Friday, August 31, 2012

Great Hair Fridays - Setting Pin Curls

It's been a while since I posted for Great Hair Fridays. Today's post comes from Beauty is a Thing of the Past and shows how to set pin curls. Although these images are from the1950s, I'm sure the technique can be applied to any vintage hairstyle.

Source: 1000 Hints Beauty #7, 1956
Source: 1000 Hints Beauty #7, 1956
Source: 1000 Hints Beauty #7, 1956
Source: 1000 Hints Beauty #7, 1956

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Fashion plates for 1814

Here are some fashion plates for 1814, the same year as the attack on Fort Cassin. Most of these plates come from the fabulous site Dames a la Mode. Enjoy!

 My goodness. Have some feathers on your hat!
Journal des Dames et des Modes, 1814

La Belle Assemblee, June 1814. “Blucher bonnet and spencer”

La Belle Assemblee, The Russian and Prussian Bonnet and Pelisse, July 1814
 These two gowns are very similar. Both are relatively simple but very pretty. And I love military shako style hat! I can't decide if the check piece on the left gown is all one piece of fabric or a separate sash and neckerchief. It could be a large neckerchief that wraps around the front of the body. Too bad there is not front view. 

Ackermann’s Repository, Walking Dress, October 1814
Journal des Dames et des Modes, 1814

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Attack on Fort Cassin

Hi All. I don't have much to write about today but I did want to share a few pictures from the event I went to last weekend. All these pictures, except for the last one, were taken by my friend Kris Jarrett who is the events coordinator at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (LCMM). Kris did an excellent job organizing this event and I think everyone had a really great time! You can see additional pictures on the LCMM's Facebook page.

McDonough's Victory on Lake Champlain, September 11, 1814. [detail] - Source, LCMM
So a little bit of history ...
Although it was small skirmish, the British attack on Fort Cassin was significant to the War of 1812 and the history of Vermont. Fort Cassin was located at the mouth of Otter Creek which empties into Lake Champlain. It was at this location in 1813 that American forces were hard at work building a fleet of ships to protect Lake Champlain. In May of 1814 the British began an expedition from their posts in Quebec on the Richelieu River. American Captain Thomas Macdonough was at the shipyard when he received the news that British ships were traveling down Lake Champlain. Macdonough quickly set up a fortification to defend his ships.

Captain Thornton’s company of artillery protects the fort - Source
Captain Thornton’s company of artillery fires on the British - Source
Captain Macdonough, together with Lieut. Stephen Cassin, some sailors, and Captain Thornton’s company of artillery, who had been sent from Burlington, Vermont, defended the fortification and saved the American naval fleet. The fortification was later named Fort Cassin in honor of Lieut. Cassin. Because of this little American victory, the British were unable completed their expedition. The naval fleet took part in the Battle of Plattsburgh in September 1814. Another, this time major, American victory over the British.

British fleet. The gunboat Philadelphia II played the role of HRM Linnet for the weekend. - Source

British Marines fire on Fort Cassin - Source
In other news, I didn't finish the dress I was working on for this event so I borrowed one from a friend. It was made of a lovely cotton print and closed in the back with ties. The neck and high waist both had draw strings. Although it was comfortable to wear it was difficult to put on without help. This was the best picture I could find. We were standing in line for our Guinness ration, the 27th Inniskilling is an Irish regiment after all!

Guinness ration!

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Soft Wrap Corset

This soft wrap style corset was listed for sale, and has since been sold, by Vintage Textile. Unfortunately, at the time I saved these pictures I didn't think to copy all the information that accompanied them. I believe the date listed for this garment was 1800 to 1810, but it could have been as late as 1820. It's made of cotton and is entirely hand stitched. Note to self, in the future save all information!

