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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Recent Sewing Projects

I am trying to sew more and buy less.
I wanted some more tops for my H4H dolls.
In particular I wanted a baseball style shirt, sometimes called raglan.
I looked on the web at images of raglan patterns and tried to make one that would fit my 14" dolls.

Here is my first try.  A little too big, so I had to add a dart in front.
I am trying to think of something to do to make it look like it belongs there,
maybe a couple little buttons?

OK, here it is with flower buttons added.
I think I like it.

 I scaled down the pattern and made this second version.
I am actually VERY happy with this tee.

 I also have another two versions of my favorite top pattern for these dolls.
This pink gingham and....

a red hanky top.
I love this red hanky fabric on Layla.

Oh, and in case you were wondering where I found these
adorable tennies here is the link:
Debs Adorables

I have a very important question for you sewers and bloggers alike.
Do you think  I should post 'free' patterns when there are so many
people trying to make money by selling doll patterns?

SO, after some feedback I decided to add the Raglan Tee pattern below.

Remember be sure to print out 8.5" x 11".

Monday, May 23, 2016

Historical Costumes

OK, my inner history geek is coming out.  I have frequently seen dresses from all the following eras labelled "Victorian" as if any historical dress is just Victorian.  Not so!!  I suppose I should let it go, but it can be fun to learn about the different ways we dressed over the centuries.  
So here we go history fans!

The Renaissance 1300 - 1600
The Renaissance was a turning point marking the beginning of our modern history.  It began in Italty with amazing changes in art and literature.

example of art from the Middle Ages 

and below from the Renaissance

The Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci

Elizabethan 1568 - 1603
Near the end of the Renaissance came the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.
Heavy Brocades, velvet, ruffs and strings of pearls and jewels,were all popularized by Queen Elizabeth I.
This was also called the Golden Age of England. 
Queen Elizabeth I

Meanwhile in Early America...things were a bit more austere.  The Pilgrims made up of mostly Quakers wore simple black dresses with white collars, cuffs and aprons.  

Baroque and Rococo 1625 - 1789
This era covers a pretty broad span of time.  Queen Anne, Georgian and Colonial eras are all part of the Baroque and Rococo fashion era.  Farthingales, panniers and hoops of all shapes and sizes upheld heavy fabrics with elaborate details of lacings, lace, jewels and embroideries.  Everything fanciful is found interwoven into the fabrics and styles of this period.

English GEORGIAN / American COLONIAL
                            King George III and General George Washington                           

This era saw two revolutions, the American and the French.  Called the Georgian era in England because it was during the reign of King George III of England.  The same King George that the American Colonists fought under General Washington in the American Revolution.  Of course we would call American fashions of the same era American Colonial.
Marie Antoinette
Small World Couture
This is a lovely example of a French style of this era.  The French court was extravagant and expensive.  Notice the sleeve ruffled at the elbow, the wide skirts and the square neckline.
All common features of dress from this era.

 A beautiful American Colonial dress.
Bows and laces like these across the stomacher were common in Colonial dress.

A lovely Colonial Teadress
A scarf like this was called a tucker, because it was frequently 'tucked' into the bodice.

A simple work dress with square neckline and small ruffle at the elbow.
Notice the tucker scarf around the neckline.

My Elizabeth modeling a Colonial dress I made from the Felicity pattern. 
Original American Girl Dress Patterns to download.

Colonial dresses were made of three parts, the main gown went on like a jacket and 
was open all down the front, a petticoat was worn under the gown.
The stomacher was the triangular inset of the bodice.
Gown and 2 stomachers

The stomacher and petticoat could be changed to make a dress look different for different occasions.

Here are Grace and Jess wearing Felicity's Ball Gown with 2 different stomachers.

These Colonial/Georgian dresses were held out to the sides with
'panniers' which came in innumerable sizes and widths.
Dollies Dressmaker
  This is the most recognizable pannier style above.  The word 'pannier'  actually means 'basket' and were frequently used as a pocket to carry small items.
On the bottom left you can see another type pocket.

