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Happy Dress Time

I'm maybe never so happy as when I'm sewing something, working on a new project, or beginning to think on a new idea...for sewing.  I like to just think about it, too, on nights when I don't quite feel like stitching for real (like tonight).

I've ordered 3.5 yards of blue wool melton and 3 yards of chocolate brown taffetta for a new 18th c. inspired coat.  It's actually quite close to the original pattern, from Janet Arnold, with the exception of changing the collar to a larger one, which is technically much later in the century while the body of the coat is mid-century.  I don't care...it's for fashion, not for costuming in particular, and the lines were generally the same throughout, so I could wear it to an 18th c. event and not feel funny.

18th c. baffles me in some regards.  It's just because I haven't done enough of it and there are tricky things, like getting the point on the back of an Anglaise long enough, or even better, doing it "en fourreau" (I know I spelled that wrong!).  I haven't tried to make a Francaise yet, but I'm sure I'll end up doing it at some point -- if not a full francaise, then a caracoa or something with those same large back pleats.  I like the later styles and the English styles rather than mid-century pannier madness.  Gauls, Redingotes, Zone fronted, riding habits, Anglaises, and all manner of jackets.  YUM.

There is something ultimately appealing about 18th c clothes, I think.  They're really quite modern in appeal, in terms of fabric choice, fit, and silhouette.  We no longer wear full-length gown for every day (do you think that'll ever come back into fashion?), but we do like clothes that hug our bodies and accentuate the best parts of us.  We love flowers and stripes and dots, and pastel colors, shiny bits and soft cottons.  We like 3/4 sleeves, jackets with cuffs, cleavage...

That's not to say that 18th c. didn't and can't go VERY WRONG.  There's an "over the top" for everything.  Sometimes it really is TOO MUCH TRIM, or too wide of panniers, hahaha, or too black, pink, whatever.  I suppose it all comes down to what the 18th c. looks like to you , the costumer, inside your own head.  I am pleasingly reminded of Sophia Coppola commenting on the source of the palette of "Marie Antoinette" being a box of pastel-colored macaroons.  What could be better than associating the guillotined monarch of France with a box of coconut cookies, eh?

And so I think I have become one of those rabid and unstoppable 18th c. costumers, the kind of who suffer from a shortage of places to wear their frivolous creations.  I can see my future - I'll become hopelessly addited (already am) and then start doing Lumieres with the GBACG, then start wearing 18th to things that are really supposed to be Victorian (like the Steampunk ball), then start wearing 18th c. in real life!  OK, not in that order!!!!

I patiently await my wool.  Hopefully it will arrive more promptly than my copy of "Tudor Tailor."  The pattern for the coat is ready to go!  it's not all that complicated, but it will be fully lined and faced on the front edges and collar.  It will not be a quick project, and I want to do it right!  I'm thinking of embroidery in silver threads for the over-sized buttonholes, but I'm not wholely attached to that plan yet.  I want to do some kind of embroidery detail.  I have no freaking idea how to embroider.



( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 25th, 2009 03:51 am (UTC)
I totally feel the same way. I'm so madly in love with this century--granted I do more lower class than upper, I drool over the prospect of making pretty pretties rathern than just plain pretties.

Though, it's funny--when you said 18th can go very wrong, I was thinking of some of the disasters I've seen at reenacting events!

Even how I stumbled on your post--I was searching the blogs for "18th century fashion" because I'm desperately trying to find the image of a striped jacket I saw the other day. I've seen you post on other comms I'm part of--so I hope I'm not entirely a stranger! If I am, just tell me to go away and I won't bother you again.

But, gosh! It's a lovely century to fall in love with!
Feb. 25th, 2009 04:40 pm (UTC)
Hi! A fellow dress diaries reader/contributor is always welcome to wade through all the boring stuff I put on my "personal" journal. When I mentioned "going very wrong," I was also thinking of the horrid stuff from various modern events - I don't think I've ever seen an existing garment from the 18th c. that was truly hideous! I'm not a huge fan of "double-wides" but they are still gorgeous. I guess it all comes down to FIT and materials choice :-).

I hope you found the picture of the striped jacket you were looking for! Was it an existing garment or someone's costume? Maybe I can help!
Feb. 25th, 2009 06:31 pm (UTC)
No, I didn't find it--it was an original, probably early 1780s. It was a very fitted silk jacket, small (quarter to half inch) stripes in either green and black or green and brown, 3/4 sleeves, and no skirt, but it did have some kind of ruffle or fall in the back. The stripes ran vertically down the front, and horizontally on the arm.

Someone had posted the picture on their blog with a picture of another candy pink late 1780s jacket, which I know is from that spanish museum, Traje(?). I went through 30 pages of pictures of garment before I went to bed, and then jackass boyfriend had to close the page!!
Feb. 25th, 2009 06:52 pm (UTC)
Found it! Traje Museum, IMATEX, page 36 for the 18th century. :D :D :D!
Feb. 25th, 2009 06:59 pm (UTC)
Good job! Now go forth and costume and post pictures on dressdiaries so we can all see your awesome progress! :-D
Feb. 25th, 2009 07:17 pm (UTC)
I'll try!
Feb. 25th, 2009 07:29 pm (UTC)
Oh, yeah:


Here's the site that it was on--you can find garments through chronology, and there is a load of 18th century garments--all of them absolutely fabulous.
Feb. 25th, 2009 08:15 pm (UTC)
WOW! What an amazing site! Thanks for the link...I managed to get through the Italian (right?) to find the 18th c. page. AWESOME stuff! I'll have to peruse it at length later (when I'm not wasting time at work, haha)
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )