Posts Tagged ‘18th century’

Fed up of boring shoes?  Looking for the ideal 18th century footwear for a Lady of Fashion?  Want to bring a bit of elegance to 21st century footwear?

Now you can!  I am rather excited at the prospect of American Duchess’s Georgiana shoes – today pre-orders open for these pretties:

(And, no, it’s not an April Fool’s!)

They’re silk satin, which means they’re completely dyeable to whatever colour you fancy, and they look quite divine.  I am pining for a pair … let’s see if I can scrape some pennies together!

I don’t get to do reenactments or the like, but I would quite happily wear these for special occassions of the non-historical variety.  LOVE them!



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Happy Bastille Day?

It’s that time of year – Bastille Day.  I know many people celebrate today, but I feel torn.

On the one hand I am no monarchist: much as I enjoy reading about the lives of historical Queens and researching and making clothes of the nobility, I’m not into that kind of class system.  (Especially when aristos are wasting flour on powdering their hair while normal people starve!)  So, huzzah for liberté, égalité, fraternité! 

But – and I’m sure you knew there would be a but – going around murdering people left, right and centre, well, that’s not really the way to go about it!  So, less of a huzzah for liberté, égalité, fraternité ou la mort.

Liberty, equality, brotherhood or death? Hmm... tough choice.

The violence of the French Revolution may seem like some story from 200 years ago, but I can’t help but remember that it was real life for thousands of people – there was blood, tears and cheers, sweat, muck and lies.  Lives ended, some perhaps justly, others less so, all violently and horribly; people like you and I suffered.

And that is why I find it slightly harder to say ‘Happy Bastille Day’ – for today was the start of it all and however dashing that Pimpernell was or however dastardly Robspierre, there was death and cruelty and misery on both sides.

The Scarlet Pimpernel (BBC)

On a lighter note – liberty, equality, fraternity or death does remind me of the Eddie Izzard sketch: Cake or Death?  Alternatively, you may prefer Blackadder’s le Pimpernelle Scarlett.  Enjoy:

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In an effort to do some exercise (gasp!), I’ve just treated myself to these:

So, watch out streets of Nottingham, I now come with wheels!  (And probably not very good balance or speed control!)

But did you know that the first pair of rollerskates was patented in 1760?  They weren’t very popular, apparently, though I don’t think I’m surprised – I doubt they’d be safe with all those petticoats and lack of ankle support!

Unfortunately, their lack of popularity is probably the reason there don’t seem to be any surviving 18th century examples.  Instead you’ll have to satisfy yourself with this pair from circa 1880:

I wonder what the 18th century pair looked like, whether they were strap-ons like the 19th century ones (which will always remind me of the blue, yellow and orange Fisher Price Velcro-on skates I had as a kid)

Or were they were like normal 18th century boots or shoes with wheels on the bottom… Or, how about bucket top boot skates, anyone?

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That pesky (and lovely) Idzit has gone and made the lovely hooded jacket in Patterns of Fashion that I’ve been lusting after since I first saw the pattern/sketches – her version is stunning, you should really go and see it.

Snowshill Hooded Jacket from Patterns of Fashion Vol 1

Looking at the photos of her creation and catching up on all the fabulous costuming blogs I read has rekindled my inspiration, which has been sorely lacking lately.  So, in the next week or so I plan to have my stays finally finished (I seem to get wimpy when it comes to cutting the real fabric, so these have been on hold) and I’ve been thinking about what I’m going to make afterwards.

My criteria are as follows:

  • Not too expensive – something that can be made up with cotton and that doesn’t require approximately 3 miles of fabric.
  • Not too difficult – because of my lack of stitching experience.
  • Something that has the potential to be modern wear – as I have no idea when I would have an opportunity to wear an 18th c. outfit and to justify the money, I want it to be something I could get wear out of.
  • I’ve gotta love it.  No explaination needed!

So, a jacket seemed the best option.  I’ve spent today and yesterday going through the patterns I have access to from books and have narrowed it down to these …

Pierrot from the Cut of Women's Clothes

I love pierrot jackets, and to make a complete ensemble, I’d just have to add a froofy petticoat, which shouldn’t be a massive challenge.  So in theory a pierrot would be perfect … the only down side is that this particular pattern looks a bit difficult with all those pleats on the bodice and I’d want to change the front slightly (to not have the tabs with buttons), so I’d have to think of something different to do there.  I do love the shape though – it’s just the difficulty that’s putting me off …

Which made me think – perhaps I could make this Anglaise into a pierrot by leaving out the skirts:

Anglaise from the Cut of Women's Clothes

It has a pierrot shape and pleats to make that lovely back, but it doesn’t have as many pleats as the above pierrot.  It also has that nice zone-type front.  I rather like the piece and looking at the pattern, I don’t think it’d take much to convert from gown to jacket.

