Friday, June 13, 2014


Noah's First Poem

Birds chirp by the pond,
Water makes a quiet sound,
Grass waves in the wind,
The pond's sound.

Happy summertime, everyone.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Journal Journey into the Year 1811: La Belle Assemblée, May


This month's May issue reports a month ahead, on summery June fashions in England.

Or summery to a degree. Our darling dear in her walking dress is wearing full-length, lined sleeves and a high ruff around her collar, along with a "Persian mantle" -- fashion chat for a long shawl -- over the pelisse. Little white muslin summer dress with elbow-length or short sleeves this is not. It bears reminding that during these years Europe was a little colder than normal, and we can imagine that an English June might be a little on the cool and damp side.

As we are entering the halcyon days, the time of the beach novel, the silly season, watch out, because there's a bit in here about spices used in a really unusual way. Tell me whether you believe it or not. 

Please don't forget to read the London report from Ackerman's, and those from Weimar and Paris.

  • Sabine in Weimar: Journal des Luxus und der Mode
  • Alessandra in Paris: Journal des Dames et des Mode
  • Maggie, in London: Ackermann's

The May issue contains two articles, from pages 268 to 269. Here are the articles, transcribed below, with a few comments and thoughts in a Notes section beneath the transcription.

FASHIONS FOR JUNE, 1811.
EXPLANATION OF THE PRINTS OF FASHION.

No. 1. -- WALKING DRESS.

A pelisse of pale pink sarsnet, lined with white, and ornamented with rich silk Brandenburg trimmings of correspondent pink, or pale brown; a high standing ruff round the throat; a Persian mantle of pale blue, or white, thrown over the dress. A basket hat of straw, ornamented with a demi-wreath of half blown roses. Shoes of blue kid; gloves of York tan.



No. 2. -- PARISIAN BALL DRESS.


A frock of white crape, ornamented with white satin in a leaf pattern, the bottom of the dress trimmed with pale French roses and a plaiting of green and rose-colored ribband mixed; short bell sleeves; Persian fringed sash; long white kid gloves; stockings much embroidered; the hair plaited, and twisted with a double row of pearls.




GENERAL OBSERVATIONS ON FASHION AND DRESS.

Nothing can be a stronger proof that there is a way of setting off native beauty with ease and innocence, which will charm without the danger of turned outward ornaments into folly and extravagance, than the present mode of dress affords; never were ladies so simply attired, so divested of all the unnecessary trappings of finery, as at the present day, -- and when did they appear half so lovely, so attractive? Fashion is always aiming at perfection, but never finds it, or never stops where it should, otherwise this would be the precise point, when ease and elegance, nature and propriety, are all combined to contribute to the grace and loveliness of the female person.

We scarcely ever remember that in any season white was so universally prevailing as at the present; it is not exclusively confined to the under garb, for we have observed several pelisses, mantles, cloaks, tippets, and spensers innumerable in white sarsnet, trimmed with broad Mechlin lace; and for the higher order of the promenade nothing can be more elegantly bewitching, though scarcely more attractive, than the pelisse of a dark but bright green sarsnet unconfined, and negligently flowng back so as to display a high dress vying with the lily in whiteness, and worn with a cottage bonnet oif white chip, tied with white. Small sarsnet cloaks sloped to a point in front, and trimmed with broad black lace, are very prevailing, as are lace cloaks of a like form, with a small tippel of sarsnet worn underneath. Short sarsnet pelisses trimmed with lace, or long pelisses of the most transparent muslin lined with pale pink or blue sarsnet, spencers in muslin lined are likewise very general. Crape mantlets reaching only to the point of hte elbow, bound and trimmed with satin ribband, with satin turban caps ornamented with a long white willow feather, are elegantly appropriate for the evening select promenade. Within these few days gipsy hats have appeared, they are extremely becoming to a light airy figure: the slouched riding hats, with pointed rims in front, are much worn, but becoming too general, they have among a few select fashionables given place to the gipsy bonnets with dome crowns; but nothing can supersede the cottage bonnet, either in straw, chip, or satin, ornamented with a white ostrich feather; so long and so universally prevailing have they been, that a foreigner might suppose them a national bonnet.

Morning dresses are universally of white plain or stripe jacconots, made in the pelisse form, buttoned from the throat to the feet, with small raised buttons; the sleeve is gathered and set in to the cuff, clasped at the wrist with small gold snaps; the collar is ornamented with crimped ribband, crossed so as to form a diamond in the middle, and at the edges vandykes.

Dinner, or home dresses, are mostly of soft mull or cambric muslins, made square and rather high on the bosom, the backs plain, and sleeves short, trimmed with lace or ribband, and worn with small crape or embroidered muslin aprons, fancifully relieved with ribband; figured gauze, Opera nets, and sarsnets, are still worn by many elegant people; cambrics printed in small chintz patterns, trimmed with green ribband, and worn with a muslin apron trimmed with the same, have a most fascinating appearance, particularly when worn in the country; if we had not observed it on a lady of undoubted fashion, we might not have been led to suppose so, yet how bewitching this modest, this apparently unassuming mode of dress is, every one will be more or less able to determine; such are the recreations often of fanciful elegance.

For full, or evening dresses, crapes blended with satin, white sarsnet, and white figured gauzes, are the most approved; coloured bodies of sarsnet or satin, are likewise a pleasing relief to a petticoat of white crape or India muslin: the bosoms of the dresses are worn low and square, trimmed with broad Mechlin lace, set on rather full, or large white beads; the sleeves are made short, terminated with satin of a correspondent colour with the dress, cut bias, and laid in an easy fold; the bands are of the same, confined to the waist by a pin where least observed. Black and white lace dresses are too elegantly appropriated to have suffered any diminution of favour; lace or sarsnet tippets are still a requisite appendage to full dress. The head-dress is made flat to the head in the long Grecian form, with small raised fronts, and one or two ostrich feathers; beads are still a prevailing ornament placed much over the temples, and tassels suspended from one side; lace handkerchiefs are worn placed at the back of the head, and merely large enough to pin at the ear. Artificial flowers belong to a second order of dress, from whence too they are likely soon to be banished, not bearing the contrast of nature; flowers of stamped or camped satin and lace are now a more approved ornament for hats or caps. Feathers in every rank of dress are most esteemed by fashionable people. Crimped satin and ribbands are at present the rage, but nevertheless considered as less genteel than those of plain satin or sarsnet. Shot silks, except pale colours shot with white, have fallen quite into disrepute. Small trains are worn except for dancing. Short sleeves are universal. The waists maintain their length behind, but are something shorter in front. Some young ladies have appeared with their shoulders absolutely bared; if this be intended to charm, we would ask them if they are sensible of how much greater attraction they lose sight when they depart from that modesty (a breach of which no fashion or custom can sanction) which alone gives lustre to beauty in women; it is of itself so beautiful that it has a charm to hearts insensible of all others; an innocent modesty, a native simplicity of look, eclipses all the glaring splendours of art or dress; but how can such a look coincide with such a dress? In a word, it is a wantonness scarcely to be tolerated in an Indian slave market, much less in a Christian woman. Such exposures remind us of cheap fruit stripped of their husks, or rinds, in order to prove an incitement to purchasers.

The hair is now worn strained back from the side of the face, twisted behind, and brought round the head on one side and confined in full round curls, the front hair is curled in thick flat curls. Ornamental combs are not much worn; pearl wreaths are considered as remarkably elegant; many ladies have nothing on their heads.

In jewellery but little variation is observable at this season, rustic ornaments as usual prevail; necklaces and crosses of coral, amber, Indian spices, &c., worn long, prevail; pearls, diamonds, &c., in necklaces or any fancy devices, innumerable.

The prevailing colours for the season are yellow, deep green, blue, pink, lilac, and amber.


Notes

Ball dress. The ball dress in this month's plate, spelled "Parisien" in the French manner on the plate itself but in English in the text, has a dramatically low-cut vee back. The back neckline appears to nearly reach the back waist, and if it doesn't, really it still would appear to, courtesy the satin trim. We don't know for sure, of course, but it would not be surprising at all if the satin leaf shapes were simply cut in pairs out of a single layer of satin, and the edges perhaps painted with gum arabic to retard fraying, and tacked to the dress at the join between the two leaves. Can you imagine the leaves fluttering, the satin glimmering in candlelight, with every move of the dress? It's the epitome of summery dress, and it would be stunning too in a dress of light green, with darker Regency green leaves, blush or yellow roses and a matching sash. I do not know if the "Persian fringed sash" is Persian because of the fringe, Persian because anything Eastern is hot in 1811, or because the sash is of silk Persian, a light silk often used for linings. 

Ball headdress.
Ball headdress. The double row of pearls twisted on at the front hairline echoes the bumps created by the braided hair. What the text does not say is that the back hair is not only braided in multiple braids, one following the curve of the chignon, and several others crossing over the chignon, but that there are curled puffs added above the comb that holds the chignon and braids in place. The puffs could be the curled ends of the hair and braids pinned into puffs, but could also be achieved with little puffs of false hair pinned into place. Some of the braids could be false as well. The short front hair is allowed to curl in tiny, short curls, and the hair at the neck ditto. The comb is metal, perhaps pinchbeck or vermeil, and topped, typically, with pearls to match the pearls worn in the hair. The hair pearls were probably false glass pearls...sea pearls were incredibly expensive, and the comb pearls as well. This is an effective and elegant headdress, one of the prettier I've seen in 1811. It is funny that the general observations sections claims that decorative combs are not much worn, when the fashion plate is showing one. Beware of depending solely on either text or image when doing your research.

Basket hat. I suppose the basket moniker is due to the plaited openings in the side of what looks like a capote-style hat with a turned-up brim. To be perfectly honest with you, it really does look like the poor thing is wearing a basket, and I cannot pretend to like it. A simpler hat in felted wool would have been a better fit with the military trimming, to my mind, anyhow.

Beads. Still a thing. Now it's beads at the temples, strung like a diadem.

Bell sleeves.
Bell sleeves. If you look closely, these are not the boufy-poufy, stand-up-at-the-top-of-the-armscye sleeves of the later Regency, but sleeves that rise just a little at the shoulder (look at the lady's right arm -- there is some stiffness at the seam), but then bell out and fold under so the cuff, and there must be a cuff to hold that fold, is hidden.

Brandenburg trimmings. These are military-style trimmings, made in what is probably a silk cord, trimmed with silk-covered beads. Note that they could be brown or pink. The pink would have blended into the dress and looked rather quieter. Also note the belt, with pendant cords or ribbons, with beads dangling. Here are more echoes of the vandyking and pointed-edged draperies we have seen in earlier months.

Advertisement in Ackermann's for cambric.
Cambric. A fabric the was originally made of linen, but later made in cotton as well. Normally, but not always, woven in a plain (tabby) weave. Could be woven very tightly and of very fine threads. The Tradesman: Or Commercial Magazine, Volume 8, p. 187 says that fine cambric is used to make artificial flowers, and the more "imperceptible" the weave, the better the result mimics nature. In sales advertisements, cambric is often classed with lawn, which we know as another fine woven, but rather limp, fabric. It is also advertised along with lace. Since lace was expensive, especially before the advent of reams of manufactured lace, the fact that cambric was sold in the same shop and classed with it, puts good cambric in the category of a finer fabric. See for instance The Repository of Arts, Literature, Fashions, Manufactures..., (Ackermann's) Volume 5, 1818,  p. 314. (See also jacconots/jaconet, below.)

Colors. For this season we see summer colors: "colours for the season are yellow, deep green, blue, pink, lilac, and amber". However, if you plan to create a evening dress for spring 1811 -- what are the chances? -- and wish to use shot silk, it had better be white shot with a color.

Gold snaps. In reference to the closure on the cuffs of a morning dress. "(T)he sleeve is gathered and set in to the cuff, clasped at the wrist with small gold snaps". Snap closures, so far as I know, were invented early in the 20th century. I have never seen an extant dress with a closure of any sort of snap-like function. A mystery awaiting a solution!

Home dresses. "(C)ambrics printed in small chintz patterns, trimmed with green ribband, and worn with a muslin aprin trimmed with the same". Here is an example of a dress made in the small sprigged patterns we often associate with the Regency. However, what we moderns don't always conjure up is the addition of a muslin apron as an accessory. Neither did the author, who commented that if he hadn't seen a reliably fashionable lady wearing such an "unassuming" ensemble -- read normally worn for work and labor -- he wouldn't have thought it fashionable. Simple muslin aprons worn with little printed dresses were workaday fashion but could be considered chic when worn as country dress. We might have guessed as much, but it's good to see it in print.

Indian spice necklace. Yes, it's true, they existed. I take this extended quotation from The Gentleman's Magazine, 1802, p. 916, in an article titled "The Dress of the Ladies Medicinally Considered". It is the only other article, by the way, that I can locate which mentions this sort of necklace, though they seem to have had a rather long run for a fad, since they're mentioned in 1811.

But yet, Mr. Urban, the dear creatures do sometimes adopt such whims as one cannot help criticizing on a little; and a fashion has just come to my knowledge, which seems singular enough to merit a place in your miscellaneous annals of the times. This, Sir, is a species of NECKLACE made of common black pepper, or, as it is called in the language of the kitchen--all-spice. I really don't joke--you may see them in every shop; the all-spice is first boiled, then strung with beads alternately, and when cold the all-spice becomes hard as before--and necklaces of this composition at present adorn the fair necks, and are pendant from the fair bosoms, of our fair ladies.

Now, in the name of wonder, Mr. Urban, who invented this? or why, out of all the substances in the creation, animal, vegetable, or mineral, should all-spice be chosen for a purpose hiterto executed by diamonds, by pearls, and by artificial beads of a thousand beautiful hues? I have in vain questioned all the females of my acquaintance as to the origin and uses of this West Indian produce, taken from our broths and our soups to exalt female beauty; but I can get no answer, no rational account, why all-spice is preferred, or why grey pease would not have been full as becoming, and more patriotic as growing in our own lands...."

Why boil the berries? I suspect to allow a needle or awl to be pushed through to make the stringing hole. Would the berries have smelled nicely? Surely the women questioned would have told their listener if that were the case. It's a mystery and I am tempted to try out the experiment, and boil some of my allspice berries, and string them with some beads.

Jacconots (jaconet). A kind of muslin, relatively heavy compared to light fabrics like lawn. The Encyclopaedia Perthensis (1816), p. 160, categorizes it this way:


However, note that the encyclopedia ranks cambrics as heavier than lawn...while another source classes it with lawn. I suspect that there are several grades of the cambrics, and probably of jaconet, too.

Necklaces. Coral and amber are considered summery and "rustic". Interesting. So are "Indian spices". This makes me wonder if necklaces were strung with nutmegs? Still, I cannot help but wonder if I have misread or misunderstood the text...but no, it's true. See "Indian spice necklace". It's fascinating. By the way, the spice used is apparently from the Caribbean, the West Indies.

Persian mantle. What makes the mantle Persian? Methinks it's probably just to decorate the idea of the shawl, and no more, but the heavy gold fringe, which appears to be composed of gold-colored beads, does have an Eastern feel. Note that the beads play off the beads on the pelisse trim. The entire outfit is closely coordinated.

Tippets. Still in fashion...

Waistline. For evening dresses, waistlines are somewhat higher in front than in back. What a change from some years before, when the front was lower than the back. It's a fallacy to assume that the high waistline was at the same height all around. It makes putting on a sash rather a trick.

White. The author's chatter about how prevalent the color white is in 1811 strikes me as a little silly, since white had been so common a color for dress for the last thirty years, from when the Chemise a la Reine made its entrance before the French Revolution. However, if you choose not to skip the section after the first phrase, you realize that the author is focusing on white outerwear...you know, shawls and spencers and so on. Yes, this is different, for for the last age or so, and I am exaggerating, women had been wearing little white dresses with bright Eastern or faux-Eastern shawls, or contrasting spencers in silk or cotton or wool or lace, with colored boas and so on. Now the outerwear is white too. 

More than that, the layering effects we have seen in drapery this year are carried into peekaboo color effects, in which thin white fabrics on top allow colored linings to show. We've seen this is dresses, now it's popular in pelisses and spencers, too. This is a fashion sandbox in which costumers and reenactors haven't played much, and I wish they would try it out as a variation.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Journal Journey into the Year 1811: La Belle Assemblée, April


This month's April issue reports a month ahead, on May fashions in England.

Before we start, don't forget to read the London report from Ackerman's, and those from Weimar and Paris.

  • Sabine in Weimar: Journal des Luxus und der Mode
  • Alessandra in Paris: Journal des Dames et des Mode
  • Maggie, in London: Ackermann's
The April issue contains just three articles, from pages 212 to just the first lines of page 214. Thankfully, the author has -- thankfully -- chosen to keep his or her philosophical and moral thoughts to himself or herself, and our eyes and patience aren't tried by line after line about Lady Fashion's frivolity or milliners' and their client's grotesque taste.

Not that the writer wasn't on to something, because this month's general remarks include an endless sentence concerning headdresses worn for very dressy occasions that's so full of pearl twists, pearl tassels, wreaths, lappets, and thingies dangling at the temples that not only was I at a loss to find the period at the end of the sentence, but thought the entire paragraph an exhibition of grotesque over-dressing and waste. And nearly quit transcribing it.

Until I recalled the full dress fashion plate for this month, and that it's very pretty, even to modern eyes. Perhaps the turban will not please us all, of course, yet look at the silhouette, and the crisscrossings of colors and trims. Tell me that that isn't red carpet-worthy! Let Gwynneth Paltrow don that dress and she'd be on the best-dressed lists for 2014. Maybe even in the turban.

So, here are the articles transcribed below, with some notes and comments.

FASHIONS FOR MAY, 1811.

EXPLANATION OF THE PRINTS OF FASHION.

ENGLISH COSTUME.

EVENING DRESS.

A robe and petticoat of white satin, with short sleeves, trimmed with green or yellow chenille; over which is worn a light green drapery of crape, fastened on the left shoulder with an amber or cornelian brooch; folded over the left side of the figure in front, nearly concealing the waist on that side; the hind part of the drapery is simply bound in at the bottom of the waist, and confined underneath the drapery in the front, entirely ornamented round with yellow chenille. With this dress is worn a Turkish turban of green crape, with trimming to correspond, with plume on the right side. The hair in small round curls, divided on the right side. Amber or cornelian necklace. Gloves of white kid. Shoes of white kid, or silk.



PEARL ORNAMENTS.

A complete suit of Pearl ornaments, invented and manufactured by Mr. J. H. Barlow. It certainly far surpasses any thing of the kind we ever remember to have seen. --- We understand it is this gentleman's intention to present the fashionable world with a succession of novelties every month; and, from the specimen given in this Number, we have no doubt he will meet with a patronage commensurate with his taste and ingenuity.

GENERAL OBSERVATIONS ON FASHION AND DRESS.

Notwithstanding that the weather has been in some measure ungenial, Fashion has now decidedly set out on her spring career, and with a spirit and emulation of novelty which promises the production of an infinite variety of all that can contribute to splendour, elegance, and gaiety.

For the out-door costume, short pelisses in sarsnet, trimmed with Mechlin lace, with lace capes, made to meet in front, and fitting the shape with the most minute exactness, confined to the waist with elastic bands, made on the same plan as the glove-tops were formerly, and fastened with cope de perle clasps; pelisses also in black or white lace, or soft mull muslins, lined with pale primrose or celestial blue sarsnets, are much approved. Spensers in muslin lined, or of sarsnet or white satin, are scarcely less esteemed by the fashionable fair: the lined muslin pelerines are much worn likewise by our more youthful belles. Mantles, extremely short, hard except the bounds of a large tippet, made to set plain on the back, and confined in to the waist behind, and lace cloaks with a small satin under tippet, so formed as to cover the neck and shoulders, which would otherwise be too much exposed to the sun and air, make up the list of the several varieties which we have to offer in this class of dress.

Hats in straw, nearly in the same forma as those worn by gentlemen, slouched, and the rims deep in front, trimmed with one or more ostrich features, the stalks of which are fastened into a small rosette of white satin ribband, or in satin finished with lace net, and raised from the face with a small bunch of primroses, blue bells, apple or other blossoms, with a large square black lace veil thrown over the head. Caps in the long Grecian form, brought very forward on the templates, raised above the ears, and projecting behind so as to admit the hair, and tapered in the form of a barrel, composed of lace and broad satin ribband either white or primrose. A new satin has been lately produced which has the appearance of being crimped small, or ribbed, this has a very pleasing effect when made up into bonnets, and is of the newest invention. It must not be forgotten that the deep lace veil has entirely superseded the small ones, and that the head dress, of whatever composed, must be made entirely flat on the head, so as to give the appearance of length, as we before observed in the Grecian form.

The parasols have also undergone some variation; in addition to the Chinese, or dome crowns, they are now vandyked at the edges, and these left unconfined are played by the air, and thus communicate a refreshing coolness which contributes not less to the beauty than the comfort of the lovely bearer; the sticks are of polished steel, which are so formed as to pull out to the length of a walking cane, or, on being compressed, into the length of a fan.

Morning and walking dresses are made high in the neck, with collars, in the form of a pelisse, buttoned from the throat to the feet with small raised buttons, much intermixed with lace; these dresses are deservedly much approved, as, in addition to their simple and graceful form, they possess all the convenience and answer every end of the pelisse, by the trifling addition of a silk pelerine or handkerchief; others are made high in the neck, without collars, in the Roman form; the skirts are made of one entire width of muslin, cut bias. These dresses are short, buttoned down the bosom, the skirt left unconfined, and trimmed entirely round with a pale lilac of primrose ribband, woven with a scallop at one edge only; the petticoat must correspond; and Roman sandals of white Morocco, should be worn with it. Striped muslins seem to be most admired. A cap fancifully formed at the back, the front made of a small half square of lace, the point falling lightly and negligently on the hair on one side [sic] the face, the opposite side raised above the ear by a small white satin ribband cockade, is the favourite head-dress of a military lady justly celebrated not less for her taste than rank and beauty; we think it stands unrivalled by any present mode of dress for its elegant simplicity, and is peculiarly calculated to give an air of elegant spirit to a delicate countenance.

For home, or dinner dresses, mull or striped muslins, plain sarsnets, Opera nets, figured gauzes, are the most appropriate; and the form either high in the neck, after the costume of the Romans, or low in the back, nearly stripped off the shoulders, and cut round and moderately high on the bosom. The small lace tippet, without a collar, is a pleasing apology for the handkerchief, which should not be too unceremoniously or indiscriminantly discarded.

In full or evening dress, the bosoms of the dresses are cut something lower, the back and shoulders, we are sorry to add, still more exposed, the sleeves are won invariable short and plain; the necks either trimmed with a simple chenille trimming, or beads; but if with lace, it must be Mechlin, and full two nails deep, set on full. White satin, pink jonquille, or lilac, when worn with a small antique lace, or Moravian worked apron, are highly esteemed; the stomacher of the apron should be fastened in the centre with a richly set ornament of either amethyst, emeralds, or pink topaz, with diamonds or pearls. Yellow crape over white satin, but if for candle-light, in order to be becoming, the yellow should be deep; white lace over lilac or primrose, with white figure gauze afford an elegant and appropriate variety for full dress. Silver or coloured foil wreathes; bands or twist of beds, terminating with large tassels on one side, either in beads or silver, and worn exceeding forward over the temple, but raised above the ears; a small lace handkerchief worn quite on the back of the head, brought under the chin, and confined at one ear by a knot of pearls, with two rows of beads twisted round the head, and worn forward on the face; a rich piece of joining lace thrown over the back of the head, and pendant like lappets, finished with pearl tassels, and handsome bead ornament over the forehead, or double row of large pearls terminating on one side with tassels of smaller pearls; long Grecian heads of white satin, with raised fronts, worn with one or two white ostrich feathers so placed as to fall much back, and white satin Highland caps with appropriate plumes, are all that we have observed worthy of communicating since our last.

Twilled silks are no longer even candidates for approbation, it is so generally allowed that they cast a shade over the complexion which make them extremely unbecoming. It is a singularity, however, worthy of remark, that, for this last fortnight our younger belles have declined the aid of any ornament whatever, neither necklace, earrings, brooches, bracelets, or even combs have appeared upon them.

The hair is worn dressed in full flat curls over the face, twisted behind, the ends brought forward and blended with the front hair.

In respect to jewellery, fancy necklances are by no means considered as elegant; plain strings of pearl, or rows of emeralds, amythests, garnets, diamonds, &c. continue to be alike worn; the earrings are still in the top and drop fashion, nor have we noticed any new device; brooches display all the taste of the jeweller in the formation of different flowers after nature; watches are still getting smaller, and pearl chains are advancing into favour.

The gloves are worn very short; the fans are increasing in size; trains are more laid aside through convenience than fashion.

The prevailing colours for the season are yellow, primrose, pink, lilac, straw, and blue celeste.

Feathers in full dress were never so universal.

Notes

Aprons. Oh, what an item, when clasped with gems! This month they're part of full dress: "White satin, pink jonquille, or lilac, when worn with a small antique lace, or Moravian worked apron, are highly esteemed; the stomacher of the apron should be fastened in the centre with a richly set ornament of either amethyst, emeralds, or pink topaz, with diamonds or pearls." The "Moravian worked apron" I thought at first must refer to colorful embroidery in stylized floral patterns, as so much of Moravian and Eastern European embroidery is. However, in the early nineteenth century England it turns out to refer to a form of fine whitework, which better suits an 1811 opera or evening gown anyhow. (Reference: Morris, Barbara J.  Victorian Embroidery: An Authoritative Guide. Dover Books, p. 169.

Chenille. Glad to see it's still popular. Here it's embroidered on the full dress gown in the fashion plate. In this case the designs are relatively straightforward: the dress drapery, and petticoat, are trimmed with a narrow band of chenille embroidery applied to what is probably a satin band, in the form of a wavy line (very Greek) in gold, with small leaflets growing out of each wave. The robe is trimmed with a complementary pattern of doubled wave patterns set to interwine into a series of connected ovals. Again, very Classical.  See previous months in this series for other occurrences and a definition.

Statue of a Roman woman, ca. 100–110 CE,
Glypothek, Munich. From Wikimedia Commons.
Drapery. This month's full dress fashion plate is dominated by what the writer terms a drapery. We heard about drapery last month, too, in the pretty blue-trimmed ball dress. Do you recall? In this ensemble, the drapery is both eye-catching and elegant. For the year 1811, such a year of experimentation, that's saying something. The drapery is really nothing more than a handsomely embroidered length of expensive fabric, artfully wrapped and pinned around the wearer much in the mode of the Roman palla, the signature garment of the antique Roman matron. The crape will have been a somewhat sheer silk, very popular so far this year for formal wear.

Robe. In this month's full dress fashion plate, the model wears a robe and petticoat combination, under a "drapery". It's a little bit hard to see how the robe is put together, but we know that the skirt portion crosses in front, is cut so that the fronts cut away down below the knees, with one side either pinned or tied at the waist quite far over onto the side of the waist. The bodice is tight, and extremely wide-cut, as was beginning to be the fashion, so that the shoulders are almost uncovered, and the sleeves tight. The shoulder straps must be almost strings in their narrowness. I can see that the dress would work well as a stomacher front, pinned at the shoulders, with two hidden bodice front pieces underneath that pin together as well, and give the bodice smoothness and shape.

Gracious, there's a great deal more to say, but this post is unseemly late, so it goes live as it is! The May issue is breathing down our collective necks :}

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Hippy-Hooray! A Pair of Hip Pads to Attach Directly to the Stays

Completed hip pads pinned to stays.
It's not too easy to find extant hip pads, those second and third quarter of the eighteenth century tubelike or boxy protuberances worn over the stays to give the hips, and the skirts over them, a little extra oomph and ooh là là. Some mantua makers sell them, such as the Village Green Clothier, and some reenactors have made them, including a pair recently made by Kitty Calash. Among costumers, the larger pannier, made with cane or boning, are quite popular and create a dramatic hip line.

The circa 1770 English gown I am making is designed for fairly relaxed, informal day wear, so while I made a pair of panniers some years ago, methought semi-dramatic hips were more in order than gargantuan basket hips. Sarah Jane Meister, from whom I purchased my stays, sweetly sent the remnant of pink linen that the stays were covered with, so I took that and designed a pair of hip pads.

Historical Hip Pads

Many of you may already be familiar with the Boston Museum of Fine Art's banana-bright pads, complete with their original, worn strings. They were my immediate inspiration, and it would have been fun to have made them with yellow chintz, 'cept I didn't have any of that.

I was also a little leery of strings and more strings around the waist:

  • 1 pair of pads
  • 1 decency petticoat
  • 2 regular under petticoats
  • 1 outer petticoat
equals five sets of tapes, equals extra inches and a nearly sure rat's nest of knots.


Hip rolls. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. 43.1275a,b.
Though guess what? The tape ties are made of wool!  Ha, ha! Evidence that I can use my handspun wool on the tape loom to make narrow tape ties as needed.

Anyhow, the excess string business. What to do about it? Then I found the stays below in the Met's collection, and lo, there were hip pads attached to them already, sans strings. Wish answered.

Stays, 1750-75, European. C.I.39.13.206a, b, Met.




Stays, third quarter of the eighteenth century. Probably Spanish. C.I.39.13.211. Met.
Do you see the pretty remnant of block-printed fabric used to create the European pads? What fun, what good use of scraps.

I've peered and peered at these images, and believe that they are tacked to the stays with thread. The dimples in the pad fabric lead me to believe that. Something else to notice: these pads are not exactly works of art. The pads on the Spanish stays are compact and nicely shaped, a bit like kidney beans. The European pads are apparently rectangles of fabric stuffed, and none too neatly. These were purely utilitarian addenda to the human shape :}

The Hip Pads, Drafted

My cues for shape are the MFA pads. Because the pads form a crescent, it seemed to me that the skirts would like more neatly and naturally on them than on sudden squarish bumps.  Here's how I did them.

A blog post about the making of a farthingale roll, I think, gave me the needed tip. Sure wish I had written down or remembered the maker in order to give them credit!

First, the stays were donned, and the waist measured. Then I laid out the measuring tape in a waist-like ring on a piece of paper, and sketched in the rough shape of my waist in stays. Then I drew in a pad shape on one side of the "waistline". I estimated the Boston pads at about three inches wide at their widest. Drawing the shape into a crescent was easy: you can see that it's rather natural to do this given the shape of the waist.


Next, I cut out the pad shape with scissors.


It was folded in half and the shape evened out so that both ends matched.


Fascinating, eh?

Next, using the cut-out as a template, I draw around its edges on a fresh piece of paper. I added one inch all around to account for the depth -- the thickness -- of the resulting pad.


Then I added another one inch all around for a seam allowance. The wide seam allowance gave me lots of room to tweak the shape and thickness of the pads if needed.


There, the pattern was finished.

The Hip Pads Take Shape

The rest is pretty straightforward. Following the pattern, four pieces were cut out of the pink linen.


I sewed up each pad with linen thread, leaving a little hole in each for turning them right side out and stuffing them. The boys' toy car is in the photo for kicks and giggles.







The pads are stuffed with alpaca, which is all I have at the moment. The stuffing is not crammed in, so that at some point the alpaca can be spun...the stuffing would then become down from one of our very old, ready-to-be-retired pillows.
The Final Pads

Here they are, pinned to the stays:




A rather fun little project. Straightforward and unfussy.

Next, a plain, narrow decency petticoat to wear just above the stays.  Before I leave you, a little boy and kitty silliness. Christopher rests his head on Muffin, all soft and warm, and reads as she  naps. Bliss for both.



Ciao!

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Finished Tape from the Tape Loom, and Spinning Wool...What Are We Up To?

It's done, the first handwoven tape from the tape loom -- actually an English trim loom -- and I report that making it was a pleasure.

J. K. Seidel, who made my loom, prewarped it for me and started a tape so that I could learn from the already woven bit. The pattern is reminiscent of the American flag, and is just right for the boys to use as lanyards, bows for their stuffed animals, or ginormous bookmarks.

Weaving these tapes does take a little thought and care; beating the just-woven row at an angle or not keeping an even tension on the warp threads will cause the result to lean and the width of the tape to vary. It's also good to be on the watch for feline paws; Muffin has become expert at nabbing the finished end of my work.

Nevertheless, after awhile the fingers do learn their work and you can chat or, as I do, monitor the boys as they do their homework, while weaving. It's a meditative, peaceful activity, and it doesn't mind interruptions.

Here we are, at the end of the warp threads: they are knotted to a narrow brass bar. The ribbon tucked into the loom is used as a strap to keep the loom stationary during weaving.



Here's a sample of the tape in the process of being pawed, and then test-chewed, by Muffin. You can see small variations in the width of the tape. The pattern is achieved by the warp threads pretty much alone. The warp on a trim loom is all pulled together and held that way by the turns of the weft through the outer threads of the warp. There is nothing to keep the warp threads spaced out so that the weft shows. Thus the warp is all one sees, except at the very edges of the tape. The result is a very strong, durable fabric.


So, what next? Another tape, natuerlich, but this one using a fine linen thread, probably a 20/2 thread suitable for fine weaving, or maybe a 16/2 thread. Note: the higher the first number, the finer the thread; the second number refers to the number of plies in the finished thread. A "1" means there is no plying and the thread is straight from being spun. It's not too strong and thus not right for tapes. A "2" means 2-ply, and that can be used in fine linen weaving.

A Tape to Close a Petticoat...and Where the Costuming Hobby Is Heading

Ah, you say, so that's it. You're weaving tapes for a period costume. Well, so I am. These next tapes will be the ties for a late 1760s-early 1770s petticoat, and the two under petticoats that support them. I've got the design well in hand for the gown to go over them, and Hallie Larkin's 18th century English gown pattern to construct it with. The cap and the handkerchief for the ensemble are done. I'll be writing more about the ensemble as the months pass.

At this juncture in my experiments with period dressmaking, I am interested in the bones of the textiles that make up an ensemble. It's as if I started costuming, years ago, at the top of a tree, all fascinated by fluff and flutter among the leaves and blossoms. Then I turned to the construction, how the branches and the trunk created the tree's shape. Now I am interested in the bark and sapwood, the heartwood and the sap itself, the fibers and fluids that form the tree and make it live and grow.

Why are tapes strong? How does linen thread feel? Why is it so "crunchy" when it's first woven, and how is it softened up? How are patterns made? What about color? These are the questions this next project asks.

Other Bone-sy Projects: Spinning and Indigo Dyeing

Detail of one of the spinning wheels Dad and Letitia gave me.
Couldn't I leave well enough alone with the tapes? No, no. Weaving and spinning go together; they are the backbone of women's work throughout recorded and pre-recorded history. If I am going to weave anything, and handle thread, I should understand how the threads got the way they did and why they act the way they do. Enter spinning.

Learning to spin, I begin to understand fibers, and how over the ages humanity has learned to take advantage of each fiber's nature to make yarn and threads durable, shiny, soft, tough, cushy-cozy, and mirror-smooth. I learn about twist, and how it affects everything that is woven or knitted or knotted.

Will I use the spun thread? Of course: off it goes into tapes, at least.

Actually, there's another, simpler reason for testing out spinning. I have a spinning wheel, and another arriving next week, both gifts from my parents, and two drop spindles. Really now, should they sit as decor to be dusted? That would be a shame. The wheels want to be used, and when I see friends Jane and Caroline spinning, the urge to join in is so strong.

The rest of that spinning wheel. You see why it's wanting to be loved and used? It's pretty in a cozy sort of way.
Simplest of all, I HAVE to learn. I've been tapped to help with our church's Vacation Bible School this summer. One of the responsibilities includes demonstrating drop spinning. Not knowing diddly squat, since a short spinning class when I was a teenager hardly counts, my friend Jane and I had a lesson a few weeks back from a professional spinner (what a nifty person!), with more to come, and now am practicing up for this summer, so the resulting yarn won't fall apart immediately, like last year's did :}

An eastern European drop spindle. Am slowly filling it with wool yarn spun from
some handsome creamy wool "top". Some of the yarn is nice, some
is pretty slubby.
Fruits of the spin: a fuzzy slub and some decent yarn.
Then there's indigo. Jane wants to dye with indigo again, as she did years ago, and I started hopping up and down, begging to be able to help her. So, yay! Sometime before it gets to hot out we're going to set up the process outdoors, and I'll dye enough linen for a petticoat, plus a bit extra for some throw pillow backs. From all I've read, it's a strange and fascinating process, and reminds us just how involved the creation of non-bleedy colors can be.

So there we are, a nice big bunch of different skills to mess with. I wonder where they will lead, these paths?

(By the way, I haven't forgotten about the cap and what I learned from its construction. The post is mostly written, but needs editing and for some reason, I just can't seem to get going on it.)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Journal Journey into the Year 1811: La Belle Assemblée, March


The March issue of La Belle Assemblée is reporting on April, and it's clear that in 1811, April was definitely springtime. There's lots of color, lots. Here though, here in Kentucky, right now the snowdrops are still blooming under the onslaught of yet another round of sleet. Yesterday was so warm we went coatless and played in the sunshine. Today is leaden. A good day to curl up with a magazine and consider colors like jonquille, don't you think?

Before we start, don't forget to read the London report from Ackerman's, and those from Weimar and Paris.

  • Sabine in Weimar: Journal des Luxus und der Mode
  • Alessandra in Paris: Journal des Dames et des Mode
  • Maggie, in London: Ackermann's

The March issue includes three articles spanning pages 156 to 158. The articles are transcribed below, with a few notes and comments.

FASHIONS FOR APRIL, 1811.

EXPLANATION OF THE PRINTS OF FASHION.

ENGLISH COSTUME.
No. 1. -- A Ball Dress.

A white sarsnet or satin petticoat, with short sleeves; over which is worn a body and drapery of light-blue gauze, formed in three points, or vandykes over the petticoat, reaching nearly to the bottom, the ends finished with white silk tassels; it is crossed over the figure in front towards the left side, and fastened in tufts, or bows, of the same colour; a short sash, tied in a bow on the left side; sleeves looped up in the front of the arm. The bottom of the petticoat trimmed in vandykes to correspond. White silk stockings, with blue kid shoes. The hair twisted up behind, and dressed in full curls, ornamented with a bandeau of light-blue twisted crape and roses. White kid gloves.



No. 2. -- A Walking Dress.


Round dress of cambric muslin, with a ruff collar, trimmed round the bottom with narrow purple ribband; cassimere crimson mantle, confined close to the neck, lined with purple silk, embroidered round the neck, cape and sides with purple fancy border; a deep cape falling from the shoulders, sloping to a narrow point, with tassels. A crimson velvet bonnet, turban front, and trimmed with purple to correspond. York tan gloves. Yellow kid boots.

GENERAL OBSERVATIONS ON FASHION AND DRESS.

Independent of the season of Lent, which, among the serious and well-judging, is never entirely delivered up to the idle dominion of fancy, Fashion herself seems to have put on a more sedate and consistent aspect, and to have discovered that in the production of such an endless variety of new and contradictory modes, she has submitted to the wild vagaries of fancy, rather than followed the dictates of good taste. It is an incessant desire of novelty that leads the manufacturer and milliner into inventions full of absurdity which are, nevertheless, adopted with the most extravagant applause, but are as quickly followed by satiety and disgust. A new set of artificers start up, invent new methods to please, still more grotesque than the former, and depart still further from simplicity and nature than those who first ventured from its paths into the wilds of fancy, till overwhelmed with new inventions, which succeed and efface each other with incredible rapidity, we scarcely know where we are, and cast back our eager eyes to that period when true taste reigned under the empire of nature. It was this momentary self-possession, this retrograde motion, which led us to adopt the simple and graceful costume of the Greeks and Romans, and thus extricated ourselves at once from a labyrinth of folly and fanciful extravagance. 

During the past month short pelisses, for the most part of purple velvet, lined with white sarsnet, have been most prevailing; they are made with plain collars, and exactly to meet from the throat to the bottom; the waists of the pelisses are joined to the skirts, which admits of their fitting closer to the bust, and is a considerable advantage to the shape; a band of the same, pinned before, confines the  waist; they are trimmed round the bottom with a deep French lace. Short mantles are also considered very elegant; and spencers, as usual, with the return of spring put in their claim for fashionable approbation; we have observed several of dove-coloured velvet, trimmed with swansdown, and many in blue satin, and as the season advances we expect to see them yield to those of sarsnet or muslin lined. Variegated chip hats in the cottage form seem to be advancing into notice, the small cottage shape, sufficiently raised from the face to admit underneath a rosette of lace or a small bunch of hyacinths, primroses, or other spring flower, whether in chip, satin, or straw, is decidedly the most admired. In carriages, caps are very numerous, they are made in broad yellow sarsnet ribband and lace, brought forward on the face, flat on the head, and projecting behind in the form of a cone, the crown is formed by a round of lace, the cap must be formed so as to give the appearance of length to the head, the crown rather tapers, the ears are left uncovered, strings confine it under the chin, and a small knot of flowers, or long rosette of lace, ornaments the front; a deep black lace square veil thrown over the head is much worn by elegant people. A hat in the form of a crown, with a broad band of gold above the temples, and rich gold tassels suspended from the top, either in dove, coloured beaver or green velvet, is much worn in carriages, to which they are exclusively confined, call the Regency hat.

Spencers and pelisses are worn trimmed with rich silk Brandenburgs.

For morning dress the gowns are made high in the neck, to button up the back, without collars, mostly in cambric or moss muslin, they are considered equally elegant, either entirely plain or much let in with lace and work; a small jacket, set in to the band, is a graceful addition to the dress. Caps are indispensable, as are Roman boots of white Morocco. Small muslin aprons are greatly admired.

For home or dinner dresses, sarsnets, Merino crapes, Opera nets made high, with long sleeves, and small falling collar of lace, trimmed round the hands with the same, are by far the most approved, imperial and Spanish bombazeens may probably be considered of too close a texture for the season, they are, however, as is also velvet, still worn among the most fashionable circles.

In full or evening dress, the bosoms of the dresses are cut square and rather low, the backs inclining higher, the sleeves universally short, the trains of moderate length. Coloured satin or sarsnet bodies are very numerous, with a narrow shell edging laid plain on round the bosom and sleeves. White satin dresses seem to meet with the most fashionable approval, or black lace over white satin; coloured slips seem to be reserved for a more advanced season. Gossamer nets, figured white gauze are in high estimation.

The small lace Opera tippet is a reigning favourite, particularly in full dress. In public, where you are liable to be exposed to a current of air, the satin or swansdown tippet may be more appropriate. Beads are much worn on the hair, a double row twisted across the temple, terminating in tassels on one side; as are Spanish turbans, or Scotch hat, with a point in front confined down with a brilliant pin, the hat trimmed and edged with beads; full tiaras of flowers, pearls, or silver foil. Small lace handkerchiefs tied behind the ear, the point disposed so as to fall on one side of the face.

Among the newest articles worthy of the notice of the fashionable world, are the Regency Spots, or the beautiful Bottilla grounds, for ladies' morning dresses; these have an agreeable effect, having a pleasing fall, and giving a graceful effect to the shape. Also a new style of Doyles, of rich and elegant designs, adapted both for dinner and super parties. A superior article of this description has long been wanted, and were happy to announce its appearance; these articles are bought at the house of MILLARD, in the City.

No change has taken place in the mode of wearing the hair; we think it something between the Sappho and Madona; it is combed smooth over the forehead, divided and curled in large flat curls on each side; it is twisted as low in the neck behind as possible, rolled or braided round, and confined with gold or other ornamental combs.

The Roman boot of white morroco, and Kemble slipper, are the only varieties in part of the dress.

There is no variation in the style of jewelry. Necklaces in sapphire, emeralds, garnets, topaz, amber, pearls, or diamonds, &c. blended with gold, or long gold chains, with a variety of trinkets suspended, and earrings in the drop form to correspond, are alike worn. Our [italics]belles[italics] begin to exert their taste in the choice of bracelets, those of large pearl with emeralds, clasps, or elastic gold are at present the most admired. The watches are worn small, richly chased, with gold and pearl chains, with transparent Ceylon seals.

The prevailing colors for the season are, purple, primrose, jonquille, green, pink, blue, and dove.


OBSERVATIONS ON PARISIAN FASHIONS AND DRESS.
EXTRACTED FROM "LE JOURNAL DES DAMES", OF FEBRUARY AND MARCH

Some velvet demi-pelisses are yet worn, and the most elegant thing of this kind, which we have yet seen, which seems determined, in spite of the unusual warmness of the weather, to assert the wintry prerogative of the generally boisterous month of March, is a kind of green pelisse made of fine Merino cloth, its color is between the deep Spanish fly-green and the Pomona; pelisses and mantles of this beautiful colour are generally trimmed with sable or Astracan fur.

The French have lately manufactured a trimming which they called tulle, and we believe it is the same which we call patent lace, but of a much finer and more valuable texture. This tulle is not made on a cushion, according to the tedious process of lace-making; but on a machine, in the same manner as our British lace; and we rather imagine that our idea of making patent lace was taken from it; for the Sieur Genton produced the first specimens of this invention thirty years ago. In 1791, a brevet of invention (similar to our patents), was given to Monsieurs Jolivet and Cochet, of Lyons, for the fabrication of tulle.

The hair elegantly dressed seems to be preferred in evening costume to any other headdress; yet we have remarked some caps of embroidered chenille on white satin, ornamented with an embroidered ribband of the same pattern, in a large bow; this bow is of various forms; chiefly long, and forming two distinct rows; between which a large oblong curl of hair is introduced. Black caps are also much worn, both in plain velvet, or with lace elegantly introduced between, which gives them a light and airy appearance; but for full-dress, the chief covering for the hair is mostly flowers and velvet, on rich caps of patent lace; the gossamer Merino crape in a light wave over one side of the head; or a turban a la Turque, of fine India muslin or white crape.

For public spectacles, however, and large evening parties, a bandeau of different coloured gems, or the hair full dressed, without any ornament, is most prevalent. Those ladies whose hair is not naturally fine, and who do not wish to have recourse to false hair, wear much the Minerva cap, ornamented with a plume of white ostrich feathers; and to the turbans and demi-tubans, they add flowers of crape, velvet, or foil; the only established rule for varying the fashion, is to suit the colour of the flowers and jewels to that of the hair and the gown.

