Showing posts with label HSM. Show all posts
Showing posts with label HSM. Show all posts

02 September 2018

HSM 2018 #8: The trimmed underpetticoat

A partridge petticoat in a pear plum tree.
My project is inspired by a petticoat in the collections of the Chester County Historical Society, depicted and patterned in Sharon Burnston's book "Fitting & Proper".

Chester County is situated in southeastern Pennsylvania in the US; a fun twist is that the town of Chester was originally founded by Swedes and named Upland, after the Swedish county where I live. Quakers were the county's largest social group in the 18th century, but Germans also had a strong influence on the material culture.

16 June 2018

HSM 2018 #3: A frumpy Swedish bedgown

My bedgown, folded in half along the center back.
There are several scaled-down patterns based on extant Swedish bedgowns. Some of them are in the popular book "Kvinnligt mode under två sekel" which can be found in many Swedish libraries, and there are a couple of free patterns online in Duran Textiles' newsletters (here and here).

In spite of this, I chose to spend $30 on a full-scale pattern, that is 15 years old to boot…

10 March 2018

HSM 2018 #2: The Amazing Garsault Stays

My Garsault stays, worn over a working class shift and an
under-petticoat from a 1990s Ikea fabric based on an 18th
century print (sadly not in the authentic red/black colorway).
There are four amazing things about these stays:
  • They fit me.
  • They're done.
  • I think it's a clever cut.
  • The cut comes from a well-known book of the period—but has gone unnoticed in the costuming world anyway!

There are also some not at all amazing aspects, mostly because I've been cutting corners:

13 December 2017

HSM 2017 #12: 'Parisian pearls' necklace

how to thread a 17th/18th style faux pearl necklace
my necklace
18th century ladies are occasionally portraited wearing pearl necklaces, often with quite large pearls which were probably fakes. The necklaces were tied with ribbons, the bow is occasionally visible in portraits. They're mainly documented for wear with the early mantua, and later with the robe à la francaise.

Pearl necklaces are quick and easy to make, as an alternative to the puffed ribbon necklaces often seen in the mid-18th century. They make a nice accent in an outfit or for accessorizing a period dressing scene.

27 June 2017

HSM 2017 #6: 'Metal' bobbin lace

My 'silver' lace, 2 cm (3/4") wide
Traditional metal bobbin lace is made from metal thread, which consists of a thin metal strip wrapped around silk thread. Today's 'metal' thread is wrapped with metallized plastic instead. (Experimental bobbin lace today sometimes uses solid metal wires, which is a completely different thing).

Metal lace is relatively coarse compared to linen lace, and typically uses simpler, non-figurative, designs. Heather Toomer explains in "Antique Lace" (2001) that the stiffness of the metal threads makes them unsuitable for complicated designs (page 119). Still, styles changed over time, just as for other lace.

28 April 2017

HSM 2017 #4: A very wide apron

Maid plucking a bird
(Pehr Hilleström, circa 1776)
A while back, I found a piece of vintage linen with nice selvages at the local thrift shop, and thought it would make a good 1770s working apron. I wanted an apron that a kitchen maid or wife in a lower middle class household might wear while doing chores.  She would likely have sewn it herself, rather than paying a seamstress.

Unfortunately, 18th century Swedish body linens were rarely preserved for posterity. As far as I know, there are a few shirts and some royal baby clothes, but no women's shifts or linen aprons. One of the reasons for this is that the paper mills used linen rags as their raw material, and from 1738 and on, a law required each Stockholm household to deliver a certain quantity of linen rags to the paper mill—otherwise they would be fined. This may have improved the inflow of rags to paper mills in the 18th century, but it doesn't exactly benefit today's historical dressmakers. So we have to turn to other sources of inspiration instead.

09 April 2017

The Peacock Scale

In thinking about how to grade historical accuracy, I realized that not all aspects of accuracy are equal. If the over-all impression of a garment is strikingly inaccurate, it doesn't really help if a closer examination shows that the details are correct (e.g., consider a hand-sewn 18th century shift made from shock pink linen).

So, IMHO some requirements are more basic than others, and need to be fulfilled before I can get "accuracy points" for other aspects—sort of like a parallel to Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

From there, I came up with this four-level scale as a guide to self-grading my historical garments:

31 October 2015

HSM 2015 #10: The 'Secret Date' Shift

Today, there are books, patterns, and blogs, that document the construction and sewing techniques of garments that have survived for centuries. There are reprints of period fabrics, dealers that specialize in historical fabrics and notions, and people who use traditional dyes to dye fabric.

As a result, period garments can be reproduced more accurately than ever before. But, some of the reproduction garments that are sewn today, might also survive for centuries. It's easy to tell them from extant garments today, when the copy is new and the original is old - but how will a collector or museum tell them apart in the year 2215, when reproductions and extants both have aged for centuries?

If a recreated garment is mistaken for a period garment, it will skew the knowledge of period garments. Will museums and collectors have to use carbon dating in the future, to ascertain which garments are truly from the period?