All posts filed under: Learn

Terminology: Sequins vs. Spangles (& their history in fashion)

When I first became really interested in fashion history in my early teens, and poured over historical costuming books and museum catalogues and saw mentions of sequins and spangles I assumed they were the same thing, and that ‘spangle’ was just a posh term for a sequin.  As I studied textiles in university, and began working for museums, I realised that museums generally use very precise, specific terms (hmmmm…I wonder where my love of terminology comes from!), and that a spangle and a sequin might be different things. As I’ve researched sequins and spangles I’ve realised that the use in terminology is sometimes very specific and precise, and that sometimes the terms are used interchangeably (see: how to make a fashion historian grumpy). Many costume books use the terms to mean exactly the same thing, as do some museums.  Some sources that make a distinction describe a spangle as a sequin with the hole at the top edge, rather than in the centre.  Other sources describe a sequin as any decorative disk, while spangles must be metal – so …

Fashion Notes from Paris, the Girls Own Annual, 1928,

Fashion Notes from Paris, 1928

I collect Girls Own Annuals, and recently added a delicious 1928 edition to my collection. It came complete with monthly fashion notes – wherein the latest from Paris is described and adapted for daily wear, and little tips on re-making and using bits and bobs are given. This one in particular caught my eye, first, for the fascinating description of hairpieces, and second, for a great example of 1920s historicism: ‘A Poke Bonnet lined with a lace cap, a la the 18th century’.  The Historicism challenge for the Historical Sew Monthly is gone, but I still love historicism! The ideas for using ribbon remnants and bits of fur are a great illustration of how those without Parisian budgets could stay in the mode. I can’t decide if I want the bonnet, the evening frock with fabulous hip drapery, or the amazing pieced blouse most!  Which is your favourite?

1916 Research

A Fortnight in 1916: the research

It took a LOT of research to spend a Fortnight in 1916 – I spent almost a year accumulating information, reading diaries, and figuring out what was and wasn’t done.  Despite all that, I’m still sure I made plenty of mistakes. One of the real frustrations for me in creating this project, and something that was part of the impetus for it in the first place, is how little published research is available on the New Zealand home front of WWI.  There are a number of books that have chapters on the timeperiod, and much written about the WWI itself, and the politics around the war, in and outside of the country, but not one that I have found about the NZ home front as a whole. The period of 1914-18 would have been a time of huge change within the country even without the war: so many new technologies are introduced at this time.  I’d really love to see more research and writing focused on the domestic side of this period. Here are the resources I used, with …