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Permalink 10:20:00 am, by Heather McNaughton Email , 475 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: Excerps from The Delineator

The Delineator magazine was a monthly periodical sponsored by the Butterick Pattern Company.  The main focus was to be a selling tool for the patterns, by providing illustrations and lengthy descriptions of the new patterns as they came out.

The following is one of the listings:


The engraving illustrates a costume that is suitable for either house or street wear, and includes two garments and two popular fabrics in its composition. The skirt is of walking length and is four-gored, and, owing to the depth of the trimming, may be made up in "sham" style-that is, the skirt may be of lining material and the trimming only of the camel's-hair of which the polonaise is made. The trimming consists of a deep plaiting, which is a kilt at the back and sides and has wide triple box-plaits across the front. If preferred, the decoration may be narrower or varied in any other style to suit the taste of the wearer. The model is No. 6725, price 1s. 3d. Sterling or 30 cents, and is in nine sizes for ladies from twenty to thirty-six inches, waist measure. 

The polonaise is a familiar style with modified drapery, and is also made of camel's-hair. It is fitted by two bust darts at each side of the front, which closes to some distance below the waist-line with button-holes and buttons. Below the closing the hems are overlaid with a broad band of velvet, pointed at its lower termination and having a bow over its upper end. The back adjusted by a seam at the center and by English side-backs.

The center seam terminates in an extra width, which is folded underneath in a large box-plait, and, when the side-drapery is drawn backward, the plait assists in forming a pretty puffed drapery. The bottom of the polonaise is bordered with a broad velvet band like that over the hems, and other bands simulating lapels are about the neck, where they are fastened under buttons and imitation button-holes. A bow conceals the closing of the military collar, and another is tacked over the lapel ends. Demi-cuffs of velvet, ornamented with buttons and simulated button-holes, are over the inside seams of the sleeves, while ruffles of the goods encircle the wrists in addition, thus filling in the spaces back of the cuffs and also extending from underneath their lower edges.

The model to the polonaise is No. 6879, price Is. 3d. Sterling or 30 cents. It is in thirteen sizes for ladies from twenty-eight to forty-six inches, bust measure. For a dressy garment of silk, brocade or cashmere, fringe or lace may be added to the bottom of the polonaise; and the latter may be worn over a longer skirt for the house, if a short skirt be not admired for such a purpose. A vest or plastron facing maybe applied to the front.


Permalink 10:13:00 pm, by Heather McNaughton Email , 362 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: New Patterns

It has been a while since I came out with a new pattern, and now I have two!  You can find them at  the Truly Victorian Shopping Pages.

The first is  TV449 - 1861 Revere Bodice. The Illustration for our Revere Bodice is taken from the August 23, 1861 issue of Der Bazar, magazine. It is named for the French term which describes the fold-over lapel at the neckline, the folds at the center back below the waist, and at the outside of the sleeves. It is very much like a jacket and can be worn over a full blouse like TV441 Garibaldi Blouse, or a chemisette and undersleeves.

Made of wool or heavy fabrics, it is a nice winter style, or made of light cottons or silks, it can work for summer styles as well. Our bodice has the wide 2-piece sleeve common to the early 1860's. It is based on the standard 3-piece bodice, with 2 darts at the front and a curved side back seam. The front and side are also fitted with a "fish seam" at the waistline, to help smooth the fit over the hips.

The second is TV242 - 1863 Revere Skirt.  Revere styles skirt are shown in fashion plates from 1861 to 1864. The overskirt can be short, as in view A, or reaching to the hem, and any length in between. But in each case, theoverskirt is in panels, with the bottom corners flipped back to reveal a contrasting lining, and the skirt underneith. View A, with the 3 ruffles at the hem, is more suited for evening dresses, while View B with a single flounce is suited for both day and evening styles.

For an evening dress, the top skirt could be made of a sheer fabric or net, showing the
entire underskirt through the fabric. For winter, velvets, silks, or fine wools look nice. Or use silk or cotton prints, with solid-colored reveres and ruffle for a light and airy summer dress.

This pattern fits over both TV142 - 1856 Walking Cage Crinoline, and TV141- 1858
Round Cage Crinoline. The closure is in the center back, and the skirts are pleated to the
waistband. The flounces are gathered over a cord and sewn to the base skirt.


Permalink 05:49:00 pm, by Heather McNaughton Email , 606 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: This and That

Hello, I’m Sandra Maxwell, and I will be contributing to Heather’s blog on a regular basis.  As the title implies, I will be sharing “this and that” on sewing, history, helpful insights and whatever may seem relevant at the time.  I have been an historic  re-enactor nearly 40 years in several time periods, so I have much to share whether you are a beginner or a veteran.  I hope you will find it helpful as well as entertaining.

