Occasionally it seems that world is in pure chaos with nothing making sense, but that doesn't matter as long as I can sew. Sewing is a form of art, or at the very least creativity, and a form of expression. A great outlet for the tension of everyday life. Also you can make cute things. The craft revolution is truly taking place, old skills are being revived by a new generation, but with a seriously modern twist.

I've made Mario pillow cases, a giraffe print background, and turned duvet covers into summer dresses. I enjoy making something unique, special, and me- then I like wearing it and watching it fall to pieces or not fit properly. Then I enjoy (slightly less) fixing it.

One day I shall have a room filled with glorious fabrics and boxes of notions, and on that day I will have found my nirvana. But until then this blog will exist as my virtual haberdashery and sewing room. Hopefully you'll enjoy looking at my creations as much as I enjoy looking at other blogs, and you'll be inspire to make something of your own.

Monday, 30 May 2011

The House of Worth

I got a book. And I've read...some....  I'm a rubbish reader, I'm so slow and have a stack of books I want to read so I'm not how sensible it was to get a new book from the Salts Mills book shop.  But my mum bought it, and its called Fashion Since 1900.  I am very interested in fashion history as a form of social history, I am also interested in how major events affected what people wore, and how fashion responded to social changes.  I've only got up to the 1930's (peeked ahead to the end and spied a picture of Rafael Nadal!) and the First World War only lasted a few pages but this post isn't about my book.

It's about Paris fashion design House of Worth who's Peacock Dress from 1903 caught my eye (when I saw it in my book, duh).  Unfortunately, digital cameras were rubbish in 1903 and the picture only offers a glimpse of what was probably a really cool dress.  So I searched online for better images and found a whole website of pictures (who knew the internet has pictures?!?)

Lady Curzon in 1903 in Delhi celebrating the coronation of King Edward VIII and Queen Alexandra as Emperor and Empress of India.

The image on the left being the photograph and on the right is a painting or drawing, so it's hard to know how accurate an image it is but I would have hoped the colours were more vivid in the real dress- like a peacock.  I definately think the photo is better as you can see how well it drapes on her body, although the poor woman will have been in cased in whale bone or steel (!) corset.  The House of Worth was founded by Charles Frederick Worth but the Peacock Dress was designed by his son Jean-Phillipe Worth. 

1898-1900 Silk evening dress
According to my book Worth clothes the wealthy movers and shakers ( well the ladies at least) and made them gowns of conspicuous expense (the fashion world really aint that pretty) to ID them as women associated with affluence and power.  In particular Worth appealed to the King's court to gain wealthy new clients.  The following are dresses, by C F Worth, I enjoy for there exquisite detail, ludicrousness and uncomfortable-looking-ness.

1883-85 Silk, glass, velvet Day dress
1887 Silk, glass evening dress,
1892 Silk, crystal, evening dress

1925, Silk, glass evening dress
And here's a fancy one by Jean-Phillipe from the 1920's that celebrated the slim boyish silhouette.  According to my book the ladies still wore corsets in this period but at this point it was to flatten their breasts not accentuate them.   I'm sure it all made sense at the time.


  1. What is the name of the book, and who wrote it? Is it a new book?

  2. Sorry, I logged on to see if you replied, and read your post again, you said the book was Fashion since 1900, was this written by Valerie Mendes & Amy de la Haye?
    Many Thanks Eleanor

    1. Yes it is, and I would lend it to you but I don't have it in Leeds.