Monday, May 21, 2012

Victorian Outerwear

Mending Nets
by Eugene De Blass   1815-1894, Italian

With all the 19th century paintings that are surfacing and being shared on the web, I wonder that modern designers don't take a hint. Women love to look at the details of these clothes, with their drape and texture and color. Could not they be modified in designs for modern wear?

The aqua prints on the aqua and blue skirts in the painting look like some of the woven fabrics I've seen lately in the calico and quilting fabric sections of fabric stores.  I also like the red bandanna collar that the woman on the far right is wearing around her shoulders. Eugene De Blass painted this style many times.

A Helping Hand
by Eugene De Blass

 The vests and bandannas are so colorful, and the women's  shoes look quite stylish, even today. It was quite common even in the early 1990's to wear white or black stockings with dresses, and they were also available in pink, red, and other colors.  I know some young women who have developed a personal style using just long skirts which you can buy anywhere today, poets shirts, colorful vests which they sew, with these types of stockings and shoes. 

  I'm hoping to find time to make some sketches to go with these beautiful paintings, using modern patterns. You see the Victorians were not limited by their clothing to stiff, formal indoor events, and in this scene of mending nets, is portrayed a woman knitting, on the left. I'm still curious about their apron over-skirts, and remembered that back in the 1980's there were clothes like this from designers like Lanz of Salzburg, Laura Ashley and others. 

In the Orchard
by Ernest Walbourne,  British, 1872-1927

A Couple Playing Golf,
By M. Humphrey 

Most people immediately comment on the how the length of Victorian skirts "dragged on the ground" and although that may be so, I noticed in this video clip shows women catching trams and their dresses did not seem to hinder them at all, neither were they dragging in the mud.Certainly today, with updated sanitation and street sweepers, etc. a dress cannot get dirty now as it would have then.

In a previous post, I shared how make a sewing planning sheet, and this is what one of my email friends sent me to share. She made these dresses for wearing at home.

You see where she has pasted a clip of her fabric on the planning sheet.

I have a new column on the sidebar called "Sewing" where I'm gathering the collection of sewing articles for easy reference.

Australian Woman and Her Daughter Strolling in a Garden of Australian Native Plants
by Percy Spence, Australian  (1868-1933)

Picking Flowers at a Water's Edge
by Ernest Walbourne

A lot of the country type clothing of the past was actually quite roomy, comfortable and colorful. I think it can be easily re-designed for today's wear and patterns made by Simplicity, McCalls, Burda, Vogue, and others. Here are some patterns that are similar in design, to the clothing of the paintings. All patterns can be altered to fit better, and I've put a link on the sewing section on the sidebar for an old fashioned and easy method of raising necklines and making facings. If you are familiar with sewing, you know that some of these costume-like designs could be modified for every day wear.

These are similar to my idea in a previous post about a dress with a jacket.
 Sleeves can also be added to any sleevless pattern,

Use my simple method for raising necklines, posted on the sewing section of the sidebar.

These patterns could be sewn in a current fabric found in your local fabric store.

View wedding patterns with an eye for casual clothing. It is the style that counts. This pattern would look good in calico, like a country-western type garment.

If you are going to make a neue mode pattern for the first time, you need to make a muslin sample first, just to see what the fit is like. 

You might also notice women and men freely mingling in this video clip from 1900 in England. The ladies are walking around in long skirts with apparent ease, and everyone is fully dressed,  even in good weather, yet they seem happy and comfortable.

This is a two piece garment I sewed yesterday, using this pattern for the top:
This is not a current pattern, so I do not know if it is available any more. It has a one-piece drop shoulder.

 The buttons are clear with a silver sparkle in them. To sew buttons quickly on the machine, do not clip the threads or remove the fabric after each button is sewn. Instead, lift the presser foot and pull the thread to the next button, and sew the next button. repeating until all buttons are sewn.  Then pull out your work and clip all the threads  joining the buttons.  The fabric is another "Fabric Traditions" brand from Wal-Mart but is also available at JoAnns, and is cotton. 


Anonymous said...

Oh! Thank you so much for showing these patterns and instructing us. I love 22793s style and will raise the neckline if this pattern is still available. I was thinking also of making it into a soft long robe. It looks so feminine and old fashioned. The blouse would also look pretty with the addition of tiny pin tucks down both sides. Also the 22793 blouse would look pretty under the jumper pattern on 22528. Now I am all excited to go to the fabric store!! Sarah

Lydia said...

I plan to finish one of my sewing projects today and try to get it on the blog tomorrow. I did not do a tutorial for it but I hope to do so on any future garments that I sew.

Anonymous said...

Great post Lydia, I love all the research you did on the patterns. Must look some of them up. So feminine!

Am looking forward to the tutorials also. I especially like the blouse and jumper combinations.

Mrs. J.

Katrinka said...

Thank you for the sewing sidebar. I really enjoyed the video of SF. People were just wandering all over the place,weren't they?

