Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A grand adventure awaits me for 2015!

Some of you may already know, but some of you may not yet, so gird your loins for this exciting bit of news:

I've been accepted for a summer inter ship at Colonial Williamsburg!!! YAY! I am really excited and I am really honored they chose me.

It was a very hard and scary thing to do, to be completely honest. I never could afford to go to college, and when I was college ready I had no idea how much I would love this crazy section of history. It has become my life, my passion, and the thing I love day in and day out.

Colonial Williamsburg giving me this opportunity is a huge step to helping my career advance and to help my Undressing lecture improve by leaps and bounds in information and representation.

Here is the big part though, and where I need to help of any of my still-dedicated followers. Unfortunately, the internship is unpaid, and unlike a lot of my favorite literary heroes, I do not have a wealthy anonymous benefactor and will not be inheriting a surprise fortune from a long lost relative. Instead, I am beseeching my friends, family, strangers, and interested peoples to help me out on this AMAZING adventure! Whether its with a small donation or a share on facebook or another blog post about it, my gratitude will know no bounds.

Check out the link and see what its all about and check out some of then really neat historically-minded perks I am offering!


Again, thank you so very kindly for any help you can offer, it helps me follow my dream and help my career that I have worked so hard to begin.

<3 p="">
P.s. here is my silly kitty to encourage you.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Journal Journaey into the year 1811: October is here and boy has it gotten chilly!

I'm all caught up and it feels really amazing to be back on track. I really have learned so much, and its close to and end. I will be sad when everything is finished, to be sure. But stick around, I'm SURE there will be more adventures in years to come ;). In the meantime, enjoy October, a rather simple month but still here.

Plate 22. - Walking Dress
A round french robe with bishop sleeves of fine jaconot muslin, ornamented at the feet and wrists with a crescent border of needlework.  A square neckercheif of fine muslin in folds.  A short roman coat of amber or bright buff sarsnet, without sleeves, cut low around the bosom and trimmed with a fall of french lace; ornamented round the bottom and up the front with a crescent border corresponding with the robe in shaded chenille.  A mountain hat, composed of the same material and ornamented with white crape.  A founding cap of the same, with an autumnal flower in front.  Half boots of buff kid parasol of crimson velvet; and gloves of pale limerick.  We take upon us to remark, that the length of the waist in this plate may be considered in the extreme as a dew of our fair country-women seem disposed to depart from a becoming modiocrity in this particular. 

(I'll say, that waist is atrociously long! Ew! All this up and down of the waistline is giving me the bends. If you don't know what that is google it. Other than that there is little comment I have on it other than it does very little good if you talk about the front at length but only show us the back.)

Plate 23 - Evening Dress
A round robe  of lavender or lilac crape, with full turkish long sleeve, and roman bodice worn over an under-dress of white satin.  A round tucker of paris net, edged with antique lace, with cuffs to correspond.  Broach and clasp of pale topaz; neck chain and cross of the same.  Head-dress in the eastern style, composed of the hair in curls and ringlets, confined in a caul of silver net, fastened with a chinese pin at the back of the head, and in front with a knot of brilliants.  White satin slippers with silver clasp; gloves of french kid and fan of silver frosted crape.  Occasional scarf of french lace. 

(This is really not an improvement, and the hair net or caul or whatever looks to me like a filled diaper of hair...i mean really. There is so much potential here that just fell so short.)

Allegorical Wood-Cut with Patterns of British Manufacture

No. 1. A lilac and white moscow checked sarasnet, for dinner or evening dresses: trimmed of chinese fringe, thread lace, or white beats are appropriate for dresses of this light article with jewelry ornaments to correspond.  They are like most of the evening robed made with demi trains and many ladies adopt the short full sleeve. 

No. 2. A purple striped iris net, calculated for the above order of costume.  This article is usually worn over a white sarsnet or satin slip, and trimmed with white lace or silk fringe. 

No. 3. A jonquil shawl-pattern cambric, belonging to the domestic or intermediate order of dress.  Robes of this article are usually made plain, sitting close to the form, in wraps or high gowns, with long sleeves, rather large, and trimmed round the throat and at the wrists with lace.  

no. 4. is also an article for morning or domestic decoration, and is called the palm-leaf imperial striped cambric.  It is formed in plain robes as above.

(An entire series of prints! There is everything novel and delightful here to be seen and i want dress lengths of it all.)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Journal Journey into the year 1811 - With this month I am officially caught up! You will see October on the 19th!

HOORAY! It only took me half the week but here we are, all caught up and back on track! I forgot in the mess of sewing frantically for Malmaison how much I enjoyed this project and how much I enjoyed learning! I hope those who have followed up until this point have enjoyed it too.

So here is September!

Plate 16. - Promenade Costume
A round high robe with large long sleeves and deep falling collar, edged with lace or needle-work and composed of jaconot muslin.  A small capuchin mantle of green shot sarsnet, lined with white, and trimmed with chinese silk fringe or corresponding shades; deep Spanish pointed cape, trimmed with the same.  White satin hat of the spanish form, with rim the colour of the mantle, ornamented with a demi wreath of corn-flowers.  Roman shoe of green morocco.  Gloves of lemon coloured kid; and parasol corresponding with the cloak, with deep chinese awning. 

