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Author Topic: Silk fabric check -- Colors  (Read 2083 times)
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Allison vV
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« on: November 21, 2015, 11:06:06 PM »

I wasn't sure where to put this. Please feel free to move it if it isn't in the right place.

Hello, Everyone

After a long absence and a busy summer/autumn preparing for a move to South Carolina, I have a few fabric questions.

I'm so excited to be in the middle of making my new corset, patterned from a duct-tape wrapping Grin. I will not have time to make a new dress for this December's tours at Ward Hall; so, I have decided to purchase a dress length of silk and only make-up the skirt, for now, to be worn with my fine white sheer bodice. Here are my questions:

     A. Shot silk is appropriate for dresses, correct? Please Smiley. If yes, then . . .

     B. What are your thoughts on these colors? I'm trying to learn about color combinations used in the period. Would you also suggest a belt colour for your favourites?
          1. Emerald Green Shot Red -- It would be a cheerful colour combo for the holidays.
          2. Blue Shot Red -- Maybe a red belt?
          3. Blue Shot Brown Gold -- Chocolate belt?
          4. Duck Green
          5. Emerald Shot Pink -- Striking! I think I remember reading somewhere here that pink and green was a common period combination. Of course, I can't find the post, now I'm looking for it . . .
          6. Lime Green Shot Pink -- Similar to above; a little less vibrant.
          7. Mermaid -- A pretty green belt?
          8. Lavender -- Is that the right shade for the period?
          9. Puple Shot Black -- I really like purples Smiley.
          10. Eggplant -- Very rich! Gold/brown belt?
          11. Cabernet Red
          12. Dark Scarlet -- An okay shade?
          13. Red Shot Black -- Red wasn't considered an "improper" colour, was it? For some reason, I keep thinking of Gone With the Wind Roll Eyes.
          14. Burgundy Red

I'm sorry to give so many options. If you could give your thoughts on a few, I would be very grateful.

A note on the side -- I'm still trying to catch up on posts I've missed.  Mrs. Clark, the "All unread posts" button doesn't work. Is that an easy fix?
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Allison van Vegten


"Procrastination is the thief of time. Collar him!" Charles Dickens

"It's the job that's never started as takes longest to finish." J. R. R. Tolkien
EKorsmo
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« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2015, 10:58:44 AM »

Shot-silk taffeta? Very appropriate. Smiley

The period color advice I'm finding usually deals with selecting good colors for one's complexion, though there's also talk of "harmonizing" the colors in one's dress/trim/accessories (basically, pairing colors opposite each other on the color wheel).

"How to Choose Colors in Dress" (Peterson's, 1855, starts page 138) discusses some colors which go together.  For a more detailed listing of color combos, this 1880 source, starting on page 338 (it's post-period, but is seems to expand on the same principles).

Peterson's 1861 Article "Use and Abuse of Colors in Dress" (starts on page 141) discusses general ideas of how colors work together with each other and with the wearer's xomplexion.

For who should wear which colors, Harper's ran an article in 1854, and there's a short sweet bit from 1860 here.  For a longer version, Color in Dress (1870) is slightly post-period, but has a thorough treatment of which colors supposedly look well on which persons.
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Ginger Lane
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« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2015, 09:54:06 AM »

A note on the Bangkok Thai Silk: I got some for an underdress/slip dress for Regency. It worked very well, but be aware it's very lightweight. I described it as a washed tissue taffeta.  "Washed" because it is not as crisp as regular taffeta, and "tissue" because of the very light weight.  It is nothing like china silk or charmeuse or habotai; it's definitely a taffeta. So I think it should work fine - just don't expect Pure Silks-type taffeta.

I think it's the type of silk that Mrs. Pullan in Beadle's Dime Guide to Dressmaking & Millinery recommends making with a full skirt lining. Liz has a great "translation" of the method here:

Mrs. Pullan's Skirt Linings
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Allison vV
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« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2015, 01:40:06 PM »

Thank you so much, ladies, for your replies.

EKorsmo, thank you for those references. I've done some research into modern colour season analysis for people, and it's fascinating to see how people "back then" handled colours. 

I probably should have mentioned that I have already selected colours that I know I can wear (I'm what's called a Deep Winter); rather, I was wondering about the suitability of some colours for the period. I know that our modern dyes can produce colours that wouldn't have been possible/common in the period.

Ginger Lane, thank you for the note on their taffeta. I have purchased taffeta from them before for the blue skirt I dyed, and your description of "washed tissue taffeta" is perfect Smiley. You mentioned PureSilks taffeta -- I just looked, and for wider taffeta, the price isn't much higher. Would you recommend their taffeta, weight-wise? If I go with the Bangkok Thai taffeta I will line it as you suggest. I didn't even think of that . . . Smiley
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Allison van Vegten


"Procrastination is the thief of time. Collar him!" Charles Dickens

"It's the job that's never started as takes longest to finish." J. R. R. Tolkien
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« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2015, 05:56:21 PM »

Ah, sorry for the misunderstanding.
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Ginger Lane
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« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2015, 06:45:47 AM »

Yes, I definitely recommend Pure Silks taffeta. You're right, once you adjust for width, the price is quite comparable. It's definitely good taffeta; I've bought it several times, and it's a dependable vendor for others who make historical dress. I don't know that all of their taffeta comes from a single source, but the ones I've gotten have been smooth, crisp, and medium or slightly light weight.  It's definitely not tissue taffeta, which is nice stuff itself. The PS taffeta is true taffeta. It's not as heavy as the Epic Fabric.Com Sale of 10 years ago, but I've not found taffeta that heavy since then. I haven't handled originals, but I'm fine with not lining a PS silk skirt; I would want to line tissue taffeta or Bangkok Thai silk taffeta.

I think a few people on the SA have run into issues with their metallic brocades being not all silk and metal (which is understandable - true metal brocade SHOULD be fabulously expensive these days). But the ordinary silks are what they say they are.
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Allison vV
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« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2015, 09:54:25 PM »

Thank you so much for the recommendation. I will go with the Pure Silks taffeta.

I would love to hear some advice on the suitability of the red, lavender, and emerald shot pink. Would those shades have been possible/likely in the period?
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Allison van Vegten


"Procrastination is the thief of time. Collar him!" Charles Dickens

"It's the job that's never started as takes longest to finish." J. R. R. Tolkien
Michaela C
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« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2015, 01:10:25 AM »

rI searched through my vast Pinterest collection, and here are a couple shot things for ideas, although I think technically almost anything goes.

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/467530005046207152/ This one confuses me, I think it might be blue/brown giving the effect of weird purple?

http://theebonswan.blogspot.com/2015/03/changeable-silk-day-dress-1860s.html

And the infamous green/gold 1840's dress https://www.pinterest.com/pin/467530005038562185/



Blue/Purple 1840's http://www.kci.or.jp/archives/digital_archives/detail_60_e.html

Blue/Red https://www.pinterest.com/pin/76490893641052879/
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Allison vV
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« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2015, 12:27:29 AM »

Thank you for sharing those lovely examples. It seems I have almost every colour option.

I think you're right about the colours in the first purple dress -- a blueish purple and a pinkish brown. It's amazing how many hues can be found in a "two-colour" shot silk!
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Allison van Vegten


"Procrastination is the thief of time. Collar him!" Charles Dickens

"It's the job that's never started as takes longest to finish." J. R. R. Tolkien
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