Fashion Transition- 1890, Part 2

Jules Benoit Ivy, Femme dans un Atelier, 1890

In our last post, we discussed some of the styles that were trending in early 1890 starting with the Directoire and Redingote styles. Today we move on to take a look at the jacket-bodice and pseudo-robe styles. This example from the early 1890s gives a good close-up view of the jacket-bodice style:

Jacket/Vest Bodice, c. early 1890s; Metropolitan Museum of Art (C.I.55.41.3)

The jacket-bodice combines a fairly standard  form-fitting jacket with a faux vest that’s reminiscent of an 18th Century waistcoat. The faux waistcoat extends well jacket to reveal elaborate embroidery work that flows up the open front, ending at the neckt in a Mandarin collar. The close-up below provides a nice view of the embroidery:

The “faux vest” could often took the form of shirring made to look like a waist as with this circa 1890-1893 Worth day dress:

Worth, Day Dress, c. 1890 – 1893; Kerry Taylor Auctions

With this dress, the shirring runs down the opening in the outer bodice and then picks up again with the skirt front. The white shirring provides an interesting contrast to the black floral patterned dark green silk satin, especially in that the fashion seemingly sucks up light and the white shirring throws out light; the eye can’t help but be drawn to the dress front and then up to the wearer’s face. Below is a close-up of the bodice front:

And for another take on the jacket-bodice style, here’s  a circa 1890 afternoon dress made by Worth:

Worth, Afternoon Dress, c. 1890; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2015.688.a-b)

This dress combines a bolero style jacket constructed from a black and orange-brown patterned velvet with a lighter copper-colored silk satin vest/underbodice combined with an outerskirt of the same color. The underskirt utilizes the same black and orange-brown patterned velvet trimmed with embroidered flower appliques along the sides and bottom. With this dress, the contrast is one of harmonizing yet different fabrics.

One interesting variation on the jacket-bodice style is this circa 1890 reception dress that has the jacket acting as more of a redingote style:

Reception Dress, c. 1890; Goldstein Museum of Design (2013.004.012)

The jacket/coat is a black and olive green striped silk taffeta with gold/red floral motifs. The underskirt is a solid black silk taffeta trimmed with black jet beading. Finally, the collar is trimmed with black ostrich feathers. Below is a side profile:

Sometimes it’s difficult to neatly classify dress styles but this one to us emphasizes the outer jacket/coat as more of an unified bodice/overskirt rather than simply a coat over a skirt.

Finally, we take a look at the pseudo-robe style. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of extant examples but here’s an early 1890s dinner dress made by Worth:

Worth, Dinner Dress, c. 1890-1895; Metropolitan Museum of Art (2009.300.636a, b)

Looking at large sash and knot combined with the plunging neckline this dress is reminiscent of a kimono and the floral pattern silk jacquard further reinforces the Japonisme style. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of extant examples of this style.

Rear View

We hope that you’ve enjoyed this all-too-brief over of fashion in early 1890 and we’re always on the search for fresh content so stay tuned! 🙂

Illustrated London News, c. 1890

 



Something New In The Works

Lately I’ve been tuning up my tailoring skills and learning some new ones while making this circa 1899 jacket. Because we’re located in Southern California, I decided to make this as more of a light jacket-bodice than a full-on jacket. The work on this has been painstaking and I’ve been at it since mid-November. This will eventually be part of an 1890s walking suit. Here’s a few progress pictures: 🙂

Close-up of the lapels.

Rear view- the seam lines are extremely curves per the style of the time.

Here’s some construction detail pictures. The marking and preparation work took as long, if not longer, than the construction. 🙂

Interior of the back bodice. The pieces were individually flat-lined and yes, some didn’t come out as even as I would have liked due to shrinkage and miscalculation on my part. However, the edges will be covered.

Interior of front and side front pieces. The front pieces have been lined with a “canvas” of muslin with hair canvas on the lapels.

Finished front piece with pad stitched lapel.

Pad stitching the hymo lapel pieces.

Laying in the canvas and hymo.

 



Something In The Works

And now onto something new- an 1890s jacket-bodice based on an original French design. Stay tuned for more! 🙂

Laying out the fashion fabric and marking for cutting.

Cut out bodice pieces thread markings.

Sewing on the canvas to one of the front jacket facings. Hair canvas was previously attached to the canvas before mounting the canvas to the fashion fabric.

Mounting the canvas to the jacket front facing pieces. The canvas is being hand-stitched on to minimize movement.

 

 



Trending Patterns For February 1887- The Kensington Jacket

Fashion history has always been both a source of inspiration for our designs as well as providing a window into past times. When considering the fashion history of the late Nineteenth Century, it’s all too easy to get caught up in the magnificent designs of Worth, Doucet, Pingat, and others rather than consider what regular people wore. During this period, there was a growing market of patterns that were becoming available to the home sewer and marketed through publications such as Peterson’s Magazine, Demorest’s Family Magazine, and The Delineator, to name a few. In many cases, the patterns were designs licensed directly from major designers such as Worth (although they tended to downplay their involvement). Below is just one pattern for a jacket-bodice that was offered as a premium in Peterson’s Magazine


Featured in the February 1887 issue of Peterson’s Magazine was a pattern called the “Kensington Jacket. While we’d love to believe that this was the start of  a new fashion trend, unfortunately it wasn’t but rather a variation on the jacket-bodice style trend that had been developing for some time (the name was probably just an identifier for marketing purposes). That said, let’s take a look…

The pattern itself was included with the February issue (unfortunately it wasn’t scanned in the electronic version that we downloaded) and here’s a little description:

We give, this month, a “Kensington Jacket”— a very stylish affair, and suitable for late winter or early spring. It is quite an improvement, as will be seen, on the jackets of last fall.. Folded in with the number is a “Supplement,” with the several parts of this jacket given, in diagrams, full size. There are, as will be seen five pieces, as follows :

1. HALF OF FRONT.
2. HALF OF BACK.
3. SIDE-BACK.
4. SLEEVE
5. COLLAR AND REVERS

…The velvet revers can be worn either open or closed, thus making the jacket single or double breasted, at pleasure. The material is fine cloth, the revers being of velvet to match. Fancy oxidized silver buttons are the prettiest, if they can be had.

As with many Victorian Era sewing patterns, this was a fairly utilitarian garment that can be made in a number of different styles in different materials and with all manner of trim. We’re tempted to track down an original paper copy that (hopefully) still has the pattern; it would make for an interesting project. 🙂