(It seems this month Spanish garments seem to be the nationality of choice. Other than that, this seems to be a very simple self explanatory fashion. Though it is really very beautiful, don't you think? Green and white is always so classic!)

Plate 17. - Morning Dress
A chinese robe with full long sleeve, composed of fine imperial or plan cambric muslin; trimmed round the throat and wrist and down the front with a full plaited border of plain muslin.  A french foundling cap, formed of alternate stripes of lace and white satin, ornamented with blossom-coloured ribbon, and autumnal flowers to correspond.  A pelerine of spotted muslin or net, trimmed entirely round with lace or muslin, and thrown loosely over the shoulders.  shoes and gloves of lemon coloured kid.
These dressed are furnished by mrs. gill, no. 1, cork street, burlington-gardens, whose extensive and elegant assortment of millinery, robes &c. &c. has rendered her so justly eminent in her line.

In ladie's shoes there has of late been a complete revolution. Rodwell's brass military heel and copper fastenings are quite the ton as is also the gold and jet clasp to the regent slipper, which is certainly the most graceful ornament for the female foot we have witnessed for some time. 

(Now here is something I have never seen before! A "Chinese Robe"! From what I can see of the Plate there is nothing special that might give off the hint of any resemblance to the attire in China.  Any thoughts? I should love to hear if you have any! Otherwise, the descriptions are rather simple, and so absolutely beautiful.  This is definitely one of my favorite plates and her little ruffly perlerine and cap charm me immensely. 

The mention of shoes got me so excited! Brass military heel and copper fastenings? I should very much like to see an example and figure out what exactly this would look like. So wonderful! It isn't often you get this much desciption of a shoe other than its color and material.)

Allegorical Wood-Cut, with Patterns of British Manufacture.
No. 1 & 2.  A striped persian dove-colored chintz for window-curtains and bed furniture.  The colour of this article is so chaste, and at the same time so perfectly neutral, that fringed trimming of any hue will suit it: a rich gold-yellow however, is more particularly adapted to shew it to the greatest advantage. 

No.  3. A celestial blue waved gauze for evening dress. This article, equally novel and graceful, should be worn over white satin or sarsnet.

No. 4. A sprigged chintz designed for morning dresses.  It combines a high degree of elegance with a  pleasing simplicity. 

(It seems to be very common to include a furniture chintz with the fabrics for garments! Throwing in a curve ball to make sure we are all paying attention.  The last two I just adore, and I swear you can buy something very similar to the last at Regency Revisited! I wish that gauzes of that texture were more readily available, however. How lovely that must look over top a glistening satin or silk? Dreamy sigh. Like a cloud!)

Another simple month has come and gone, and we can only hope that October brings a little more information for us. I always love the months that have the letters from Belinda, so much more detail than you get otherwise!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Journal Journey into the Year 1811: Time for August!

Everyone hold onto your pants, I am going to post another month THE NEXT DAY.

I know, right? Its absolute madness.  But don't worry, after October, you will have to wait a month until I post for November!

Plate 10 - Walking Dress.
A high round robe, with full long sleeves, trimmed with vandyke lace at the throat and cuffs, and ornamented round the bottom with a tuscan border in needle-work.  A short capuchin cloak of buff colored shot sarsnet, fastened with broaches on the shoulders, and trimmed with deep chinese silk fringe of the same shade.  A moorish turban bonnet, gathered into a broach in center of forehead.  Purple ridicule, with gold snap and tassels.  Half boots of buff coloured kid.  Parasol with deep Indian awning the same as the cloak.

Child's Dress
A short sleeves spanish vest and trowsers in one, an indian dimitiy waistcoat with long sleeves and collar trimmed with a narrow border of muslin.  High shoes, of purple or black  morocco.  A college cap, of purple velvet with crimson band.

(Isn't this just the cutest thing ever?? Her turban bonnet looks like a big fat delightful bow on her head. Here again in the second month we have a description of a "tuscan border". There is a clearer image of the embroidery, but nothing really revealed. I am really in love with her cloak, as well.  The little boy is to die for as well, look at his little onesie and hat!!)

Plate 11 - Evening Dress
A grecian round robe, with demi-train, of fine indian muslin or italian crape, trimmed with silk or silver fringe; a circassian sleeve, and bosom finished a la chemise.  A roman tunic of sardinian blue satin, confined with correspondent cord and silver buttons in front.  A neck-chain and locket of silver filigree or pearl, with ear-rings and bracelets en suite.  Hair worn flat, waving in curls on the forehead, and confined behind with a row of twisted pearl, the same places across the front.  An occasional scarf of cloak of thread lace.  White satin slippers, with silver clasps.  Gloves of white french kid, and fan of carved ivory.

(Here again we see a round robe, and here again the plate really doesn't reveal much about what that is exactly, other than a lazy way for "dress." The good news is, after this many months and some brain meat working together, we have figured out what exactly they mean by "circassian sleeve". All in all, this is a really sweet and novel ensemble, but nothing too complicated in its make up or description.)

Allegorical wood cut, with patterns of british manufacture.

No 1. A royal regency leno, for evening or full dress, calculated for the turkish robes and roman tunics now so fashionable in elegant circles.  It should be worn over white satin, or sarsnet; and embellished with ornaments of pearl, diamonds, white cornelian, or the satin bead.

