Musings of a Lady

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Le Modiste: Summer Frock 1918

With the celebration of my country's birthday, I planned to attend a 4th of July back yard party at the Pardee Home Museum in downtown Oakland.  Two friends were performing there and others and as well as myself joined in to add historical atmosphere to this Victorian home.  Most of us went in either teens or early Art Deco wear.  I decided, since I am still under the influence of "Downton Abbey", to create an 1918 summer frock.    My inspiration was the Folkwear  Armistice Blouse and other images from the Dover book I have - Russel's Standard Fashions - 1915-1919:

I had bought, ages ago, a dupioni silk gingham thinking I was going to make a nice 1950's summer evening dress.  Really? What was I thinking?  Checks/strips for a circle skirt?  Obviously it didn't happen so it is now a wonderful teens frock that worked out really well.   Here was the plan of my design with swatches:
The overall design was to use the Armistice pattern and attach a skirt.

Originally I had planned to trim the white collar and cuffs in solid blue.  In the end it was to hard looking.

I love blue and white!
I actually made this dress once before but it looked really bad on me for a number of reasons.  1).  I was a 36 DDD at the time (yes, I had those girls reduced!) and I have no hips so I looked very top heavy in the high waisted dress.  2).  I chose a very flimsy cotton and it just drooped and looked limp and added to the bad proportions.  Lesson learned?  Crisp fabrics work best to give this look the shape I need.

I was really pleased with the outcome and I was able to use the belt I made for the proto type referred to  above.  The belt was made from a 3.5" Oriental embroidered ribbon or trim.
The belt!

Details of the cuffs on 3/4 sleeves
Detail of the neckline.
The buttons I used were actually white fabric covered buttons I bought by the gross from Jessica McClintok's outlet in San Francisco what seems like one hundred years ago.  Anyway, I didn't have time to make buttons or go looking for them, so I painted the white ones!  At a very frustrating moment it hit me I had fabric paint sitting around from other old projects and painting the buttons would/might work!  I mixed ultramarine blue and black.  After about 3 coats with drying time in between, they came out great!
At the event.

I forgot to get a full shot of the whole dress on at the event, but took one at home a wee bit crumpled.

The hat, believe it or not, I got a Marshall's one summer ago. It is a nice black straw with a deep crown and the perfect brim for teen's and 1920's.  At some point I will probably switch out the ribbon at the crown later.  My boots are from way back when I did a lot of Victorian events but still fit!
Overall, I was comfortable and I felt cool and pretty....oops, was that a bit immodest?  :)

Next up:
Make an 18th century chemise dress for a 9th month old
Redo Victorian Corset
Play around with embroidery samplers a la Renaissance and Alabama Chanin.


athene said...

That dress is soooo pretty! I love the belt with it.

Angela said...

Thanks Athene! It was fun to put together. I love teens.

Cassidy said...

I love this dress so much. You look great in it, too!

Hana - Marmota said...

Blue and white! My favourite colours; and this is such a fabulous day dress. You look good in it!

Marion Brégier said...

I missed this outfit, it's FABULOUS ! (hell, I missed a lot, seems, I'm awfully beind on my blogroll)

heileen said...

this is such a beautiful dres !!