Monday, November 30, 2015

Berthes, Fichus and Pelerines

So began my busy Genteel Arts November; or so it seemed. My first workshop was in Gettysburg, Berthes, Fichus and Pelerines. These items are dress accessories that can be used to change the look of a dress.

A berthe is a large cape-like collar falling over the shoulders and bodice of a dress (Schmitt, Carolann. Berthes, Fichus and Pelerines, pg. 3) and is usually a separate piece from the dress. We see these often on evening gowns.

A fichu, alternately was more shawl-like and comes over the shoulders to the front.

Collection of Carolann Schmitt

Then there is the pelerine. I really think this is what the "dreaded triangle thingy" is attempting to imitate. A pelerine is more cape-like and can match the dress, changing a bodice cut for evening to something more appropriate to day time.

Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising
Pelerine 1855-1860

I had taken Carolann Schmitt's Fichu workshop at the Civilian Symposium in March and thought perhaps I would like a pelerine. But I looked at my wardrobe and decided another fichu would be better, one with long tails.

As with all of the Genteel Arts classes, a well researched handout was provided that included period descriptions, illustrations, bibliography and instructions for constructing the chosen garment and, of course, the patterns. Before we started sewing, Carolann gave a lecture on the different accessories including more period photos and originals; she had a few originals with her to show as well.  You can see these in the Fichu workshop pictures here.

I did not have enough of the netting I chose to cut the pattern exactly as the pattern called for; the pattern being one piece over the shoulders, so we altered it a bit, adding a shoulder seam to accommodate the size of the pattern.

Once the pattern was cut and the pieces sewn together, I added net ruching.

Once the ruching was in place I will add a narrow black velvet trim down the center of the ruching; this I still need to finish. I will probably also add a small hook and eye at the waist to hold it as I do not want to wrap it around the back although that is an option.

These pieces are really quite easy to make and can add so much to your period wardrobe.

1 comment:

OldFashionGirl said...

Thanks for the definitions! Very helpful. I love your fichu!