A Complete Course in Dressmaking/Lesson 1/Correct mourning


Ideas about mourning have changed in the past few years. Now a person wears mourning or not according to their own inclination. The tendency of the times is to wear lighter mourning, and lessen the periods of mourning. However, a few general suggestions may prove helpful.

The Periods of Mourning: A widow wears mourning from one to two years. You will remember that it was only a little while ago when a widow hesitated to take off mourning in the third year, and our grandmothers can remember when it was a life-time proposition. Another thing which has changed about mourning is what was called third mourning. This has been entirely dispensed with.

The period of mourning is divided in two. That is, if a person is going to wear mourning for a year, the first six months deep mourning is worn and the second six months, second mourning. First mourning is mostly black; second mourning black and white. The old-time third mourning, lavender and gray, isn’t necessary now. When a person leaves off black and white, which is second mourning, they may wear any inconspicuous shade they fancy.

Mourning for parents or a child is usually worn one year. And the same is true for a brother or sister. Nowadays, mourning is not worn for any one outside of the immediate family. Of course, one is expected to wear black, or a very dull, inconspicuous costume to a funeral.

First Mourning: Not all black materials are considered appropriate for deep mourning. The choice should be a dull woolen or silk. Woolens considered correct are serge, poplin, gabardine, tricotine, jersey and velour. Silks that may be worn for deep mourning are crepe de chine, Canton crepe, faille, pongee, chiffon and georgette. In cottons, one may choose oxford gingham, black linen, mull, organdie or swiss. Fancy trimmings are to be avoided.

As a person in deep mourning does not attend formal social gatherings, only simple clothes suitable for home and street wear are needed. One may have a woolen suit and several crepe de chine, taffeta and georgette blouses or a dress fairly plain, but made in an approved and becoming style, and a top coat to wear with it.

Even in deep mourning, narrow turn-back collars and cuffs of white are worn. These may be white crepe, but nowadays crepe is not worn as much as heretofore. Batiste, voile or organdie for the collar and cuffs are in equally good taste. These are usually held in place with dull black bar pins. Gold and platinum jewelry is not worn except the wedding and engagement ring. A jet chain is sometimes worn.

The correct mourning hat is small or medium in size. One ought to remember that there is no reason for it being unbecoming. Fancy trimmings are out of place on such a hat. Feathers are never used for mourning. Just a fold of the hat material or crepe is the most appropriate trimming for a first mourning hat. Even in this case, the hat may have the underbrim faced with white. Either white crepe or white georgette is used for this purpose.

Fig. (8) Only a widow wears a long veil.
If a widow chooses, she may wear a long veil. However, many women now feel they would rather dispense with it. When I say long veil, I do not mean extremely long. None of the veils are longer than two yards now. Such a veil is draped across the top of the crown of the hat. It is not worn over the face, except at the funeral. The veils are made of grenadine, crepe, georgette crepe, or net bordered with crepe. The borders are about three inches wide. It is a matter of taste whether or not a face veil is worn with the long veil. No one but a widow wears a a iong veil. The face veil for deep mourning is plain mesh and dered with crepe, one and one-half inches wide. One may have the border of the face veil grosgrain ribbon if preferred. In fact, the crepe is not used on the veil unless the hat is trimmed with crepe.

Mourning handkerchiefs no longer have a deep border of black. Just a very narrow black rolled edge is the approved style.

If one is mourning a parent, a child or a sister or brother, more white is worn with the black. For instance, instead of just the white collar and cuffs, a dress may have a white vest.

All white is considered just as deep mourning as black.

Second Mourning: No crepe is worn in second mourning, and more white is introduced.

It is permissible to wear a white blouse with a black skirt or a black and white dress, as a figured foulard or a black dotted white swiss. White net often is used as trimming in second mourning.

After second mourning, it is wise to choose subdued colors, such as taupe, dark blue and brown before wearing bright colors.