Sunday, 10 July 2016

25 September 1880 - 'Dress of the Month' by Dora de Blaquiere

The change to the autumn season is already felt, and many wise people have brought out their discarded mantles and jackets, and have gladly donned them again. The tightly-fitting, and half-fitting jackets with hoods, will, we believe, be as much used this winter as they were last; and no wonder, for they are decidedly the pleasantest, as well as the most becoming style of dress for young girls. The gaily-striped silks which were last season so much used  for the lining of these hoods, are no longer worn in that position, but have taken up another, viz., as scarfs, and half-handkerchiefs  for the neck, which are loosely knotted at the throat, the corners spreading over the back. The balayeuse, at the edge of the skirt is of the same stripe, or else of the brightest colour in it. This method of trimming forms a most happy relief to a half-worn cashmere gown.

The "toque," that most useful and easily manufactured of head-dresses, still remains in favour, and for a dress like that which I have just described the top might be made of the bright stripes, with a black velvet gathered border round the head.

The newest "toques" have a very decided brim, and those that were made in folds at the edge, like a cap without a brim, are now nowhere to be seen. The crowns are gathered in a double puff across the crown, at one-third distance from the back of the head; and the velvet edge may be either fluted or gathered, according to taste.

The "Lowlander," or "Tam o'Shanter," is probably the greatest favourite of all, and instead of being all velvet, as it was at first, is now made in straw of the finest kind, which is so supple that the crowns can be caught down at one side to the head-band just as if they were of velvet. These straws are made in bright blue, as well as corn-colour and black. The head-band used for them is of gathered velvet, a feather ruche or lace quilled up very closely. The crowns are flat, large, and round. Sometimes flowers are added at one side. Young girls from fourteen to sixteen wear coarse straw hats of brown, cream, or black, turned down at the brim with a lining of black velvet, or coloured; and large Alsatian bows, with fringed ends made from pale tartan ribbons, placed on the hat in various positions. Wide-brimmed Leghorn hats are also worn, being made into scoop-like bonnets by tying the brim down over the ears with satin strings.

So many of our girl readers seem to make caps for their mothers, and so many queries reach us on this subject, that we have (fig.1) procured a simple illustration of a pretty morning-cap, which can easily be copied. The materials consist of white muslin, Breton lace and blue ribbon, with three-quarters of a yard of ribbon wire for a foundation. The crown is lightly tacked on to the wire foundation, then the lace is to be sewn on, and finally the ribbon Of course, any other materials may be selected, but in doing so it should be remembered that the newest and prettiest caps at present are much plainer, and not nearly so gaily tinted as they were; ivory lace being in high favour, and a bunch of the simplest flowers - such as violets, heart-ease, or carnations - being the only little bit of brightness allowed.

The second illustration (fig.2) shows a pretty visite-dolman  for the autumn, Many of our readers, very probably, have mantles which they wish to alter or resuscitate; and the present is an excellent example, and shows an easy method of trimming up an antiquated shape. The leaf-like trimming is made of pinked-out silk gathered into leaves, and the lace may be Spanish of a cheap quality.

Narrow lace in very full plaitings is very much used  for the wrists of dresses, also plain deep lace, turned up on the cuffs flatly. Large collars are a new introduction, and are very becoming. They are called "Dauphines," and can be of thick Madeira work, foulard, or batiste and edged with a slightly gathered lace.

Another very charming collar for young girls is illustrated at fig.3. It is called the "Pierrot," and resembles the large collar worn by the French clowns - whence its name. It is made of fine jaconet or mull muslin, the frills being simply hemmed and then plaited flatly in small folds all one way. Although the sketch has a bow of ribbon, the collar really looks better and is more becoming when quite plain, and the frill round the neck cut straight round, and to rounded down in the fronts. It has cuffs to match if required, which are also illustrated. The other three cuffs are all intended to be worn outside the dress sleeves and are made of linen and lace, or muslin frills. They may be made also of coloured shirting if preferred, and trimmed with torchon lace, which is much to be recommended  on account of its excellent washing qualities.

Shoes are quite as much, if not more, worn than boots; and both are most stylish when made with patent leather toes and kid tops, though the former are most painful to wear, as they draw the feet so much in warm weather. It is to be hoped that none of the readers of THE GIRL'S OWN PAPER wear the sharply-pointed boots and shoes now in fashion. Not only are they ugly to the extreme when the feet are looked at in a front-view, but according to the latest medical opinion their continued use produces a distressing affection of the eyes, headache, nausea and a general malaise. Some of our authorities go so far as to say that the continual irritation leads to mental affections, and that every asylum for minds diseased can instance cases due to the caprices of fashion in this direction.

The proper form of boot or shoe should be one that follows the outlines of the natural foot, and the toes especially should be allowed a space large enough to lie uncramped. The present ideas of beauty would force us to confine out beautifully-constructed feet in moulds by production of boxes that are models of anatomical deformity.

A very pretty and simple costume of navy-blue foulard, with a band of red in it, was made up this autumn for wearing at the seaside, and a description of it will enable my readers to judge of the style in which many of the new out-of-door costumes will be made. The skirt is kilted in large plaits, and the tunic is our old acquaintance the Laveuse, or washerwoman's, which has returned amongst us, and has been received with more than its former favour. It is as simple in form as at first, being turned up toward the waist and tied at the back with a large bow, without loops, the ends falling on the rest of the Laveuse drapery. The bodice is a long basque, laced behind, and a cape of blue, reaching to the elbows, is a comfortable finish to the whole costume. There is no trimming nor decoration of any kind; the edge of the Laveuse is finished with a double line of machine hemming, and the same finishes every part. There is a decided tendency to a return to the plain tunics, which can be draped in gracefully hanging folds. With them the underskirt is covered with little flounces, which are not very full.

Polonaises are quite the newest thing of the moment; they are all long and are draped below the hips in deep folds, generally fastening at the back with buttons and a band of ribbon, all loops and ends. Velvet petticoats are much worn, and are kilted in wide folds at the edge. The velvet is also used for the puffs on the shoulders, and at the elbows, and the knot of bows behind. Waist-belts for young girls are also much in favour, the bodices worn with them being yoked at the shoulders with a gathered piece below. The sleeves are sometimes puffed to the wrist, four small puffings being about the elbow, four small ones below, and one larger one at the elbow itself. Leg-of-mutton sleeves are very much used for lawn-tennis dresses, and also those sleeves with one long puff reaching from the shoulders to the elbow, the lower part being plain and tight, without any finish or cuff at the wrist.  With these sleeves the bodice is generally gathered into a belt, and the skirt is short, with one deep flounce round the bottom. This costume is really that worn in the years 1822-4, by our mothers and grandmothers.

The two costumes chosen as illustrations of seasonable dresses are both suitable for girlish wearers. The firs tis made of gold-coloured spotted satin cloth,  for the coat, scarf, and the trimmings of the black cashmere skirt. The small "toque" hat is intended to match the costume. The 2d dress is of bluish-grey stockingette cloth, the draperies, over-skirts, gathers in the front, and the bows all being of satin of a darker shade. The hat is of blue-grey straw, with poppies and satin bows. A piece of white lace is turned upwards from the brim. Both dresses are short, and of a useful walking style, and quite lady-like in appearance.

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