Sunday, 22 September 2013

1840's work dress

I am quite the peacock, I like my costumes to be bright and flamboyant. And now I am working on a costume that is quite modest and we are still not sure what to think of each other!

I have this green plaid 1860's crinoline dress, which is modest, at least to my standards. I wore it for two years but never felt at home in it. It was okay the first time, when the whole victorian thing was new and overwhelming but the second year I knew it just wasn't me. The I made my red velvet bustle costume and I love it. I have worn it, or a version of it, almost every year ever since. One year I wore a purple Edwardian costume but again it felt wierd and off...

And now yet again I am making a modest victorian costume and I am really a little bit nervous Will it work for me? You might ask why are you making it then? Well that is simple, it is practical! This year I will be attending a Victorian event without my husband. Which means I will have to be able to dress myself and travel by public transport. In my case  this means that a corset, a bustle or a crinoline are no option. I know that there a plenty of ladies who can get themselves into a corset without any help, but I am not one of them. And there are plenty of reenactors who get a kick riding the train, subway or bus in there costume, again I am not one of them!

So I choose to start working on a 1840-1860's work dress or wrapper. When my husbands grandmother died I inherited her enormous amount of fabric and there was one fabric that  I have a lot of  yards of that just screamed Victorian costume. It's a Laura Ashley fabric from a lot of years ago, it's slightly faded but for working class costume I don't think that's a problem.


The lace collar is a present I got from friends who visited Brussels.


To get a little bit of inspiration, I looked up images of:

  •  Mrs Cratchit a character in one of my favorite Christmas stories: A Christmas Carol aka Scrooge.





  • Working class women ca. 1840-1860









  • The original dresses







1 comment:

Lady D said...

I too am inspired by the clothes worn by the ordinary people. I really don't like the big hoops and crinoline in my eyes they are as ridiculous as those very high shoes that were fashionable in recent years. lol!
I'd rather wear a corded petticoat.