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Victorian Ladies' Fashions: 1893

"Hints on Home Dressmaking"

Hints on Home Dressmaking was a monthly advice column featured in Ladies' Home Journal. This article was orginally published Sept. 1893 in the magazine People wrote Ms. Hooper with questions about dressmaking and she responded in this column. Many times the answers were about textiles, construction methods, and current fashion trends. The following are her responses:

Birdie G.-
Line the Swiss with plain lawn, or for coolness let it remain unlined, and make the waist with the French or bag seams to avoid scratching the skin.

Sarah G.-
Your organdy should be lined with taffeta silk or lawn and trimmed with lace and satin ribbon. (2) Do not wear white suede ties when on the street.

Mrs. C.H.D.-
Wear white lisle hose with white canvas and a white serge suit; also a white broad brimmed sailor hat, white veil and chamois or white suede gloves.

Mrs. C.V.G.-
Dress a boy a year old exactly like a girl, except that he may wear a round lace cap, in place of an infants' cap bonnet. (2) For a fall cloak and cap have white, blue, tan or brown.

Mrs. J.C.-
Your little boy's white serge sailor suits can be dry-cleaned by a dryer or washed at home, using the same precautions as you would for nice underwear. The blue can be treated in the same manner.

Miss Kate Q.-
Veils are very much worn and should match the hat or its trimmings. (2) Silk gloves are not much worn in the country, except in the South, but Suede gloves are much cooler than glace' kid. For ordinary wear the lisle suede-finished gauntlets are excellent.

Young Girl-
Wear on your summer dresses a round neck having an erect narrower frill or a wider falling ruffle of lace or a turned over collar. (2) At eighteen your dresses for the street should be full-length (two inches above the floor), while evening gowns may have a demi-train of four inches.

If the cape comes fully to the hips it will answer better than the jacket, but if any shorter it will prove unbecoming. (2) Make full puffs of Swiss, or new plain material to the elbows, with cuffs of the embroidery below. Add a turned-over collar and bretelle ruffles of embroidery, and a ruffle of the same to the edge of the skirt to lengthen it.

I presume that you have made up your lace ere this, but if not use four yards of lace for the skirt and the remainder for sleeve puffs or deep cuffs, getting plain net for the round waist and cuffs or puffs. You can match the mesh of the net for the plain material. Have a round waist slightly full or in surplice style; trim with a bertha of lace edging and draped collar; Empire belt of black satin. (2) Your sister might get grenadine, as it is more fashionable than lace.

Your scant challie skirt must have the centre front cut down and a panel of green China or surah silk inserted, twenty-four inches wide at the lower edge and nine at the upper, fitting it with two darts. Add an Empire belt, V, and draped collar of green. Rip out the plaited back, cut off the demi-train and gather the skirt at the top. The surplice front is correct, but wear the skirt belt over the waist. Use the lace or silk for the ruffle crossing the back and following the outline of the lapped surplice fronts, and add full sleeves having lace or silk cuffs.

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Disclaimer: This article is being presented as an educational resource of fashions during this era. The Costume Gallery, or its owner, Penny E. Dunlap Ladnier, does NOT sell or make sewing patterns. This publication's text is in its original format. Spelling or grammar may not appear to be correct, but were standard for the original publication date.

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