Lee patterns I like to sew, in a future post. Also you make a good point about waistbands. Then tend to pink or ride up or down, whereas a dress without a too defined waist can be adjusted to whatever is comfortable, by pulling the ties back. I do hope to also show how to make the curved seams on a dress like this, using a contrasting thread so you can see it easily. Also there is a very easy pattern you can get that consists only of front and back, adding the sleeves of your choice. If you add ties to it, it will fit well, and you can raise the neckline, according to one of my post instructions.

Anonymous said...

This is a most helpful article with the pictures, ideas, plans, and encouragement.
I like your idea of simple everyday attire of dress, apron, and a jacket, if needed. Do you also use cotton fabric for Fall and Winter clothing? Have you sewn at all with wool or flannel?
The past few months I've been sewing for our grandchiIdren but I really hope to plan and create an everyday wardrobe for myself with some lovely fabrics and styles. Too often I wear the same outfits and have been feeling a bit on the shabby side.
Thank you for the inspiration~
Lynne

Amy Jo said...

I really enjoyed reading this article! I love wearing dresses and skirts they are cooler and more comfortable, I live in Florida, so it is HOT.

Blessings,
Amy Jo

Mrs. V. said...

Lady Lydia, I just wanted to let you know that the last picture you shared ~ the Victorian styled apron ~ inspired me so much that a friend and I went on a hunt for patterns for this style of apron. My friend is a seamstress and I purchased the pattern for her and will be providing some material and she is going to make me some aprons like the one in the picture. I *love* that style and can't wait to wear the finished product!

LadyLydia said...

in almost all the pattern books there is an apron section with one similar to the photo.