Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Make-Up and Cosmetics in the 19th Century

Vintage Make-up Compact
Vintage Make-Up Compact
Let me put my face on...

That's what my Grandma always said before she went out. Funny thing was she never wore any make-up that I was aware of so what exactly she was referring to I will never know. Perhaps she was just checking to make sure she was presentable out there, in society...

While my Grandmother may not have worn any make-up I on the other hand wear it religiously. In fact, you will most likely never see me without it. So when I first started as a historical interpreter and got my first look at re-enacting I was in for a rude awakening.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Dangers of Umbrellas

Lady with Umbrella
Early Victorian Lady with Umbrella

At the last meeting of the SVSE, we were going through some of our reference materials and came across a copy of the Godey's Lady's Book. One of the members skimmed through it and discovered an entertaining article about how ladies carry their umbrellas; which then started a lively discussion on the topic. Apparently ladies have no common sense when it comes to handling such things... we are after all, such 'delicate figures' and yet we do tend to take up a 'great more canvas than men do' while holding one!

Sunday, April 07, 2013

The Evolution of 19th Century Paper Sewing Patterns

Today we can buy patterns for almost anything imaginable but in the 19th century this was not always the case. Just like us, ladies wanted to dress in the latest fashions of the day and they took their inspirations from fashion plates pictured in popular ladies magazines such as Godey's and Peterson's. By the late 1860's
sewing machines were becoming widely available and affordable and it was quite common to find one in many households; therefore garment making became much faster and easier for the average lady.

Demorest's Mirror of Fashions, 1865
Demorest's Mirror of Fashions, 1865

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

What Size Hoop Skirt Should I Wear?

1860's Lady
c. 1865-1867 Lady wearing an elliptical hoop

Ohhh the frustration of what size hoop skirt to wear!

It can stop you in your tracks and leave you stumped. It puts a catch into even the best laid plans.

After all you can't create that dress you always dreamed of without having your foundation pieces completed first! Of course this means conquering the dreaded question that everyone who must wear a hoop skirt is forced to ask; just what sized hoop should I be wearing?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What Fabric Should I use when Making a Corset?

Tan Leather Corset with Spoon Busk
1883-1895 Corset from 19th Century Fashion in Detail

If you really want to dress like a lady from the 19th century then a corset is a definite must have. Not only do they help in providing much needed support for hoops and bustles but they will also give your dress bodice a smooth finish and shape the body into a silhouette that was common during this time.