Saturday 15 January 2022

Fashion Friday

 I am going to try to keep a regular post about Fashion, costuming, re-enacting etc.

Like the Book Tuesdays eventually I hope to have it as a monthly post on the second or third Friday of the month.

To start us off here is a very interesting post from the blog at Marna Jean Davis- Clothing Historian

The post is entitled:

What Not to Wear (A basic guide to choosing a Historic Late Victorian Dress) 

Lots of good information on practical late Victorian outfits suitable for re-enactors and historical displays.

Here is a short excerpt to give you a taste 😀


I realize not everyone has the same goals in costuming. If you are just having fun playing dress-up in pretty Victorian-esque dresses,  living out alternate realities in Steampunk timelines, or just having tea with the girls, this is probably not the blog post for you.

IF HOWEVER, you are wanting to get involved in living history, or volunteer at historic sites. If you care that your kit be fairly close to what was worn "back then" this will be a VERY basic guide to things to be aware of when looking for vendors/dressmakers.  This is not the be all end all, simply  some hints to at least help you winnow out the chaff from the dresses that will at least be a decent starting point.
What Time Period is "Late Victorian"
For the purposes of this article Late Victorian is 1870 through 1900. There ARE several major changes  pattern shapes will go through and when there are specifics I will attempt to point them out. I am also going to attempt to explain why some details make a difference.

What to Look/Not Look For

Princess Bodice Seams on the Front are out- Darts are in
If you see a curved front seam to help fit the bust area, be EXTREMELY cautious.  The greatest majority of late 19th century dresses are fitted with two darts on each side of the front piece. There are a few bodices that only have a single dart (half-fitted) and some that are loose with no fitting darts (saques). Princess cut seams (a seam that goes from the front armscye over the bust to the waistline,) are generally only seen on 1870s princess wrappers- a dress without a waistline seam, and even then only rarely.  By the 1880s the curved front seam is nearly non-existent for all practical purposes. Most bodices that appear to have a curved seam will be found most often to be an overlay, rather than a separate seam.
1874-75 basque Notice the front has two vertical darts on each side, and one horizontal dart at the waistline. This helps remove the crease formed there before 1876-77 when another seam/bodice piece was added for easier shaping.
1880s bodices no longer have the horizontal waist dart, just two vertical darts on each side. By this timeframe instead of 3 major bodice pattern pieces, there are 4 with the underarm piece being added.
While some bodices appear to not be fitted by darts, looking on the interior and by pattern reference, you will notice that fitted linings are still common.

Well worth checking out!

Victorian Society of Alberta


Tuesday 4 January 2022

January Book Tuesday

 Happy New Year!
First Book Tuesday of 2022

This is an epic history of "The West" of Canada up to 1871.
By Arthur S. Morton at the University of Saskatchewan.

Packed with information, maps and details this 995 page tome is worth a perusal.

Available at the Internet Archive in many formats.

A History of the Canadian West to 1871