Sunday, 15 May 2011

Introduction to Historikal Modiste

Welcome to my corner of the Blogosphere!

I am SO excited to have finally found the time (somehow) to get this up and running!  As those who know me are well aware, I am not someone to whom the contemporary world and everything in it comes easily; and that includes the mind-boggling online world!

But here we go! :)

My plans and aims for this blog are many. There are a million and one things that interest me, and I cannot wait to get started. If you have similar interests and passions as myself, then I really do hope that you will enjoy reading this blog, and will happily continue on these wanderings into 19th century fashion and social history alongside me.

So what does interest me? First and foremost, the history of fashion. I have had a shop on Etsy which sells '19th Century Underpinnings, Accessories, & Nightwear', for nearly 16 months now.  Almost every waking minute of my day is spent working on orders, coming up with ideas for new items to be created and listed, and dreaming of the many pieces that I have on my 'wish-list' to make for myself.

 1830s 'Jean' Bustle from 'Historika'- my Etsy shop

But aside from all the practical aspects of dressmaking, I LOVE to read about historical fashion (obviously), and also social history.  As I sew, or am planning my next item of 19th century clothing, I am always wondering what were the women of this time actually doing? How did they live? What was happening in the world? Were the people content and happy, or were they living through the nightmare of war, of disease or of transition?

And so my main ideas for this blog will be to chat about my latest discoveries in the field of historical fashion (my main interest at the moment is the nineteenth century), I will be writing about the social history of that time, and I will also be sharing my latest projects for myself with you (at the moment I am in love with the transitional period of 1790s, and have so many projects sat sitting in my 'projects for Naomi' box).

Also, if I mange to make the time (and it is a big if), I plan to use this space to chat through my ideas for 'Your Wardrobe Unlock'd' and 'Foundations Revealed' yearly (or so) competitions. But, having seen 2 years come and go without my finding the time to enter, we'll have to see!!

My VERY favourite part of historical fashion are the underpinnings, or foundation garments.  I have always been utterly fascinated by each era's silhouette, and how it was formed. How does the skirt stand out like that? How does a woman sit down with that huge bustle? And then once I see how beautifully constructed, sewn, and embellished some of these pieces are, I find myself amazed. But even the boring, uncomfortable and down-right ugly articles of underpinnings, such as the cages, or frames, I find engrossing and thrilling. This is mainly why the nineteenth century calls to me like mermaids to a ship full of men. The rapid changes and transfigurations of that period in fashion mean that there is so much to discover, especially those pieces which were only around for a couple of years or so.

An illustration from 'Punch' in 1881, deriding a form of crinoline cage, the 'crinolette'.

But for now I shall sign off, and will be back in a few days with my first 'proper' post. I have heard of a lovely story about the philanthropists of New York city assisting Lancashire cotton workers here in the UK financially during the American Civil War, when cotton from the US was unable to reach the mills, and workers' families began to slowly starve through lack of work. I hope to find out much more about this intriguing story, and will share it with you when I am able.

Thank you for reading! :)

with love,