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Some inspiration

So I thought that perhaps I ought to put up a page full of inspiration for me so I have somewhere to refer to.

I’m pretty sure I’ve showed this one before, but it’s simple yet sweet and (correct me if I’m wrong) I think it wouldn’t be too hard to make, seeing as its a skirt and a jacket separately. However, anything bodice-y is new territory for me so I’ll have to do some research. But first I’d need the fabric, so this one can wait.


Two-piece gown of white cotton embroidered in silk in a delicate floral and vine design. Jacket (A) has low rounded neckline, cone-shape bodice without darts, and center-front edge to edge closure (intended to be pinned shut). Tight 3/4″ length sleeves without cuffs or ruffles. Gathered “peplum” begins over front hips and extends around back. Back bodice comes to deep v centre back where it meets peplum. Separate petticoat (B) is pleated to narrow tapes, with two 10″ deep pocket slits. Upper rear of petticoat is not embroidered, but has plain cotton piece. Hem faced with 1″ ribbon.

 2. Next, up: a beautiful petticoat – just look at that embroidery!

2009 Record shot by L. Baumgarten. Petticoat.

2009 Record shot by L. Baumgarten. Petticoat, detail.

 2009 Record shot by L. Baumgarten. Petticoat, detail.

 ‘Embroidered design consists of triangular frameworks of flowering vines with a bird perched on top of each triangle. Each triangle encloses a different bouquet of flowers. Embroidery is elaborately and realistically shaded. The entire embroidered border area is backed with red, greenish-brown and brownish-black block-printed cotton in a design of curving branches on a ground patterned with a small repeated leaf motif.’


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I’ve always been rather partial to this dress; I just love the simple elegance, the fichu and the adorable apron!

‘white cotton, embroidered with silk in delicate design of trailing multicolour flowers arranged in stripes. Gown has low squarish neckline with drawstring; bodice front closes edge to edge, dipping to deep squared-off points below waist. Tight three-quarter length sleeves cut in one piece with underarm seam, darted to curve over elbows, without ruffles or cuffs. Open front skirt to be worn with petticoat (missing), pleated to bodice beginning about 2″ from centre front with pleats 1/2″ deep. Gown back has slightly squared neckline, with bodice dipping to a deep V at centre back, continuing into skirt at centre back. Back shaped with curving seams from armholes to centre back waist. centre back lining pocket for boning. Bodice and sleeves lined with white tabby linen; skirt unlined’

What was interesting to me was finding out that the skirt was unlined. I assumed that all skirts of this type were lined with something. Is this the case?



Look at that amazing colour! I can almost feel the crisp texture of the fabric…

‘cherry red plain-woven silk, trimmed with satin ribbon and self fabric shirring and piping. Gown has low, shallow neckline and raised waistline with inset band. Bodice front has vertical bands of piped self fabric with shirred self fabric between bands. Small puffed sleeves are trimmed with piped bands laced through piped holes, giving chain effect. Skirt front is ungathered, falling from waistband with gores at sides for increased fullness; rear of skirt has extra gathered fullness concentrated at center back. Skirt ends in decorative hem treatment consisting of piped triangles of fabric, a red satin ribbon puff extending out of each triangle and a padded hem. Bodice back has center hook and eye closure. Back bodice is trimmed with shirred insets similar to the front. Sleeve extensions tie in place. These sleeve extensions are cut as tubes, gathered into buttoned, piped wristbands, with narrow straps fastened with hooks and eyes 2″ above the wristband.’

The sleeve extensions mean that this dress could be worn as a formal day dress and an evening dress as well.



Apart from loving the fabric and shape of this dress, I love the little note that came with the description of it:

‘… Some time after the dress was first made, the wearer had to enlarge the waist by opening the side seams; the waistline now measures 26 inches…

It seems like she couldn’t keep her hands off the puddings!



This dress is so simple which is probably why it appeals to me. It’s one of those dresses in which you can imagine the ordinary person going about their day to day lives. It’s a practical dress, with the colour of fabric possibly suggesting it belonged to a more mature woman.

Gown of plain brown ribbed tabby silk with a fitted bodice and full skirt open at front to reveal petticoat (missing). Bodice has an untrimmed neckline cut in a low squared “U”, with edge-to-edge front closure and squared points at lower waistline. Bodice back has pleats stitched down extending unbroken into skirt at center. Sleeves end in pleated cuffs just below the elbows. Bodice and sleeve linings are made of tabby woven linen. Skirt, pleated to bodice, is composed of 6 panels of 19 1/4″ wide fabric. No pocket slits.

What is, again, interesting to me is the lack of pocket slits. Surely a more practical woman would want somewhere to put her things when out and about? I suppose we’ll never know.


Ahh, more brown. A very practical colour, but the fabric of this dress shows that (unlike the previous one) it was not made for everyday general use. I love, love, love the hat in this top photo. I may have to buy a large straw hat soon….



light brown silk damask woven in large asymmetrical floral pattern. Gown remade to later style with squared neckline and fitted bodice with center front edge to edge closure. Elbow-length sleeves end in pleats to create cups over elbows. Back fitted bodice ends in deep v at center back waist. Skirt is cut separately from bodice. Full skirt is open in front to reveal petticoat, which does not survive. Bodice is lined with linen; skirt unlined and faced with brown ribbon.

I shall finish this post here, simply so that I can take a break without the computer losing all of this (which it tends to do).

Please comment your favourite dress, and your least favourite!


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