No 2. A dove colored imperial gauze, adapted for the same order of costume, and to which the same jewelry ornaments are appropriate.  Trimmings of fine lace, with decorations of wreaths and bouquets for the hair and bosom, are also becoming appendages to this neat and elegant article.

No. 3 A celestial blue pencilled muslin, adapted for the intermediate order of dress.  It is either made high with a trimming of narrow lace around the throat, or formed in a low square bosom, finished with white embossed satin ribbon.  With each the long sleeve is to be preferred, in this as in most other muslin articles.

No. 4 A pink muslin with embossed green spot.  This animated article is confined to the more youthful females, to whom it is most becomingly adapted.  It should invariably be worn over white sarsnet, fine glazed cambric, or satin; and should be formed in the most plain and simple manner.  No jewelry ornaments but white can be admitted to blend with this material, nor any but white flowers can be worn in the hair.

(First and foremost I would like to point out there there is nothing this month that is white.  The only one that looks white ish is the penciled muslin, and thats only because after the years the blue has faded out.  So, again, always remember to read the descriptions if you can.  The first item they have displayed is incredibly garish and, to be frank, rather unattractive, but it goes to show how we are migrating more towards the gothic romantic ideals, and white is not necessarily the go-to anymore. Sure it is still around and prevelant but its not the only thing.  I am also intrigued to see that even opaque fabrics are suggested worn over satin or sarsnet under gowns, and that muslin articles are primarily made with long sleeves. 1811, what an interesting year!) 

August is a very simple month, everyone coming down and recovering from the Fete I should think.  Stay tuned, perhaps September will be a bit more exciting!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Journal Journey into the year 1811: Three months late? I HAVE A REALLY GOOD REASON. Here is July.

Ok, ok, I know that I am really horrible about updating my blog, and following is pretty much pointless unless you like going months between updates but hear me out.

I. Was at. Malmaison.

Thats right, any of my followers that are avid Napoleonic re-enactors know that the Jubilee at Malmaison which happens so far only every other year will know that is some serious stuff there.  I spent MONTHS sewing like mad to do honor to America and my own impression, and I think I did right well.  To learn more about it and see more of what we all did, check out my business blog as Undressing the Historical Lady.

Anyway, now to the fun stuff!! If you haven't already, hop over to the other lovely ladies in Germany, France, and the other end of London!

Plate 4 - Opera Dress
A round robe of imperial violet net crepe, or leno, with a long sleeve of the same, worn over a white satin under-dress.  A cottage vest, or bodice, of chinese crape, tabinet, or satin, laced and tagged with correspondent cord and tassels.  Under-dress shading closely the bosom and shoulders.  A large unella veil, confined in front with a gold tiara, and a simple rose on one side, flowing in negligent folds over the rear of the figure.  Neck chain and bracelets of finely carved amber, or oriental elastic gold.  French repeating watch, with elastic gold chain and seals.  Bouquet on the left side of the bosom.  White satin slippers and gloves of white kid.

Youths Dress
A jacket and trowsers, a la militaire, of windsor grey cloth.  White marsielles dimity waistcoat, ornamented to correspond: collar and frill in the antique style: hair a waved crop.  The pomposo, or moorish half-boot, of yellow of black morocco.  This latter dress was furnished by mr. s clark, tailor and ladies' habit maker, no. 37, Golden-Square

First of all, I have always loved this little boys outfit.  Always.  It ALMOST makes me want one of my own.

In reading the rest of this month's fashion descriptions it seems that these evening bodices, or cottage vests, are very popular.  They are mentioned frequently, for evening gatherings, but not for full dress, say at the Fete mentioned below. I am wondering at this descrption of "elastic" gold they mean something similar to spring steel bones in construction, somehow the chain is made in such a way as to give it stretch, which is both odd and cool.  

Due to Game of Thrones I can find almost NO information on what "Unella" could mean. Go figure. 

In regards to the youth's dress I should just like to point out that the maker of this garment is a tailor and ladie's habit maker.  Since habits were very masculine often times they would be made by male tailors, not mantua makers.

Plate 5 - Promenade Costume.
A white jaconot muslin high dress, a walking length, ornamented round the bottom: cuffs and collar with a tuscan border, in tambour.  A sea-green sarsnet spencer, ornamented with silver maltese buttons, and barrel frogs to correspond, worn open occasionally in front, and confined at the throat with cord and tassels.  French watch and chain worn outside, suspended in front from the bottom of the waist, hair in disheveled curls, confined with a cold or shell comb at the back of the head.  A large transparent white veil thrown over the whole.  Chinese parasol; gold mounted ridicule; and half boots similar in shade to the spencer.  Gloves of pale primrose or buff kid.

This has also been a great favorite of mine, but most know that I am a big fan of green anyhow. I am not sure what about the border makes it "Tuscan in nature." Perhaps its the design? 

Another note I would like to make is yet another spencer made out of Sarsnet.  Should you be desirious of a fashionable Sarsnet for a fashionable lady of 1811, Burnley and Trowbridge carry a couple beautiful articles of said material. 

I am wondering what the sudden draw for french watches is inspired by.  Both ensembles this month describe French watches.  Does anyone who is interested in such things know why? I would be happy to hear about it in the comments! 

