Monday, December 29, 2014

Les Modes Parisiennes, October 1864

Les Modes Parisiennes, October 1864
I was very surprised to receive this Les Modes Parisiennes, October 1864 fashion plate as a gift from the Kearny Museum Committee. Its story is even more surprising: apparently, a committee member was at a flea market and one vendor had chucked this fashion plate into the trash, "because it had torn edges."

This so clearly demonstrates our modern "throw away" state of mind. Forget the provenance, historical significance, and aesthetic value, it has a ripped corner so therefore it's trash! Consider that, in the first place, the damage to the plate could've been the result of mishandling or overuse. It all comes down to care and consideration when handling antique pieces!

I'm keeping the fashion plate in the plastic slip I received it in until my archival quality acid-free slips arrive!

Now, back to the fashion plate:

The fashion plate is a bit faded; the "October, 1864" is barely legible at the bottom of the plate. It has a few chunks missing from the edge.

The lady on the left is wearing what appears to be a red Zouave jacket with pom-pom trim and a pale blue or white skirt with a subtle stripe. She wears a delicate snood and a flower or bow atop her hair.

Zouave jackets were very popular in the 1850s and 1860s. These jackets are characterized by their short length, open front, large sleeves, bright colors and braided trim. Their name derives from their similarity to the military uniform worn by Zouave infantry regiment of the French Army.

The lady on the right is wearing a gown made of crisp and stunning blue silk. The jacket features a cut-away front and is worn over a light blue button-up vest. The jacket is trimmed with vandyke trim and some sort of black braid, and a lace collar is visible at the neckline. She wears a wristwatch (according to this article, wristwatches were more commonly worn by women and pocket watches worn by men) and a large, delicate lace cap. In my opinion, the whole outfit is reminiscent of 18th century styles, such as the riding habit.

The New York Public Library actually has this fashion plate in their Digital Collections. It appears that they have the rest of the 1864 Les Modes Parisiennes as well. The colors in my plate are much more vivid and bright.

Photo courtesy of the New York Public Library Digital Collections

Of the two outfits in the above plate, which would you rather wear?

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Historical Sew Monthly 2015

It's been nearly a month since my last post, but I have been so wrapped up in final exams and papers, two part-time jobs and an internship, that blogging was wordlessly pushed to the back burner. Now that I'm on a long and hopefully relaxing winter break, I can pick up where I left off with sewing and blogging!

My participation in the previous two Historical Sew Fortnightlies  has been minimal. With my packed schedule, a garment as simple as an apron can take a month, rather than two weeks! I have longed to participate in the past challenges. Because Leimomi changed the challenges from biweekly to monthly, I will be able to participate in them!

I was absolutely delighted to read the challenges Leimomi selected for the Historical Sew Monthly 2015; many of them fit in with sewing plans I already had. My plan is to participate in at least 6 challenges this year, and use the challenges to complete PHDs (Projects Half Done) and garments I've been meaning to make for a while.

January Challenge - Foundations
Plan: 1920s bandeau brassiere
Details: I'm in the process of making my first 1920s dress, and thought that making undergarments would be fun, too. The mauve pink satin is already cut out and lace motifs selected for this project!

1920s Brassiere, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

February Challenge - Color Challenge: Blue
Plan: Skip challenge
Details: If I have time, I might begin to make the blue dress in John William Waterhouse's painting Ophelia, which I plan to wear Halloween 2015.

Ophelia by John William Waterhouse, 1910
March Challenge - Stashbusting
Plan: 1920s tap pants
Details: To wear with the matching bandeau brassiere, of course! I plan on using Folkwear's Intimacies pattern; if I have time, I may also make the slip from that pattern.

Folkwear #219 Intimacies
April Challenge - War & Peace
Plan: Skip challenge

May Challenge - Practicality
Plan: Honeycomb Smocked Apron
Details: I have experience from the smocked apron I made for the Female Hobbit Costume. I anticipate making Italian Renaissance working class and Medieval outfits in the future, with which this apron could be worn.

June Challenge - Out of Your Comfort Zone
Plan: Skip challenge

July Challenge - Accessorize
Plan: Portuguese Folkloric Rodilha
Details: This is a little fabric donut that was traditionally worn on women's heads to support and balance baskets, barrels, and clay jars. It's also a nice project to use up scraps of woven fabrics.

Modern handmade rodilhas from Hortensia Rosa
August Challenge - Heirlooms & Heritage
Plan: Portuguese Folkloric Embroidered Blouse, or Bodice, or Petticoats
Details: I will begin making my Portuguese Traje Domingar in 2015. The embroidered blouse will be an ongoing project that I can complete during lectures. If the embroidery isn't finished in time, I could also work on the bodice or petticoats for this outfit.

I LOVE the colors of this Traje Domingar. Romarias d'Agonia 2014. Photo courtesy of Jornal TVS
September Challenge - Color Challenge: Brown
Plan: To be Determined

October Challenge - Sewing Secrets
Plan: To be Determined
Details: Perhaps embroidering my initial in a hidden place?

November Challenge - Silver Screen
Plan: Skip challenge

December Challenge - Re-Do
Plan: To be Determined

There are about 6 challenges that I have definite plans for. For the challenges later in the year, I'll see what I'm able to complete, or if there are any PHDs lying around that qualify.

Even though I may only do half of the challenges, I am very excited to participate in the Historical Sew Monthly 2015! Will you be participating this year?