sunburst update

So I have been as obsessed by the sunburst gown longer than the electric light gown but hey are in fact really interlinked!

After a little clarification that yes there were two Caroline Schermerhorn Astors. One Mrs one Miss and it is Miss Caroline Astor who wore the sunburst probably post marriage to Mr Orme Wilson.

Weirdly despite both ladies being the center of the very richest people at the time there are remarkably few pictures to be found of either.

But some brute searches in google after detangling the two has brought a very few written descriptions of the gowns of both.

So. The 1883 Vanderbilt ball. Ava Vanderbilt got to wear her electric light gown with working battery.

https://newspapers.library.in.gov/cgi-bin/indiana?a=d&d=DWE18830328.1.2
Daily Wabash Express,Terre Haute, Vigo County, 28 March 1883

Carrie Astor was in the Star Quadrille. These gowns were intended to be illuminated too.

The story of the missing invitationhas been retold several times. Usually that Mrs Vanderbilt claimed she had no idea Carrie was going.

https://books.google.co.nz/books?redir_esc=y&id=ldnLaIrgJGEC&q=carrie+astor#v=snippet&q=carrie%20astor&f=false

Exactly how true the whole “I can’t invite you as you haven’t visited me” thing actually was is a bit obscured by lots of colourful retellings. 

It is hard to believe though that a formal part of the ball was unplanned. the quadrilles are a part of that formal element and the star quadrille was apparently devised by the hostess herself.

http://nebnewspapers.unl.edu/lccn/sn99021999/1883-03-15/ed-1/seq-4.pdf
March 15
https://newspapers.library.in.gov/cgi-bin/indiana?a=d&d=INN18830319-01.1.2
Indianapolis News,Indianapolis, Marion County, 19 March 1883

Either way she appeared as a star at this ball after all.


https://newspapers.library.in.gov/cgi-bin/indiana?a=d&d=DWE18830328.1.2
Daily Wabash Express,Terre Haute, Vigo County, 28 March 1883
https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1883/03/27/102813472.pdf

Also of interest is this description of another gown at teh Vanderbilt ball, Light.


https://newspapers.library.in.gov/cgi-bin/indiana?a=d&d=DWE18830328.1.2
Daily Wabash Express,Terre Haute, Vigo County, 28 March 1883

worth it

As per my previous posts it’s been a real struggle to work on stays. But all the reading up on Worth and hunting around for information on the making of (I’m making boards left right and center and sub boards. Technically i really should put all the Worth boards together but I have about 100 followers on each and I may then break links for those people. And broken pins are horrible be they real or virtual.

Today I get ALL THE BOOKS!!! I think a a few from stack but mostly from all over the city. Have I said how much I love my library? I do. I really do.

Four pattern books, four baby. And some I had no idea we could possibly have- one of the Devonshire Ball!!!!!!!! I have the pdf of the book published the same year- it’s very grainy but a few hundred mb as it is.

I am also on the hunt for ball gown bodices. They require very different cutting. 

I want my Victorian wardrobe to be nice and full again. So I need a new day dress (black gabardine, it will be a glorious thing of pleated beauty. There is a Worth gown that would look amazing.) I want a dinner dress, and a summer dress, and of course the sunburst.

I’m still reading the Worth biographies. Mostly for info such as how many workers there were (1200 or so) and how the house was organised with room by fabric type, and how models were created and could be made a number of times but not if a royal chose it first. 

I really would like to find the patterns that were published with one of the women’s magazines. I think it was Demorest? 

Well I’m off to look in the digital books. And see if there are more patterns in Costume that I have missed. And get them via ILL.

and stalling again

I can’t seem to catch a beak this year. I am totally torn as to how to deal with my current costuming issues. 

One of the realities of corsetry is it encases flesh, muscle, bone, organs. It’s also not just a matter of reshaping a corset to measurements but some styles of corsets simply exaggerate or resist properties.

I seem to do best with a gusseted corset and I’m thinking a mix of cords and steels are actually my best bet. With this kind of corset I can also adapt it to different eras the lower slung 1860s the higher 1890s and even the higher 1810s- the gussets change shape but the stability of the body panels, the simplicity of the body panels work with my torso. I just still need to take care with the shape of the hip gore and I think in fact that cording that will help a lot with what I am trying to do- create a slightly more oval shape through the hips as generally I wind up smooshing everything into a smooth circle all around.

So the stalling is from again a lack of fabric suitable for a really good and pretty and accurate looking corset. So just ordered some. 