Twenty first letter from a young lady in london to her sister in the country:

Allow me, my dear sister, to bespeak your forgiveness for not replying sooner to your last "feast of reason." the fact is, that i have been so constantly engaged in the pleasures of this charming spot, which is flowing with milk and honey, that i have not been able, as yet, to digest the moral fare your last epistle offered.

What am I then to say to you at this time? With a brain agreeable bewildered by the intoxicating splendor and dazzling brightness of the Prince Regent's fete, how shall I rationally collect my thoughts so as to give a detail fit to meet your sober judgment?   A detail, indeed, would be an undertaking of herculean labour, so vast and so various were the attractions which this unrivaled entertainment displayed.  On this subject I shall give you the result of my observations, and endeavor to offer a few general remarks, which may afford instruction as well as amusement.

The dresses, on this splendid occasion, consisted chiefly of round robes, ornamented up the front, in the convent form of roman tunics; and turkish robes, with under dresses of white satin, trimmed with silver, gold, flowers, or gems.  There was an occasion when white satin, with crape or lace, ornamented with silver, pearl, or diamonds was so general.  Most of the young fashionables were thus chastely attired.  The plumes of feathers were of unprecedented magnificence there were from seven to fourteen in each plume.  This may perhaps strike you as to heavy to produce a pleasing or becoming effect and, indeed, individually considered, this was actually the case, though certainly the effect of the coup d'oeil was improved by the vast assemblage. The long waist which was trespassing so much upon elegance and grace, will now be reduced, as the short grecian waist was universally adopted on this occasion; a standard which I have ever considered can never be diminished or exceeded with advantage.  The hair was still twisted in the grecian style, but with curls brought in front, and full towards one side, divided in the center of the forehead.  The Madonna head-dress was quite exploded.  Amidst the coloured robes which adorned the princely drawing-rooms, those of pink were by far the most prevailing.  Green and yellow, so generally seen on ordinary occasions, were scarcely visible amidst this exalted assembly.  A few light blue and lilac robed and tunics of hold and silver tissue, were blended, but pink and white variously, most tastefully and splendidly ornamented, were universally attractive.  My own dress was a grecian frock of silver net, sloped in a sort of arch at the feet in front, and finished with a delicate fringe of silver snow drops. the under dress was of gossamer satin, edged at the feet with a narrow lace.  I wore a brilliant regency start, at the base of the plume of feathers which decorated my hair, and a correspondent cross pendant from the row of brilliants which ornamented my neck.  The sleeves of the dresses were worn short, without exception by all young women.  The matured fashionable wore the long sleeves, of net, lace, or crape rather large.  The spanish, circassian, and short bishops sleeve were acknowledges as the most universal and elegant.

(Now, what exactly makes it a "round robe"? this is something that has been a source of confusion and frustration. Do they mean it is closed at the back? Do they mean gathered with a drawstring at both bosom and waist edge? I can never really figure it out. But it is very obvious that Grecian is still prevailing, with lots of draping involved. The description of the feathers was also mind blowing, FOURTEEN PLUMES?! ON YOUR DOME?! Jesus. That is insanity, and awesome. By madonna head dress I can only assume a virginal veil sort of thing, but I might be mistaken here. Any clarification or ideas in the comments is of course most welcome!  Something that really excited me was to see that colors were popular, it was not just white, white, white, and more white. Yes, it was popular, but so was PINK! There were other options, as well as long sleeves for the more "matured" lady of fashion.  Some things in history do not change, and a woman past the meridian of life knew when she could no longer dress like the youthful females of the day and made no attempts to do so.  Does anyone know what "Brilliant regency start" means? Was it a typo and meant to say "star?" obviously it is some sort of head ornament.)

Thus dear constance, have I given you a concise account of those particulars which will direct your general choice, as the fashion and style displayed on this grand occasion may certainly be looked up to as the standard of taste for the season.  I must not omit to inform you, that the coloured bodice is an article much in request at dinner and evening parties.  It is both a convenient and striking appendage to the round robe, to which it make be at all times attached, as taste and fancy direct.  I have one of white satin and another of pink and silver tissue, laced up the front in the cottage style.  Spencers are more worn than I ever recollect to have witnessed.  At the theatres and vauxhall, they are generally of white satin or sarsnet, trimmed with lace or venetian binding, and some few adopt the light swansdown even at this season.  Short pelisses and mantles are equally common, and grecian scarfs are amidst the general exhibition.  Provincial poke bonnets of white or coloured satin, of figured sarsnets with fluted edges and a single ostrich feather across the front, blend with the slouch chip, helmet bonnet, and cottage poke.  the gipsey hat, so becoming and seasonable at this period, is confined to a few fashionables, who judiciously prefer what is becoming and select, to what is more general and decided.

(Here again we see a mention of the evening bodice, in all sorts of materials and colors! Pink tissue, white satin, who knows what you could make yours out of! I have a wealth of pretty mint green silk organza that might make a rahter fetching one ;). It is also wonderful to see the mention of Spencers being worn for evening things such as the theater and opera, made in rich materials and trimmed out accordingly. The array of bonnets and hats is also quite fun to see. There is no want of variety in this period in terms of shapes and materials!)

