And We’re Back!

It was a long week in England and we’re still recovering a bit. Now it’s time to get back into the normal routine and catch up on everything that’s been going on in LA in our absence. Interestingly enough, it seems that the weather from Bath followed us home and it’s been cool and cloudy here in Southern California- go figure. 🙂 Over the next week or so, we’ll be posting pictures from our trip and otherwise commenting on everything we did over there. In the meantime, here’s a few pictures to get you started…

Flying out…

Checking out the latest in late 17th and early 18th Century clothing executed in Tyvek at Hampton Court.

 

And a close-up with captions…

Stay tuned for more!

The Morning After…

Part of the fun going to the the Prior Attire Ball is the morning after where we typically spend Sunday out and about in  Bath in Victorian clothes. 🙂 First, we went to breakfast at the Pump Room:

And you can “take the waters of Bath”…

Afterwards, we had to work off that breakfast so we went rowing on the Avon River:

The Scenery was marvelous although I didn’t get much of a chance to look at it since I was rowing… 🙂

It was a beautiful day to go rowing- the weather was cool and crisp and my choice of outfit was perfect. Although it was a bit choppy at the start, my Boy Scout rowing techniques eventually kicked in (it’s been like 40 years) and things worked out perfectly. I’d definitely do it again! 🙂

 

And Off To The Ball!

After many adventures in and around Bath, we finally reached the high point of our trip to the UK- the Prior Attire Ball! 🙂 Held in the historic Bath Assembly Rooms, the ball lasts for four and a half hours and features various historic set dances as well as waltzes and polkas. In between, a buffet supper is served and there’s a bar. The Assembly Rooms were designed in 1769 and opened in 1771 and were intended as a social center for Bath’s upper crust visitors (to include royalty) who would descend on the town in droves (today, the Fashion Museum Bath is located in the basement of the Assembly Rooms). There are actually a series of rooms of which only one was used for the dancing and the others for the attendees to eat and socialize.

And here’s me…

Because we were staying in a hotel just up the street from the Assembly Rooms, it was a quick easy walk in clear whether (no threat of rain) thus we were not burdened with having to deal with taxis and all that (try stuffing people wearing ballgowns into a Prius- not fun!). Here’s Karin upon arrival:

With all the dancing and such, we didn’t have an opportunity to get many photos but trust us when we say that it was a magical evening and it was well worth the effort getting to Bath. 🙂

A Trip To The Fashion Museum Bath, Part II

The second dress we viewed at the Fashion Museum Bath was a complete contrast to the first: this time we were looking at an ivory-colored evening dress/day dress that was also made by the House of Worth either in the early 1890s (unfortunately there’s not a precise date). Once again, we’ll start with some general views of the entire dress:

The two above views really show off the skirt front and because it’s lying flat, one can readily discern the longer trained skirt back. The lining is a rough cotton and from what we could tell, the pieces have been flat-felled (although we can’t be 100% certain).

Unfortunately, given the close space I was working in, I was unable to get a good full-length picture so these will have to do. The dress is constructed of an ivory/pink blush silk moire fabric with both bodice and skirt having vertical stripes with alternating pink blush and ivory strips of which the ivory strips have the watered silk appearance characteristic of moire. The bodice sleeves and neck are three-quarter and trimmed with silk lace and ribbons. Here are a few more views that show off the fashion fabric better, in the bright morning light the pink blush was almost lost to the naked eye.

Here’s a closer view of the bodice:

The above two pictures give a good view of the bodice front. The buttons are fully functional and it appears that the buttonholes were sewn in by hand, utilizing strips of gimp. Below are two views of the bodice back:

The bodice has the characteristic back “tail” that laid over the train and one can get a good look at the fashion fabric itself. The pink blush stripes are very subtle and faint in some places- possibly a product of sun fading. Below are some more views of the skirt:

The above two pictures give a good view of the hem on both sides. On the outside, one can see a combination of pleating combined with small bows. On the inside, the hem is a simple double-fold with a hidden catch stitch. Below is a detail view of one of the sleeves:

And here’s the bodice opened up to reveal the interior:

As with most bodices of the period, the interior is lightly boned on top of the major seams to give the bodice structure. The bone casings are made of a gauze silk/cotton(?)-like fabric and have been stitched into the lining and seams allowances.

Boning channels have been sewn in parallel to the buttonhole line.

And, if you have ever wondered just what sort of stitching was used for finishing the interior of the bodice, here’s a good close-up view:

Interior view of the bodice with stitching and the iconic Worth label.

Judging from the skirt and the bodice, we’d date this one from the early 1890s. The longer skirt back suggests that a bustle appliance of some sort would have been worn, most likely probably a pad (small pads were still in use during the 1890). Because of the bodice’s fragility, I was unable to get a good look at just how large the sleeve caps are but there’s definitely some room there. It’s definitely not the full-blown gigot sleeves of the mid 1890s but the style of the bodice is definitely headed that way. The skirt is composed of multiple gores, at least five to seven (we were unable to get an exact count).

From this picture, one can get a good idea of the fashion fabric.

The fashion fabric, as stated previously, is an ivory/pink blush silk moire fabric with both bodice and skirt having vertical stripes with alternating pink blush and ivory strips of which the ivory strips have the watered silk appearance characteristic of moire. This is an interesting choice of fabric and it’s pretty subtle. Although it’s hard to say with 100% certainty, this dress reads “bridal” and it would certainly work for that purpose although it could just as easily answer as a better visiting/afternoon dress or even a reception dress, depending on the event. Well, this pretty much wraps up our visit to the Fashion Museum Bath and we want to thank the staff for their assistant and patience. We hope to return in the near future and view some more dresses from their collection. Merci beaucoup! 🙂