Yes, real life has been insanely busy for me! I hope the first days of summer find you all well and happy.
I have recently written and had published an article on Victorian clothing. It was in issue 6 of the Primgraph. I'm putting it here for anyone to read who might wish too. It is at the end of this post.
There's also some new clothing on the way that I want to tell you all about. One is a gown called "Shepherdess". It is gorgeous, and it is a one of a kind gown. It has been purchased by a long time customer for an RFL auction. The odd thing to me was the timing, she caught me literally 2 hours before I was releasing the gown for public sale. I do hope you will all take a moment to look at it and consider bidding. All proceeds will go to RFL, and the gown comes packed in a special musical dress trunk, which plays the theme from 'Somewhere in Time'. The gown will be auctioned off on June 20th at the Illusions Grand Tour ball at Piedmont Landing. For more details please check for signs at The Curious Seamstress in New Babbage or Blisswood.
This is a very informal shot of the top of the gown! Yes, that is my home behind me.
Next is a new RFL gown done by request. It is done using the New Babbage dress tartan. I have it out for sale at Blisswood and The Curious Seamstress in New Babbage.
It can be worn several ways, and has resizing scripts in the hard bustle part of the gown.
Then I heard a great new (to me) song, 'Say Hey I love you' by Michael Franti and Spearhead. It was such a cheerful and fun summery song that I put this little outfit together!
Now that one was fun, and I highly recommend it for those nights out dancing!
Finally, I'm working on two other outfits that will be out shortly. The first is a Victorian Walking gown, the second is a man's outfit with New Babbage dress tartan. I will put those pictures up the next time I wander over this way.
I hope you all enjoy the article!
A Lady's Dressing Room – The Wardrobe
By Lady Kembri Tomsen
Greetings, Dear Reader!
Today we shall speak of a Lady's wardrobe and some of the types of dress worn during a typical day. Now the ladies of high fashion and deep pockets have been known to change up to eight times in a day. With such a plethora of gowns, one begins to wonder what to wear and when. This little bit of article is meant to help a Lady with such choices so that she is always dressed to suit the occasion. You would not wish to wear an Evening Gown to an afternoon tea, or a Ball gown to a breakfast! Therefore, let us begin at the beginning with which garment is appropriate at what time of day.
In the morning when you are still at home, you may wish to put on a house dress. This dress is meant to be seen only by the servants and family and is fairly simple. In this gown a woman would take her breakfast and tend to her household chores. Later in the morning one might wish to change into a more formal Toilette de Reception. Such an elaborate gown as the one pictured below would more probably be worn by a wealthy woman in case visitors should drop in.
An Elaborate Morning Gown
Some ladies change instead into the Toilette de Visite or Visiting Dress to make the rounds of morning visits. For this ensemble a Lady should dress with refined elegance so as not to overshadow her hostess. Hats and short gloves are a must, and the gown is usually done in various patterns and colors which reflect the season. Sleeves should be long and the neckline high. As a polite aside, no visit should last more than twenty minutes, no matter how well you know your hostess!
An 1875 Visiting Dress
After a Lady finishes with her visits, she might return home and change again. Should she be in the city and wish to take an afternoon walk, she would change again into a Walking Dress , also known as a Promenade Dress or her Toilette de Promenade. This gown is shorter for ease of walking, and very much reflects the season in which it is worn. A winter promenade dress would be of heavier materials with such things as a coat or mantilla as part of the design for warmth. However, a summer walking gown would be of lighter fabrics and meant to be seen without such outwear. A parasol would be a must in the summer time, and a hat or bonnet should be worn in any season. A Lady never leaves the house with bare head or hands!
Tea Gowns are a whole subject unto themselves. However, for the sake of brevity, a tea gown is usually worn uncorseted and most often at home around family and close friends. It is highly elaborate, very romantic with soft lines and colors, lots of ribbons and lace, and a very feminine feel. This gown is truly a confection, meant to be a feast for the eyes! No hat or gloves are needed if one is inside. However, if one is out in the garden, then of course a hat and gloves are needed.
