During the 1850’s and 1860’s wild prints had been in fashion for wrappers or dressing gowns. Most prints would not be suitable for a dress worn after you had done your hair and gotten ready for the day. They were reserved for the morning and breakfast time. If you think about it in modern terms, think of your bathrobe. Most people’s bathrobe is a crazy color or pattern. You wouldn’t want to wear that to the grocery store or entertaining would you? Now I know not every then or now had a crazy print or color bathrobe or wrapper. But being that we are focusing on Victorian’s, we are going to focus on the crazy and out there!
For the longest time, I have been admiring so many original 1860’s wrappers. Stripe’s, silk’s and wool’s, oh my! Now when people today reproduce wrappers from this time we tend to use cotton fabrics due to the fact that the only wrapper type prints we have access to are made out of cotton now. The quilting companies love to reproduce the prints of antique clothing in cottons for quilter use today. So most of us use those and treat them as awe would a wool fabric. If the garment you are making is people sized unfortunately it does not provide warmth but if you are making a doll garment; this is not a problem.
Here are the images that inspired the copy I made for Lydia Ann:
First I found this one. Look at those sleeves! I may decide to go back and add those to the reproduction at a later date but so far I have been on the fence. This wrapper is most likely a wool or less likely cotton.
This wrapper I know for a fact is wool. Besides the owner’s confirmation of this; there is trim applied. When you find trim besides self fabric trim on a garment it makes it unwashable. If a garment is cotton, it is generally washable, so why add trim and make it impractical. Adding trim to a wool or silk garment during this period is dirt common and follows the fashions of the day. The trim could be velvet, silk or less likely wool tape and fabric covered buttons. The buttons should be the same as the trim.
THIS wrapper was the one that made me take the next step to finish the wrapper for Lydia Ann. It has it all in my book! We have striped wool, fabric covered buttons and a cape with cord ties and tassels! If you know, you know I am a sucker for anything with a tassel on it. I also love the color blue. So this wrapper was a win win for me. If I ever find fabric like this, I will have this wrapper in my size.
So know that you have seen the eye candy I was oogling while dreaming up this project, I should show you my copy.
Now I haven’t finished it yet. I still want to make the perfect cape for the wrapper. I just need to draft the pattern for that and I haven’t had the time. Maybe I will next week on my UFDC trip? Maybe not. Doll world is so crazy you never know!
The fabric came from Needle and Thread (Gettysburg,PA) and is 100% cotton but I treated it as I would a wool fabric. Its a reproduction 1860’s print. If you are ever in Gettysburg,PA and love fabric……stop by Needle and Thread.
Well that is all for today. Next blog post will be on the fancy petticoats that were worn underneath these beautiful wrappers!