Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Mad About Mourning

There's been so much talk about mourning lately, especially with the Met Museum exhibit up and running. As long-time readers know, mid-19th century mourning clothing is a subject that I am very passionate about, and this Saturday I'll be reprising my lecture on mourning accessories and millinery at the southeastern regional Costume Society of America conference.

I just snagged this CDV on Etsy yesterday, and I wanted to share it with you all because it perfectly shows the types of accessories and millinery that my lecture focuses on. These accessories act as "clues" to let us know whether a woman might be in mourning.

For one thing, the woman wears a black collar and undersleeves. In the 1860s, collars, cuffs, and undersleeves for everyday wear were almost always white. But full mourning called for collars, cuffs, and undersleeves made of black crape. The woman also wears a widow's cap, which is a style of cap quite distinct from caps for everyday wear. It 
has a very full "quilling" of trim around the front, creating the thick white halo around her head. Widow's caps sometimes have very long lappets as well, although they are absent from this example.

This excellent engraving of Queen Victoria shows her wearing a widow's cap, and you can see a bit more clearly the "quilling" trim. She also has a bow at the back of her cap, like the woman in my CDV.

Sunday, November 16, 2014


Yesterday I presented my research on a curious Dutch headdress called oorijzer. It was incredibly well received and I will be working on getting the paper published (so no big blog post...). But here's a picture Jenny La Fleur snapped of me during my lecture!

(No, really, there was actually an audience, I swear!)


Now I'm off to another conference this coming weekend to reprise my mourning millinery lecture. I'm very excited to give this one again, especially with the Met exhibit up. Hopefully there will be good questions and conversation as a result!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Burnley and Trowbridge Polonaise Workshop

I attended my first Burnley and Trowbridge workshop and have come away with an almost completed polonaise jacket! It's made out of a striped sheer white cotton that matches a flounced petticoat I finished last year. The workshop was so fun! Of course, it helps when you're fitting with one of your best friends :)

I'm looking forward to finishing this in time for summer. It will get lots of ruffles! And I need to make a plain white linen petticoat to wear under the sheer one (my current cream mock quilt one makes the skirt look dingy). But for now... *sigh*... It's back to 1815 and New Orleans sewing...

Here's my inspiration, although I'm doing long sleeves: 


Oh... The hem really is even! I was leaning forward and trying to be cute... ;-P