Our patriotic feelings are naturally interested in the home-use of our own English manufactures, so we shall no doubt feel interested in knowing that the present taste for plush is a encouragement to English trade, as the plushes used are, to a great extent, of purely British manufacture. They are very beautiful both in colour and texture, and a plush bodice forms a most elegant and useful addition to the wardrobe of every girl, and is not too expensive to use to make an old dress look like a stylish new one. Plus is also a very excellent material to use to lengthen an old silk bodice which has become too short for the present fashion, and it will quite metamorphose an old walking jacket if cleverly used. Plush collars and cuffs are put on dresses of another colour, and need not be used anywhere else on the dress. They are also used with out-of-door jackets and ulsters. They take about half a yard of plush; the collar is of a true sailor shape, square at the back, and rounded at the corners in front, where it fastens under a bow of plush or lace and ribbon. Black velvet sailor collars, cuffs, and pocket flaps are also worn on dresses of every kind of woollen texture and hue, and sometimes, instead of the collar, a long hood lined with a bright silk is added to the indoor bodice.
Black is not nearly so generally worn by day as it has been for the last five years, colours being far more generally chosen than they were; and red, such as claret, wine, and plum colour, being in high favour, quite as much as they were last year. Satin is the favourite trimming with cashmere and serge, and also broche materials, but not plush, velvet or velveteen. Jackets and coat bodices are the most worn of any description of corsages for the daytime, but for evening dress the long pointed bodice is worn, both for young and old. Belted bodices have not become popular, and even with gathered dresses are not at all used. The new jerseys are very lady-like and pretty, and as they are now made there is nothing objectionable in them; they fasten down the front with a row of small cloth buttons very closely set, and large square collars and deep cavalier cuffs of plush are added; or else a hooded cape which matches the jersey in colour, or else it is of a distinct colour and matches the balayeuse, which now forms a part of every short dress.
A jacket intended for out-of-door wear, with the collar and cuffs and pockets in plush or velvet with embroidery on the edges, is illustrated at fig.1. This jacket will be most useful and popular for the spring and will show our readers that the new ideas of the spring though a little different, have no very decided change in them.
The pretty bonnet illustrated at fig.2 is made of black straw and the new ribbed plush; it is as simple and unpretentious as possible, and could be easily accomplished by any girl. The plush on the bonnet is in the two full rouleaux, the front is lined with velvet and the strings are of ribbed plush or of ribbed plush ribbon. The shape is the close princesse, which may be purchased at any price, from one shilling to three and sixpence, according to the quality and fineness of the straw.
The large illustration represents a girls' skating party, and we hope that by this time the weather has proved favourable to this eminently healthy and delightful exercise, and that numbers of our girls will have learned to skate gracefully and well, not only the ordinary straightforward skating, but the Dutch roll, in outside and inside edge, and any forms of figure-skating that they can manage to acquire under tuition of father or brother.
Except from suffering and death it entails on the poor, by reason of our badly-built houses and inefficient powers of heating them, we might wish for a longer continuance of this pastime, but under those circumstances we cannot selfishly desire what occasions pain and sorrow to others.
Beginning from the left-hand side with the first figure, we find she wears a girlish-looking cloak and bonnet, which ware known by the name of the "Mother Hubbard" this winter. The cloak is made of either cloth or cashmere, and is lined with fur, or a quilted alpaca lining for the winter, if the latter be used. The muff is of the material, trimmed with velvet or plush bands. Many Mother Hubbard cloaks are made of cloth, and the gathered portions round the neck and wrists are of satin or velvet. This is a very pretty addition to the cloak, and does not increase the expense of the cloth materially, because it does not require lining like the thinner cashmere. The bonnet is of plush and satin, to match the muff; it has a gathered crown, and at one side a tiny bouquet of velvet leaves and berries. The dress worn beneath is of sapphire-blue cashmere, trimmed with satin bands.
The second figure to the left wears a plaid dress made with a kilted flounce, and a long plainly-cut cloth jacket, double-breasted in front, with two rows of buttons and bands of narrow fur to edge the neck and the sleeves. The cap matches the cloak and is called the "Russian General's"; the crown is of cloth, and the band or border of fur.
The third and most distant figure wears an ulster with three small capes, and a cloth hat to match her ulster, the gossamer veil being tied beneath the chin.
The fourth and centre figure wears an ordinary walking dress of black cashmere, with two flounces, each with a gathered bouillone top. The scarf tunic is closely pleated across the front. The cloth jacket is prettily braided and edged with fur; it has a hood at the back. The hat is called the "boat shape", is made of rough beaver, and trimmed with velvet.
The fifth figure wears an extremely warm cloth cloak, trimmed with fur, and a fur muff; while her hat is a large one, slightly turned up at one side, lined with black velvet, and trimmed with a feather.
The little woman who stands in such an observant attitude at the back and looks on is attired in a plaid frock, edged with black fur, and a crochet Tam o' Shanter cap. Apropos of the latter articles, for which there has been such a rage during the last few months, they seem now to have been passed over entirely to the children, and both boys and little girls wear them alike. They make a very pretty and cheap headdress, and any mother or sister can make them for herself, and I really do not consider that any pattern is needed, as the increasing for the crown are very easily managed, and must be just sufficient to make it lie flat. Fingering yarn and a coarse crochet-needle are all the implements needed, and a friend of mine informs me that her boys' caps cost her exactly sixpence each.
I must not forget to mention that self-coloured stuffs are more popular than figured ones, and that where the handkerchiefs are used for dresses the foundation consists of a plain, thick woollen material, such as diagonal cloth, Cheviot, or Indian cashmere.