July, 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the War to End all Wars.  Most Americans don’t know much about World War One.  We were only there for a short time at the end.  But this war was the beginning and the cause of all the wars after it.  World War I officially ended the way wars had been fought for centuries.  It’s called the first ‘modern’ war.   It saw the end of most of the European monarchies.  It changed the known world forever.

Walt Disney drove ambulances, poet Joyce Kilmer was killed, JRR Tolkien suffered in the English trenches and Adolf Hitler began to nurture his hatred in the German trenches. 

Above - German soldiers sitting in the trenches

At right - French soldier visiting with a lady in a vintage teens dress

My WWI impression is a Doughnut Dolly.  The Salvation Army joined many other services bringing some comfort to the boys at the front.  I choose the Salvation Army because it was the only service allowed near the frontlines.    The Salvation Army Dollies or Lassies made pies and coffee in the beginning, but when supplies ran low and with little hope of getting more, decided they had enough to make doughnuts (in a crueler style).  When a soldier asked if they could make them more convenient to carry, the doughnut with a hole was born.  Soldiers wrote home about this wonderful treat and they became popular in America.   You can go to the Salvation Army website and download the original recipe,



That’s me and our famous doughnuts.  The helmet is antique, so are our gas masks.  Even the doughnut cutter on the table is antique.  To make holes in the doughnuts, they fashioned these cutters from tin cans.


There are three of us.  We wear the typical smock worn by many ladies of the time who found themselves working instead of staying home.


Doughnut Dollies were issued helmets and gas masks by the unit assigned to protect them.  They were shelled, shot at and bugged out, often suffering as much as the men, but through thick and thin, they made sure a doughnut, a cup of coffee, and some comfort were there for the soldiers.  They helped so many endure the horrors of some of the most inhumane conditions soldiers have ever had to suffer.


Typical day wear of 1915.  The blouse is vintage but the skirt was made by this lovely lady.


My greatest delight is seeing the face of a war veteran as he enters our WWI display area.  They nod at the various soldiers and their displays and ask about the weapons, but when they see The Salvation Army Doughnut Dollies, their faces light up.  They hurry over and suddenly we become the ‘real deal’ to them.  They treat us as though we are actually part of the Salvation Army.  We have been told some of the most heart-warming/rending stories of how the Salvation Army changed their lives.  Sometimes there are tears in their eyes.  They thank us for being there and we thank them for their service.  It’s why I remain an historic re-enactor.




 Doing my job, feeding doughboys their doughnuts

Until next time…
Sandra Maxwell



Permalink 01:25:00 pm, by Heather McNaughton Email , 440 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: What is the Edwardian Sihouette?


Truy Victorian has just released a new Edwardian skirt pattern,  the 1906 Ten Gore Princess Skirt - TVE23. With a raised waistline, our skirt fits smooth through the hips and hangs in a graceful flare to the hem. The top has a raised point in the center back, and tapers lower to the center front. It has the smooth fitted back closed with hooks and eyes, known as the "habit" back. The hem line is round at floor length. This skirt is perfectly suited to dresses of 1906 -1908, with it's wide hemline. Pair it with a blouse, and perhaps a long jacket or a copped Eton jacket. 

And here is a little back ground on the Empire skirts of the Edwardian Era:

At left - 1906

Skirt shapes of the Edwardian era change quite rapidly, with almost every year seeing something new. 1901 starts out the era with the Trumpet Skirt; a shaped skirt that is fitting over the hips and thighs, then flares out below the knee for a wide hem. Very quickly, the slim skirts begin to get fuller at the hem, with the addition of vertical pleats and tucks around the skirt, though the skirt remains lean and controlled through the thigh. By 1904, the skirts are getting wider though the knees and thighs as well.

1906 brings an innovation to the skirts by raising the skirt above the waistline in a style known as the  Princess or  Corsage.   The addition of multiple gores to the skirt (9, 11, 15, and even 24 gore skirts) allows the top of the skirt to fit closely to the body like a corselet. Tall belts achieve the same accentuation of a slim waist with a full hip and bust.



At right - 1908

1907 sees the skirts getting fuller over the hip, and often gathers are added at the waistline.   The waist front "dip" becomes raised up also, so that the dip is now at the natural waistline, and the back is raised above the natural waist in the Empire Corsage style.  To structurally support this new waistline, the  lining of the skirt becomes detatched as a corselet, independent of the skirt. The outer skirt attaches near the top of the hidden corselet, and fabric "belt" is sewn over the top of the skirt attachement.  The skirt is then allowed to hang with ease over the waist and hips, obscuring the natural waistline.

