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History of Engineering and Technology: In developing the wardrobe for Charlotte, I’m moving from the drawing room into the office, so there are some changes in the types of clothing I need to make, and not just because of the change in time period.

Charlotte is not a public speaker, though she has to look her best for work and when she attends rallys and protests, since a woman who is neat and well dressed with engender more sympathy and respect from her detractors than one who isn’t.

Her costume started with a plaid fabric I found at Joanns. I bought the last of the bolt, only to discover later that it’s not quite enough to accomplish the outfit I had in mind.

patterns 2A lot of people have the misconception that Victorian era fabrics were dull and bland, but that’s just not the case–there were so many new dyes becoming available, new fabrics that were more readily available as trade areas increased, shipping times decreased, and farms and factories became more productive with new technologies.

Bright, bold colors were popular, and they loved to mix their patterns, like in the ensemble on the left.  Even when the colors are more subdued, we see a mixture of textures and prints.

Once I picked out my fabric, I started looking at fashion plates and museum collections for images to inspire my design sense. I adore the fashion for ladies neck ties in the Victorian/Edwardian era, so I pulled a lot of those, and also a lot of plaid walking dresses and day dresses–casual outfits that could be worn around town–as well as plainer, working outfits and cycling outfits, since Charlotte’s main form of transport outside of walking would probably be a bicycle. bike

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If you want to see my full collection of inspiration shots, you can find them on my pinterest board here (you can also click on any picture there and it will take you back to the source).

I’m not going to share my fabric with you just yet–you’ll have to stay tuned for the next installment for that!