the source I was looking for

Sorry about weird auto-formating. Apparently facebook uses a lot of div elements!

I did this morning find the original quote in all the books I was reading in regards to Worth having a mix and match pattern catalogue.

The House of Worth.

Language(s): English
Published: Brooklyn : Brooklyn Museum, c1962. —
Subjects: Worth, Charles Frédéric, > 1825-1895.
House of Worth (Firm)
Costume designers > France > Biography.
Fashion > Exhibitions.
Note: “An exhibition held at the Brooklyn Museum from May 8 through June 24, 1962.”
Physical Description: 56 p. : ill.
Locate a Print Version: Find in a library

Full view (original from University of Michigan)

Link directly to the source!

If one approaches those Worth gowns that have survived the years with a tape measure and the eye of a pattern maker, one may glimpse Worth’s flair for engineering. His gowns were made of many standard interchangeable parts. One sleeve may fit several different bodices or each bodice will fit a great variety of sleeves. In turn, each bodice may be joined to a host of skirt shapes.

This sounds reasonable, but the two dresses the book that are compared really don’t show this- the draperies are pointed out.

The most interesting aspect of Mrs. Drew’s gown, however, is its illustration of the many ways Worth repeated a pattern. The diagonal swags of the skirt are the same as the drapery trimmed with pleating on the voile dress pictured on page 29 of this catalogue. They are also identical, even to the fringed button trim, with another dress of green taffeta dated 1876 in The Brooklyn Museum collection. It would seem that plus c’est la meme chose, plus ca change.


Not seeing any similarity in regards to the drapery, but perhaps that is due to owning a surfeit of images from the 1870s and 1880s- variations on a theme really was the fashion.

However I have definitely fallen head over heels in love with a particular gown that was made over and over and over again. It’s middle of the 1890s, ball gown. There is one with woven butterflies all over an aqua silk satin, there is one in pink satin with wheat sheafs in beads and sequins up the skirt, there is one in turquoise velvet. They have a slightly asymmetric neckline and are possibly underappreciated because they seem so plain.

In London’s Victoria and Albert Museum is a series of sketches of an 1860 skirt showing the imaginative variations possible with a single basic shape. Made up in a diversity of fabrics and the multitude of trimmings so favored by the mid-century mind, one can envision an almost endless series of dressmaking permutations.

I may not totally see the link above to the idea of mix and match, nor here, but I do see how a skirt would be the primary focus. The 1860s skirts were a huge canvas, and bodices of each decade were built on specific lines. So deciding on a skirt then making the bodice(s) match is very sensible. The opposite of what I tend to do as I tend to work in vertical lines from shoulder to floor.

But the en disposition gowns of the 1890s are most definitely not created this way, they are deigned to match the fabric. The construction of each cannot be swapped.


Again, I think the inconsistency in our views of Worth have a lot to do with how long the house was in operation and how the different styles were not simple changes but involved new practices from design through construction through fitting.


Fashion magazines

Many more fashion plates in context! Some of these have made their way into cosutme history books.

Of interest to me is how much pink there was in the 1870s! So much. It’s quite… fashion doll pink in plates but I have some paintings where it’s much softer 🙂


I have linked to the about pages in each case, click the book cover then the thumbnails icon to be able to see at a glance how much information there really is! Some of these came with pattern suppliments, it’s a pity these have simply been scanned to show that they exist but from experience of scanning my own magazines they are on webarchive) it is a big ask as it is!


Le Moniteur de la mode: journal du grand monde ; modes, illustrations, patrons, littératures, beaux-arts, théatres.


Revue de la mode: gazette de la famille, Volume 1


Les Modes parisiennes:


Journal de Demoiselles







The Tailor and Cutter and London Art Journal

The Tailor and Cutter and London Art Journal: An Index of Cutting, Fashion and Trade


Another tailoring book, but totally packed with diagrams of fantastic quality.

record of fashion

The Weekly record of fashion


Beautiful plates.

The Monthly record of fashion, volume 7 1883

The Monthly record of fashion, volume 8 1883

The Monthly record of fashion, volume 9 1884

Cutting Out and Dressmaking

Cutting Out and Dressmaking


And yet another drafting manual being slightly old fashioned.

The Art of Dressmaking

The Art of Dressmaking


What a clever and distinct publication! The garments are photographed and are clearly scale miniatures.

The Complete Dressmaker for the Million

The Complete Dressmaker for the Million


Once again very old fashioned shapes for the era.

A Concise Treatise on Ladies and Misses’ Tight-fitting Garments

A Concise Treatise on Ladies and Misses’ Tight-fitting Garments


And the tradition of drafting books appearing several years older than pattern sketches.

However this is great as this book deals with basically natural form shapes!

sylvia’s home journal

Sylvia’s Home Journal


The full pattern is not available, but it is interesting to see the difference in how ready made patterns are drawn at this time compared to how drafting blocks are drawn.

Drafting blocks are generally still very heavily 1860s in shape whiles these pattern sketches tend to show the very long line of the era.