Below - 1909

By 1909, the slim waist and hip return, with ever slimmer skirts in general. The hidden corselet becomes taller and the skirts less fitted to the natural waistline.   The desired effect is to create a higher-than-natural waistline, with a long smooth hip line, a trend that continues into the next decade.



Permalink 09:31:00 pm, by Heather McNaughton Email , 930 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: Dress Diary
I was looking through my copy of the 1863 La Mode Illustre, when I ran across this beautiful chemisette.  It is made with a lace and insertion section at the neckline which would fill in a half-high neckline.  I do not read French, so I am not sure if this makes a dinner dress suitable to afternoon wear, or if it is merely a pretty way to fancy up a dinner dress.  But I really like it, and want to make one up. I decided to go with black, rather than white, and to use an all over lace and some sheer ribbon.
This project took me about 6 hours total time to make up.  I used black cotton broadcloth for the chemisette body.   I will say now that I made a big error in the logistics of how to put this together.    I found out in the middle, that I missed a step I should have done at the very beginning.  That step was to finish the closure BEFORE doing anything else.  So the pics below show me not doing this until later.  
Step 1.  Cut out your fabric using a high-necked chemisette pattern.  I am currently working on a new pattern for the 1860s and this is sort of the pattern test for that pattern (minus lower neckline.)  You can also use the chemisette pattern TV104.  After I cut out the pattern, I drew in the top square necklines to show where I want the edge of the lace to be.  I then used the pattern TV440 as a guide as where to start the lace.  I came in 1" inside the TV440 lines, so the edge of the lace would be 1/2" under the edge of the bodice.
Step 2.  This is where I needed to have created the closure.  But I didn't.  So lesson learned.  Create the closure as directed in the pattern!!! 
Step 3.    Get some sticky water soluble embroidery backing.  This really helped make this project easy.  Note:  you can't get an iron anywhere near this backing or it turns into a sticky wrinkled mess.  Learned that the hard way.  Make sure that the backing covers all the area from below where the lace starts to the edges of the fabric.  Trim the extra backing away around the fabric edges. 
Step 4.   Cut the fabric only, along the upper line.   Then sew a line of stitching just past the edge of the fabric.  This is just a way of easily marking the top line onto the backing.  I used black thread, to it would be easily seen on the white backing.  
Step 5.  Sew through the fabric and backing along the lower line.  Trim the fabric away, with about 1/4" to 3/8" allowance.  (shown at left below)  Then fold the allowance over the fabric,  and top stitch the allowance down.  Clip into the corners to get it all to lay smoothly,  (shown at right below)
Step 6.   Sew a piece of ribbon, or twill tape, just inside the stitching line for the upper neckline edge.  This will provide you with a firm edge for the lace.  And, it will keep the edges of the lace away from your skin.  (I am fairly sensitive to scratchy fabrics around my neck)   You will also see in the photos that I had finally put in the closure by this time.  It was quite a logistical feat.   I chose to make the center front edges of the lace meet, rather than overlap, so inset the lace section 1/2" from the fabric center front.
Step 7.  Take a piece of your lace, and arrange it over the area.  Line up anything that needs to be lined up.  I noticed right after I snapped the pic, that the lace was angling downwards on the right side.  I fixed that before moving on.  The sticky backing really helps here, as it will hold the lace exactly where you want it.
 Step 8.  Sew the lace down along the openings, and trim away the extra.  I trimmed the upper neck edge to be a little shorter of the ribbon edge.   If you want to add any other ribbon or trims, like the diagonal stripes in the inspiration pic, add them now.  Sew them down through all the layers, and trim away anything extra. 
I chose to do a ribbon pattern which would parallel the neckline, which is best put on after sewing the shoulder seams.  So I sewed the fronts to the back at this point.  Then I layered on the ribbon in the long striped and sewed it down through the backing.  I also placed a lace over the upper edge of the lace, and layered another ribbon over that lace edge.
Step 9.  Once you have everything sewn down, and trimmed, and the shoulder seams sewn, sew a ribbon or lace over the lower edges of the insert.  And around the neckline, if you haven't done it yet.  Then bind the edges of the chemisette and finish the waist as per the instructions of your pattern.  I had a wider sheer ribbon that I used for the lower edge of the neckline, and for the waistband. 
Step 10.  Put your finished chemisette into a lingerie bag, and wash it.  The water soluble backing will magically dissolve and disappear. 
And here is the finished chemisette!  I will use a small broach to hold the top edge of the lace closed.  You can use this same method to make any shape neckline and trim pattern.    There are no limits to what you can do.   I saw several drawings of round necklines with lace above them in a round outline.  

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