Adieu dead sister! pardon this abrupt conclusion.  The dial points half past five.  I hasted to my toilet.  A dinner party of twenty fashionables await us at seven, amidst which are two peers, free members of the whip club, two hangers-on, in the shape of honorary members, a bishop, a boxer , and a pedestrian racer.  What an ordeal for us females to pass! Pity me, and pray for me, dear good sister! For I am ever your faithful and affectionate,

(though it is not fashion related I enjoy the list of guests coming to this dinner! A boxer! A pedestrian Racer! Members of the whip-club! It must have been a rather amusing and roucus affair.  Also an hour and a half for evening toilette seems about right, doesn't it?.  If you have had a chance to read about the fete from our other London magazine, you will see the comparisons and contrasts! There is definitely more mention in La Belle about the rooms and table.)

Allegorical Wood Cuts with Patterns of British Manufacture:

No 1. and 2. an elegant and fashionable print for furniture, on a bright sardinian blue ground, which throws off the lively colours blended in the chintz pattern to the most striking advantage and bespeaks at once the tasteful invention for which the house of mr. allen, pall mall, is so celebrated.

No. 3.  An unique and delicate article for evening robes, to be purchased at millards warehouse in cheapsides; the proprietor of which evidently possesses a happy and cultivated taste, united with indefatigable industry and exertion, which enables him thus constantly to produce such new articles as insured him the attention and approbation of the numerous families of distinction, who daily honour the ware rooms of this famed establishment. (It would have been nice had they told us what the article was. Silk? Cotton? Don't leave us hanging!)

No. 4. A silver regency tissue, worn with so much effect at the grade fete at carlton house.  For less splendid public parties this delicate article is particularly appropriate and becoming, in the forms of the peasants or villagers vest, laced up the front with silver cord, and finished with correspondent tags. (tags? do they mean tabs? do they mean some sort of trim? how odd! but again, its all about the little vests.) 

Be sure to check back here frequently, i plan on betting the next two months done THIS WEEK!! It'll be the most action this place has seen in ages.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Journal Journey through the year 1811: June; A seriously delayed entry.

Its two moths behind, I know, I know. Summer time is very busy in the Robert's household, with sewing and events back to back its hard to find time to write!

In any case, here is June!

Plate 36: Promenade Costume.

A round robe of plain jaconot muslin, with a border of needle-work at the feet. A roman coat (1)  of violet shot sarsnet, with pointed cape, binding and tassels of jonquil (2) silk.  A parisian cap of sarsnet, same as the pelisse, ornamented with a broad braid of jonquil silk, and a fancy flower (3) placed towards the left side.  A veil of fine what lace, thrown negligently over the head-dress shading the throat (4), and falling on the shoulders.  Half-boots of violet kid or french kid.  Gloves of jonquil kid.

A round high walking dress of fine oblique corded muslin (5), with high arched collar, trimmed with a narrow full edging of muslin or plain net lace, and finished with the feet with narrow tucks.  A roman helmet (6) of sea green sarsnet, caught up in the center of the forehead.  A grecian drapery scarf of sea green sarsnet, parasol to correspond. Shoes of similar colored kid.  Blossom-colored reticule and primrose or pale tan gloves. (7)

(1)   It seems that roman I influences have become fashionable again; almost as if it is a fashionable standby if there is nothing else exciting and novel to call upon.

(2)   Jonquil is a shade of yellow

(3)   I have never seen this term “fancy flower” before and have yet to see it again. Any ideas from onlookers?

(4)   The term “negligently” in this makes me laugh. During this period women would often spend hours at their dressing table in a practice called “studies negligence”, the art form of making it look as though you are so fashionable you can throw anything on and not worry too much about how it looked, though there was a very fine line in it looking good, or shabby and TOO studied.

(5)   "Oblique" means generally not straight, not parallel or perpendicular. So the cords are at an angle. 

(6)   See also number one

Plate 37: Description of five head-dresses.

No. 1, on the left at top.  The beehive hat of lemon-colored chip, or pearl straw, with small angola feather waving in front.  This hat, it should be remembered, seems exclusively to belong to the very youthful female.

No. 2, on the right at top.  A promenade head-dress, consisting of a simple cottage bonnet of white satin, ornamented with a persian rose in front.  A long mantilla veil, of white lace, thrown entirely over the whole.  

No. 3, in the center.  An evening head-dress, composed of the antique or old English fly-cap, formed of crimson shot silk, finished at the edge with two rows of fine pearls or beads, and a star or small rosette in front.  None but the white robe can display this unique and elegant head-dress to advantage. 

No. 4, on the left at bottom.  The hamlet hat of straw or chip, tied under the chin with white ribbon, and ornamented with two curled ostrich feathers, waving towards one side.  This head dress belongs to the morning or walking costume.

No. 5, on the right at bottom.  A carriage head-dress. A full band of turban muslin, sitting close to the side of the face.  A flemish bonnet of white satin, edged with a raised chenille border and ornamented in front with small jonquil flower.  This head-dress is at once unique, fashionable, and simply elegant. 

