Tuesday, April 13, 2021

More Hints...a look back at May 1917’s Fashions

I’m back to be a dreadful tease with another Blast from the Past about 1917 and what was going on then...with a promise that in my next post, I’ll stop being mysterious and explain why. Till then...enjoy these wonderful fashions!

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So I got hold of a beautiful copy of the May 1917 edition of The Delineator, a magazine published by Butterick, now best known for their sewing patterns. Well, you know that their magazine would have to have gorgeous fashion pages—over twenty of them!--and you’re right. So I thought it was time to have some slightly more recent Fashion Forecasts, which will continue through the summer months.

The fashion section begins with a look at the latest Paris fashions, with the headline, “Fleet-Footed are the Fashions that Defy the U-Boats”. Designers mentioned include Georgette, Marthe Wingrove, Magraine-Lacroix, Laferriere, and Parry.

One thing you’ll notice that differs from the 19th century prints that I post is that dresses are usually not labeled “Morning Dress” or “Walking Dress” or what have you. What started with this issue of The Delineator was individual breakdowns of the cost of making each pattern, including estimated cost of fabric, trim, findings and patterns, as a result of expected belt-tightening with the newly entered war. The dress at left has a total cost of $4.94, and the dress at right costs a mere $3.37.

Silhouettes are interesting in this year: though many of the dresses shown still have waists, the general lines are hinting at the coming “vertical”, straight look of the twenties. Busts are still low, an echo of the previous decade.

Parasols and creative millinery were definitely in. The pink hat at right very definitely resembles a type of military hat known as a “shako”; hardly surprising to see, the month after the US had entered the war.

Separates—blouses and skirts, or two piece suits—were also in vogue.
What I found especially interesting is that there was a separate section of clothes intended especially for teens, though that exact term is not used. Still, the pattern descriptions are for 16- and 17- and 18-year-olds--a definite change from 19th century fashion.

The biggest difference I can see between these teen clothes and the more grown-up patterns is that the hemlines seem to be a trifle shorter.

More “teen” fashions, along with some younger girl outfits.

Children’s clothing is also included, both for girls...

And for boys. Note the ringlets!

What do you think of May 1917’s fashions?

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Hearing Grace-by-the-Sea

It’s not surprising that authors hear their characters in their heads. Sometimes they start talking before a story is plotted. Sometimes they start talking during the plotting. Sometimes they’re particularly stubborn and don’t make themselves truly known until the book is fairly far along. What’s really surprising, at least to me, is when someone else hears those voices too.

Such is the case with my new audiobook, The Matchmaker’s Rogue. My wonderful narrator, Jannie Meisberger, had done such a good job with the Fortune’s Brides set that I asked her to try her hand at making the characters in Grace-by-the-Sea come alive. She did a fantastic job, as always, with my hero and heroine, and even managed to sing in Lord Featherstone and Mr. Crabapple’s voices when called for.

But Maudie, ah Maudie. She was difficult.

That shouldn’t surprise me. Those of you who have read the series know that Maudlyn “Maudie” Tully, the elderly aunt of my heroine, Jesslyn Chance, is her own person. Having been widowed young, she retreated into a fantasy world and never came out. Maudie has tea with fairies, picnics with mermaids, and an ongoing battle of civility with trolls. I hear her dear, droll, prophetic voice so clearly.

Funny that others don’t.

“Close,” I said to Jannie. “But a bit more mysterious.”

“Closer, but perhaps a little higher?”

“Nice, but too slow. Try it faster.”

I’m so glad Jannie has the patience of a saint.

In the end, she did Maudie and the others justice. Here’s a little listen:

The Matchmaker’s Rogue is now available at Audible and Amazon, and soon iTunes.