The Details

Now that I’m wearing traditional cape dresses, there were a few details to work out. Some of it seems sort of medieval,in a way, but in a good way. I don’t have to wear linsey-woolsey or anything that requires a forge to repair.

Things have to be pinned together. Capes get pinned to aprons, aprons are closed by pins. The necklines on the dresses and capes close with a snap, which is not medieval and quite convenient. I have to buy some new pins, since the cheap dressmaker pins I have bend. Safety pins work well, though, and husband doesn’t complain about my prickliness.

The cape gets pinned in three places – left and right edges behind the apron waistband, and the point in back, to the apron waistband again. The apron pins left or right, depnding on who made the apron. Old Order type aprons do not tie in the back. It was probably considered a waste of fabric and a bit of frivolity to have a big bow hovering over the bum.

I’m used to longer hemlines, too. But most Old Order dresses come to mid-calf rather than ankle, which means I have to choose my socks and underskirt more carefully so as not to have gaps. Knee-length bloomers work well instead of a slip, especially if they are made of cotton. (I bought a pair in the oddest place – Loblaw’s Superstore! I think they were meant to be pajama bottoms, but they have a drawstring waist, a lace insert above the knee, and are just above the kneecap in length. And they look just like Victorian drawers.)

The new cap is not as close-fitting as the soft caps I used to wear. I can’t pin them to my head, because my hair and bun are not thick enough. I am holding the cap in place with two clippies on either side of the nape. Bobby pins just slid out. But the cap stays on better, and keeps my hair neater, since it doesn’t move around as much.

I am a natural fibre kind of girl, so I was a little dubious about the synthetic fabrics used in my dresses. Still, they launder well and hang on my small frame properly, so I am not complaining. The synthetics are silkier, and they fit closer, meaning I don’t have as much fabric bunched up around my waist when wearing an apron. Incredibly modest as a cape dress is, I look more petite and feminine in them.

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8 thoughts on “The Details

  1. Wow, I couldn’t imagine pinning myself together. I pin on my one covering, but that’s it 🙂 I have a cape dress that looks pinned, I couldn’t find buttons to match the material so I put the buttons on the inside. I rather like the look -I have the ease of buttons with the smooth, clean look of no buttons. I’m thinking of making some bloomers this summer, Ella definitely needs some.

    How are you finding the synthetics for static? I love cotton too. I know what you mean about cape dresses. I think they make a woman look feminine too.

    • Yes, I’m struggling a bit with it, especially the unpinning, when I’ve hit my fingers a few times. It’s a podvig – that’s an Orthodox term for something you must bear for the faith. I may at some point give up and sew on snaps, though.

      The synthetics can be staticy, and I’ve used all my tricks to cut down on it – don’t put them in the dryer, run a metal clotheshanger over them, don’t wear other synthetics udnerneath. That’s why an all-cotton slip works so well.

  2. synthetic fabrics have two huge advantages for the Amish, they dry very quickly on the clothes line, and they need very little ironing. The fabric doesn’t shrink or fade, and it is very durable.

    • I’m liking the dry quickly and little ironing, although in the past I was an ironing maven. Fade resistant is nice, too, as my linen dresses got lighter and lighter while the wash water got coloured!

  3. Most of my dresses are mid-calf. However, I have one that’s just below the knee. To keep my slip from showing, I have to roll the slip waist up a little. Petite Plain dresses are hard to come by and I mis-measured when hemming this one up.

    In Virginia, I was introduced to Tropical Breeze fabric which is a poly-cotton blend. I have a few dresses made from it and love them (wish they all were). It’s the comfort of cotton with the durability and easy care of poly. They tend to be pretty color fast too. It wasn’t very expensive (there anyway). Not sure about cost for mail orders. Gehman’s Country Fabrics sells it online. Lots of different patterns and solids to choose from.

    • Gehman’s has very nice fabric and notions, which is a boon for those who live a goodly distance from a fabric store. Also, it is sometimes hard to find plain-enough fabrics in stores catering to fashion. Funny, isn’t it, that we are concerned about colour-fastness, as most Americans don’t keep clothes long enough to worry about it! It fades, it’s gone!

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