It was really great to have this in my journal this month.  Hats in french magazines are very popularly made, but it is harder to find them in English publications. These are really a great selection too, really up my alley. I have also discovered that in reading these at least for 1811, carriage dress really hardly calls for a hat, which I suppose makes perfect sense - you are not promenading, and sometimes space is at a premium, so a big hat or hat at all is not necessary, but some sort of head covering it; a turban, a veil, a cap, whatever.  It is also interesting to see an age requirement on a garment, much like today, in mention to the "beehive" hat. I wonder how youthful they mean because I have one similar :p. The one thing I am not clear on is what is a "fly-cap?" If any of my readers might have an idea, do let me know! 

General observations

The fashionable world, at present, displays an appearance more consonant with our best feelings and more agreeable to the eye of taste, than it has latterly been accustomed to do.  From the close morning dress to the airy attire of the ball room everything is simple and interesting, and nothing can exceed the beauty of the mode of dressing the hair, or the propriety and prettiness of all the ornaments of the head.  This general eulogium however, requires qualification.  What is here said, related to externals only.  Externals! I think I hear my fair readers claim.  What airs is Mr. Arbiter Elegantiarum going to give himself now? In the name of every thing female and fashionable, what has he to do with anything but externals? Do not be alarmed, my gentle friends; I am not going to descant on the furniture of the brain, or the qualities of the mind.  No; mr. arbiter, little as you may think of him is too wise to attempt any reformation in this matter: I am merely going to say one or two words more on the hackneyed subject of the "long-stay", which I suppose must now have reached the climax of disgusting deformity.  I have witnessed the rise and progress of this monstrous machine with emotions of horror common to all who are interested about the beauty or health of natures fairest works; and though I have failed in the endeavor to convince my readers how ugly, how ungraceful, and unbecoming it is though I cannot persuade them, that it is not beautiful to be bound up like a barrel, or graceful to be rendered stiff and motionless, I think I shall be successful in convincing them of the procrustean and leveling power of this curiously wrought machine.  Yes, however alarming it may be, it is nevertheless true neither the long stay corset nor divorce, can any more become a distinction  of rank, nor a mark for the boundary of the empire of fashion.  The shopkeepers wife, the haberdashers apprentice, nay, even the common household drudge the servant of all work is now become as fashionably habited in regard to this article of dress, as the lady of first distinction, and is equally proud of her stiff back, and her inability to move.  Now is not this alarming? Surely the lady who first introduced this fashion must have consoled herself with the thought, that is would at least form a distinction in society, that is its ugliness and inconvenience were such as to render the general adoption of it impossible.  But this has proved to be a fallacious and deceptive dream; the melancholy facts, which I have recorded above are too well known to admit of dispute.  What is it to be done? A thought has just occurred to me.  Suppose my fashionable readers were to wear the corset over, instead of under, their other dress it might then be ornamented like the ancient stomacher, and the divorce would form a noble point for the display of jewels.  Really the more I think of this the more I am pleased with it; it would be attended with so many advantages not the least of which is, that the spectator would no longer be in any doubt about the odd shape produced by this machine;l he would see, at once the coat of mail and how ever it might shock his feelings, it could go no further, no room would be left for the indulgenced of imagination.  Let my fair readers look to this.

This was the best thing about this month! Another mention of stays! As a clothing historian and living historian the more we can uncover about unmentionables, the better! What I find so funny is our fashion adviser who is a man, just hates stays, and I can easily wonder why, I am sure like any man he was a great big fan of loose boobies everywhere. Easy access, etc. etc. Crass, but I am sure not too far from the truth.  I can also understand a bit of a distaste for the "divorce" device. It sounds rather uncomfortable, and a different piece than the busk itself! I would love to be able to find out more.  I was also giddy to see the mention of even servants wearing stays, which if he is being serious and this is a true statement, blows the assumption out of the water. To my mind it has always made sense, but there are, of course, nay sayers. I would love to discuss more on stays, if you have any ideas, please share them in the comments!

No. 1.  Am imperial striped gauze for evening or full dress; which becomingly ornamented with white or amber beads, thread lace, or narrow wreaths of flowers.

No. 2. Barrosa lace, for the same order of costume; admitting only trimming of lace, white beads, or silver; and worn over slips of white satin or sarsnet.

No. 3. An entirely novel printed muslin, entitled the regency plume from the house of william bowler and son, of king street, cheapside, by whom it is vended to all the fashionable houses in town and country.  The same pattern is to be had on azure and jonquil grounds.  The union of colours is quite unique and their effect particularly attractive and pleasing; at the same time is a reasonable price.

No. 4. A mourning printed cambric of an entire new pattern.  There needs no comment on the appropriation of this article which speaks decidedly for itself.

I have never heard of "Barrosa lace" have any of you? I have also recently come across a couple of originals with "white" beads on them, almost encrusting them, and its such a very modern look its surprisng. I also love how many printed fabrics we have seen so far in this journal, and the range of fabrics included. There is no reason, I believe, for there to be any mourning fabric included other than it just is! 

I hope you have enjoyed this month, and again I apologize profusely for how delayed it is.  I hope all the interesting tidbits have made up for it in spades : ). Please be sure to head over to France, London, and Germany for June, July, and soon August! 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Journal Journey into the Year 1811:May Edition, with only some flowers and a lot of rain.

That old addage obviously needs to come up with the times.  Or, if nothing else, find one adapted for the south which is something like "April showers bring May TORNADO SIRENS, TORRENTIAL RAIN, AND DRUNK ASS WEATHER."


