15 notes
"Study of a black man", ca. 1770, Sir Joshua Reynolds
Isn’t this portrait epic against that sky? Does it not show the beautiful man in a somehow glorious and heroic way?
Reynolds is one of my favourite painters ever (and probably my favourite portrait painter) and this man is thought to be Francis Barber who was a servant of Dr Samuel Johnson but was actually more a friend since he was always treated as an equal and even seen with admiration, the same way we see him in this portrait.

"Study of a black man", ca. 1770, Sir Joshua Reynolds

Isn’t this portrait epic against that sky? Does it not show the beautiful man in a somehow glorious and heroic way?

Reynolds is one of my favourite painters ever (and probably my favourite portrait painter) and this man is thought to be Francis Barber who was a servant of Dr Samuel Johnson but was actually more a friend since he was always treated as an equal and even seen with admiration, the same way we see him in this portrait.

5 days ago 15 notes
6 notes
Robe à la Polonaise, detail, 1775-80, Museo del Traje, Spain

Robe à la Polonaise, detail, 1775-80, Museo del Traje, Spain

5 days ago 6 notes

18th Century Stays Tutorial Part 2

This in the time for the pattern.

I’d like to give you a step-by-step guide for the pattern starting from zero BUT somebody have already done it and is going to be SO much easier for you all: La Couturière Parisienne has this very easy to follow pattern based on the one in the book I talked to you in the past post (“Corsets and Crinolines” by Norah Waugh). So, I’m going to base the tutorial in that pattern and link that page every time I think you’ll need it, since I’m not gonna follow the entire process as she suggests it. Also I drew some diagrams because My pattern photos don’t look that good and this is easier to see. Ready? Let’s go!

Step 3 is drawing the pattern

This is how you should draw it, since it’s easier than both back and front drawn at the same side like La Couturière draw it. This measurements are pretty good for people of 82-90 cm waist and 100-110 cm bust (all measurements are in centimeters). It will look like this:

If you are bigger or smaller than this you need to resize it. HERE is how to do it in a very very simple way. I did it since I’m kind of skinny and this is how it should look (the pink lines are the resize and in pencil the original drawing):

In my pattern you can see some things that I didn’t do like the one in La Couturière’s version. First I did not follow the original form of the pieces as in Waugh’s pattern:

 Instead I based mine in the red stays from the Victoria & Albert Museum:

That’s why you see I glued the back and front on the side line so I could draw the side piece and tabs properly:

Also you can see that I draw squared tabs at the bottom instead of rounded ones. You can do it as you please:

Step 4 is separate the pattern pieces

Now that you have the pattern ready you need to separate the pieces to be able to cut. I do this with a very light paper so I can see through it and draw on top of the original pattern.

Now is when you also draw the seam allowances. I left 1/2” all around all pieces, not only on seam but also at the top and bottom, except on the center back where I left 1” and the centre front where ther is no allowance because that piece is folded. Why did I do that? You may ask, but the reason in really simple and useful: Since we will make a mock-up for fitting first, we will need some extra fabric for adjustments (if they are needed) or re-drawing some lines. Also don’t forget to leave a colour mark at the waist and where you should stop sewing.

Now is the time to draw the boning tunnels. For my 1/4” boning I made 3/8” wide tunnels. You can follow the boning from the original pattern or something more like the V&A red stays (if you drew the variation as I did):

I decided to draw the tunnels according with the shape of my stays based on the distribution of the 1770’s pattern. This is how the separate pieces should look with the boning tunnels:

Now your pattern is finished! So go and grab your base fabric and cut 2 of each piece and remember that the front piece is folded in half.

Was it hard? Do you have any questions? Leave a comment here, ask me or tweet me and tell me: how is your project going?

1 week ago 15 notes
9 notes
Salma Hayek dressed up as Marie Antoinette.

Salma Hayek dressed up as Marie Antoinette.

1 week ago 9 notes

OMFG! Downloading now!


yeah I said


Black London: Life Before Emancipation by Gretchen Gerzina (1995)
A glimpse into the lives of the thousands of Africans living in eighteenth century London. 

