Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Victorian Style houses and Clothing

Due to the interest in a previous post showing Victorian clothing that is made today, I have found a few more Made-to-order Victorian style dresses and matched them up with Victorian houses. The Victorian ladies clothing seems to coordinate with the houses of the period.

Amelia dress

These clothes are from a store called Ladies Emporium which makes Victorian style garments and accessories for men and women, for reenactments, weddings and other events.

Amelia dress - blue daisy

I have seen both the pink daisy and blue daisy fabrics at the fabric store. It would look good made up in a contemporary pattern.

Moire suit, blue

Moire suit - burgundy

Pinstripe turquoise blouse

Matching white skirt and blouse

The new Victorians are more often painted white today.
Pinstripe walking skirt and blouse.




Yellow Costume

I am getting ready for visitors tomorrow so I am preparing. My goal is to get that all finished and do a sketch of at-home wear for ladies who want to dress in something other than pants.

For myself, these garments could be worn at home with an apron, if the hems were a bit higher ( I do not want them to catch on things and I do not want to step on the hems) and the sleeves were elbow length. I. Cooking and cleaning and all I do at home, I cannot a have the sleeves at the wrist. Also, I personally like a more narrow skirt that is closer to the body and yet is ample enough to walk comfortably in.


Monday, April 21, 2014

A Place of Contentment

All is well here and I hope all is well with you. We are catching up on things at home after a busy weekend. The weather is overcast and it is chilly outside. I have boiled water and made a cup of tea to sip while I organize my list of things to do, ranging from the most urgent to the long-term things.Recently I saw an old sketch from an 1800's newspaper, depicting how far the feminist movement might go. It showed the English parliament completely manned by women. These women were depicted as uncouth, behaving wildly, their clothing and hair untidy, and their expressions anything but friendly or feminine. It was meant no doubt as an exaggeration, loaded with symbolism. An explanation can be found on Wikimedia.
Contrast it to the domestic scene in the Victorian photograph below, where ladies are enjoying the company of one another in the civil act of taking tea. While one depicts a restless, discontented assembly, the other shows ladies who are relaxed, content and peaceful,as well as happy. They cannot be ridiculous in the natural role of wife,mother, homemaker, guard and guide of the home.

Tea in a Victorian botanical garden

As I was enjoying this photograph, I thought of how much more a woman derives from the home, if she cares for her family and for the house. In the long-run, she stands to benefit so much greater than a lifetime of screaming for her rights. At home she has the reliable sameness of things, without the uncertainly of politics, if she maintains a peaceful atmosphere, not turning every little thing into an argument, and looking on the good side of her family and her home.Home and family will not last very long. It seems in no time the family is grown and gone, and sometimes a husband and father passes away. That is one reason it important to create memories for them all, by what you believe and speak, and by your good stewardship of the home. This does not imply that that the house will never be a mess or that the pressures will never seem overwhelming. It is good to be content, in whatever state you are in.
Will your husband and children have memories of you always complaining, contradicting, finding fault in everything and in general being in a negative mood? When I say you are creating memories, I am not referring to the parties and special events you might present, but to the daily attitude of contentment and happiness you portray by what you do and say.I am sure there are young women who want to leave home just so they can have some fun or be free of the or responsibilities, but I guarantee it is worse away from home. These women will ruin their lives looking for happiness, and will attain nothing. If they stay home and apply themselves and learn to be content, they will reap greater rewards later on. The home is an enterprise that pays off emotionally and monetarily if it is carefully guarded by the lady of the house.
Having a stable family and a house with well-cared for posessions will mean stability later on. Contentment does not imply perfection all the time, for it is often impossible to have an orderly house. Comtentment means that you accept your duty and dedicate yourself to it, minding your own business and not getting upset at the state of the world, which you are powerless to fix. You can however, control your own life at home and no matter how big the job seems, chip away at it, little by little, until it becomes acceptable to you.In all your striving for order and peace in the family and the house, remember that if you are a Christian, Christ is your king and you are serving Him. With so great a king, it makes sense to do well and try to please Him. It is not wise to depend entirely on the approval of people around you, as they are only human beings and can disappoint you. If God has wisely appointed Christian women to guard the home and be keepers at home (Titus 2), then we can confidently fulfill it, knowing we have His approval.Today we have a great blessing in the web, in that homemaking need not be isolated nor boring. People share beautiful pictures of shiny kitchens and tidy porches, inviting living rooms and enticing food. This can be a springboard of encouragement and inspiration for contentment at home. You can do so much at home and it need never be boring!
Here are the scriptures on contentment:Philippians 4:11-13

