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.

lillie langtry and worth- part 2

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. 

scan from People and Pearls.

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.

This gown was worn by Lillie as Mrs. Trevelyan in The Degenerates. Her gowns are described as: 

Mrs. Langtry in flesh-colored satin with sapphires, Mrs, Langtry in pale-blue satin with diamonds in dazzling array, Mrs, Langtry in white v/ith pearls,…


There are hand coloured photos of Lillie and one from this set has been tinted blue.

This fabric is also to be found in an extant House of Worth gown at the Metropolitan Museum of art:


Tassinari & Chatel supplied Worth with many velvets in different colourways and it is likely this is a different colourway as there are some differences in how the pattern is handled in each example.

lillie langtry and worth- part 1

As per my prior post about Sarah Bernhardt I could not but help but have Lillie well represented in the research materials I collected on historic dress.

As a model and as an actress she appeared in paintings by Millais and in photographs.

One of my favourite ensembles she wore just recently came back to attention in House of Worth 1858-1952.