Download PDF

Read online

More information

(via vintagegal)

1 week ago 3,962 notes

Tutorial: 18th Century Stays Part 1

So, you have spoken and I will share this with you (yeeeii!). For Halloween I’m making a robe à la anglaise, so I needed a new pair of stays (I’ve made before 2 other pairs but both suit me big nowadays). This time I wanna sew by hand and make the stitches visible over the top fabric. I’ll be posting this tutorial while I’m working on it so when I finish a step and then I’ll share it with you about the day after and if you want to you can do your homework and we’ll work together ;)

Step 1 is to collect your inspiration and make some decisions.

This might sound easy but is the key for a successful outfit. I made a pinboard with all the images and links that I think might work for me. I had a very clear idea of what I wanted and how to do it, so it was easy, but you have to think about some things first before making the pattern. Hey, don’t panic! I’ll help you through every stage alike if you can draft the pattern by yourself or if you’re really a beginner. Here are my recommendations:

  • What kind of stays do you wanna make? In general I think half boned stays are better for any kind of body (may be only the most extreme figures would really need full boned) and it’s perfect for all levels: You’ll have fewer stitches for you to control (and sew) better and if you have an advanced level you can make all the canals visible or even in contrast colour, and if your a beginner you can cover the imperfect stitches with the final fabric (so you don’t have an anxiety attack).
  • Hand or machine sewing? This is a tricky question. Of course if you wanna be historically accurate you HAVE to do it by hand, but if you’re not worried about this and prefer a machine, do it. But of course practice is everything, so if you wanna start with hand sewing this is a good opportunity: you won’t need many kinds of stitches, this project needs a lot of repetitions of the same chore so you’ll definitely get better, and if you don’t feel so good about how it’s gonna look like, you can cover everything with the top fabric.
  • Do I need a pattern or will we draft it from zero? Do I need to know about pattern making? Many costumers buy their patterns, but I think it’s better to draw it and make adjustments for you body for a perfect fit. For this being easier for all of you (with or without pattern making knowledge) I’ll use a base from the 1770s stays drafted from the  book "Corsets and Crinolines" by Nora Wagh and we’ll adjust it for our personal measurements. It’s a lot easier than it sounds so pattern making knowledge is not really necessary. This stays have a good shape and are easily changed for other decades silhouette variations.

Now, I collected this images that I think will be very useful to you for this stays, so if you don’t wanna loose yourself with lots of images of beautiful, please use these as references and inspiration.

First, historical references:

Let’s take a look at what good costumers have done before in stays with visible tunnels and not visible:

Step 2 is choosing the materials

I draw my stays before moving to the pattern mainly based on the red example from the V&A Museum (that’s the first photo on this post), and already had a clear idea of what I wanted them to look like, so this is what you have to think about:

  • Historically accurate or not? Depending on the country there are some materials that were not available there during the 18th century, but usually the material for inner wear is linen but you can also use cotton and silk (sateen, damasque, brocade or even taffeta are OK). The 18th century historically accurate colours are NEVER bright ones, since chemical dyes are from the second part of the 19th century, and for inners the preferred colours were neutrals for you to wear them under light or dark garments. If this is your very very first project then maybe you shouldn’t use historically accurate fabrics since they are expensive and you need to really know your materials through some projects before being able to manage them perfectly.
  • Base, lining and top fabrics. You’ll need 2 layers of the base fabric (the boning will be between these), I use a mexican cotton light canvas called manta since it’s stiff and hard enough for all the stitches and pressure the stays will have, you can use cotton canvas or a slightly thick linen. The lining fabric is usually a light linen but you can also use cotton poplin; these both fabrics (base and lining) MUST be natural fabrics or you’ll sweat horribly while wearing your stays. For the top fabric I’ll use a light grey silk satin, you can use silk (or a polyester lookalike) satin, tafetta, brocade, damasque or linen or cotton (plain or printed).
  • Threads. The easiest option is using the common polyester threads that are sold everywhere since they have a HUGE colour range, but truth is (historically accurate) that you should use linen, silk or cotton thread, meaning you have to use thread of the same fiber than your fabric. The biggest issue here are the colours and availability of these materials (in my country linen thread is not available and silk thread is very hard to get in many colours), so you can sacrifice some accuracy to get the same colour in fabric and thread using polyester thread or you can substitute silk thread for rayon, linen for cotton, of all the above for polyester.
  • Boning. Let’s face it, there are not many options in many places, so taking in account the flexibility of the whale bone I prefer to use 1/4” plastic boning instead of metal boning. I’ve read some people use reed but I haven’t tried it.
  • Etcetera. You can use contrast or same colour grosgrain for bounding and decoration and linen tape for closure in the back (or also ribbon or grosgrain too), be creative.

