Thursday, 25 June 2015

Late 1880s Bustle Petticoat

As I haven't blogged much about what I have been working on for my customers lately, I thought that I would remedy that by posting this pretty 1880s bustle petticoat project I completed for one of my very valued regular customers.

We used these 2 petticoat drawings, and came up with a mixture of the 2:-

From Period Costume for Stage and Screen, 1800-1909

Illustration from the 1880s

I used one of the patterns from "Period Costume for Stage & Screen: Patterns for Women’s Dress 1800~1909" – Jean Hunnisett, adapting it for a bustle petticoat. My customer requested a placket and original Victorian button at each side of the petticoat, and a drawstring at the back. There are 2 darts to the front, and the petticoat is made up of 5 panels. For the rear ruffles, she debated about having plain fabric or this gorgeous broderie anglaise trim. I'm very glad that she chose the latter, as it looks wonderful. And strangely enough, I saw an extant 1880s petticoat with broderie anglaise trim on ebay just about the same time as I was completing this; the first one I have come across. The lace and ribbon trim around the hem is the customer's own, which adds a lovely touch I think.

Cotton Late 1880s Bustle Petticoat with Broderie Anglaise Ruffles

I very much enjoyed this project, especially as I haven't done much at all from the 1880s. I am beginning to fall in love with the Victorian period.

Naomi x

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Extant Parasol 1890-1900 ~ Accessories for my 1890s Outfit

So I am pretty sure that this is the last of my accessories bought for my 1890s ensemble. I have been looking for a parasol for some time, but the ones I saw were either too badly damaged or too expensive. I stumbled over this one the other day. It looked in very good condition. I really don't have the time to recover one, and wanted to avoid that if possible.

If you do want to have a go at covering a parasol, this post by American Duchess is very useful. In the comments below there was a link to this book 
"Sticks in Petticoats:Parasol Manufacture for the Modern Costumer (Full Color)"

It looks very good, great to find such a book on a much neglected subject.

So here are the photos of my lovely parasol. It is black with gold stripes, closes around the top of the parsol with a pearl button and metal ring, there is a metal ferrule cap, and a beautiful wooden handle. It is not perfect; there was one split in the canopy almost from one end to the other. I decided to sit down today and handsew this together again. I won't really be opening it up, as it is a prop, but the threads were visible from the outside, so I decided to rectify this. There are 3 or 4 other small splits throughout. The tassels are in superb condition, lovely to see.

There are a couple of books in my bookcase with references to parasols and umbrellas. Leafing through "Umbrellas and Parasols" by Jeremy Farrell, I found this (unfortunately black and white) photo with a parasol in the middle almost exactly like mine:-

The only difference is that mine has a curved handle. The book reads:-
 "These are examples of the plainer styles of parasol which were available in a twenty year period... By the end of the 1880s black and white moire became fashionable for the plainer parasol foreshadowing simper styles in the 1890s.
 Centre- black cotton twill cover printed with silver lines; tapering chip-carved ebonized wood handle, 1890-1900."

The date is a perfect match for my early 1890s outfit, wonderful! I am delighted with it, and am amazed at its condition.

naomi x

Monday, 15 June 2015

Extant Corded Bonnet and Cap - Mid Nineteenth Century

Here are images of two of my latest acquisitions. How I love caps! So beautiful and all so very different.

Mid 19th Century Cream Cotton Cap

This 1840s-60s cap is made from a beautiful chequered light cotton in cream. It is very pretty, with narrow ruffles framing the face, with the edges minutely, exquisitely sewn into a scalloped shape. There are 2 areas where there is a piece of very narrow cording. The lovely featherstitch embroidery was originally first seen on farmers' smocks of the 18th century.

One of the best places to search through for many examples of caps and bonnets is The National Trust Collection. It is always good to use both cap and bonnet as search terms. Caps are notoriously challenging to date accurately. There are so many differing styles, some more fashionable at the time of use than others, and the styles favoured by older women were often different to the younger ones. But looking through the collection, a fair few similar in style to mine here were dated 1840s-60s. The fabric points certainly to the 1850s to my mind. It is super to see so many 'plain caps' in the collection as well. Another form of art to study which is ideal for cap shapes are silhouette paintings.

Another cap came with the one above. I was quite excited by this one as well as I am always interested to see rural clothing and accessories:-

Mid Nineteenth Century Corded Rural Cap or Bonnet

We are used to seeing so many of those later Victorian corded bonnets, or sun bonnets, with the long skirt at the back to cover the neck. I did look for evidence of stitching along the hem in case it had had a skirt at some point, but failed to see any. Perhaps one was removed at some point, and then a strip of fabric was sewn to the edge to cover any stitches completely.

I have just bought an 1830s cap off ebay, so now wait with bated breath to have it in my hands!

naomi x