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.
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