My next project is my tea gown.  I showed you the material and the lace a couple of days ago.  I bought tons of that lace knowing that I want to use it but I’m not sure how.  I had thought that running it down the front might be nice but it is so wide and straight (no ruffles or pleats)…I just wasn’t sure what I wanted.  Then I saw THIS!


It is sort of zig zagged  down the front.  I like it!  I like the pleats too but I doubt I have enough fabric for that.  And I think my fabric is too loud a print for that any way.  May be if I found a plain print with a matching or complimentary color….  I have to see what the gown looks like all put together first I think.

Do you plan your trims before hand or do you wait and see what it “tells” you once it is done?  Some trims are easier to do pre-assembly but I end up worrying that it will look bad or over done and then I’ll struggle to get it off!  I buy a few things that I think might work before sewing.  Sometimes I don’t end up using them and sometimes I end up heading out to buy more.


More musing on my 1840s dress

I’ve been looking at shoes in the Met to see if the flat shoes I have are close enough to possible to be an OK option.  My shoes are similar to these in shape.1840s shoesThe toe isn’t quite as square and mine have a bit more of heel (but still low enough to be called flat).  I might be able to remove that heel, or at least shave it down to make it more similar to the above shoe.  But, honestly, who will look that close.  My shoes have a bit of a tassel on the front that I may remove and replace with something else…like  a bow or ruffle.  That should tone down the modern look some.   I wasn’t sure about the reddish color  my shoes have…did they dye leather that color then?

Then I found these examples dated as 1825-30.1820s shoesNot pretty…at all…but, they are the right color so they were able to dye leather red.

Some day, when I’m not feeling so lazy, I will get up and photograph my shoes and show you what they look like.

Two birds with one stone.

This coming Mother’s Day, we are hosting a Victorian Tea for our folks at the nursing home with dresses made by Shirley and myself.  We’d like a dress from each decade so we can show how the dresses changed in shape over time.  Neither of us have a dress from the 1840s so I plan on making one.  I also plan on doing it in a striped material so that I can get one of the future challenges from the Historical Sew Fortnightly done at the same time.  I found a photo at the Met Museum of a dress in a similar pattern from the one I bought at Truly Victorian and it is in stripes.  1845 dress afternoon a

I’m not wild about the colors.  But, I’m cool with the look of it.  The trick will be to avoid the bold colors I like so much as I don’t believe that was too common.  The other end of that spectrum is that just because dresses from the 1840s are muted in color NOW does not mean the colors were always muted.  Obviously, fading could be an issue.  1845 dress afternoon b

But, the real issues are finding a striped material that is in a color that does not make me look like poop and finding it in a price range I can afford AND having it be a material that is at least a believable fake in fiber content.  Ahhhh to be a quadrillionaire so I can move to Mexico in the winter and Victoria in the summer and sew real silk taffeta as much as my heart desires……

Moving and shaking in the 1890s

I will continue on with my “If I were born a hundred years earlier” theme and look at the years 1894-95.  In my imaginary birthday, I would have  been 29-31 in those years.  I’d possibly be still having children at that age, but in between, if my husband were prominent enough, I’d be going to balls and playing hostess for dinner parties.  My role would be to help move the family up the social ladder for the sake of my husband’s career and my children’s future.

That era would be the big sleeves and the Gibson Girl hair and I’d be still young enough that I’d be able to pull off the fashion without looking silly.  And because it is my fantasy life, I will be rich enough to afford a Worth dress!  And what a dress.

1893-95 ball or evening gown

1893-95 ball or evening gown

You know it is intended for an event like a ball or an evening at the opera because of the short sleeves.1893-95 dress worth red velvet bI like the detail inside the sleeve.  Very pretty.

Just look at that train!

Just look at that train!

The color is pretty smashing too!  I can wear that color.  And if that isn’t enough, we have an economical Worth dress.  It can perform double duty.  With a simple change of the bodice…. have a dinner gown.

…you have a dinner gown.

I think it is a dinner gown because it looks a bit formal for a tea or visiting dress but there is a bit more coverage than the ball gown look.  I guess you could wear it to church.  What do you think?  Is it too covered for a dinner dress?1893-95 dress worth red velvet eIt would be warm with all that velvet.  I’d really like to make a reproduction of this dress.  (At $40 a meter, it wont be happening any time soon.)  Wouldn’t it be wonderful in this color for a Christmas event?

I want this so bad!

I want this so bad!

I really love the bustle era with all the draping and bling everywhere but I really think this is the era that makes me feel pretty.   It suits my figure type best.

So thankful it is Friday!

I can get quite Grinchy as I put up a dozen trees and all the other Christmas crap…I mean…decor that is to be had in a nursing home.  I know that I’m making a nice Christmas for folks who can’t do it for themselves and who may not have another Christmas.  At the same time it feels like WAY TO MUCH STUFF FOR WAY TO LONG for a generation that cut down their own tree on Christmas Eve, decorated it, had a nice dinner, exchanged a few home made gifts and put it all away on the 26th.   I sometimes wonder who I’m doing it for.  Certainly not for me.  Yes, for God.  Yes, for my family and the seniors I work with but a lot of the time I feel like I am doing it for the department stores.


I will just get through this Friday and some of the prep will slow down and I can start a whirlwind of hopefully fun Christmas events.  To help me get through the day I will look at a nicely calming fur soul.

A Limier Briquet Hound painted in 1856.