Anyhow, it has given me a lot of time to do some fun research, and work on this month's edition, which all things considered is rather light!  I think maybe because all of you people who have been reading (if anyone has…) are learning as I am, and terms are becoming more familiar! 

When you are through with Ackermann's be sure to mosey on over to Germany, France, and perhaps come back to England to see what other fashionable's like in the month of May.

On that note, lets go! 

(Editor's opinion: This first dres is UH-GA-LEE. Seriously, why. ) 

Plate 30 - A ball or full dress

A roman robe of pink crape, worn over white gossamer satin.  A long spanish slashed sleeve (1), with an antique cuff of fine net late; horizontal stripe front, with a quilling (2) of fine net round the bosom.  The slashes of the sleeve filled with folds of white satin, and their terminations finished with silver filigree, or mother of pearl buttons.  A cestus of white satin, with correspondent clasp and broach.  Hair in waved curls, confined round the head with a wreath of persian roses, separated in the center of the forehead.  Neck-chain and cross of peruvian gold ear-drops of the same.  An occasional scarf of paris net, starred with silver.  White satin slippers, ornamented with pink rosettes.  White gloves of french kid; and fan of spangled crape.

Plate 31 - Opera Dress

A white muslin robe, with long sleeves.  An algerine (3) tunic of white satin, trimmed round the bottom and bosom with net or silver fringe, simply confined in the center with a regency broach.  A turkish cloak (4), or short coat, with arm holes, composed of plain indian muslin, similar with the robe, and lined with cerulean blue sarsnet; trimmed round the back and down each side with broad lace, put on very full.  The cloak thrown open in front, so as to exhibit the tunic and under robe.  A helmet cap, composed of silver net and spangles, ornamented with a cluster of the labrador roses (5) in front.  A treble neck-chain and ear-rings of elastic indian gold (6).  Gloves and shoes of white kid.

Child's dress

A short frock and trowsers of plain indian muslin, trimmed with thread lace, or flounces of the same.  A short french tunic coat of white sarsnet or camrbic, with full arched collar, tied at the throat with a silk cord and tassels, and the bottom trimmed with lace, similar to that which ornaments the frock and trowsers.  White kid gloves and slippers, hair a tufted crop. (7)

1.  To those who read Pride and Prejudice, you will be amused to remember the line where Mrs. Bennet mentions how happy she is to hear the news about long sleeves, even for evening.  The exact quote escapes me, but PnP was published in 1811, so this if a fun nod.

2.  Quilling is defined as a type of ornamental craftwork involving the shaping of paper, fabric, or glass into delicate pleats or folds.  In this case I am supposing lace is used. 

3 and 4.  It seems that in the month of May we are back to the adoration of Middle Eastern styles after our tryst with Mexico. Fashions come and go so quickly! 


6.  In  some perusing of earlier years for a completely unrelated subject, I found a couple of difference references to "Elastic" to describe jewelry.  I am assuming it is because it is formed of such a specific material and style to be almost spring like.  I can't really picture it but I feel like I have seen something similar in modern day. 

7. I find it interesting that this is non gender specific! Both boys and girls up to a certain age wore clothes that were exactly the same, trousers and dresses.

Twentieth letter from a young lady in london to her sister in the country

…We are just relieved from a week of penance, occasioned by a visit from a sprig of rusticity, in the shape of a country miss, who arrived heavy laden with sentiment and sophistry.  She drawled out her die-away nonsense till she made our men sick; and moralized on rural pleasures, the simple elegance of the primrose, the retiring sweetness of the violet, the pensive remoteness of the valley lily, and the harmony and innocence of the children of the grove, till our only refuge, like that of Massena, was an abrupt retreat; in which, however, we desire no further to resemble this doughty general, our intention being to conquer, but not to destroy.  My dear sister, were I to comply with the sum total of your requests, I should fill a quire, instead of a sheet of paper, so much variety every where prevails.(1)  My time here is not at my own disposal, nor is my mind so unoccupied as to leave my heart at leisure to expose its absurdities.  In the country, on the contrary, your hearts seem to take the reins instead of your understandings; and your sentiment and sensations make fools of you all.  You may rail as you will against our London amusements, but I am sure there is more danger in the neighborhood of groves, grottos, and crustal streams.  

Thus much in reply to the contents of your last.  And now that I am entered on the dinner-hour, let me hasten to recommend to you (in lieu of those general remarks I am accustomed to afford) a publication at this time in much request, and which possesses much unique merit.  It is entitled The Mirror of the Graces, the English Ladie's Costume (2).  You will really be pleased with the book.  It contains dissertations on the different orders of female attire and personal recommendation; and exhibits a very strong specimen of that talent which can so dress matters of comparatively light import, as not only to render them instructive and amusing, but at the same time to make them the vehicles of morality and virtue.  This book teaches the art of combining a delicate taste with a correct judgement, without either aiding our vanities, or infringing on our duties.  You may find some fault with the incongruity of colouring exhibited in the otherwise fashionable specimens given in the engravings which accompany this work; but I really think it is its only fault, and certainly it is one which requires no very extraordinary effort of judgment to perceive and to alter: for no English woman would permit a primrose mantle and bonnet to be lined with pink, when violet, purple, and even celestial blue offer a contrast so evidently superior (3).  Read this work, Constance, with attention it is really excellent of its order.