This is Felicity's front dress pocket.
This is another pocket that ladies sometimes wore
under their dresses to carry small items.
 Some modified panniers I have made for my dolls. 

Felicity Merriman & Elizabeth Cole were from the Colonial era in America.

Elizabeth's summer dress.

Here is our Elizabeth wearing her dress with panniers.

 REGENCY Era 1811 - 1820
This era is called Regency because after King George lost his reason he was kept under watch in the palace and his son became 'Prince Regent', ruling in his place. 
The Prince Regent

 Also called the Empire era, the high-waisted fashions were set by Josephine, 
the wife of Napoleon Bonaparte,
which is why it is called an 'Empire' waistline.
Josephine and Napoleon

A beautiful example of a Regency dress.  Young ladies almost always wore white with blue ribbons. Ladies would drape a long shawl over their elbows and this would be their only source of warmth even in the coldest and draftiest ballrooms.  A girl wearing lavender or purple would be assumed to be in half-mourning.  This means that a year had passed since the death of a close relative.

Caroline is from the Regency Era which began just before the War of 1812.

Emma wearing one of our Regency dresses and a bonnet.

And another Regency dress we made.

Regency dresses were high-waisted with little or no crinolines.  It was a huge leap in fashion from their mother's time of boned corsets and heavy hoops and panniers. Some very daring ladies would even 'damp' their gowns to make them even more clingy!

Josefina is wearing a Regency style.
Josefina's party dress has a Spencer jacket.

A Regency dress I made for our Josefina.

Another very nice dress with Spencer and matching bonnet.

Antebellum/ Civil War 1812 - 1865
This is a time frame that overlaps the Victorian Era.

This period in time saw hoops become a full circle.  Where the Colonial hoops were flat in front and back, these hoops were full circles and frequently as large as five or six feet in diameter at the bottom. Both these dresses are examples of ball dresses from this time period.  The large hoops and elaborate details were more common in the Southern States but definitely worn by the upper classes of the North as well for balls and parties.

A nice example of a day dress.  These two dresses with their more somber hues and less elaborate details would have been worn during the day.

Marie Grace

Cecile Rey
Marie Grace and Cecil Rey are wearing shorter dresses for girls.

Day Dress

Girls day dress

Day Dresses

The Victorian era is the years during the reign of Queen Victoria of England.  This era overlaps our Civil War Era which can be seen in Victoria's dress below.  While many Victorian dresses had some similar or shared characteristics to many of the dresses that came in the preceding eras there is a definite difference. Hoops while still round were smaller and worn under layers of crinoline 

Young Queen Victoria
Early in her reign.
In this portrait the fashions still reflect those we see in our own Civil War Era. The drop shoulder and softer rounded skirts.

In the progression below you can see how dresses became more slender in the skirt and a round hoop was replaced eventually by the bustle.

I love these fashion plates from the 1800s

Doll bustle by

Ladies Walking Dress

I was reminded by my blogger friend Flo Say Hello to my Little Friends 
that right in here was the beginning of....

The Edwardian Era 1901 - 1910

Often slurred together into the 'Victorain Era' this was actually the time period beginning at the death of Queen Victoria in 1901 and extends through the First World War.  Bustles were no longer worn in favor of more comfortable crinolines alone.  
I recall my grandmother telling me how HER grandmother told her, 
"A lady never leaves the house with less than five slips. Anything less would be improper."

At this time girls dresses began having a dropped waist like Samantha's below.

Samantha and Nellie are from the Edwardian era.

Many of you will know this is the era represented in the first part 
of the PBS show "Downton Abbey".

My Molly wearing a girls Dress made from the Samantha pattern.

I hope you joyed this stroll through fashion  history as much as I enjoyed putting it together.

NOTE:  I have tried to find the links to the makers of all the beautiful dresses in this article but was not always successful.  If anyone knows who made a dress without a link PLEASE let me know!  And I want to thank all the doll dress makers that are shown here and hope my readers take a look at their beautiful dress designs.