Blog Archives

Corset curiosities

Corsets must rank with foot-binding in “not made by or for women” fashion history. But the search for wasp waists and swan-curve backs did call up the ingenuity of Victorian engineers – and some benighted attempts to make these armatures

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A bounty of buttons

Irma delights in buttons, the pewter buttons she is given on leaving Opi and the many different and wonderful kinds she sees in Madame Hélène’s dress shop. Which got me thinking in a button way and discovering that . .

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The Song of the Shirt

“The Song of the Shirt,” a dolorous Victorian poem by Thomas Hood (1843) was a lament against the exploitation of the seamstresses doing piecework, usually at home, “in unwomanly rags.” Irma struggles to avoid this fate and the helpless piety

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Fates of bustles and sleeves

In the 1880s, as my protagonist Irma entered the world of women’s fashion, machine-made clothes were readily available and upper class women, with money to burn sought out skilled dressmakers to embellish, over-lay, tuck and gather, creating elaborate architectures, often

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Bustle busting

Not all Victorians were bustle boosters. This cartoon is from Punch (1870). Bustles were hot, uncomfortable and cumbersome and an impediment to every useful activity except perhaps tatting. [image in public domain]

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Announcements

Workshop on Point of View for the Knoxville Writers Guild, Sat. Feb. 18, 2017, 10am to noon

For more events and specifics, please click on Events.

Recent Review
“Absorbing and layered with rich historical details, in Under the Same Blue Sky, Schoenewaldt weaves a tender and at times, heartbreaking story about German-Americans during World War I. With remarkable compassion, the author skillfully portrays conflicted loyalties, the search for belonging, the cruelty of war, and the resilience of the human spirit.”—Ann Weisgarber, author of The Promise and The Personal History of Rachel Dupree

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