A Must Read with exerpts

Today I offer a “Must Read”. This book happens to be from 1872. Regardless of what era you portray, this book is a Must. Just keep in mind the year. The chapter “How and What to Buy” walks through the fabrics available in the 1870s, looking at widths, weave, price, use, and quality. How I wish I had a book such as this on hand for each decade of the 1800s.

Please add Hints on Dress, or what to Wear, When to Wear it and How to Buy it by Ethel Gale( 1872) to your reading list.  http://books.google.com/books?id=hlkRnnkqFbIC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false

As we are talking about millinery this spring, there are a couple passages to which I would draw your attention.

“Bonnet’s silks – rank as next finest in quality. These are twenty inches wide, and vary in price according to the weight and “finish,” from $2.75 to $8.00 per yard. The lower priced are too light for much service, while the higher, though beautifully finished, are so heavy and closely woven that they are liable to break, and on account of a tendency to hold dust, should never be used for walking dresses. For the latter purpose the medium qualities, lettered G, H, I and J, ranging from $4.50 to $5.50 per yard, are the best of the Bonnet silks.”

“Black English crape for veils comes in two widths, one yard and a quarter, and one yard; and of several qualities, from that sold at $4.50 per yard to that at $8.50; those at $6.00 and $7.00 being equally serviceable if not quite as heavy as those above these prices. Trimming crapes of the same qualities are found in narrower widths, vary from $3.00 to $6.00 per yard. Those at $4.50 and $5.00 being sufficiently good for all useful purposes.”

“Bonnet velvets, eighteen inches wide, cost from $4.50 to $5.50 per yard, the price depending more upon the tint than the quality.”

 There is a similar text online coming from England – How to Dress on L15 a Year as a Lady. Though, I must say I find the recommendation for a straw bonnet to be soft enough to sit on without damage a silly one. A well wired and blocked bonnet will wear well for years if cared for. A soft straw will become floppy, sag and lose its shape requiring the attention of the milliner regularly. Granted, this author also talks about changing out the ribbons to go with each dress. This is a thought process very different than the decades prior.

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Published in: on May 1, 2013 at 4:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

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