Friday, November 9, 2018

Friday Video: Getting Dressed in 1816

Friday, November 9, 2018

Susan reporting,

Another wonderful video from our friends at CrowsEyeProductions - and this one also tells the story of how author Mary Shelley came to write her legendary novel Frankenstein. Many people believe that women's clothing of the early 19thc was breezy and uncomplicated. In comparison to the more structured clothing of the 18thc, perhaps it was; but as this video showed, there were still a good many layers involved, and a lady's maid continued to be useful.

Many thanks to Pauline Loven for sharing the latest in the "Getting Dressed" series with us.

If you receive this post via email, you may be seeing a black box or empty space where the video should be. Please click here to see the video.


Unknown said...

I am really enjoying your blog posts. Thank you for taking the time to research interesting history.

JoAnn said...

Thank you both for your postings. I was a bit surprised at the simplicity of the dress in this video. It's actually what I used to imagine the dresses to be, but a few years ago I was lucky enough to find a house museum in Bath with women's clothing spread out in one of the bedrooms. As I was alone with the dozen I was able to get up close and personal with the items, and I have to say that the insides of the dresses was Very Complicated! Lots of layers that required pinning and lacing inside the dress.

Donna Hatch said...

Experts debate whether or not ladies wore drawers. Many claim that most ladies did not because drawers were considered masculine and were, therefore, vulgar. Also, according to my research, she laced up the stays wrong; they were not crisscrossed--one end started on the bottom on one side of the row of eyelets and wound up to the top.

Liz said...

Love this series. And today I stumbled across the BBC series "A Stitch in Time". If you haven't viewed it already, have a look.

Loretta Chase said...

Always bearing in mind that where fashion is concerned, we should say, as the historians of Colonial Williamsburg constantly do, "it depends." As the video points out, not all women wore drawers. By 1816, Princess Charlotte, among others, wore them. Of course, she was not the demure and dainty type, and it's possible that more conservative women still weren't wearing drawers at this point. I would not classify Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley as conservative, however. Regarding the corset lacing, I must say it puzzled me. All the illustrations I can find or remember are not laced like shoelaces, but wind up or down (there are examples of the downward lacing). With dress construction, there's an immense variety, from just a few pieces to quite a complicated process of pinning and tying tapes, and fastening hooks and eyes and buttons. I did wonder about what appeared to be the one-piece construction of the dress. However, it's possible that the parts were put together in advance, to keep the video from running too long. Don't want to jump to conclusions—I would love to hear from CrowsEye Productions.

Pauline Loven said...

Hello, yes we did simply the filming of the fastening of the gown as there were lots of fiddly tapes inside! As to the drawers, yes they were infrequently worn at this stage, but they were emerging as a useful garment. As to lacing, I have found examples of straight and cross lacing used in the stays of the 1810s. You can tell which was intended by the positioning of the lacing holes, paired holes mean crossed lacing and staggered holes mean straight lacing. It is a complex era of stay design though, as there is so much experimentation happening. I don’t think I have seen two pairs alike!
Pauline Loven
Crow’s Eye Productions.

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