Thursday, February 27, 2014

Downton Abbey: Unmentionable.

Back in 2006 I posted about my 1910-1930 era hand sewn silk lingerie collection.  No one knew that by 2014 the era's fashion would be a source of wonder due to the popularity oif a show called "Downton Abbey".
I have decided to follow a few fellow bloggers in showing personally owned items of DT era. While others featured jewelry, I thought my lingerie collection would be a fun re-post.

A couple of Vintage Elegances (note: A Dallas TX based twice yearly event featuring fashions shows of vintage clothing) ago, I picked up an addiction. In a way, it was not unlike my first visit to Fleur de Paris, where I was swept away into a millinery manic/obsession/compulsion state of being from which I have never recovered.

At that VE show, there was a fashion show uncovering (get the pun?) the history of Lingerie from 1840 to 1950.

Oh la la...and wowzer.

I gained a new appreciation of corseting, which was at one time needed to keep females from looking like they were in snow suits, after donning multiple layers of undergarments.

And I was exposed (oh gads, potentially another pun...) to hand sewn peach silk and hand-made lace lingerie from about 1910 to 1940.

What was at the show was out of my price range...or at least what my mind thought was out of my price range. But the addiction had taken hold.
I couldn't get the image of the beautiful pieces out of my mind once I got home.

And like any collecting person knows, the next thing that will dominate a lot of your time is search ebay to find a bit of collecting heaven.

Ebay prices on vintage lingerie are rising. There are several
on line vintage lingerie stores as well, with eye popping prices.

What stops me from buying everything I see is the knowledge that I (at 33" waist this morning, and a 43 inch hip, after losing 4lbs so far) am too big to fit most of the lovely stuff.

I would love to buy and give to brides to be, instead of the tawdry nylon stuff that passes for romantic today. When I see a slip with a 34 inch bust or panties with a 24 inch waist, I want to buy, and hope I will be invited to a tasteful bridal event for a mere slip of a bride, who would drool over such elegance and history.

And I promise myself that I will lose weight and sometime soon will be wearing these kinds of items myself.

Photographed is my first purchase, a chemise.

I'll periodically post other items.

Oh, and added fun: since these items were hand made for the very wealthy, frequently they have the former owner's name or initials on the item. My fondest hope would be someday to find something with my own initials.

On something that fits.

As long as there is ebay, and VE, hope springs eternal for my quest.
Here are a few more close up photos of other vintage lingerie in my collection.

Close up of the silk brocade design in the lounging pj set.

Love that sweet heart shaped hankie pocket!
The straps do untie...nice to be able to adjust a top in that manner.
(Or have a steamy seduction scene with a tug of a bow...oh my!)

(ooops...up side down!)

Another pj set..check out the lace at the pant ankles!

Isn't this more lovely than the horrible modern nighties made of nylon that are so often given at bridal showers?

The hand work is wonderful!

Now if only I could fit into some of these lovely pieces.
Back then a 30 inch chest was common, hips I think were non-existent.
I have worn a few generously sized items: tap pants and night gowns that I haven't pictured here.
The old silk does tends to shatter...after all the fabric is over a hundred years old.
For that reason I seldom don them, although I like to imagine that one day I will carefully reconstruct the garments using new silk.
(Who would wear them made new, I have no idea...)
I read once that the Downton Abbey dresses were original and they had a few instances when the dresses split right down the back as the actresses were wearing them. They taped the dresses as best they could and shot around the damage.


Vee said...

Oh my! They truly are works of art with all the details and beautiful hand stitching. I can remember seeing such items in my grandmother's things. Your commentary made me grin.

Lorrie said...

These are so lovely, Jill. I do love that camisole with the tied shoulders. And the comment about a possible seduction scene.

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

Eeek! is right.

I've never ventured to a vintage clothing store or show already knowing that nothing there could possibly fit my tall frame now carrying 30 extra pounds it never used to carry several decades ago. Talk about feeling like a bull in a china shop! I have always wanted to be a delicate little slip of a thing but, alas, it was not to be.

The garments you've shown us are gorgeous and it's good to know that such things exist in today's world. I love studying the intricately designed details, the delicate fabrics, and the beautiful lace. It is a treat.

ellen b. said...

Such pretty detail...

Lovella ♥ said...

Those pieces are absolutely gorgeous Jill. I just can't imagine the hours of work that went into them. Another reason to visit... just to peek!