Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Choosing new fabric? Look through this electronic swatchbook.

Trying to decide on new dress fabric or date a piece in an antique quilt.  Check out this link below before you head to the fabric store.  This is an amazing resource which I gleaned from the Victorianna online magazine. This magazine is well worth the time to explore.  You'll find more information like this.

Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum has an Electronic Swatchbook containing bright, unfaded swatches of fabrics for both home decor and fashion ranging from the 1830s to the 1920s. These period swatchbooks were made and used for a variety of purposes. Fabric manufacturers and merchants assembled large swatchbooks to record and promote the latest textile designs to markets at home and abroad. The books were also prepared by pattern services that collected and sold fabric designs by various manufacturers.
Today, nearly two thousand public domain patterns are available to use and re-use, including more than 900 from the 1830s, 300 from 1849, 40 from 1887, 300 from the 1890s, and 300 from the 1920s. Within the interior design and fashion textile industry, these fabric swatches are treasured as a source of instruction and of inspiration. Hours of visual exploration await the costume and textile collector as they search this incredible collection by color or by year

Monday, September 26, 2011

Victorian Dress Movie

This is a YouTube movie that has some lovely Victorian dresses. View the full screen by double clicking the movie.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Historical Events and Museums in Colorado

This summer I attended an event at Ft. Garland in southern Colorado.  It was a great event and introduced me to a wealth of history activities available through History Colorado.  This group consists of museums and historic sites throughout Colorado.  The museums covered are:

History Colorado Center
Byers-Evans House Museum
El Pueblo History Museum
Fort Garland Museum
Fort Vasquez Museum
Georgetown Loop Railroad
Grant-Humphreys Mansion
Healy House Museum
Pike's Stockade
Trinidad History Museum
Ute Indian Museum

You can see a list of their events at as well as visit the webpages of the museums.  Their website is worth exploring well. If you are lucky enough to be visiting Colorado, plan to put these places on your list of sites to visit.

---Ann Dixon.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

"Return to TARA" Dinner and Masked Ball , October 29, 2011

This ball and dinner is being held at Beaumont Ranch in Grandview, Texas.  Find more information here:

Antique Corset Gallery Link

Take a guided tour through the last 250 years of corsetry and undersupports. Discover the fascinating ways in which our ancestors managed to achieve those fashionable figures. The Antique Corset Gallery has arrived, allowing you to view in detail those rare and unique items which were previously kept well covered up!

Dressing the 1860s Gentleman

This article was published by the Victoriana Magazine online recently.  It explains some expressions we use today that have their roots in the Victorian period.  Finish reading the article by clicking on the link at the end of the page.  This online magazine is full of great information and I want to encourage you to check out this research material.  I have been unable to find contact information for the magazine to ask permission to reprint it and I don't want to violate copyright so I have only given you a "taste" of the information.  You will need to follow the link to get the full page.

Dressing the 1860s Gentleman on September 16, 2011 – 5:11 pm

The Victorian gentleman of the 1860s followed the rules and protocols for proper dressing. Clothing that was both appropriate and simple could never offend, nor rende.r its wearer conspicuous. It was mandatory that taste and judgment preside over the wardrobe. There were a few definitions of “dress” that guided him in his daily choice of clothing.
Undressed:  To be “undressed” was to be dressed for work and ordinary occupations, to wear a coat which he did not fear to ruin and a neck-tie which his ink-stand will not object to, even though his acquaintance might.

To be “dressed” on the other hand, was to be clothed in the garments which society pronounced as suitable to particular occasions. But there were shades of being “dressed.” A man was called “little dressed,” “well dressed,” and “much dressed,” not according to the quantity but the quality of his coverings.

Little Dressed:
To be “little dressed” was to wear old things, of a make that was no longer the fashion, having no pretension to elegance, artistic beauty, or ornament. It was also to wear lounging clothes on occasions which demanded some amount of care.

Much Dressed:
To be “much dressed” was to be in the extreme of the fashion, with the latest clothes, jewelry, and ornaments, with a touch of extravagance in colors. Thus to wear patent leather boots and yellow gloves in a quiet morning stroll was to be “much dressed,” and certainly did not differ immensely from being badly dressed.

Well Dressed:
To be “well dressed” was the happy medium between “little dressed” and “much dressed.” Thus while he avoided ornament and fads, he cultivated fashion, that was good fashion, in the make of his clothes. To be “well dressed” was to be dressed precisely as the occasion, place, weather, height, figure, position, age, and means required. It was to be clothed without pretension or eccentricity; without exaggerated colors, elaborate ornament, or senseless fashions. Good dressing was to wear as little jewelry as possible, to be scrupulously neat, clean, and fresh, and to carry his clothes as if he did not give them a thought. Learn about how to dress like a Victorian man from the 1860s.
Read the rest of the story at

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Corsets and Hardware Stores???

Here is an interesting article about using zip ties for corset boning.
Kenneth King, contributor  -- Threads
"I was talking to a correspondent in Wisconsin recently, and we got on the subject of boning for strapless dresses. It seems she had a tight deadline for a wedding dress, and was in a quandary about where to get boning in her small town. I mentioned this tip about using zip ties as boning, and she really was enthusiastic about this--it was something she could readily get it at the building supply store, and not have to send away for it.
The tip: Using "zip ties" as boning.
These are also called "cable ties", and I heard about using them from some of my students who are into corsetry--they said the zip ties were a suitable substitute for whalebone. The zip ties come in different thicknesses, but the ones I decided to use were the heavy-duty ones. "....

Read the rest of the article here...

I think I would like to try out a corset pattern using the zip boning before I commited my expensive steel boning and busque to a corset that might not fit.  Check this article out and post your comments.