Sierra Boggess shared this image yesterday and can you see what has made me so excited? The fabric is thin. Well fairly thin- the flash and angle allows us to see her skin across the arm while the fabric looks more opaque closer to the armscye (where the fabric turns and follows the curve of her shoulder.) The sleeves are either unlined or lined with something very fine while the bodice is flat lined in a solid white.
I tend to double line my bodices and either not line or line my sleeves in a very thin material too.
Also if you follow the lines of the fabric on her sleeve you can see how very shallow the sleeve head is. This is both era appropriate and theatre appropriate as it means you can get your arms over your head. Notice the small wrinkles between shoulder and armscye? Yep. Modern patterns try to eliminate that by using a very tall sleeve head and that is what gives us limited arm range.
The effort to make a garment look good on the stand makes for a garment that is far less practical.
Anyway, just my thought process when I look at new/different images of the same garment 🙂 It’s all about the fit.
Oh and there is probably a bit of ease in the top of the sleeve head, I use three rows of stitches to do this rather than two as it does makes the fine gathers almost invisible.
I am fabiliar with padding being used in some later gowns- mainly areound the front of the armscye to help reduce wrinkles, but this is quite different. Also effective! This era is post romantic stays with the long rigid busk that pushed the bust upwards, and the start of the opening busk and slightly lowered bust that came with it. This padding helps maintain raised bust, or creates one.
Other construction notes are to follow the pattern direction- the waist is on the grain, only diverting in the front point. this helps stabilise the waist.
While this is a cotton bodice, the lightness of the construction can be seen across most garments from this era and beyond. all the support of skirt shapes and body line is created in undergarments.
This kind of sheer dress is on my “most looked for” list when I hunt out, and this is just so perfect an example but with such clever sleeve details so as to make this one likely to be moved into the “must make” folder 🙂 I have a gown I could make over into this 🙂 time to get that dress back into my site pages too.
Okay, this is just very cool and beautiful. The skirt is lined in a matching glazed cotton and the back has a closing that will avoid any gaping appearing- possibly needed due to the very short center back peplum.
The sleeve shape is very full at the upper part which suggests this is possibly very late 1860s or very early 1870s.
material: silk satin and silk faille, embroidered.
found: ebay.com 2004
This is such a statement in restraint! my favourite gowns from this era all have what is termed a plain tablier, or a skirt that is not festooned in other fabric elements. It may be a width of silk, it might be embroidered, it may be beaded.
I have a few that I am desperate to use for my own inspiration, including one I have only in memory.
It was a very small book with a card cover, square shaped rather than portrait. And one of the images was of a woman in a skirt with a tablier covered in small beads. However I simply can’t remmber many more details. I think I may have come across a scan of the same portrait. But I will try and do a separate post dedicated to the “plain” tablier!
Beige and tan and mid-light tones of this family are very common. I suspect due to advice that it was better lasting- the inference really being that fashion of these years in fashion plates as a riot of colour. And different colours may have been “in season”. If you made your gown in the colour of one season it would be starkly out of fashion the next. But beige/tan, ah that skirts the whole trend/fashion thing entirely.
This dress does however show many features that were fashionable: fine pleatings, fine rushing, tone on tone texture interest, and even asymmetry.
And the colour is heading towards gold so may have been a little daring after all.