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18 May 2017

Fabric samples book review

Quite some time ago, I mentioned a new book of mid-18th century fabric samples, intending to write a review of it. And now I've finally completed it.

This book is written in Swedish only; there is no parallel text in English like in "18th Century Textiles". This makes sense, as the samples are all from Swedish factories. Still, it includes a lot of samples from fabric types that may not be published elsewhere. E.g., many of the fabric names below are mentioned in "Textiles in America 1650-1870" - but without pictures.

09 May 2017

An échelle stomacher


1770s(?) stomacher at the Nordic Museum
This stomacher, dated to the 1770s (though may be earlier - see pics below), is in the collection of the Nordic Museum. I found it through the database of Swedish and Norwegian museum artefacts, DigitaltMuseum. The item text says (in translation):
a) Stomacher, triangular with the lower point rounded, out of two layers of white linen with 6 silk rep ribbons sewn on close together, striped in white, red, and pink, each with a bow in the center.
b) and c) Separate bows.
So, this échelle stomacher has two matching bows for attaching to the sleeves, making it a complete set as seen in many period portraits.

There are no photos of the back of the stomacher or the separate bows. The top edge of the linen base seems to curve down slightly, so it won't show above the top ribbon. You can see the linen peek out between the bows, though.

28 April 2017

HSM #4: A very wide apron

Pehr Hilleström: Maid plucking a bird, 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.

14 April 2017

Durán Textiles: new cotton prints in May

A recent news update from Durán Textiles made me think they were going to stop printing period cottons altogether, but later they clarified that they're just discontinuing their current line of screen-prints, to introduce a new line of block-prints. Here's what their site says:
New block prints in May
A small scale production of 10 block prints will be available from mid May. The fabric is a light weight 100% cotton quality, 120 cm width, in a varaity of floral designs. This quality is suitable for period dresses from late 18th century- to mid 19th century. The fabrics are also suitable for folk costume (bunad) aprons.
Several of their current fabrics are mid-18th century, but their new line focuses on later eras that are popular in mainstream historical costuming. I look forward to seeing their new fabrics!

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:

19 March 2017

Durán Textiles: no more printed cottons

For the last 10+ years, Durán Textiles have offered reproductions of 18th century Swedish and US printed cottons, as well as silks woven to historical patterns. As of March 15, 2017, they write on their website:
Selling out cotton prints
The current stock of cotton prints and cotton products will be sold out. There will be no new production. Clients may however make orders on block- or screen prints for minimum 120 meters in any preferred design. For more information please contact laila@durantextiles.com
As far as I can see, they don't offer a price cut. But if you've planned to get one of their fabrics, buy it now as your supplier likely won't be able to restock!

22 November 2015

Mid-18th century fabric samples

A new book showcasing a whole 1500 Swedish fabric samples from the mid-18th century has just been published. This is not a proper review, because I haven't seen the book in person yet (Christmas is over a month away!), so the only information I have is the publisher's presentation. But I'm so excited about it that I wanted to get the word out there straight away.