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Authentic Victorian Fashion Patterns: A Complete Lady's Wardrobe

Authentic Victorian Fashion Patterns: A Complete Lady's Wardrobe

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Authentic Victorian Fashion Patterns: A Complete Lady's Wardrobe

4/5 (17 valutazioni)
204 pagine
36 minuti
Jul 12, 2012


Imported custom-made clothes were usually beyond the financial reach of the average middle-class American woman of a century ago; and store-bought garments were often of inferior quality. This left many women with the options of making their own clothes or hiring a seamstress.
While a number of economy-minded women did sew simple housedresses, and clothing for their children, many took favorite fashion plates to a dressmaker who would often consult patterns in a magazine such as The Voice of Fashion. This book, compiled by costume authority Kristina Harris, painstakingly reprints a rich selection of scaled dressmakers' patterns of the 1890s, taken from rare issues of that popular, late-19th century dressmaker's journal. Featuring such fashion elements as leg-o'-mutton sleeves, high-collared necklines, long skirts, and pinched waistlines, the collection includes nearly 500 patterns and illustrations detailing 50 garments for women. Every wardrobe necessity for the Victorian lady is covered — from nightgowns and wrappers for boudoir and breakfast, a riding habit and tennis outfit, to walking dresses for town and visiting, elegant dinner dresses, and elaborate evening gowns.
An introduction and brief instruction for using the patterns are also included in a volume that will not only find practical use among costume designers and students of fashion history, but will also delight browsers, Victorian enthusiasts, and anyone intrigued by the evolution of clothing styles. 498 illustrations.
Jul 12, 2012

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Authentic Victorian Fashion Patterns - Dover Publications


Copyright © 1999 by Dover Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.

Bibliographical Note

Authentic Victorian Fashion Patterns: A Complete Lady’s Wardrobe, first published by Dover Publications, Inc., in 1999, is a selection of patterns from the following issues of the Voice of Fashion:

Vol. V, No. 18, Fall 1890; Vol. V, No. 19, Winter 1890—91; and Vol. V, No. 20, Spring 1891—all published by Goldsberry, Doran & Nelson, Chicago, Illinois.

Vol. VII, No. 28, Spring, 1893; Vol VIII No. 29, Summer 1893; Vol. VIII, No. 32, Spring 1894; Vol. IX, No. 36, Spring 1895; and Vol. X, No. 39, Winter 1896—all published by Goldsberry & Doran, Chicago, Illinois.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in Publication Data

Harris, Kristina.

Authentic Victorian fashion patterns : a complete lady’s wardrobe / Kristina Harris.

p. cm.

Selected patterns fom various issues of the Voice of fashion published in the 1890s.


1. Dressmaking—Patterns. 2. Costumes—United States—History—19th century. I. Title.

TT520.H278 1999

646.4’78 21—dc21


Manufactured in the United States by Courier Corporation


Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page





The society woman must have one or two velvet dresses which cannot cost less than $500 each, author and social reformer James McCabe reported in the late 19th century. She must possess thousands of dollars’ worth of laces.... Walking dresses cost from $50 to $300; ball dresses are frequently imported from Paris at a cost of from $500 to $1,000.... Then there are traveling dresses in black silk, in pongee, velour, in pique, which range in price from $75 to $175. Then there are evening robes in Swiss muslin, robes in linen for the garden and croquet playing, dresses for horse races and for yacht races . . . dresses for breakfast and for dinner, dresses for receptions and for parties.... None of the garments could be ready-made, and all came from a fine American dressmaker, if not a European couturier.

But the average, middle-class American woman could revel in no such luxury. Whenever she could, she pinched her pennies by making her own underwear. This not only saved her from having to pay a dressmaker for the task, it also protected her from inferior, ready-made underclothes. She might even try to sew some of her own clothing—but with the children’s clothes to sew, plus a myriad of other pressing household duties, she usually left the making of her wardrobe to a dressmaker.

Most American women brought fashion plates (from one of the many middle-class fashion magazines available by the 1890s) to her local dressmaker; the dressmaker customized a chosen outfit according to her skills and her customer’s desires. She could then either draft her own pattern, use the sewing pattern her client purchased through a fashion magazine, or consult a dressmaker’s journal like The Voice of Fashion, which provided scaled patterns that could either be copied exactly, or adjusted to the customer’s wants. If there was no dressmaker in town, or if a lady could not afford one, her next best source was a local seamstress—a housewife who took in sewing part time.

For many women, one new dress a season was all that could be afforded; some women felt fortunate to be able to have one new dress a year. It was fabric, not labor, that was usually the most expensive factor in creating a new dress. In 1890, The American Woman noted that while silks were still the fashionable fabrics, they would not come into too general use because of their high price—the average being $7.50 a yard, and from this upward indefinitely.... Even the staunchly middle-class Sears, Roebuck and Company catalog featured a sateen described as a near approach to the silk goods in appearance that was still 20¢ a yard. This may seem affordable, but when one considers that an average 1890s dress could require four yards for the skirt (and, if it had large sleeves, another

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  • (3/5)
    Beautiful patterns but lacks a bit in explanation on applications.
  • (2/5)
    Says authentic victorian fashion pattens, but it basically skips the whole victorian period up until the 90's. It is very detailed on how to make the patterns for the 90's dresses, but then the tittle should be 1890's authentic patterns instead of victorian.
  • (5/5)
    It's a fabulous book! I have other books by this author and they never fail to delight me. I have adapted several of her patterns for my costuming collections and they worked out well.
  • (5/5)

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile

    Simple to read, easy to draft patterns with! A good source of varied costumes, though not nearly enough evening dresses in my own opinion ;) Lots of great street dress references, with additional notes on each pattern as to unique HA bindings and trims to be applied!

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile