Carefully wrapped in acid free tissue and a hard case, our 1890s Felix ballgown is being taken to match up bead sizes and silk matched. Very special cargo, with an upcoming blog post tonight.
I‘m so glad to be home, where things are green and a barefoot lawn…I’ll feel better when the Tombstone house is finished but right now, I feel like I’ve been camping in a corset for a few days! Lily Absinthe Acre never looked so sweet as when we finally got home.. never again will we drive home on Memorial Day Monday, a twelve hour mistake. Happily, we come home with new project ideas and ready to get back to work.
And we’re back! After braving the horrible traffic coming back from Arizona, we’re happy to have arrived back in LA and ready to move on with some new projects. Overall, Tombstone was a good experience although we were rapidly reminded why we gave up selling at outdoor events ( tents and high winds are no fun). For this event, we brought out our pavilion tent and we were able to set up quite nicely, along with some friends of ours who were also selling various items. Here are a few views of our set-up:
We brought out a selection from our Day Lily line along with corsets, hats, and umbrellas/parasols.
And, of course, we couldn’t leave Angus out of the action and he enjoyed all the new smells and meeting lots of people.
In spite of the challenges from the elements, we had a good time and we met a lot of nice people. Even better was finally being able to meet people in person who have been following us on social media. 🙂 We hope to do this again in the future but in the meantime, if you see a Day Lily dress or something else that you’re interested in, do not hesitate to contact us. See you down the trail! 🙂
When building a period wardrobe, outerwear such as mantles are often overlooked even though they were a key element in just about any lady’s wardrobe. Broadly speaking, mantles are a lineal descendant of cloaks and shawls and as such, are basically a more refined version of these loose garments, designed to follow the lines of the underlying dress. One of the most distinctive characteristics of 1880s mantles was that the front was cut significantly longer than in the read in order to accommodate the bustle/train of the dress. To begin, here’s an example from circa 1875 made from a Kashmir/Paisley shawl:
Kashmir/Paisley shawls were extremely popular as outerwear during the 1850s and 1860s but were not always the easiest to wear due to their large size and especially with a trained dress. Many of these older shawls were converted to more manageable mantles during the 1870s. The above example is relatively loose which goes together with some of the exaggerated bustles/trains characteristic of early 1870s styles. Here’s an example from circa 1884 that continues this trend:
But the choice of fabric was not limited to Kashmir/Paisley; other fabrics were utilized with velvet being a major favorite:
The above example is a more loosely fitted example with wide sleeves and a lot of ease in the front. In the example below, we see a more tailored version with a peplum running along the bottom. In this profile, one can see that the back is cut to accommodate the prominent bustle characteristic of the later 1880s. Also, one can see a more structured, rigid sleeve setting the lower arm at a 90 degree angle; this was often referred to as a “sling sleeve.”
The mantle front often had a long length as with this example:
To get a better idea of scale, here’s a picture of the mantle being worn over a dress:
And for something a little different, here’s an illustration from the January 1880 issue of Peterson’s Magazine:
Here we see a mantle with the cylindrical silhouette characteristic of the Mid-Bustle Era. Unfortunately, we were unable to find any actual extant examples so illustrations will have to do. Here’s a couple more variations on the basic design:
The above is just a mere fraction of the possibilities with mantles- with just one or two basic shapes, one can create a wide variety of mantles utilizing all manner of fabrics and trim and that’s exactly what we’re going to be doing in the future. 🙂