Marqueta (Mar-kee-ta) G. said...

Dear Lady Lydia,

Your clothing posts are always so inspiring! And it's the perfect time to sew a summer wardrobe, so thank you for all the patterns you shared.



Anonymous said...

I am determined to make at least one dress this summer. Thank you for sharing the sewing inspiration!

Shaolin said...

Wow, I enjoyed the videos. I was enthralled; everyone was dress nice, just on a regular day!! Every man and boy had on a suit and wore a hat and the women were dressed beautifully. How the mighty have fallen, but I'm going to recapture that in my own life. I think how one dresses has so much to do with self respect as well as respect for others. Thank you for your site. I visit almost everyday.

Anonymous said...

Great patterns, You always are such an inspiration to me!

Lydia said...

Scroll down to the end of this post and you will see the new garment I just finished. I forgot to photograph the steps as I sewed, but basically it has gathered shoulders and the sleeves are from a different pattern.

Gayle said...

I love your sewing posts,I go through them all the time.Thanks so much for sharing the patterns.Everyone did dress so beautifully then.There was so much quality in a garment, so many details that I don't see in today's clothing.

Lydia said...

Many of the paintings of the period, especially those I use on this blog, do not show that type of immodestly, although some of the old paintings do. I go through the painting blogs and museams and allposters and pick out the modest ones. In every era there were always two paths to follow: the modest or immodest, and not everyone felt the same about it. Jane Austen would not have approved of immodesty, so I thinkt he filmmakers and writers and costume makers are taking liberties.

Rightthinker said...

So beautiful..and to me, practical.

I very often read/hear the comments about "Oh how can you do any work in long skirts? How do you play with the kids? What about when it is hot? Cold?"

I am quite a tall lady, (I am about 5'9 with average torso and very long legs) so I prefer very long skirts, though I can wear tea length or at the knee (but rarely do, aside from a few 50's inspired dresses).

Today, I am wearing a skirt that touches the top of my feet it is so long. It's not dirty, as my home is clean, and when adding sandals or shoes or boots (depending on season) it raises it plenty that it doesn't graze the ground. Besides, when wearing all skirts/dresses, a lady gets used to raising her skirt just so when going up/down steps, etc.

I have always worn a lot of skirts and dresses, but until a couple of years ago, wore different pants, as well. I can say, without a doubt, I can do EVERYTHING in a long skirt/dress, better than I could ever do in pants.

I sit on the floor with kids, I clean my floors, toilets, do dishes, garden, drive a car, etc., all wearing long lengths. There is much more freedom and coverage in a long modest bottom than in pants.

Particularly today, the jeans and even cute more feminine pants show all curves, any blemishes in the figure after having children, and even "at the waist" type jeans have the tendency to ride LOW and then show bare skin..YUCK. I've even seen solutions on the TV where you wear like a waist cincher that goes below the pants to prevent exposing yourself so you can still wear tight much easier to just wear skirts/dresses!

Anyway, when it's cold, I layer with tights/nylons/even "yoga" style pants underneath..very modest and VERY warm. Much warmer than I ever was in pants alone. When it is hot, I choose breezy cottons with appropriate yoga type shorts underneath in case my skirt decides to act as a kite :) It's very cool that way, and I have not worn shorts since I was a kid, anyway, so no loss there.

I do wear very feminine capri pants on occasion in the summer, but only when paired with a very cute long top, or a very adorable dress that is too short for my it's still "feminine" and dress.

I feel much more like a lady, act more feminine, and definitely feel I stand out in a good way, wearing only skirts and dresses that are modest, old fashioned, very pretty and very functional.

Sorry for the book, but I just love the encouragement on this subject, as it is sorely lacking today!

Anonymous said...

I wholeheartedly agree with Rightthinker that you can do anything in a long skirt or dress that you can in a pair of long pants.

Recently two pair of jeans was refashioned into a skirt that is really durable for heavy hard work, gardening in my twill and jeans skirts often on my knees.

Last week was spent putting up wire fencing around two large gardens in a heavy twill skirt. My arms are scratched, bruised and my hands have blisters, but the twill skirt is no worse for wear.
They are ideal for housework.

Mrs. J

Anonymous said...

The pink dress you fashioned is lovely. So pretty.
It would have taken me longer then a day to make that one.

I like the selection of patterns you found too. Thank you for sharing.

Mrs. J.

Barbara Neubeck said...

Hi LadyLydia,
The clothing you have highlighted today are very pretty and feminine.The idea of mix and matching and adding sleeves is a good one. I always like a sleeve.
Have a good week
God Bless
Barb from Australia

Anonymous said...

How interesting that you posted exactly what I have been thinking about and doing some research on. I have been looking at BBC period dramas and studying the styles, color combinations, and details. I have a notebook that I have all my notes in, and your sewing project page is just what I need to do for my next step!
Thanks for such a lovely blog.