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.

Well, that explains it…

I think I know what is going on with those stupid pop up ads.  I don’t like it but I guess I’ll have to live with it.  Here is what I found on WordPress’ help section.

We sometimes display advertisements on your blog to help pay the bills. This keeps free features free! We only run them in limited places, and we do not show ads to logged-in readers, which means only a very small percentage of your page views will actually contain ads. To eliminate ads on your blog entirely, you can purchase the No-Ads Upgrade for a single blog (per year).

So apparently, I’m the only one on my blog site who will be tormented with this crap…but I’m to cheap to cough up the cash to make them stop.  It does feel a hair like extortion, though….makes me think of the guy with the heavy accent and the nostrils that point towards his left ear that vows the store owner wont be robbed if he pays the protection fee.  Ok, slight exaggeration there….  I don’t like it but I don’t have to play their game.  No cursor will drift over those dumb red lines…no sireee Bob!

Anyway, on with the show.  Last week I shared what I might have worn as a 16-year-old in 1880.  By 1884 I would have been 20 and, surely, married.  So lets look at a wedding dress.  In my dreams I am well off so a white dress would have been feasible.  Just look at that lace at the neck edge.

1884 wedding dress from the met

Love it!

Made of silk and cotton

And now the smashing, grand train for the walk down the aisle.

Isn’t that divine!

I’m just not sure about the poof on the side.  Is it supposed to be there…the whole asymmetry thing…or is it just laying funny after being in a box for decades?  If I made this dress I wouldn’t do that poof thing.  I also wouldn’t do it in ivory for three reasons 1) I look better in pure white than ivory, 2) for sure the meal at the costume event would be tomato based and I’d end up dumping it on my ivory/white dress and 3) it would look too much like a wedding dress and some how a 47-year-old Victorian bride in white seems…well…off.  I don’t think they would have considered it dignified-even if she was still virginal.

Sweet 16 in 1880

I’m continuing with my idea of what I would have worn if I was born 100 years earlier.  Granted, this would have been in my poverty-stricken dreams.  In 1880 I would have been 16.  In those years I would have been working the marriage circuit….going to balls and such.  Sure, I’d love to wear a Worth dress but I’ll try to be a bit more realistic and pick this dress.  Just the dress-maker to the Princess of Wales….

Isn’t this amazing!  Sigh!

Now there is a statement train!

I wonder if the “gold” and “silver” was more intense originally.  Has it faded some?

Pretty, but not as nice as the front or side.

I think it would have been grand to been young in the 1880s.