Another stalling issue is that my really lovely sateen princess gown has decoloured over time. I think I just need to put the whole thing through some more colour remover as opposed to bleach. Now that means a trip to spotlight. Might have to ask for help with that.

But really this is where I have been stuck with Marie Antoinette (cutting the steels for the stays and hoops) Ahsoka (it’s too cold and wet to work with latex and have it cure well) Sunburst (I have mucked up every aspect ever since I started cutting in 2007. 

Well I can at least share research- but not much as my RA is acting up so I need to get tested and that means no steroids before the test or no inflammatory markers will be present!)

So off to heat my hands… and try some more therapy as well.

busy patterning

Hats of several kinds. I need to add seam allowance to some as I have added some to a few already. The aim is to allow them to be laid over each other to see how changing a few dimensions adds volume and where.

Next though I picked up some books from the library. I’ve had a few out before but wow, wow, wow, wow, wow! “The House of Worth 1858-1954″ is a book I need to buy for myself as it is wonderful for details!

So nice to see the size of the stitches holding the piping in place of this bodice.

And all these views of the electricity gown!

No more views of the Sunburst gown, I think what is on the Met’s website is it for the foreseeable future. But there are so many glorious images that help to understand just how very remarkable the House actually was. 

Right throughout there is a very clear consolidation of lines and patterns. They are stripped back as far as possible. That of course varies over the decades but generally this is very true. 

And there are good photos of plain tabliers with beading just like the sunburst (though of the more common type of floral and symetric patterns.)

correct shape or trick of the eye?

I am also finding it hard to trust all staged images, as there is a tendency to pouff out draped fabrics when they should fold inwards. I wonder how many people remember the infamous natural form pattern?

The Simplicity 4244 pattern with the paniers turned out and padded?

The original has the area padded out in display, though not turned inside out:

http://www.victorianbridalmuseum.com/about/index5.phtml

I would love to see this updated, polonaise style princesse dresses are a staple in the pattern books of the era that it’s nice to see real examples whenever possible. Seriously, every book has at least one princess and at least one is really a polonaise.

 

And if the Met can have a garment padded in inverse to what would be expected, then yes it’s very easy to to!


Centraal Museum too! (but this is another good example of the mid-late 1880s shape to the skirt, the pouffing over the hips and of the little puff over the bustle.. not really feeling it. But yeah, that’s another Sunburst reference!)

This is simply more a case of feeling too full at the front hip. But I have seen more extreme forms of firm support in contemporary photos.

But I was looking at a gown I adore but feels later than the date as well, and I am trying to tease out whether it is staged or original to the gown.

 

So what is it that makes this feel later than 1875?

Simply put the shoulders. They are very square. Very square indeed and that is not because the mannequin has square shoulders. The sleeve shape also is very angular, another feature of mid to late 1880s patterning.

Compare the shoulders to this very definitely mid 1870s garment:

See the slope of the shoulder, more obvious from the back. The front arm seams are further under the arm than above too. But this is a very well made example of the time so the structure is a bit firmer and so holds a firm line compared to other examples of this decade.

The split and pointed tails of the scaled gown can also be seen right through to early 1890s in Worth garments (see the silvery blue gown also from the met on this page.)

 

But this is why I am devouring everything I can find about what is absolutely known as far as dates of garments. There are a few garments dated to mid 1880s that have a very gored skirt shape that is, as above, original shaping. Even the above has a mix of gored and flat panels. So it may be that the house was experimenting in shifting fullness around very early. That though is proving difficult.

 

Anyway if anyone would like to sponso a trip to see the Worth Archives- maybe a month stay to be able to actually go through all documents then maybe my mind would be rested!

 

I already know the pattern books and periodicals do not show the flared gored skirt shape earlier than the early 1890s. I have gone through every single issue of Der Bazar that has plates and patterns, I have random patterns from other periodical, and of course the cutting books. In fact skirts go extremely boxy before they get pulled to the back and then the hem flares out again. But again Maison Worth was known to anticipate fashion as well as push it in a direction most especially in cut. SO that could apply to shoulders and elbows too…

So yes. Grubby mitts on the archive. Well very well cleaned and gloved mitts.

seeing double- are these both worth?

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Left & right: Woman’s Evening Dress: Bodice and Skirt (1978-2-1a,b and 1978-2-2a,b)

Left vs right: Worth vs Artist/maker unknown, American.

Left & vs right: Worn by Mrs. Ernest Fenollosa

These are much too closely matched to be coincidence and were worn by the same woman.

Nearly identical in cut, the brocade gown doesn’t appear to have the same fit in the bodice. And that is what really marks a Worth garment. The curve at the side of the waist and generaly sweep feels very Worth. As well as the colours and fabrics.