Now you have a full shopping list and things to think about before starting the next task: the pattern.

If you have any question for this project you can drop a comment here, send me an ask or ask me on twitter (look for me as eli_estela) So, are you ready to start?

1 week ago 7 notes

Stays tutorial?

xystitch reblogged your photoset and added:

I really want to make some stays…

For Halloween I want a Robe à la Anglaise and I need new stays, so I’m making a 1770-90s pair right now based in this existing pair at the Victoria & Albert museum with a few changes. So, If you wanna make some stays and you don’t knwo how to start, then I could make a tutorial :)

So, dear fellow 18th century obsessed followers, should I make a stays tutorial?

1 week ago 5 notes

"Trompe l’oeil", Carl Hofverberg, 1737. Foundation of the Royal Armoury, Sweden.

Please clic on the images since they are HUGE (yes, you can look at each letter of each word written on the papers).

2 weeks ago 1 note

"Oliver Goldsmith", unknown artist. Watercolour and chinese white on laid paper, ca. 1770.

2 weeks ago 3 notes

misslauramozartian reblogged your photo and added:

I loved that serie! It just finished here in…

I know!!!!! And I just LOVE how everyone looks so dirty! That’s very historically accurate XD

This only confirms I’m a crazy person, right?

2 weeks ago 1 note

"Liutenant-Colonel Banastre Tarleton", Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1782.

You can see this painting in the room 36 of the National  Gallery

Banastre Tarleton is famous for fighting at the American Revolutionary War and it’s said that we was an amazing fighter but with really bad temper. Back to England he became a Member of the Parlament of Liverpool, a Gerenal and a Baronet.

According to this portrait by Reynolds, he was very stylish too: he is painted in Tarleton’s Green Horse uniform (he was the commandant) and with the helmet that he introduced to the British Legion (made of leather and with a fur plume).

The flag is asumed to be of the British Legion and if you take a look at the first detail, you’ll see that Reynolds also descreetly shows that Tarleton lost in 1781 two fingers of his right hand.

3 weeks ago 4 notes

Robe à la Polonaise, 1775-1780 (made), 1800-1900 (altered).

Chinese printed silf, lined with linen. Made in England or France. In storage at the Victoria & Albert Museum of Art.

3 weeks ago 10 notes
9 notes
Sofia Coppola while filming “Marie Antoinette”.
I just love how she doesn’t look out of place there.

Sofia Coppola while filming “Marie Antoinette”.

I just love how she doesn’t look out of place there.

3 weeks ago 9 notes

The Withdrawing Room at Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire.

Some of the things I like the most about "The Duchess" is that it was entirely filmed on location, so for the scenes at Geogiana’s mother’s house they use this room at Kedleston Hall, originally used by the women of the house to entertain themselves. Being this house designed in 1765 by Robert Adam, not only the interior design but the furniture and some art was commissioned by Adam exclusively for the house.

3 weeks ago 18 notes

1740s stays reproduction.

No secret for anyone Merja (from Before the Automobile) is one of my favourite costumers and bloggers and there is no one who can judge me for that: she sews by hand her reproduction garments and ALWAYS has the right shape, fabric, finishing, trims and (of course) style.

This is her reproduction of a pair of 1740s stays and my favourite part of this are all the quilted boning channels in contrast thread.

You can read her full post HERE.

4 weeks ago 171 notes