After what I haver said on this subject, you will not expect, or find requisite, any lengthened description of general fashions, particularly as I send, for our friend Charlotte, a regular set of articles of the most novel introduction.  She must, you know, have fashion at any rate, or i should not approve of the glaring union of gold-coloured and crimson exhibited in the regency bonnet and wellington wrap (4), which is now considered the very pink of the mode.  This, however, is in some degree atoned for by the spirit of true loyalty which actuated the design.  You will, I am sure, turn your gently beaming eye from this too glaring combination to the extreme delicacy of the white crape tunic, bordered with violets in foil (5), and which you will see is attached to a white satin under-robe, and jewelry ornaments of diversified gems.  Coloured sarsnet spencers (6), and demi length pelisses are much in request; they are alternately ornamented with lace, feather trimming, crape borders formed in small leaves, or shaded chenille.  For the style of walking dress, ball costume, etc.  I refer you to the specimens which I propose shall accompany this; and in extreme haste i fly to my toilet begging you to believe me ever your faithful friend and sister.

p.s.  Before I purchase your suit of pearl, i wish you to see a few samples (by way of guide to your choice) of such as stand foremost in point of elegance of design and fashionable execution: therefore in addition to the engraving forwarded with my last packet, I here beg leave to mention a suit I have just seen, fresh from the hands of the same manufacturer, j.k. barlow.  They consist of an entire suit, most tastefully combining the vine-leaf and grape, united with a tendril chain.  I must leave to yourself, dear constance, the choice of so elegant and costly and ornament; yet, I cannot but add, that I have seen none which excel those introduced by this jeweler in elegance of design, nor any which equal them in easiness and cheapness.  Once, more dear sister, fare thee well.

1. I recently just had this conversation with a friend about how DIFFERENT everything was in this period, how much variety and variation there was.  It seems our fashionable female knows it as well!

2.  If you have not read this book, I highly suggest it.  You can read it for free on google books!  

3.  It is a great testament to this publication that the whip tongued authoress and authority on fashion   praises it so highly, aside from her differing tastes on the coloring of the garments described ; ).

4.  I am not sure what they mean by a wellington wrap, but I have heard such a description about other garments later.  Given her mention of "loyalty" I guess it has to do with our famous Wellington who makes his name well known through history in five years time from this publication. 

5.  I may be wrong here but I think "violets in foil" means appliqu├ęd very fine metal flowers. How beautiful!

6.  I am making a personal note for myself everytime Sarsnet Spencers are mentioned. 

No. 1:  A beautiful pamorette, or rainbow imperial net (1), calculated for the evening robe, or dinner party; it is worn over white satin or sarsnet.  We have not seen any article of the order which exceeds this in attractive elegance.  It combines all the light gracefulness of the gauze with the durability of the sarsnet, and is every way worthy of that distinction which it has obtained among our females of rank and fashion.

No. 2: An elegant white figured twill sarsnet for full dress. There needs little comment on this delicate article; robes of which must be made plain, trimmed with lace, silver, or narrow artificial wreaths of flowers (2).  Some ladies will add to the robe a bib and apron of white crape (3), spangled or bound with silver, with tassels to correspond. Coloured or variegated ornaments appear particularly adapted to robed of this article.

No. 3:  A royal regency striped muslin, brought our by the house of Millard in Cheapside.  This article comprises at once utility, neatness, and fashion; is calculated for the summer pelisse, as well as for the superior order of dress (4).  Amidst the pleasing variety of superb indian shawls and beautiful imitations of the same (5), now on sale at this celebrated warehouse are now some grey and black shawls and scarfs, adapted for such of the nobilities and ladies who have occasion for mourning habits.  We understand a new style of shawl has recently been introduced by this establishment, which reflects great credit on our manufacturers. 

No. 4:  A purple sea-weed grounded cambric, calculated for the morning and domestic costume.  The delicacy of pattern and fastness of colour (6) which this article possesses, are a sufficient recommendation to such ladies as prefer coloured morning robes.  There are a few females to whom it will be unacceptable. 

1.  I just wanted to mark this by saying oooohh shiny. 

2. Hey.  For all you nay sayers.  This is not a new thing. 

3. Ok, this threw me for a second since I just spend some time hunting down the secret to the "apron front gowns" or " bib front". It also helped to solve the "stomacher" mystery! When they say that they mean the bodice portion of what we call an "apron" or "bib" front. At least, that is so far what I have established.  That might change.  Anyway, decorative aprons are a thing, and I believe they are referring to the apron having a bodice portion too.  You see one in 1814. 

4. Superior order of dress refers to evening up to full. 

5.  Oh this is so adorable.  They may try to talk up their products, but all fashionable females knew a knock off and imitation shawl when they saw one, and you were sure to be snubbed due to it.  But hey, this warehouse needs to make money. 

6. Apparently 200 years is too long for it to remain "color fast." Bless.  But this is another reason to READ THE PUBLICATION. colors fade and discolor over time. 

This is a very short month, so lucky you! Stay tuned for next month when we start getting summer fashions.  Though nothing like what we need to wear here in the states, I am sure!