Next we shall speak about traveling dresses. The Carriage Dress or Traveling Dress, sometimes also known as Toilette de Voyage, this outfit is meant to stand up to the rigors of traveling. It is again seasonal to some extent, reflecting the weather one will be traveling in. The garment should be sturdy and practical. This is not the time for excessive bows and lace. Colors should be such that they do not easily show dirt or stains, and fabrics should be those which are easily cleaned. Hats or bonnets are always worn, sometimes with veiling so as to protect the complexion from dirt and dust. Again, gloves are a must as well for much the same reason.
Instead of walking or traveling, a Lady might wish to take a ride. In that case a Riding Habit or Equestrian Dress would be the gown of choice. Such garments are usually made of sturdy wools so they are not easily torn. Colors are usually forest colors, dark blues, grays or blacks, and reds are favored. Occasionally a Lady may decide on a bright fuchsia or pink riding habit. The dress itself is unstructured as a bustle would be silly when sitting a horse! Breeches are usually worn beneath for modesty. Boots, a crop, riding gloves, and a jaunty top hat complete such an ensemble. A military cut is quite common for this style of dress.
In the afternoon, a Lady might change into an Afternoon Gown. This garment would be more refined and elegant than the Morning gown or Visiting dress. This gown didn't really appear until about 1910. Before that a Lady would have stayed in her Visiting dress or perhaps changed into a less formal garment to do afternoon chores at home.
As the day winds down to dinner, a Lady would change again in the very late afternoon for dinners in public. The Reception gown would be very formal and elegant, showing off the wearer's wealth and the seamstress's skill. The neckline on this gown could be lower than day time gowns, but not too low. Sometimes short sleeves were worn in order to show a softly rounded arm. Gloves were a must, if going outdoors, but no hat or bonnet is worn. Hair ornaments would be acceptable however.
For more formal evenings, one would wear an Evening Dress or Toilette de Soiree. This gown is one of high elegance, emphasizing the Lady's beauty, wealth and taste. It would have a low neckline, perhaps short sleeves and possibly off the shoulder, lots of decoration, and perhaps a train, depending on the gown and what you would wish to do. This type of gown is worn to evening events such as operas, dinners, concerts, theatre parties and the like.
If a Lady has the obligation to attend a ball, then she will want her best gown for the occasion. It is meant to show off her beauty, wealth, and to attract possible matches if the Lady is unmarried. There would be a low neckline, short or no sleeves, lots of decoration, and a tight bodice. This gown is the setting for the jewel, and should reflect such with the best that one can afford. Gloves are always worn with a ball gown or dress. Depending on the outfit, the glove can be either shorter, wrist length or in some cases all the way to the top of the upper arm. Hair decorations are as fashionable as one can afford, with jewels, feathers, ribbons or bows. In short, this is the time to show off one's best finery!
One last gown needs to be discussed. The Wedding Gown. This most important of gowns is usually a Lady's best gown, but never a ball gown. It should have a higher neckline and long sleeves, and can have a train as well. The very wealthy often dress in white, but really any color or pattern is acceptable as long as it is your best gown. If a Lady should decide on a white wedding gown, the cut and style need not be anything different than the fashionable style of the day. After all, one can wear this gown again on other occasions!
Well, dear Reader, we have reached the end of this conversation! There are other types of garments we have not yet discussed, but perhaps we can discuss them at another time. Remember, no matter the time of day or year, your clothing should be neat, clean, and appropriate to you and your needs and status. If you feel lovely in a gown, then it is the gown for you. A true Lady defines her own style and taste within the boundaries of the current fashions. A kind heart, charity to the less fortunate, and a gracious demeanor can outshine any couture outfit in the lands.
I wish you a lovely day.
Lady Kembri Tomsen
The Curious Seamstress
of New Babbage