All posts tagged: 18th century

HSM16 #1: The chiné a la b’retch petticoat

Have you ever been obsessed with a period garment made from very unusual fabric, and, of course, you’re heartbroken, because you think you’ll never have the chance to recreate it, because where would you get that fabric? That was me with 18th century chiné a la branche. I’ve loved ikat in all its forms since I was given a hand-woven ikat skirt when I first started sewing, but chiné is definitely my favourite. But so hard to find! And then, three years ago, ikat became fashionable, and Wellington’s The Fabric Store started having the occasional bolt of silk or silk blend chiné.  Oh, the temptation!  But none of it was quite right : wrong blend, very modern pattern, colours that are only achievable with modern dyes, etc. And then, they had a short bolt of this: Oooh! So I snapped up everything they had, which was only 2.3m.  I really wanted to make a française, but at least I had a bit, so could do a pet en l’aire if nothing else. The idea of a …

Rate the Dress: A man in stripes, spots, lattice & lace

Last week I showed you a Gilbert Adrian dress with a simple silhouette and a muted photographic print of bread and milk.  Alas, quite a few of you found the colours, silhouette, and print a total dud, dragging the rating down to a disappointing 6.5 out of 10. I think the dress lost a lot in the translation of time: for us, photographic fabric prints are common, and thus uninteresting, an the use of mundane images on fabric has been done multiple times.  In 1951 photographic printing on fabric was groundbreaking, and pop art was still half a decade away.  While novelty print fabrics featuring food and kitchen tools were very popular, Adrian’s use of an everyday scene in muted colours turns both the novelty trope and the classical tradition of still-lifes on its head.  (Obviously I thought the dress was incredibly clever, subtle and bold, both less and more in exactly the right ways.  On a tall, slightly curvy woman with Hepburn-esque colouring and attitude?  Oh my!  It would make every other woman at the afternoon …

Rate the Dress: 1770s pretty in prints

Last week I showed you an 1880s gown in persimmon orange brocade with a slightly historical flavour.  While orange can be tricky, the fabric was generally popular.  The sleeves, however, were generally un-popular, and most opinions found it very nice, but not spectacular.  A few of you loved it, but a few of you hated it, balancing the rating at a 7.1 out of 10 – which seems a pretty fair assessment of the general feeling toward it. Since the warm persimmon orange of last week’s frock was so popular last week, I thought I’d stay in the warm, autumn-y colour range for this week’s Rate the Dress.  This ca. 1775 robe a la francaise from the MFA Boston features a busy cotton print with a dark red ground.  The MFA have chosen to pair the dress with a cream border printed (or painted) cotton petticoat. Cotton was still a luxury fabric in the last quarter of the 18th century, and the heavy glazed cotton  of this dress was likely to have been a particularly expensive cotton: …