So who had palpitations?

I’ve been skimming through my Victorian medical book (1866).  One of the previous owners made some markings in the book.SAM_0294

He wrote his name (Albert Henry) and also made a note that mustard plasters should be 1 to 3.  I haven’t found out what the 1 to 3 represents.  The 1 is likely the mustard powder but the 3 could be eggs, flour or water or some other ingredient I don’t know about.  This mustard plaster seems like a nasty business that could burn the skin and trigger asthma.

Further along in the book there is a page that the book seems to open up easily to, implying to me, a page that was frequently turned to so that the spine of the book has been “broken in”.  There is also a penciled in x.SAM_0299

It has me wondering if Albert had palpitations or if he was dealing with someone who did.  The treatments mainly seem to deal with sedating or relaxing the person.  Lie down.  Take ether and lavender. A shot of booze. Cayenne has been used for thousands of years for medicine and circulation problems is one of the possible uses.

The recommended use of stramonium (loco weed) and digitalis (the plant we get digoxin from) concerns me.  I sure hope that this stuff was being prescribed by a doctor and whipped up by a pharmacist.  I’d hate to think that some house wife could buy this stuff over the counter or pick it in her garden and whip it up herself!

I often lament some of the loses of the Victorian culture…the fashions, the beauty and grace of the pomp…but I do not lament the loss of their medical procedures.  I get free health care in Canada so I am particularly happy to be living now where the practices are not so barbaric and I don’t have to pay to be treated.  Do you think it is possible that 100 years from now, people will look back  at our current medical practices and feel horrified and wonder how we could have put up with such primitive and cruel practices?


Killer hats!

Today’s cabinet card is two dashing ladies with some sweet huge hats and a dash of fur at the neck.SAM_0242The seated lady has a loose short jacket, a fur stole and some lovely applique on her skirt.  The standing lady also has some fur.  She has a belt with a buckle and it appears she has a bag hanging from the belt.  She has some feathers on her hat and a Gibson Girl hair style underneath that hat.  Her sleeves are a clue that has me thinking this is a 1900-05 photo.  They are a bit fuller at the wrist where the sleeves were massive at the shoulders and fitted at the wrist in the 1890s.

The photographers stamp is a bit difficult to see in a full view of the card.SAM_0243I didn’t any information on him.  That was a dead-end. But, you can see the embossing around the photo and that is indicating the card is older than 1890.  I’d say our strongest clues are the ladies clothing and I would put them at 1900-05.

CCM: 1890 Day/Evening Gown

I have another dress for you from the vaults of the Canadian Costume Museum.SAM_0281Isn’t this a yummy color.  It even with stood photographing in a dungeon with dying camera batteries!SAM_0282I loved the sleeve details.  It would be fairly easy to do.  A ruffle at the hole edge.  A double ruffle with encased edges further up.  A fancy bow in the middle-ta da!SAM_0283All the decoration of this dress is the sleeves and the color.  Powerful but simple.SAM_0280The evening bodice is decorated in white lace at the throat and gold twisted velvet on the sleeves.  The velvet threw me off a bit.  I wondered if there was a sash of gold that has gone missing so that the sleeves would be tied in better.  But, there is a big bow on the back made with the blue so there couldn’t have been a sash.

Unfortunately, I got side tracked by another dress and didn’t get a photo of the back of the ball bodice before it was taken off of the dummy.

It is finished…I think

I have been stalled on a dress I have been making.   I have been trying to make this dress.scan0001It is from the Voice of Fashion book.  It has been a daunting task because it is my first attempt at enlarging a pattern to fit me…with scanty instructions on how to put it together.  I managed to get the skirt together…with the little pleats… so that it fit.  The hem edge was a weird length so I cut it shorter but ended up with an uneven hem and that threw me off and stalled me.  I feared it would end up too short once I straightened it and I was too frustrated to look at it.  Dreamstresses Historical Sew Fortnightly challenge was to finish something on the UFO pile.  This skirt was my UFO pile.  I had to face it.  But, now that I’ve carried on, I’ve decided it is not too bad.SAM_0290I have not ironed this so I’m hoping that it will improve with an ironing.  I also have not added the ribbon dangly bits as this fabric is so light sucking and drab that it might work for a first level of mourning dress.  I think the ribbon may be too cheery for first level mourning.  I have to do more research on mourning in the early 1900s if I’m going to make this a first level dress.  I could make it second or third level and then I wont have to worry as much about getting it wrong.  In which case, I may yet add the ribbon.

The pleats were an excercise in math let me tell you.  I had fabric this wide and I needed it to be that wide and I had this many places to pleat so the pleats had to be that deep.  Not fun.  SAM_0291The pleats are more or less straight except at the hip area where the fabric is curved in towards the hip.  That was tricky to get.  Also, I decided to sew down the seams between the gores so that they’d look like one of the pleats.  It looks great most of the length of the skirt but at the hip it looks like I was taking a swig of straight vodka while sewing.  Oh, well.  Like I said, this fabric is so light sucking that I doubt anyone will notice unless their nose is right at my hip.

I stopped the pleats before the hem so I’d get the flair.  That worked out.SAM_0292I considered hand sewing the hem but figured it would be under the lace…who would know so I machine sewed that.  Then I was going to hand sew the lace on but was going blind trying to hand sew black on light sucking black with black.  And there was just so much of it! Then I figured…it will be on the floor.  No one will know unless they have their nose at my feet.  It is so freaking black you can’t even tell there is lace there…never mind being able to see how it was sewed on.  (So minus points on historical accuracy.  Since I’m using curtain material of questionable fiber content, I’m obviously not working towards creating a dress for museum guides.  I’m going for impression rather than accuracy.)

I guess, if I sew the ribbon on, I’m going to have to hand sew that.  Machine sewing along the length of ribbon WOULD be visible.  I’m not looking forward to that.  Hey, wait!  There is a cheat I could use one of my embroidery stitches on my sewing machine and embroider all that ribbon down……hmmmm.


Mexico dresses.

I leave for Mexico today.  I’ve set my blog up to update on its own with some pre-written posts.  I’ll be back in two weeks.  I have no idea what kind of internet access I will have while I’m gone so if you don’t hear from me and you don’t read about me in the news, I’m probably fine.  I may have a sunburn and headache from too many margaritas but I’m likely fine.

I’m too cheap to build my travel outfits in a retail store so I’ve been combing the thrift stores.  Here is some of my finds.SAM_0101Hope you will see “me” every day.  I will see you in two weeks.