Another of my "goals" in Historical Dress reproduction is to have a mourning gown from every era from the 1830s to the 1920s. (this last date may go later, like to the 1950s, we shall see....) It was going to be that every October I would work on a mourning outfit to wear on All Hallow's Eve and take photos at one of the surrounding cemeteries, but so far, that has only happened every other year or so.
This year, my mourning dress will be of the 1840s persuasion. After watching many of the Jane Eyre movies (1983, 1996, 1997, 2006, and 2011) I fell in love with the somber look of Jane's clothing and the beauty of her black dresses. I can't explain why I love this look. There is just something about the movie, the setting, the clothing, that lends itself to sadness and mourning.
About 5 years ago, Greg and I went to Vancouver, BC and I was in a fabric shop called Dress Sew (if you get to Vancouver, this is a MUST GO shop!!!) and I found some light weight black wool for 9.00 a meter. I purchased 9 meters thinking I would use it to make an Edwardian mourning dress. Then I started watching the Jane Eyre movies and my mind was changed for me!
I am going to be sharing my inspirations for the dress, bonnet and underwear in this post along with the completed corset!!
Obviously the movies are a great inspiration, but also too are the wonderful dresses that were part of the "Death Becomes Her" exhibit at the MET last October (No I did not go. Yes, I am still mourning the fact that I didn't.) The two dresses from the 1840s totally take my breath away with their simple elegance!!!
I would totally give my eye teeth for that charcoal on black pashima shawl!!!!
I so love how shiny this silk is!!! It is a gorgeous dress and what I will be patterning my dress after.
So yes, my dress will be second mourning as I don't own a mourning pashima shawl, but have a most gloriously colored one (here is the post about mine.)
I also want to wear a gold tone watch chain and a fabulous antique hair mourning brooch...sooooooooo, second mourning it will be!!
My lovely friend Kat sent me some real silk crepe a while ago and I have been saving it to make a mourning hat or bonnet. I found the perfect 1840s bonnet from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. There is another lovely example from Whitaker Auction site. I will be using one of Lynn McMaster's patterns for mine!
Source: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
LOVE the crepe bands on the bonnet!
For the underwear, I have already made a new corset that is suitable for the 1840s. After doing some research, I discovered that loop and stud busks weren't used until after the era of my dress so I used a wooden paint stick for my busk. I did have a lovely "real" wooden busk that I ordered online, but we won't discuss what happened to that one...it has something to do with a jig saw and a splitting in the total wrong direction.
The inspiration for the corset came from several different sources. Below is the one I attempted to copy to the best of my ability. It is from The MET. I love the stays that are placed on the angle. I haven't gotten to the flossing on mine as my fingers and hands are severely angry with me at present. Another inspiration is from Abiti Antichi. That one has shoulder straps, but since my shoulders and straps are not good buddies, I am opting for the strapless examples!!!
I LOVE LOVE LOVE this corset! If I were a thief, and if I were to steal something from The MET, this would be one of those things. Buuuuuut, I'm not a thief and I won't be stealing anything from The MET, so there you have it.
I found this on Pinterest, but can't find where it came from. It shows closed front corsets from the 1840s. Huzzah!!!
My 1840s Corset
I have had this on my "to make" list for quite some time, but it really frightened me as it was a two piece with gore pieces pattern. It is Simplicity 7215. I did away with the stud and loop busk, placing the front pattern piece on the fold and just placed the boning like it appeared on the original from The MET. I think it came out rather well!! Please excuse the differing laces... I don't have one long enough to lace all the way!
And of course Emma is too emaciated to look good wearing my corset. Poor thing. I need to fatten her up!
A very lovely corset to put together. I just had to make the bust and hip gores smaller. Other than that, it was a breeze!!!
I also plan on making a new corded petticoat (I already have one for the 1830s), one very similar to the very first image on Jennifer's Historical Sewing post on Corded Petticoats. Also, if you have never made a corded petticoat, would really like to and are intimidated by them, I strongly suggest Jennifer's Corded Petticoat Workbook. (I am in no way reimbursed for advertising about the workbook...it is just really that fabulous!!!)
I may or may not make a new chemise and drawers for the 1840s outfit before I need to wear it on All Hallow's Eve, but I do know I want to make a new set of first layers!
Ok, up next? The corded Petti and 2 new full petticoats!!!
Be blessed my friends!
the corset looks great!! i've been mulling over the corset issue for a while... hope we get to see it on, too! let me know if you need a source for "crape" and i'll point you in the direction of where i get mine!ReplyDelete
Thank you Samantha!! I'll take a photo of me wearing it soon... It really is quite lovely on.Delete
Oooooh!!! I would love the source for the "crape" you use!!! I think I am going to be "needing" more!! I am so excited!!!
Oh I can't wait to see how this turns out! Good to know about the corded petticoat workbook. I've been toying with getting it to make a corded petticoat and I think I will now so thank for the verification that it's great to work with!ReplyDelete
You are welcome Glennis! It is jam packed with info on the original ones in Jennifer's collection, info on materials and cording, measurements, starting and much more!! It really helped me on my first one! I can't wait to see the one you make!!Delete
H! OMG you really rock that steam-engine of sewing garments, don't you? :D I mean, you make new costumes so straight off the reel, that I'm really envy now (namely I'm a beginner sewer, still practising the basic stitches and tailoring methods on lingeries and I would love to be where you are now, but I know I need to learn a lot :( ) also it's always fun to see mourning gowns from pre-Albert periods, they were so much fun! I mean it was really hard to be a merry widow beside of QV :D But I saw really fun fashion plates from the early 19th century and those dresses are hilarious! Note: I quite like the odd lacing on the corset, so steam-punk :D Have a nice day :)ReplyDelete
Thank you Melinda for your lovely compliments! Yay for beginning sewers and keep up the practicing!! You know what they say...Practice makes perfect!!! I can't wait to see what you end up sewing! I know it will look grand! It is true to be a Merry Widow...something I will never be...mourning for me it way to serious! My mourning outfit is coming right along!Delete
Like Glennis I can't wait to see how this turns out ;) I love projects like this and you always do an amazing job!ReplyDelete
Thank you so much MaiLoan! Today I finished the quilted petticoat and will probably start on the dress next week!Delete
The corset looks awesome! You are inspiring me to make one as well.ReplyDelete
Thank you Breanna!! I think you should totally make one!Delete
You sew TOO FAST. Just sayin'. ;)ReplyDelete
Your corset came out beautifully!! I love the extra-wide binding around the edges - it adds such a nice touch!
I can't wait to see your dress! It sounds like it's going to be beautiful.
P.S. If you ever DO decide to go on a filching-trip to the MET, make sure you bring me one of those bonnets! ;)
Oh Esther! I was hoping you would say you would make a bonnet filching run to the MET with me! I am so disappointed!! hahahahahahah!!! Thank you so much for your lovely compliment! I sew when I get the time...If I'm not tending to these starving boys who make laundry work for me, I'm at the machine!Delete
Oh, alright! You convinced me! When do we go? ;)Delete
Sweet! I have a co-conspirator!!! Let me check my calendar!! hahahahaha!!!Delete