Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Beauty and Tragedy

I don't know why, but I'm drawn to striped fabrics during the 19th century. Might have something to do with the multitude of talented seamstresses who knew how to play tricks on your eyes with them.

This is an American made visiting dress dated between 1845 and 1850. Based on the tightness of the sleeves I'd stick it closer to 1845. You can see the skirt starting to take on a bell shape too.

Look past the shawl collar at the bodice. Make the picture bigger, I'll wait. The careful work it took to do that with these stripes is mind-blowing. The collar is also edged with piping made of the same fabric. Exquisite piece of work here.

This green one is just unfortunate in so many ways. It's a lovely print and color. But man! Was the person who laid it out drunk, blind, or both? It's late 1860's, though you can't tell from this picture. I didn't pin the back of it, but it's clearly no earlier than 1867 because it's made to wear over a bustle.

If this had been my dress and I paid for it, I'd have been one very upset customer with the bodice. There's nothing flattering about how the stripes were laid out. Tragic.


  1. I love the colors in that green dress, but you have to wonder.. maybe the seamstress only had pieces of fabric to work with and couldn't make up for the repeat in the stripe? ...and hoped no one would notice???

  2. Oh dear. LOL. Maybe it was for a lopsided woman? The top one is amazing, though!

  3. Oh, I agree about the bodice of that dress . . . and how stunning top one is.

  4. I've come to the understanding that some people don't 'see' the details until the project is completed and then they don't wish to go back and fix because it's too much work.

    I first encountered this with my hubby while building things. My husband thinks it will all work out in the end regardless of how it's put together. His father was the same way. I've found others - men and women - who are the same. Non-artistic types. The kind that force puzzle pieces into spots without looking at the design and colour pattern.

    I wonder - Is this what they refer to as someone who's anal?

  5. I'm no seamstress, but when my daughter was small, I made her a shorts and top outfit. It turned out great, except...
    For the top, the hearts ran up and down like they should. For the shorts, they ran sideways. So, you see, I can't comment on the second dress with any credibility. :-)

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  7. Maybe it was someone just learning to sew? It is a pretty fabric. Too bad!
    For more historical fashions, I posted quite a few spring fashion plates on the regency blog on Monday. (You may have to go back one post) Enjoy!

  8. That poor green dress could've been beautiful. But instead it's horrible! I would've sent it back.

  9. As a former sewing teacher (high school home ec) I remember the trouble it was to match those stripes and plaids. The first one is beautiful because of its intricate design. The green one looks like what one of my first time sewers would have produced, but then maybe the seamstress didn't have much to work with from the beginning. Great examples of style.