This is part of my research as I try and identify when Worth started using very flared panels in skirts. These do feel mid to late 1880s. The gores are not heavily angled and there is a bit of bulk of fabric right around the front of the hips as well as sides, and obviously the bustle. But it is the slightly boxy shape of the front that makes these match perfectly to fashion plates.

I do know this flat boxy front was still in use in paterns by 1894! And that is the year we see three distinct skirt patterns.

 

books galore and well..

So my books are already winging their way from Central Basement (where all the cool books live.) and I did fond at least one maybe two online references from the Worth bibliography.

Still no sign of The cloud pattern nor The ray pattern. There are stars though (yuss!!) but the clouds prove elusive.

And then I saw an ad on facebook.

How To DIY a Balloon Garland

And this is lovely, I’ve seen them before and like the idea of one like this with pastels and…..oh dear.

I can no longer unsee.
 

No but seriously the cloud patterns used on other garments use tapering scrolling shapes. So the hunt for the original design continues!

whoops, fell into a research rabbit warren

In order to figure out history of the gown I wound up with dozens of reference notes about the production of garments and how there are multiple copies and why.

I still haven’t found the specific references I want (all secondary atm) but enough to feel confident in several statements made.

But there are some conflicting descriptions of materials, I have my suspicions about why so will also have to discuss those.

So yeah. I can now start the day and do things.

 

But I also will have my abs juice ready to go today and the latex work of yesterday will hopefully pay off today. Unless it didn’t adhere in what case I get to strip the base back and redo it. IsoPro does work but it is a PITA to time correctly. The latex needs to be clean and dry for the next layer of latex. But with a very damp climate there is a fine layer of moisture on anything outdoors- or in a room without insulation.

 

What else… Oh yes. I need to bleach my sateen panels for my 1870s gored stays. I worked out what I need vs the original pattern styles so will also see if I can make one in red sateen finally. I have tried to do this in the past and somehow wound up with stays too short.

What I need from stays is less about squish as it is about reducing stress on ribs. My current pain is a very good reminder! My ribs are very long, there is barely two fingerwidths distance at the side of my waist between ribs and pelvis. So this means if I want a wasp waist I either deal with ribs being heavily squished or I make it nip in only at that narrow point. Or I can avoid too much restriction and taper the stays to the waist then flare out over the hip.

This last one is what I find gives a shape that is both acceptable to a modern eye as well as historic. If I nip in only at the waisy it tends to make everything else seem disproportionate rather than drawing the line in.

So today will be spent cutting fabric and bleaching to have a summer and winter variation. There may even be enough silk satin left over, though that feels a bit extravagant!

 

why one must use all resources!

After removing all the dye from my Sunburst silk I had another look at the information available. I wanted to see what the silk would do as UV light worked on the last remaining colour remover molecules. before even thinking about dyeing it.

I can’t dye the skirt, it has already been fused to a cotton backing 🙂

And then promptly lost the exact quote I wanted. And just found it again. Anyway. There will be a references guide added to my site soon as a page, because I think it needs a little more formality than a blog post 🙂

I noticed also an historic homestead has started folloiwn on instagram so feel a tinybit of pressure to you know, include content they might be interested in!

And I have gone and cracked the cartilage in my ribcage. I am used to being able to sort of.. slip it- painful- but this was a little extra pressure on one point and so now it needs to repair. Luckily it is quite a sharp continuous pain- no I don’t like pain but as a warning, as a limitor it’s fine 🙂

And there is a steampunk event tomorrow. I really wanted to wear Mina, but I would have to spend all day on the bodice… hmm… but I cn’t really do any kind of corsetry until my rib heals. So no. I’ll wear something else 🙂

sewing day

I wound up breaking out the overlocker all day instead of working on horns. Which was probably wise. The rain is still leaving everything damp so curing would be risky.

So I zipped around the edges of my Worth sunburst skirt (the satin is so perfectly buttery that it was just nice to do!) and used the drafted bodice pattern from the 1876 tool to trace a new pattern for my new Phantom wedding dress bodice. I did use the vintage organza after all so that leaves some of the crepe for a potential Moulin Rouge dress. If I ever find a trim that works!

So that was tracing and transferring the pattern to a layer of twill, a layer of calico, and a layer of organza then overlocking all the edges tidy.

And then finally I cut the trim for my Cleves sleeves having removed the colour from the silk. And that leaves some softer trim for the undersleeves.

 

And finally, my last cast from my Ahsoka molds finally worked!