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.
Some time ago I bought a copy of People and Pearls which included a very large two page photo of Lillie reclining on a settee and I thought oh yes that dress.. nope. It’s not the same dress as appears in in Victorian and Edwardian Fashion A Photographic Survey as I thought but is a later dress but also by Lafayette.
This gown is of the same type as the infamous ironwork dress by the House of Worth. Here though the velvet is in an open and stylised “palmette” (as opposed to another velvet used in house which was a densely filled palmette style.)
These gowns often have the pattern mirrored around diagonal seams from waist to side seam and often the front is likewise mirrored and cut on the diagonal.
The bodice appears to fasten up the front and the front overlaps to her right side (our left) and closes under her arm.
The skirt appears to close at the CF line with an inverted pleat below knee level.
An extreme close up reveals that the bodice shaping is carefully created by centering one of the motiffes at front waist and the fabric carefully cut away from the top of the motiffe allowing the design to be the means of shaping over the bust.
By this stage many of Lillie’s bodices seem to be of a very similar shape, very conical and quite flat. This shape seems to also repeat in House of Worth bodices of the same sort of date range.
The pearl swags are repeated under her arm to the back of the bodice.
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:
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.
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.
I keep coming back to a very small handful I really want to work on, and realised I have a major love for very stark gowns.
I mean Sunburst or not on that skirt that gown would be on my Must Make list anyway.
Virginie Gautreux by JS Sargent and Rose Caron by Toulmouche.
I have actually made part of each, but I really want a nice silk satin for Mme X. I need about 8m and in a nice heavy weight that’s just not really been on the cards. But, sales are sales so fingers crossed one coincides with a bit of luck 🙂
My day ensembles have tended to also be a bit stark like my grey dress and this is in keeping with that with a touch of Worth:
Worth’s Cleopatra yellow wool dress.
I also have to admit the fabric I just cut for my new duvet cover (one of a set of curtains) has such a huge pattern it’s super tempting to make a Worth-a-like based on those oversized patterned velvets. The front is a crinkle silver with chenille waves, but the reverse.. now the reverse looks like black velvet with flat silver waves and that is just too much to resist. Well I hope I can because I *might” just be able to get a frock out of it. But I want a high necked version. That might be a bit much. The curtains had huge eyelets at the top which est into the amount that is free. That said I do have a strip.. but also my new duvet cover is so pretty that it really needs a bit of matchy matchy in terms of pillow covers.
It might be possible for a more 1890 vs 1895 look.
Help. Obsessed. There may have been a Pinterest board created and it may be strictly properly sourced and maybe just updated with a gown that is included in one of the few Lafayette photos to have lots of close views. Such bliss.
I know a lot of people have been inspired by RedThreaded’s Worth gown, but there may be some weird web archiving glitch so here it is for anyone not yet seen! Cynthia’s gown next to the originals!
So while looking for themes and understanding my favourite gowns in context the velvet and satin gowns came up over and over again. So I shall add to this blog post as more pop up, and I wrestle with WP layouts.
I think this may be my favourite of all the gowns Worth produced like this. Though that may be because it’s Lily Langtry!
Yes, I often combine my interest in theatre, costume, and stage so of course I have a lovely file archive of Mrs Langrty.
I think my other favourites would have to be these
These next three fascinate me, the high neck of two and the delicate butterflies of the third.
This first one has horizontal bust darts! As well as curved bust seams and a waist seam to get that beautiful shaping of the velvet.
And finally we have the gowns for those slightly more conservative. Which is nice- obviously the gowns caught the eye of many and they wanted a part of what made these gowns so special. No less care, just a slightly less start style!
But all this has been part of my life tidying that has been happening- organising books, papers, digital files. So this has meant reorganising my patterns and WIP and thus my recent flurry of posts.
I’ll be trying to get all my Mina posts from before the website changeover, but that may be a bit difficult!
So I feel I may have overcommitted myself again this year. Okay not so much committed but for Wanting All the Things again. This is what happens after two years of absolutely dreadful side effects of medicine and coming off medicine and trying monoclonal antibodies…
Yes… the wonder drugs are either engineered proteins or monoclonal antibodies. It’s a bit like being a petri dish after doing a bio degree with a heavy emphasis on proteins, genetics and immuno9logy…
So, I currently want to finish the following:
Saya y galerilla y jubon
Liara (Lair of the Shadowbroker outfit)
Glinda Bubble Dress
And a group project for AuckGeddon.
But I need to finish the upgrades to Shae (new greaves and thigh pieces) and Shaak Ti (hammering leather, sigh. Oh I have no photos of the progress so far…
All the cutting was done in about an hour. Luckily my hands are so crap I was able to cut and not risk cutting through the leather!
I need to pick up some dye, though I am really tempted to try to make my own natural dyes. Black is easy: take some old nails and vinegar: