Monday, May 23, 2022

A New Project and circa 1901-1903 Extant Gown to Share

The new aquisition, a 1901-03 gown

A happy chilly afternoon to you all. After some unexpectedly hot days, it's now unexpectedly cool and I am back in snuggy clothing...but no socks. Socks are banished in summertime, even when it's not summery.

We're not here to chat about the weather, however, but about historical clothes. So, what's on? A summer-early fall Edwardian project. Edwardian is where I started back in the aughts, save for a single 1950s dress, and it seems the time is ripe to reinvestigate the era.

Sitting in front of me is a new acquisition, a circa 1901-03 gown of silk taffeta purchased from Pincushion Costuming in Halifax, Canada. It's a hummer of a study dress, featuring many of the period's favorite fashion ideas: back bodice closure, pintucks, elbow puffs, modest bishop lower sleeves, faggoted and scalloped skirt panels ending in multiple delicious overlapping rows of "side-plaited" ruffles.

I have yet to settle on a tighter time period for it. That will depend on the cut, primarily, and if the ragged fuzzy hem edge is the remains of an interior silk puffing to give body to the hem when it rested on the ground, front and back, as was the fashion for more formal wear during these years. Hence the length of the skirt.

Re snaps: they were invented in the 1880s and were originally found on men's clothes. I have to go hunting through notions catalogs and advertisements to see if they were in use for women's clothes or whether they were added to this gown later.

Here are some more pictures:

The bodice front, with moderate pouching.
The stock collar appears to be missing.

The bodice back. It closes with many, many
fabric-covered shank buttons. The covering
has mostly worn off, revealing the metal base.
Note the modest bishop sleeves and elbow puffs.
Fashionable but not outre.

The skirt, side view. Fuller than 1900 and probably 1901.
Note the length: it's not street length, but a more
formal dress length. Wait until you see the
 construction. It's fascinating and slightly unexpected.

The skirt in detail. Note the faggoted seams and how the bottom of each panel is cut in a scallop. The layers of ruffles are pleated, with tightly grouped pleats every so often and a row of tiny box-pleated trimming at the bottom of each.

That will give you a taste. As usual, a deeper write-up of cut and construction will appear sometime during the next months.

Also as normal, I've been spending inordinate hours reading primary sources: newspapers, trade magazines, fashion magazines, dressmaking books, to become as acquainted as possible with the range of fashions and construction methods. Phone and computer are full of photos of extants. Time to share that, too. It has been a blast, not least because it's the next fashion era after the 1890s, the middle period of which this blog has been so focused for several years.

In any case, it's time to put everything to work on a gown. A purchase of one of Past Patterns' early 1980s releases, the 102 Simple Summer Gown, offers a starting point. Just not wanting to draft anything right now :)

Most of the materials are ready, the underpinnings are partially off we go.

Wait! What about the 1895 petticoat? That's pushed to late fall. Have all the materials ready to go for the last haul, but want a mental break from it.

Likewise I've put aside any Regency work. Was mocking up the bodice of the Figleaf 1810 dress pattern, but would rather work on something else. You all know how that goes.

As it's summer, posting will be spotty. The twins are in high school now and there will be a lot of ferrying them around, one to a camp counselor job and the other to school.

A Last Thought

Do any of you feel like we're falling into a deep and terrible pit? The shooting in Buffalo hit hard and our long unequal society feels ever horribly sicker. The carnage in Ukraine and elsewhere...the pandemic...climate change...  Dear Heaven, let us be your hands and feet and do what we can to heal the hurt around us.

Next post in this series: Tour of an Early Edwardian Gown In Photos and Videos: The Bodice


The Quintessential Clothes Pen said...

Exciting! Looking forward to the new project.


ZipZip said...

Thanks, Quinn! The foundation skirt pattern is cut out, except for the circular flounce i am adding to the bottom, and all that' needed is some time. Like you, life's musts sure have gobbled the hours this summer.
Very best,

The Quintessential Clothes Pen said...

Ah yes, time... :) I hope your summer commitments have, at least, been joyful.


Rain said...

The Summer Gown project sounds exciting! Starting with Past Patterns' Simple Summer Gown is a great choice. Curious to see how you'll incorporate your meticulous research in clothing patterns and recreate the early 1900s style.