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.
I am so excited to see all your past projects! This dress is wonderful and, if you ask me, shows that you can make beautiful things with faux fabrics if you have a good eye and choose the right ones.ReplyDelete
Thank you Tracey! I am excited to share my past projects. I agree with you that there are faux fabrics that lend themselves very well to historical re-creations! Thank you so much for your lovely compliment!Delete
You look just like Ceddie's mom from "Little Lord Fauntleroy!" Only prettier, I think! :) Gorgeous!ReplyDelete
I have never seen "Little Lord Fauntleroy!" and now I am going to have to!! Thank you Ruth!Delete
Oh this outfit is simply lovely. I love the photo with your dad in the background especially.ReplyDelete
Thank you Crystal! My dad is a really good sport about taking me to see cemeteries when we go places...and he also dresses up with mom and I!Delete
Gorgeous outfit! I especially love the little points down the front. When that Met mourning exhibit came out I thought, "Wow I need a mourning dress!" so I am loving this post.ReplyDelete
Thank you Vivien! The prairie points were super easy to make and add a lot to the look. My ultimate costuming goal is to have a mourning dress from every silhouette era from 1776-1920 and to have a sailor suit from 1860s-1920s!! I am happy you found this post to your liking!Delete
The ruching is a simple detail that really makes this dress "pop" in my opinion, and helps differentiate it from the hundreds of repro late 19th century dresses made from TV patterns! Great job and I look forward to seeing your other creations!ReplyDelete
Thank you Gabriela! I try to do things that make the French Vest pattern look different from, as you said, the hundreds of repros out there. It is such a great pattern and there are so many ways you can make it "yours"! I can't remember how many times I used it and added tabs or did different things that changed the look up! That is where the fun of creativity comes in!Delete
Oh goodie, I get to see all the pretties you have made in the past. I love seeing all the small details in this one. It's exquisite. My favorite dress of mine was also an all black bustle with lots of trim and details on it. It was the most fun one I've ever made and really enjoyed the creating. I am also enamoured of the mourning fashions, as you well know.ReplyDelete
Thank you Val! And Yay that your favorite dress is also a black bustle! You and I are buddies in mourning aren't we? I can't wait to make more of those lovely mourning dresses!Delete
I totally agree with what you wrote about Victorian mourning! I think we're not used to being as close to death as Victorians were mainly because of the fact the death of the beloved ones affected them way more often. And just in case someone from your family felt ill and died the next day it must have been better to be fully prepared... Today it happens so rarely that neither the person's friends nor coworkers know how to behave and how long it takes to "get over it". But let's move on to the cheerful part - your dress! It's as gorgeous as always! The hat is my favorite part! <3ReplyDelete
Indeed! The death rate for the Victorians was so far above ours is today! Thank you modern medicine! Thank you for your compliment Eleonora! I agree with you...the hat is my favorite part!!!Delete
What a fabulous costume! I'm looking forward to seeing what other past creations are tucked away in your closet.ReplyDelete
Thank you so much Black Tulip!! I have quite a few dresses tucked away in the closet!Delete