Or, I could go for even simpler in terms of pattern pieces and pleats:

Polonaise style jacket from the Cut of Women's Clothes

I think this is a really pretty little piece and would work well as a jacket for modern-wear.  I love that collar!  And the fastening!  And those little cuffs!  It has fewer pattern pieces and pleats and generally looks like a much simpler garment to construct …

And this is along similar lines:

Polonaise jacket from the Cut of Women's Clothes

Though it lacks the cute collar and fastening, it does has its own charm.

And, lastly, the hooded jacket from Patterns of Fashion, as shown at the top, which I would make up in wool rather than quilted fabric.  I love this jacket so much, and I’m generally a big fan of hoods – I can’t be bothered with umbrellas when it’s wet, so hoods and hats keep my curls dry and frizz-free!

Any thoughts would be most welcome, especially if anyone’s made any of these or knows of other pierrot patterns.

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OK, so yesterday’s Saturday Shoe didn’t happen.  Instead Ikea happened.  And after Ikea happened (for three hours!) the making of the things from Ikea happened.  It’s great because the flat is looking awesome and most of the storage problems in our bedroom should be sorted out (huzzah!), but it’s not so great because I’ve discovered that Ikea gives me a headache whenever I go.

So, in order to appease the Blog Gods (or you, my dear reader), I am posting a link to a fabulous website I found this week that has free patterns [insert flashing neon text here!].  And not just any old free patterns, but free patterns for stays and corsets.  And the stays look like these Diderot ones to me, so that could be useful to you if, like me, you’d like to make the Diderot but don’t have the first clue about pattern drafting.

OK, OK, but where are the patterns, woman?!  Stop teasing us!

At once, my dears!  The site is by a graphic designer and arty fashion type, Ralph Pink – I found it completely by chance through a comment he had made on a tutorial on Thread Banger (which I only discovered this week – what a plonker!).  Anyway, there are Diderot-style stays, an hourglass type corset and a flat-fronted corset (I’m guessing this is Edwardian from the shape, but I don’t know much about fashion in this era, I’m afraid), as well as some other bits and pieces, such as swim suits (basic, strapless or low-legged), a kimono, high-waisted culottes, hipster trousers and ‘bubble shorts’ (which I think would be rather cute made up in the style of an 18th century gentleman’s breeches).

As the site is flash, I can’t link directly to the patterns, but all you need to do is go to the site, click the intro image and go to ‘pattern cutting’.

It also looks like he plans to do a menswear section at some point, so I’ll be sure to keep an eye open for that.  And if you should happen to be reading this, Mr Pink, thank you so very much for sharing these patterns with us!  I’m rather excited to give them a try.

Let me know if you use them – I’d love to see the outcomes!  I’m planning to at some point, but not for a little while, at least.

Edit: I also noticed a couple of problems with the patterns themselves:

1. The files have been saved as “filename.pdf_” which means they won’t open.  Just rename the files and delete the underscore and they work fine.

2. Some of the patterns are ‘chopped off’ – I think the PDF has been sized incorrectly.  Opening them in Adobe Illustrator I can see that the information is there, it’s just off of the page.

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Georgian Period Films

I must have been a good girl in 2009 because I was lucky enough to receive amongst my presents a voucher for HMV, which I trotted out with at the weekend and bought a couple of Georgian films I hadn’t yet seen …

As I had the flat to myself on Sunday night, I had a chance to watch both films in a bit of a mini Georgian film Festival (complete with malt loaf – I’ve decided no film festival is complete without malt loaf and I will be writing to Cannes regarding this post haste).

Suitably Rake-ish behaviour, indeed!

It’s a hard call to say which was my favourite, but I think The Duellists just noses ahead of Barry Lyndon as I found our Barry a bit tiresome at times, which is a shame, because the more exciting parts are just what I like in my stories about 18th century rakes!  Whereas The Duellists is all kinds of exciting with its (as the title suggests) duels!  I do enjoy a good duel fought with swords, and it actually was good research for A Thief & A Gentlewoman, which will feature a fair few duels, I dare say.



However, The Duellists did give me some concern as I found myself thinking that Keith Carradine was rather handsome … and this disturbs me as I’m used to thinking of him as a considerably older Special Agent Lundy (of Dexter fame) or, more recently, as a bit of a cad as Mr Harding in Dollhouse.

If that hat isn't commitment to costume authenticity at all costs (even at risk of looking a wee bit silly), then I don't know what is.

Disturbingly handsome older men or not, do check out both these films if you haven’t already, even if it is just for the costume porn!  (Plenty of men’s uniforms in both films and some rather gorgeous gowns and hats particularly in the second half of Barry Lyndon.  In fact, I feel quite bad for Barry – I might have to watch this again and reconsider my opinion of it.)

Pretty things in Barry Lyndon

On a slightly random finishing note – how come the German poster for The Duellists is so much better than the English one?  I would definitely put this up in my home:*

*Also, why is the ‘Special Collector’s Edition’ bit in English and not auf Deutsch?

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