Friday, December 24, 2010

Season's Greetings

There's something about a red dress that brings out the Christmas in me. Have a wonderful holiday season, full of happiness and joy.

Eat well, but not too much.

And stay fabulous my festive darlings.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Children's Clothes from the Lynda Braid Collection

Children's Clothing in the Victorian Era

Hallo my darling smunchkims. Today I want to take you back to the "Victorian era, when young children were seen and not heard, and to show you another wonderful piece of children's clothing from the Lynda Braid Collection. The image you see above is the cover of a Victorian magazine from 1884, called The Family Friend.

At this time ready made clothing was not as readily available as it is today, and Mother's were expected to sew their children's clothes, if they were not wealthy enough to employ servants to sew for them. The family Friend Magazine offered free patterns for children's clothes for home sewers to use, and here is a pattern for a child's pinafore.

Half a yard of diaper, this must have been the fabric used for early nappies, and the reason for their American name.

The insertion, is the lace.

The 1880's was the time of the Aesthetic Movement, a movement that encouraged healthy comfortable clothing.

Here is another piece of children's clothing from my cousin Lynda's collection. At first glance it seems to be of little interest, it is in poor condition with extensive discolouration and heavily creased from storage.

It is difficult to make out the shape as it is so creased.

It is when you look closely at this little piece that it starts to shine, look at the handwork on the shoulder seam, and the lace around the armhole. This garment was made in an age when women were highly skilled needle workers, the lace is hand made, and the pinafore is completely sewn by hand.

The technique used on the shoulder seam is wonderful don't you think? I have never seen a seam sewn like this before. If you are a wonderfully clever darling, and know more about this technique, its name, or when it was popular, please let me know. I am not sure what era this little garment is from, it seems early 1800's maybe even 1700's to me, but I am woefully inadequate and lacking in expertise, so if you can add from a deeper fountain of knowledge, please let me know.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

From Belle Epoch to Modern Woman

Inside this Supplement of the Weldon's Journal, published in 1935 in celebration of the Royal Jubilee is a wonderful story of how things had changed for women.

During WWI women had picked up the work that men had normally done, filling their shoes with confidence.

Prior to the war, they had dressed like this, but things were about to change.

For women, things would never be the same again.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Lynda Braid Collection and Lolita's

Hallo my gorgeous ones. Today I have a wonderful piece of children's clothing from the 19thC to show you, and a little look at a fashion sub-culture that draws much of its inspiration from Victorian children's fashions.

The garment is a child's apron or pinafore, and is made of cotton fabric, edged with broderie anglaise lace. Broderie Angalis became popular in the mid-19th century, as it was worked on heavier cotton fabric and could withstand constant washing and ironing. For this reason it was particularly popular for children's clothes.

The production of broderie anglaise was taken over by machines in the 1840's, putting many women employed in cottage industries out of work.

This piece is not machine done, even the amazing machines could not replicate the loop under the needle movement required for buttonhole stitch, the stitch that the scalloped edge on this pinafore is worked in.

This piece of clothing was well loved, and worn, as can be seen from the attempts to repair it, so that it could be worn again.

In this photograph we can see that nearly all the young girls are wearing aprons, or pinafores like the one shown above.

Children were highly sentimentalised in the Victorian era.

This was picked up by young Japanese girls in Tokyo, in a subculture or fashion movement that started in the 1980's, and they became known as the Gothic Lolitas.

The name Lolita came from a film of the same name made in 1962 film by Stanley Kubrick based on the classic novel of the same name by Vladimir Nabokov. Sue Lyon played Lolita in the film, she was 14 years old at the time. The story follows the infatuation of an older man, for the young Lolita, and his eventual kidnapping of her, so that he could have his wicked way with her. The Lolita look is the full blown manifestation of youth culture really, a kind of sexualisation of childhood, that is seen in the Japanese subculture of the same name.

If you enjoyed this post, could you please leave a comment to let me know, or better yet, become a follower and come back and visit again. Until next time, stay young and beautiful, even if only in your hearts. xxx my darlings.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Kitchen of the Brain-Watkins House

Well the tour is almost over and here is the final room, the kitchen found at the back of the house.

The chaise lounge covered in green velvet was a favourite piece of furniture in the Victorian era, perfect for an afternoon nap, and yet elegant.

The walls are lined with solid kauri board, but like the doors in the house, they have been painted with a wood grain effect to give the look of English Oak.

One of the things I love about the house are the eclectic personal items from the 20th century, mixed in with the 19th century items. This little door stop with its bright yellow knitted poodle cover is one of those pieces and it brightens the room.

The house had a live in caretaker for over 30 years, after Elva died. The kitchen was adapted for this purpose, and has more modern appliances than any other room in the house.

The large teapot on the bench is made from a kerosene tin, and shows that wonderful kiwi ingenuity that adapts old items to new uses when times are tough. So my historical darlings I hope you enjoyed a glimpse inside the Brain-Watkins House, as once more we pull down the blinds and say bye for now.