11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
1Ti 6:8    And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
Heb 13:5    Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Heb 13:6    So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Victorian Style Clothing

Today I enjoyed picking out several dresses to showcase here. They come from a site that has many new dresses of various eras in history, made to order. The dresses are as pretty as the 19th century paintings.
Check at the end for some patterns I have included for the stitchers.
Woodbines, by William Affleck, 1869-1943

Click on the name of the dress to read more and see other fabrics in which it is made.


Painting by Alfred Corbould, 1852



Calico Skirt and Blouse

Find florals like this at Shabby Fabrics



Here are some sewing patterns, from Rising Phoenix pattern company.

An old Jessica McClintock pattern

More patterns available from the recent pattern books in your fabric stores.

Homestead dress from Cattle Kate



Prairie Dancer dress from Cattle Kate


Cattle Kate


1990s patterns that will work for dresses at home in the Victorian style.



Friday, April 11, 2014

Distinctive Feminine Dress Outdoors

Summer, by Charles Courtney Curran 1861-1942

by Charles Courtney Curran

Apple Blossoms by Charles Edward Wilson 1854-1941

The clothing of the 1800's and early 1900's, a period commonly referred to as the Victorian era, is so soft and pretty and appealing. It lacks the edgy look of the decades that followed. I believe the principles of this kind of clothing can be used to create feminine fashion today. All you need is to observe the color and line, layers and embellishments, to make clothing today.
I see from the paintings also that the clothing "goes" with the mood and scenes. I have had an instinct for this ever since as a child I saw my first calicoes with the tiny flowers that looked just like a spring forest floor or the tiny strawberry prints so much like the wild strawberries growing in fields. It seems that ladies clothing is created in styles and colors to go with the modern workplace of employment, not the home or garden or all the natural creation. That is one reason so many ladies like to create their own style by sewing. Still, without sewing, pretty, feminine, appropriate clothing for your figure and coloring is a matter of choosing the very best you can buy. You may have to search for it but it can be found.
Also interesting is that the outdoor scenes on the beach, in the meadow or orchard did not require wearing anything that resembled men's attire, or being immodestly dressed.
I am hoping to add some dress patterns and some of my own sketches for ideas of how to Victorianize today's fashions, so there might be more added to this post later, or a new post.


Wednesday, April 09, 2014


I know housework must be done so that the family can function. To those who have not been able to keep up, I would suggest keeping several places tidy. If you can at least have the front porch, entryway if you have one, and the front room or living room clean, you can work without pressure on other areas of the house. If you are pressed for time, having those entry areas clean is a big help.
While it is perfectly alright to hire housekeeping help, I find that most ladies here would rather clean their own houses. It gets complicated when there are papers to sort and clean laundry to distribute, books to put away or a bedroom to clean up that has for too long been used to stash things. No one can read our minds to figure out where things go. Helpers have to be told everything and so ladies like to do it themselves. If you are raising children, they can be a great help, and they will learn what your preferences are, sometimes to the detail of where you put your mail or your sewing things. I have also known of sisters who help each other with housework when needed.

Today there is a lot of information on the web about good housekeeping, and anyone who wants to learn can search and find it.
Here is a page on how to sweep a floor. I prefer a good natural straw broom.
Here is one on how to wash dishes.
Here is one on how to do laundry.
If your energy and time is low, at least get the room that people see when they first enter the house, presentable. How to clean the living room.
If company is unexpectedly coming, here is a page that will help you get the house in order quickly.


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