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Art Education

19th Century Fashion

19th Century Fashion

Fashions from the 19th century are best known for their large bell shaped dress bottoms and high tight waist lines. The dress shapes where supported by undergarments; a corset was worn to squeeze the woman’s waist, a wire framed cage, called a crinoline, was worn to support the shape of the dress, and an undergarment known as a petticoat was also worn to support the outer shape. Analyze the image featured below, identify elements evident within the designs.


What are the some of the distinguishing characteristics of woman’s dress design in the late 1900’s?
What are the common trends of the time, how would you describe them?
What patterns are evident within the designs, how are they applied to the garment?
What colors and what textures are evident within the designs?
Who where some of the major designers of the early 1800’s?
Who and what were some of the influences of the time?


Use the images provided or search for original, authentic photos of  Victorian era clothing. The following images have been gathered from museum archives and websites foot noted below. To view or print the image in its original size click into the slide show, slide to the favored image, right click and select Save Image As. You can view or print the full size image as a reference to help build your sketch and final drawings.


Tutorial | Sketching a Garment

Sketching from observation is a good way to strengthen your drawing skills. A series of quick gesture drawings are sometimes more effective to the designer than a single heavily detailed illustration that takes longer to produce. Artists and designers generate numerous sketches of the subject in order to become familiar with its shapes, forms and proportion. The tutorial featured below demonstrates how to sketch lightly, build proportional shapes, and render details and draw contour lines to describe the form of the garment.



Early Fashion Photography

The earliest photographs of woman’s fashion where often of the aristocratic and socially elite class in Europe at the time.  With the newly refined camera, from 1839 on, many Queens, Princesses, and Duchess enjoyed posing with their finely embroidered garments. From the point of view of photographic and fashion history, historians are able to date a photograph down to the year, due to the annual shift in trends and additions. Whereas, men’s fashions remained relatively static and unchanged for several years.

In the history of fashion and photography, Lady Hawarden Clementina is widely considered to be the first fashion photographer of all time, daughter of Admiral of Britain’s Royal Navy, Clementina was recognized in her time for her portrait photography as she garnered over eight hundred portraits of her daughters. Her short but prolific career as a photographer gained her many feature exhibitions and awards and made her a prominent photographer of the Victorian Era.



Project | Patterned Photoshop Collage

Use the featured tutorials to guide you in constructing a multi-layered collage image in Adobe Photoshop. The link provided can help you generate and garner multiple patterned samples that you will combine using the Blending Modes within the Layers Panel. A tutorial provides a shortcut view of the original youtube video by Cat Whipple titled, How to Photoshop Collage Art and the original video is embedded here. Create an image in the style depicted in the resource, select a subject from the search term 19th Century Fashion Photography. Collect a variety of vintage photos depicting subjects wearing different articles of Victorian era clothing. Create a vintage scene, complete with patterns, furnishings, in the style presented in the images and tutorials.


Tutorial | Cat Whipple’s Photoshop Collage Layers


mudcube_LogoMudCube Use this online painting tool
to generate a variety of patterns using the apps
pattern and swatches panels. Save the images
to your drive that you will use in the project.


Images Sources

Robe à l’Anglaise, circa 1780, source: Metropolitan Museum of Art

Woman’s Robe with Petticoat, England, circa 1775, source: Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Day Dress, 1820, source, Austen’s Lady Susan, Mores, Manners Fashioning Society

Corset, Petticoat, Sleeve Hoops, 1830 source: Fashion History

Evening Dress, circa 1860, source: Austen’s Lady Susan, Mores, Manners Fashioning Society

Day Dress, 1860, source: Austen’s Lady Susan, Mores, Manners Fashioning Society

Dress with Crinoline, circa 1913. source: Victoria and Albert Museum

The Library Time Machine The first fashion photographer: Clementina, Lady Hawarden, By Dave Walker, retrieved 10.8.2016


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