Sunday, 27 December 2015

Countdown to New Year No2: An 1860s picnic outfit

This outfit was planned for a Victorian picnic on the Isle of Wight. As mentioned in my previous post, I had chosen to make a Garibaldi blouse to wear with a crinoline skirt. I felt that this 1860s fashion was perfect for the relaxed atmosphere of a picnic as well as being light and comfortable for wearing outdoors in hot weather. I used Truly Victorian's TV441 1861 Garibaldi Blouse Pattern to draft the blouse and then added my own touch by hand embroidering the front yoke panels.

To do this I took another piece of the same cotton, wider than the pattern piece and created rows of tiny vertical pin tucks. Between these I removed some of the vertical threads to create drawn-thread embroidery. I then cut out the pattern piece from these prepared pieces of fabric and basted them to the plain cotton piece for support and made up the blouse as per the instructions.

 I finished the neck, yoke edge and cuffs with cotton tape that was box pleated with the edges of each pleat caught together in the centre to create a three-dimensional effect. This was based on some trimming ideas that I came across in an 1860s magazine. It took time and perseverance to complete but was well worth the effort in the end.

I wore the blouse with a very large pleated crinoline skirt. I miscalculated when I was cutting the skirt and accidentally made it up with four panels ( cut from the full width of my cotton-rich curtaining fabric) when I only really needed three. The result is a luxuriously full skirt that really captures the size and scale of an 1860s skirt even when worn over a smaller, round crinoline. It is heavy to wear but I enjoy the look that it creates. I finished the waist with a sash sewn from pleated cheap pashmina scarves.

And doesn't it look beautiful set against the sea...If only this photograph was a painting!
Perhaps something like this by Eugène Louis Boudin

The Beach at Trouville, the Empress Eugénie

by Eugène Louis Boudin

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