Late Victorian Era Fashion Chit Chat - July 1875 Peterson's Magazine
We also give a beautiful summer fichu of white net, trimmed with Malines, or other softly-falling lace, and a violet and white twilled silk fichu, trimmed with a fringe. Either of these are very becoming to slender figures. The two hats are also of the newest styles; but only two varieties out of myriads.
Summer always brings out charming toilets in thin, vapory materials, which, though they look so inexpensive, sadly belie their appearance. White muslins, organdies, lawns, batistes, besides innumerable grenadines, and other thin, silky materials are only simple at the first glance. The rufflings and the puffings, and the silk under-dresses, all make the summer toilet a somewhat costly affair.
Many ladies now use the delicate pink, blue, or violet lawns (plain ones of course) in the place of silk, for slips under their dresses.
Plaitings, and especially marguerite plaitings, which are as fine and as closely laid as the petals of that flower, and look like crimping, are decidedly the favorite trimmings at present. The long tablier reaching to the foot, has abolished wide flounces on the skirt, it being found that two narrow platings on the front and side breadths, and several rows on the back breadths, form a more effective trimming. These plaitings are sometimes sewn by machine, but they are better with flat hems held by blind stitches. Sometimes the raw edge of the silk is merely turned up once and secured by what is called "cut stitching;" but, at any rate, the plaits should be always pressed flatly and left to flare open; if they are deeper than the eighth of a yard, they should be caught by a thread in the centre on the wrong side. Plaitings are also intermixed with fronces - or, as these are called sometimes, drawings, gatherings, or shirrings; but, with all this multiplicity of names, they are nothing more nor less than the material drawn up into a wrinkle by means of threads run through it, each from half to three-quarters of an inch apart. A strip of the material, from four to eight inches wide, is used for these gatherings.
The bodices that are made with five seams at the back, and without curved side-pieces, are gaining ground with the public. The seams each side of the one in the centre of the back commence, as a matter of course, on the top of the shoulder; they are held in position by slender whalebones, which are carried to the end of the three centre seams. The difference between the Joan of Arc bodice and the cuirass (both of which are popular,) is that the former is slightly hollowed out, or describes somewhat of a curve, whilst the latter is straight all round.
BLack silk guipure is again in fashion. Those who possess deep guipure flounces can utilize them advantageously by mounting them on stiff net, and without any fullness, in rows one close to the other. This makes a charming Spanish tunic or tablier, which can be worn over a variety of dresses; the sleeveless bodice is also cut out in net and covered with piece-guipure. Guipure is used in the same manner over white silk, and can be worn thus over light silk dresses.
Straw fringes are in vogue for trimming light dresses, and several stylish ball toilets are ornamented with black ribbon velvet embroidered with straw.
Skirts are now bordered inside with narrow flounces of Swiss or Madeira work, and with cambric plaitings, edged with Valenciennes lace. These additions to the lining of a skirt are called balais or sweeping-brooms. Formerly they were only to be seen onball-dresses, but now they are added to most skirts with trains and demi-trains. Black silk stockings are more fashionable than any others just at present, and there is great variety in them; some are open-worked, some are studded all over with flowerets of various hues, and some are of two widely-contrasting colors, the leg being violet and the foot white, with fine violet stripes; in others, on the contrary, the foot is scarlet, and the leg alternate stripes of scarlet and white. These silk stockings are worn under shoes with high heels and fancy buckles, and they generally correspond in some measure with the toilet worn at the time.