Saturday, 27 August 2016

25 December 1880 - 'Seasonable Clothing and How to Make It'

There is no use in concealing from ourselves that multitudes of our girls marry, and that afterwards they take THE GIRL'S OWN PAPER just as regularly as before, and find all the information they need in it, with as much ease as their younger sisters. We know this from the questions  we receive and answer on many matronly subjects, and so we think we must help our girl brides to purchase the best wedding dress possible, one that will last a long time and that can be dyed if need be. Fortunately this winter very excellent material, Irish poplin, is much used for brides' dresses, the kind selected being that with very thick cord or double repped. The trimming used is plush, but very little is required for such a handsome thick fabric as Irish poplin. Bridesmaids, too, are fortunate as to the winter change in their dresses, which now have plain plush petticoats and full bodices of one of the moderately-priced Indian silks, t match the plush in colour, only paler. This dress will not be an extravagant one, as it will, if suitably made, answer for a best dress for a long time. The large hats and the mob caps have all grown old-fashioned for bridesmaids, and they have been quite supplants by the hat-caps, as they may be called, the "Tam o' Shanter," the "Henry VIII," and the "Leonardo da Vinci," all of which are made of plush, matching the colour of the dress.

It is delightful to hear that the over-frizzed heads are to disappear from amongst us and are no longer to be considered fashionable. We are to return to the prettily weaved bandeaux, with the centre parting clear and well defined. The knot behind remains the same, but short curls fall from it, in a graceful Greek fashion, such as we may see represented on classic busts.

The woollen stockings worn this winter must match the dress in colour, and some charming new merino ones have been introduced, which are nearly as finely woven as spun silk and are quite as soft. They are not ribbed, and so are more suitable to tender feet than if they were,  for the latter cling too tightly to be otherwise than irritating to sensitive skins. I trust that all the readers of THE GIRL'S OWN PAPER wear woollen stockings, and stout shoes or boots, with wide low heels and road toes, so as to be perfectly comfortable when they walk. I heard of a young lady the other day, who wore the fashionably-pointed toes and high narrow heels, who had had a succession of violent nervous headaches, which ended in floods of tears and hysterics. Her doctor, on being consulted, said that the boots she was wearing were the cause of her troubles, and he had had several similar cases; whereupon the sufferer ingenuously confessed that she was sure the doctor's opinion was correct, for she had indeed gone through agonies of distress every day that she had worn her fashionable boots.

White kid gloves are worn again at night, as well as lavender-coloured, and pink and black are worn as much as ever by day, a very good thing for those who are obliged to save their money, and consequently their gloves. On first putting on a pair of black kid gloves it is a good plan to rub them all over with some salad oil, pomade, or even butter, by means of a little piece of flannel, until they look lustrous and blacker than ever. Of course no grease is left on them that might rub off upon anything. after this preparation they will be found to wear much better and be softer and more flexible. Some gloves for evening wear are ornamented with beads at the back in a simple, conventional spray or scroll pattern. Any of our readers who are in mourning might do this little bit of extra decoration for themselves.

The favourite gloves of all are the almond and tan-coloured gants de Suede, and they appear to be worn both by night and by day equally well. They are, of course, less expensive than the real kid, but that they do not wear nearly as well nor keep clean as long, so are not to be recommended to careful girls.

The new bodice shape has as few seams as possible, and only one side piece, the joining of which is carried quite to the back of the arm, so as to have a plain piece under it. Three sizes of buttons may be worn on basque bodices, the largest being of the size of a penny piece, on the pockets. The next size is on the front, and the smallest, which are as big as a fourpenny piece, on the cuffs. The use of gathering (or gauging, as it is properly called) is much on the increase for the shoulders and fronts of dresses, muffs, millinery and sleeves, so that the readers of THE GIRL'S OWN PAPER should learn to do it for themselves, for it is one of the lost arts in ordinary needlework, though still used for surplices and the "smock frocks" of wagoners and the peasantry. The following is the description given in a very old needlework book: - "Take up the stitches at regular intervals of half an inch each  for the first row;  for the second, continue doing the same, letting the needle, however, take up the intermediate parts. The third row is like the first, and so on. For the purpose of securing the gathers firmly work them as follows, with very strong netting silk. Take on your needle the first two gathers, and the thread on which they run, pulling your thread firmly through.  For the next stitch again take two gathers and the thread upon your needle, letting the first of them be the last gather that was taken up at the former stitch, so that the work proceeds by one gather at a time. Observe to draw the netting-silk as tightly as possible, so as to make the stitches lie very closely together, in a slanting position."

Walking-dresses are still made with deep kiltings, but the plaits are very wide, which takes away much of their stiffness of appearance. A lightly arranged and bouffant scarf finishes the skirt below the basque bodice. I have no doubt that many girls will be glad to purchase and wear the very moderately-priced woollen Jerseys, of which there are so many in the shops this winter. They form a very pretty and easily-obtained bodice, and their plain appearance may be taken off by placing a plastron of plush or gathered ilk in a V shape in the front. A large velvet collar, something like a sailor's collar in form, much improves them, and cuffs to correspond are worn at the wrists. Jerseys are not now covered at their termination below the waist with the scarf, but are either left plainly hemmed in their original style or else they have a deep fringe generally of jet beads, which can be made by any one with clever fingers.

Our large illustration gives two costumes - an outdoor and a handsome indoor gown. Both show exactly the present fashions. The cloak worn is of a simple cloth dolman shape, trimmed with black fox fur, both warmly lined and wadded. The dress of the other figure shows the profuse use of gauging in dresses. There is one great comfort in this style of making, that old dresses can be turned to use admirably in trimming each other, provided they be not faded. No amount of wear (we were told the other day) seems to matter, as the close gathers hide it all; so, if it be a trouble to do, you may have this consolation. Cheaper material can also be bought for trimmings, for a very poor silk is good enough to use in this way.

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