White gossamer satin and crape caps are also worn; they are made to fit exactly to the head, with an half wreath of full flowers, of roses or jonquille. And we cannot dismiss this article without saying one word of the Egyptian head-dress; two large plaits of hair cover the top of the head from one ear to the other; these braids are mingle with a ribband of the same thickness, and their hair and ribband are drawn together in the middle; and between the twisted curls in front and the plaits, are a few light ornaments of pearls or diamonds. Some black velvet caps seem to rival these head-dresses, and have a trimming of gold lace next to the face. During the spring weather experienced in March, a few green caps made their appearance, with a wreath of white roses.

The Swedish tippets, and the fur pelerines, vanished with the cold. Merino shawls, and even the thin Pekin wrap, spensers, and scarf shawls, made their appearance during the mild weather.

Notes

Aprons: once again this month aprons appear. The General Observations article says in the paragrah on morning dress that "small muslin aprons are greatly admired". I assume that these are more an accessory than a work apron :}

Ball and dinner dress: both the fashion plate and the General Observations article show that it's the bodices (bodies) that sport the color. White satin dresses are the "most approved", or black lace over white, or white net or figured (embroidered) gauze. In the case of the fashion plate, the bodice is separate from the petticoat altogether: it's blue gauze, while the petticoat is either white satin or white gauze. Colored slips that would show through a net or gauze or lace layer are not worn and "seem to be reserved for a more advanced season" -- late spring or summer, it seems. So, at least in full dress, colors are restrained, like the fashion for spring pastels that comes up fairly often in the 20th and 21st centuries. Stronger or more overall colors are for warmer, more colorful seasons.

Boots: for outdoor wear they are very popular. Last month we read about nankeen boots. This month "Morocco" -- I assume a type of leather -- boots are mentioned.

Brandenburg: what is this? In the General Observations article the Brandenburg trims outerwear: spencers and pelisses.

Buttoned dress: the general observations section remarks that morning dresses have high plain necks and button up the back. I am assuming that the buttons are confined to the bodice, as we see pretty often in extant garments?

Caps: carriage caps, as described in the general observations section, sound really strange: close-fitting, flat on top, and sticking out at the back in the shape of a cone. I have yet to find a picture of one of these. Caps (the nature undescribed) are a must with morning/day wear. This is right in line with what we see in paintings and fashion plates.

Colors this month are shifting. While the purples and reds of earlier remain, spring colors are appearing: dove (a warm gray), blue, yellow, jonquille (a bright yellow), green, white.

An example of chip construction in an 18th century hat.
From the Snowshill collection: The Hidden Wardrobe blog.
Cottage hats: these are made in straw, satin (buckram underneath?) and chip. Chip means, as you might guess, long thin strips of wood, woven into a hat. Chip was used at least from the 18th century. Apparently the brim was set high enough to have flowers or lace pinned there. I need to find some examples.

Fabrics are changing too. The magazine remarks that while velvet is still worn ("still worn abong the most fashionable circles"), as it's not terribly warm yet, after all, and Merino crape (a wool fabric), and satin,, thinner fabrics like sarsnet and muslin will take over. I find it interesting that velvet is worn in March and April. In our current era, we tend to drop very wintery fabrics a little earlier, though we wear wool right up until warm weather arrives.

Flowers, a sure sign of spring, appear in the hair and on hats.

  • In this month's ball ensemble, the hair is worn with a bandeau of "light blue twisted crape and roses". Looking at the plate, it appears that a narrow, long length of the crape is fairly tightly twisted -- it's not puffy -- and then a few roses -- most likely of paper -- are tacked at the crown, so that the leaves are at the center and the flowers just offset. Simple and effective.
  • Flowers also appear on chip hats, under the brim and not on top of it: hyacinths, primroses, or other spring flower". In this case the flowers are specifically spring flowers. This tells me that the fashion must be for naturalism and colors and shapes directly referencing the current season more than abstract designs of flowers.
  • Flowers in the hair are just as popular in Parisian fashion.

Hair: pretty much the same as last month. Note the hairstyle names, one Greek, one Romantic: Sappho and Madona.

Jewelry: both plates this month show small-scale jewelry. The ball ensemble model wears tiny drops, the day dress model wears small-scale hoops. This is in line with last month's note that the fashion is moving towards smaller scale. The description in General Observations also mentions small scale.

Lace rosettes: last month introduced a new fashion for lace made into rosettes. It's still a thing. This month, lace rosettes appear under cottage bonnets and carriage caps.

Moss muslin: as in "gowns...mostly in cambric or moss muslin". Assuming that the "moss" is not a color, but a treatment of the fabric.

Net and tulle: Nets were mentioned in January and February and again here. So far this year, they are perennial. They seen generally for more elegant occasions, although the General Observations states that Opera net may be for "home or dinner dresses". By "home" I am thinking this means a nice dress worn to be ready for visitors (callers).

Regency hat: The Prince Regent has a hat named for him already, less than a month into his reign. This one is crown-shaped -- no surprise there, and is worn in the carriage. Carriages are for the gentry and upper classes, and carriage wear is ornate, so this is a fancy hat.

Regency Spots: advertised this month as a fashionable fabric along with the "Botilla" ground. Both of these appear to be fabrics with either a pattern woven in or printed on.

Round dress: this month's day dress is a round dress. By that is meant that that the dress isn't a wrap dress or a dress that buttons down the front or back, but is closed all the way around. It's too bad that we cannot see the entire thing, but it does have a standing pleated lace "ruff" collar.

Spencers and jackets: the magazine says that spencers are warmer-weather garments, where pelisses were what was popular in wintertime. A useful note for costumers. The observation that a jacket to accompany a plain morning dress is "a graceful addition" is interesting. How is a jacket different than a spencer? Does is have or lack buttons? Or is there really no difference? Is it of the same fabric? Note that a similar shift is occurring in Paris, per Le Journal des Dames.

Tippets: they're still around, they're in satin and swansdown or lace, all lighter than winter fur tippets.

Tulle: the article copied from Le Journal des Dames highlights the introduction of a new fabric, tulle, which remains popular for formal and bridal wear even now. Until this period net fabrics were a bit more rudimentary; tulle, by contrast, is finer, and less expensive, because it's machine made. In the Regency era, tulle would become a favorite.

Turban: note that the almost whelk-shaped turban in this month's day dress is called a bonnet, not a turban. Perhaps this is because the turban is sewn together and not wrapped fresh each time? Hard to say.

Vandykes are still hot, as are pointed edges in general. I would ascribe this to the fashion for "Oriental" designs that the other magazines in our 1811 project are also noticing. In this month alone both the ball dress and the day dress are arranged so that the outermost layer falls in points, tasseled or plain.

That's it for this month. Hoping you enjoyed your trip into the magazine-land of another time.