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 fortunately 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
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.

31 October 2015

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?