woolmyth: (sewing)
[personal profile] woolmyth
I have a couple of nice introspective things I could talk about, but instead, for now, I bring you Victorian fabric research. I continue to do research on this project, and fabric choice is my next dilemma.

From Victorian Costume and Accessories by Anne M. Buck, 1961. I'm finding this book very useful, but even the revised 1997 edition is out of print. I found it in our library, and it's so old it doesn't even have a current barcode and it hasn't been off the shelf in a decade. Have I mentioned I love libraries?

p66 "All through the period there way a fashion for using more than one material in a dress. Day dresses of the late 1870s might be made of two different materials of one shade of colour, for example poplin and velvet; or a check silk might be used with a satin of the same shade as the dominant colour of the check."

p71 "Only in the plain woolen tailor-made dresses were a single material and a single colour general."
Fabrics used: Light and heavy-weight woolens. Fannel, jersey, tweed, linen, twilled silk, coloured cottons with white embroidery, cotton velvet, brocaded silk, satin with cut and uncut velvet.

p72 "Small floral patterns, closely woven, were generally used for figured materials in the late 1870's and early 1880's. The patterns tended to become larger towards the end of the 1880s, although the smaller patterns were still used."

"Printed silks, woolens and cottons were all fashionable during the 1880s, in stripes, spots, and striped patterns."

"It was generally a period of rich and varied colour, sometimes rather harsh colour and garish combinations, but there are from the 1880s an almost equal number fo dresses in very light shades."

"Lighter colours were more general for evening than day dress. Blue and white and red or pink and white are often found in the summer washing dresses. Many shades of blue were worn, particularly in the 1880s, and rich browns, chartreuse and olive green; but red, in rich wine and jewel-like shades, was perhaps the dominant colour of the whole period. Claret, garnet, crimson and plum-colour were used as the single color of a dress, using two materials, velvet and satin; or they were used, particularly in the late 1870s, with a contrasting neutral shade, garnet and grey, claret and cream. A combination of bright red and dark grey was also popular in the 1880s."

I haven't really noticed all that much red so far in my explorations. Is this because my more accurate sources are in black & white, or for some other reason?

I'm surprised that linen figures so much less heavily in this period than I am used to. Linen is barely ever mentioned. Does linen not drape the same way wool does? Cotton is far more popular here than it was in other time periods I'm familiar with, which is nice because cotton is far more available (and affordable) now than fine woolens.

What's a washing dress? I've seen Ms. Buck refer to them on several occasions.

Yes, I'm bored at work, (and frustrated)

Date: 2005-07-12 10:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dwarfrage.livejournal.com
Can I get context of the washing dress?

Re: Yes, I'm bored at work, (and frustrated)

Date: 2005-07-12 11:03 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
The only direct quote I'm seeing right now is "Blue and white and red or pink and white are often found in the summer washing dresses." If I stumble on another I'll point it out to you.

Re: Yes, I'm bored at work, (and frustrated)

Date: 2005-07-12 11:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dwarfrage.livejournal.com
This is from an google cached post:

WASH goods are the principal ones that are made up into dresses for the extreme heat of this month, and the materials are shown in such endless variety that a great revolution has taken place in cambric and cotton dresses. The newest ones are called "Indiennes," and are copies of those worn by Marie Antoinette and her maids of honor at Trianon. There are some that have a dark-blue ground, covered with palms of Cashmere design; some are studded with Cashmere flowers; others have blue and white stripes, with flowers on the white stripes that closely resemble the garlands painted on Sevres tea-cups; others have a blue ground, studded with pale blue palms; but the most stylish are the poppy red Indiennes, covered with Persian patterns. Another style of cambric dresses are those of dark plain colors so very popular last season; many of these are being made with a Louis XVI. bodice, the back being plaited, and the folds so closely laid that they touch each other; there is a small square collar of the same cambric, and the front opens to the waist over a white muslin chemisette, fastened with three bows of ribbon. These bows are of two colors, cleverly combined; for instance, pink and straw-colored ribbons will be used on plain brown cambric, red and turquoise blue on navy blue, and prune and salmon colored on prune color. Bows are placed on the sleeves and on one side of the tunic, as well as in front of the bodice, and the skirts are bordered with very deep plaiting. Other washing dresses are made very collant, which means as close to the figure as possible. One of navy blue cambric is trimmed with fine cream mohair braid; another of écru cambric is trimmed with washing galloon, embroidered with red. A pink and white striped batiste is ornamented in a lavish way with pink Clovis lace. All these dresses are enlivened with bows of two colors, or rather clusters of loops, for the prevailing manner of making bows is two upright loops, and three or more downward ones with a traverse in the centre; the loops are always lined with a contrasting color, and are sometimes piped with a third contrast. The batiste and lawn dresses now so popular follow very much the same devices as those of silk or woollen material; they are formed of a combination of stripes or figured, with plain fabrics; the former being used for the polonaise or tunic, the latter for the underskirt. The prettiest stripes are the fancy or floral stripes in several shades of one color, such as blue, pink, violet, or maroon, upon a light gray, buff, putty or stone colored ground. Another style much in favor is the self-colored batiste, with openwork patterns. It looks extremely well in light colors, and, if worn over a silk skirt, makes up quite a dressy toilet. The style is either a long Princess polonaise over a silk shirt, or else a Princess dress, very much trimmed in the lower part, and with a scarf drapery arranged above this trimming upon the skirt. Another scarf, of the same material, is worn by way of mantle, sometimes quite plain, sometimes fastened in the middle of the back by a cluster of loops of ribbon. The openwork batiste also looks very pretty in back, making up a useful summer toilet over a black silk skirt. It is invaluable for ladies in mourning, making such a nice cool summer dress, and out of mourning it may be relieved by pipings and bows of maize, blue, or rose-colored silk, a very fashionable style. The bonnet to match may be of black chip, with flowers of the color of the trimmings.

Re: Yes, I'm bored at work, (and frustrated)

Date: 2005-07-12 11:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dwarfrage.livejournal.com
From a similar Cached site, and five years earlier in 1882:

White Muslins will be very popular the coming season, trimmed with eyelet-hole embroidery, as well as with Hamburg embroidery. As to all washing-dresses, if they are made in a very elaborate manner; but great care should be taken as to wearing them; for they seldom look as well after coming from the laundry.

Re: Yes, I'm bored at work, (and frustrated)

Date: 2005-07-12 11:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dwarfrage.livejournal.com
And from Project Gutenberg:
"Catherine and Mabel wore the simplest white washing-dresses. Their girlish waists were encircled by sashes of pale gold. Catherine's thick dark hair was coiled tightly round her head--Mabel's more frizzy and paler locks fell in wavy curls round her forehead and on her shoulders. Nobody else looked the least like the Bertrams. Their dresses were as cheap as any other girl's dresses in the room. Daisy and Polly Jenkins had really much handsomer and finer hair, but somehow the effect produced by the Bertrams was altogether different."


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