For the next little bit, I am going to be doing something new. I got the idea from several places. 1) TBT...Throw Back Thursdays that is big on Facebook and 2) Katherine from A Fashionable Past. She has been writing blog posts about previous dresses and I think that is a lovely idea! I just started blogging 3 years ago, but have been costuming for 11 years. I am also getting rid of some unwanted weight and really don't want to be making any outfits that won't fit in a bit. That and it is the holiday season and really want to partake in fun holiday activities and not stress about costuming. So, I am going to be doing a Throw Back Thursday of sorts on this blog! Here goes!
1886 Half Mourning Dress: 2007
From the tender age of 10, I have loved the idea and ideals of Victorian Mourning. While some may feel the whole thing a bit morbid and macabre, I feel the whole process a thing of beauty. Especially with what has happened in my valley recently. The teenage daughter of a couple I know died the middle of this month. A very lovely lady who I have grown to know through costuming passed away just this evening of cancer. My Mom and I visited with her before she left us and on the drive to and from her house, had many talks about death and dying and how we as people living in 2014 America handle death. Since the advent of funeral homes, death has been removed so far from our homes, that I am of the belief that we don't know how to handle it any more. Society gives us a few weeks or months to "grieve" or "handle" the death of a loved one, then it expects us to move on, return to work, get on with life. But the grieving process goes on for so much longer. Society feels uncomfortable when we cry over a lost loved one, and the ones grieving feel the need to apologize for crying. What a crazy world we live in. We are not given the time to grieve, mourn, cry with gutteral moaning the pain our souls are feeling.
Not so in the Victorian Era. When a loved one was lost, the whole of society knew about it by the clothing that was worn by the ones left behind. They were given the chance to mourn the death of their loved ones. When a widow went out into public in her Widows Weeds, people knew she was in mourning and didn't notice anything untoward if she was weeping...they didn't expect her to "get over it" or didn't feel uncomfortable with her tears. The clothing and duration of the mourning period in a sense gave permission for the mourners to do what came very naturally to them. Grieve. I think that is what I find so beautiful about the customs and clothing. Death was a HUGE part of the Victorian Era. They were so much more close to it than we are today, and I believe this helped them to handle it in a more dignified and honorable way.
My very first mourning dress was a bustle dress from 1886. I used patterns from Truly Victorian...1884 French Vest Bodice, 1885 Four Gore Underskirt, and 1885 Pannier Pannel Add On. The fabrics were faux dupioni silk and poly taffeta. I ruched strips of faux dupioni for the bodice and sleeves along with prairie points just to give it added interest. American Duchess pinned this tutorial for making the Prairie Points on her Pinterest board. This is not how I made mine, but this looks like it would be a very good way to make them...
Fan: Purchased from Blue Moon Antiques Store in Hyde Park, Boise. When folded up, it folds in half lengthwise and the tassel loop hooks over the fan top keeping it from opening.
Boots: Side buttoning with Military heel. Purchased from now out of business antique store. They actually fit!!!
Photo shoot at the Idaho City Pioneer Cemetery. It is absolutely beautiful there and is still being used.
Parasol: I covered the parasol with black with white stripe cotton fabric. I didn't have a pure black parasol, so this one fit the bill for the time being.
This family plot had daffodils blooming around the graves. Family members still go and tend the graves of their ancestors.
Reticule: Leather with silvertone hardware found at local antique store.
I love this picture because you can see my Daddy in the back ground.
Brooch: ordered off of eBay. I have since sold it. Yes, I am upset that I did.
Bonnet: found at an antique lighting fixture store in Spokane, WA. It is made of wire and silk. There is white pleated netting on the inside. Ostrich plumes and a fabulous almost matte brooch adorn the outside. Ties are silk ribbon.
Buttons on bodice are antique glass buttons found on Etsy.
Thus concludes my first installment of TBT on Beauty from Ashes.
See you next Thursday!
Be blessed my friends.