Wre’re in the final countdown here at Lily Absinthe as the departure time rapidly approaches for our departure for the United Kingdom. The Atelier is awash in fabrics and trim as we make out last-minute preparations…
We promise that we’ll have a ton of pictures to post here when we get back. 🙂
The planning for our upcoming trip continues and naturally, we’re overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices to visit. 🙂 As previously mentioned, the V&A Museum is at the top of our “to do” list but there are others to consider…
One strong contender is the Museum of the City of London with its varied exhibits on the history of London itself ranging from the prehistoric to the modern. One of the galleries that really caught my eye was the one covering the Roman Era from AD 50 to AD 410 (hey, once upon a time, I was a Classics major in college 🙂 ).
Another contender is the Tate Britain (formerly named the Tate Gallery) which houses British art from 1500 to the present. While we appreciate all eras of art, we’re drawn to the “Impressionists in London” exhibit which runs through May (perfect for us). Better yet, they have some of our more favorite artists such as James Tissot who has always been a source of inspiration for us:
James Tissot, “Summer” (Portrait), 1876
James Tissot, “Ball on Shipboard”, 1874
It’s one thing to see the images that inspire us online or in a book, it’s a completely different thing viewing them up close and in person so we’re definitely looking forward to the experience. 🙂
On our upcoming trip to Bath, we’ll be spending a few days in London and heading up the list of places we’ll be visiting is the Victoria & Albert Museum (aka the V&A). The V&A has an incredible fashion collection to include items from the 19th Century and it’s been one of our main go-to websites for online research. Now we’re going to have an opportunity to actually see some of their holdings in person (at least the ones that are not in storage). Here’s one dress that we’re looking forward to viewing in person:
Day Dress, c. 1870 – 1880; V&A Museum (CIRC.606-1962)
According to the V&A website, the date is circa 1870 – 1880 although we would argue that it’s more like the late 1870s/1880s- the Mid-Bustle Era- the princess line combined with the nearly non-existent train would suggest that. 🙂 The princess line creates a large-scale “canvas” of sorts for displaying dramatic decorative effects, in this case rows of ruched silk. Framing it is a floral silk jacquard in a floral pattern. Also, the hem has two layers of pleated silk to matched the ruching material above.
Of course, as with all on-line research, it’s often hard to completely see the dress details and often there are subtle elements that are overlooked. However, it’s gratifying to know that we’ll be able to view this in person and hopefully the details will make a stronger impression. We’re definitely looking forward to visiting the V&A! 🙂
As we get closer to our departure for the United Kingdom, the pace of planning has increased and we’re building up our list of places to see and visit. Naturally, since we’re going to be spending time in Bath, we’re going to take advantage of the local sites and especially the Fashion Museum Bath. Naturally, we’re focused on the Mid to Late 19th Century but we’re open to everything. Here are a few examples from the 1870s:
Day Dress, 1874; Fashion Museum Bath
Evening Dress, c. 1871; Fashion Museum Bath
Evening Dress, c. 1876; Fashion Museum Bath
Unfortunately, not much information was available online but luck for us, we’ll hopefully be able to study these in person (assuming that they’re on open display). We’ll keep you updated as we learn more.
One of the many projects were working on is is starting work on a new early 1900s day suit design. We’re trying to base this off of original patterns and for skirt, we’ve settled on a pattern that was first published in 1905 by The Ladies Home Journal.
The original pattern was printed on tissue paper that’s now a hundred years old and needless to say, it’s not suitable for direct use for patterning so the first step is going to be tracing the pattern pieces onto regular pattern paper and then eventually creating more permanent pattern blocks. Fortunately, the pattern pieces had already been cut out (most likely back around 1905) but it took some careful unfolding and smoothing out before the tracing could begin. Also, given the age of the pattern, we dare not iron the pieces in order to flatten them out, which is the usual procedure.
In working with period patterns, one is struck by just how minimal the instructions and markings on the pattern itself are, especially compared against what’s today’s industry standard. We were able to figure out what the markings on the pattern pieces meant and when checked against the cursory instruction sheet, made complete sense. It’s a ten-gore skirt and it’s a fairly simple pattern, similar to standard skirt pattern blocks that are used today.
After tracing out the pattern pieces, we lined them up on proper order and made sure that the seams matched up properly and that the waistband and hem line up. We had to do a little truing up on the pattern paper but it was not a real issue. Finally, we noticed that one pattern piece for the belt was missing but this should be easy to remedy.
The next stage will be to cut out a muslin or toile and check it for fit and accuracy and make any necessary corrections to the pattern pieces. One final note, this is pattern that’s definitely designed for a slender person with a waist of 24 inches (corseted, no doubt). What’s also interesting is that the seam allowance is 3/8 inches- we’ll probably add an additional 1/4 inch to bring it to a standard home sewer seam allowance of 5/8 inches (that will give some more leeway for adjustments). Eventually, we’ll probably have to grade this pattern up to several larger sizes. As more progress is made, we’ll be posting updated on the start of what should prove to be an interesting project for 2018.