Stylish Winter Caps a Hundred Years Ago

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Friday, October 24, 1913:

10/20 – 10/24: It’s been so rainy and dreary this week that I begin to feel awful grouchy. I certainly am under the weather these days. Any way October never was a favorite month of mine. I don’t have much to write about for her.

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Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Cold, dreary days in October always make me think about the upcoming winter—and the need get prepared. Maybe Grandma made herself a new winter hat while she was stuck inside.

All of the caps pictured are from the October and November, 1912 issues of Ladies Home Journal.

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A Coat for a Rainy Day

 18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Monday, September 22, 1913: Walked the coats I borrowed yesterday back this morning.

Source: Ladies Home Journal (December, 1912)

Source: Ladies Home Journal (December, 1912)

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

The previous day it rained while Grandma and her sister Ruth were at Sunday School at the Baptist Church in McEwensville. They were particularly upset because Ruth “had on her bestest dress.”

Someone who lived near the church must have lent them coats.  I wonder if Ruth managed to keep her dress dry.

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How to Make Four Hats Out of One

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Monday, September 8, 1913:  Nothing very much.

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The hat of black velours, showing its simple original shape with a band of black grosgrain ribbon one inch wide. (Ladies Home Journal: September, 1913)

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Sounds like a slow day on the Muffly farm. After all of the work the previous week when the threshers were there, Grandma probably was ready for a more relaxing day.

Did she browse through the September, 1913 issue of Ladies Home Journal?  If she did, she would have learned how to make four hats out of one. The article said that it was an “economical way to good dressing.”

The plain band need not be taken off for any of these trimmings, as the others cover it completely, and are applied with milliners’ pins.

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The first illustration shows a drapery and long soft bow of Oriental ribbon, which is six-inches wide. Two yards are required to make it.

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The second illustration, showing the Continental shape, the trimming is of white moiré ribbon, plaited, and made on a canvas foundation. Three yards of ribbon six inches wide is required to make it. The band measures three inches wide and the cockade six inches high, and three across, widening to five inches at the top.

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A little more dressy touch is given in the third trimming, which shows a crushed band of soft silk ribbon of a deep orange color. The feather fantasy at the side is of the same color, shaded and tipped with coque. This is held in place by two small plaited bows of the ribbon. One yard and a half of ribbon about seven or eight inches wide will be required for this trimming. The bow measures four inches across and two inches wide.

What is a Guimpe?

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Friday, August 15, 1913:  Ma finished a lavender gingham dress for me. I’ve had it for some time. I wanted to make it myself, but Ma didn’t want me to.

Dress worn with guimpe (Source: Ladies Home Journal--May 1, 1911)

Dress worn with guimpe (Source: Ladies Home Journal–May 1, 1911)

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Grandma—How annoying that Ma wouldn’t let you make the dress! !! You could have done an awesome job on it.

Here’s the description of a lavender dress pictured in the May 1, 1911 issue of Ladies Home Journal:

 The lilac and white plaid gingham on the right is trimmed with strips of plain lilac gingham. The waist is cut in one with the elbow sleeves and is made ready to wear with a guimpe. The skirt has four gores, is gathered at the top of the side gores, and lengthened by a plaited flounce.

A guimpe is a blouse worn under a jumper or pinafore.  It also can be a yoke insert on a low-cut dress.

New Dress Finished

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Wednesday, May 28, 1913:  My dress is finished and ready to wear whenever that time comes.

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Source: Ladies Home Journal (July, 1912)

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Based on how quickly Grandma’s mother made the dress, she must have been an accomplished seamstress. On May 24, Grandma wrote:

Ma started to make my dress I got for a graduation present. I want it finished by May 30th.

Grandma’s mother made the dress in only 5 days! . . . and she beat the deadline her daughter imposed by 2 days!

Have Grandma’s plans changed?  On the 24th she seemed certain that she needed the dress by the 30th—now the dress is “ready to wear whenever that time comes.”

Can You Call the Cloth Used to Make a Dress, a “Dress”?

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Saturday, May 24, 1913:  Ma started to make my dress I got for a graduation present. I want it finished by May 30th.

Source: Ladies Home Journal (July, 1912)

Source: Ladies Home Journal (July, 1912)

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Sometimes Grandma worded things differently than I would.

If I had written the first sentence I would have said something like, “Ma started to make the cloth that I got for a graduation gift into a dress.” Instead it seems almost like Grandma was referring to both the cloth used to make the outfit and the finished product as a dress.

“Dress” can be used both as a noun and a verb–and has multiple meanings; but I think that the noun “dress”  had a broader meaning in 1913 than it does now.

This is the second time in the diary that Grandma referred to the materials used to make a dress as a “dress”. On March 29, 1913 she wrote:

Ma and I went to Milton this morning. The chief object of which was the buying of me a graduation dress. It is a plain white batiste to be trimmed with lace insertion and edging.

Then on March 31 Grandma wrote:

Took my dress up to get it made this morning.

Looked Pretty Seedy

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Friday, April 25, 1913:  Had company a little while this afternoon. I am sure I looked pretty seedy.

Source: Kimball’s Dairy Farmer Magazine (November, 1913)

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Hmmm. . . Was Grandma wearing ragged, patched clothes? Was her hair a mess? Did she look any different from how she looked on other days? Why was she so self-conscience about her looks?

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