Update 8/14/2012 - I searched my files and found that I did save the information originally listed with this corset on Vintage Textile! Here it is:

Rare soft wrap corset, c.1810-1820
Some early corsets (stays) are prized by collectors because they are elaborately embellished; others are valued for their rare form. This soft, wrap-style under garment is a special find for the collector who already has the more typical corded style with center busk.
Our soft wrap corset was likely meant more for modesty under a sheer dress than for significant support. The style, which is rarely found, came from a New England collection.
The corset is fashioned from ivory cotton and is completely hand stitched. Gathered bust inserts and triangular side-hip inserts are the only shaping. The corset is laced only at the upper back opening. Waistline ties wrap around and pin in front.
The condition is excellent.
It measures: 32" bust, 27" waist, 32" hip, and 16" from shoulder to hem

Source - Vintage Textile
This style corset would have been worn by a lady who needed minimal support. There are small gussets for the bust as well at gussets at the hips. The straps are well out of the way to accommodate the broad necklines of the time period. Also, notice the lack of a busk pocket on this corset.

Source - Vintage Textile
Gussets for bust. Source - Vintage Textile
Detail of back lacing. Source - Vintage Textile
Note the small side gussets at the hips. Source - Vintage Textile

In the future, I may try to make one of these for myself as it looks pretty simple as well as comfortable. I do have a few more picture of this corset that I can post if people are interested. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Preparing for 1812 event ... some research

1811 illustration  - Image source
My first War of 1812 event, Attack on Fort Cassin, is now a week away. In preparation for this event, as mentioned in an earlier post, I've been doing some research and working on a new set of clothes. I haven't completed as much as I would have liked due to lack of time, and well, an almost complete shift of gears to the 20th century. Most of my posts lately have focused on 1930s and 1940s related topics and I do apologies to those of you who follow this blog mainly for those earlier topics.

Because of time restraints and because *some* of my 18th century garments will work, for now, I decided the most important articles of clothing to make first were a new corset and a gown. But more on those projects later. Today is a research sharing day.. 

So what do undergarments of the early 19th century (1800 to 1820) look like? As with the 18th century, undergarments help shape the rest of the outfit. The shift, or chemise, of the early 19th century is very similar to those of the 18th century. The biggest differences are the sleeves, they become shorter and tighter in fit, and the necklines. Still made mostly from linen, you do see some cotton shifts as well.

Early 19C Linen Chemise, MFA
The shape and style of stays/corsets changed dramatically between the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century. Most women wore some form of stays underneath their gowns. They were either short stays (transition stays) or a fuller body stay with cording instead of boning. These longer stays could be very simple like the pair below, or have very decorative cording. The cording was pretty but also gave a bit of extra support. Like 18th century stays, they also supported the body and lifted the bust. There was even a wrap style very similar to today's bra. Here's an example from the V&A. And another at the MET. A long piece of wood or bone, called a busk, was inserted into the front of the stays to give support. I know of several examples in museums which are beautifully carved.

Early 19C Stays, MFA

Image source

19th century busks - Christies
Over the stays was worn a bodiced petticoat or a petticoat held up with straps. My understanding is that bodiced petticoat did not have any boning as suggestion in some commercially available sewing patterns. For less, ahem, well endowed women like myself, a bodiced petticoat could provide enough support and thus eliminate the need for stays. What is not clear to me is whether a bodiced petticoat was ever worn in place of both shift and stays. I suppose for those taking the regency fashions to the extreme, this was possible but not for the everyday, practical lady.

Book cover of Napoleon and the Empire of Fashion: 1795-1815  - Clearly, this lady isn't wearing much under her gown.
Bodiced petticoat back, 
 National Trust Inventory Number 1359303 

Bodiced petticoat front,
National Trust Inventory Number 1359303

Petticoat with straps. Image source. Does anyone know where this is originally from?
There is a great example of a bodiced petticoat at the MET. Here is another example from the National Trust, although a bit latter, dated 1830.

A neckerchief or a chemisette was worn to fill in the neckline of a gown for day wear. Chemisetts appear to be more common than a neckerchief and were plain, as seen in the first example, or had multiple ruffles at the neckline.

Chemisett, MET
Chemisette. Batiste of linen. America or England, 1810-20.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Great Hair Fridays - Jean Harlow

Just a quick post today. I've been feeling a bit under the weather the last couple of days and I'm not up to spending much time in front of the computer today. On the plus side, before I got sick that is, I made some really great vintage finds at a New York antique shop. I hope to share those with you all soon.

So here is today's Great Hair Fridays post. Jean Harlow - short, simple, elegant. Enough said.

Jean Harlow, c. 1933

Jean Harlow, c. 1936
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