All posts tagged: terminology

The history of bodkings & etui thedreamstress.com1

Terminology: Bodkins & Étui (and scissor terminology and lots more!)

A bodkin, also known as a lacing or threading needle (and occasionally a ballpoint needle, but then it gets confused with the needles we sew knits with), is a large needle with a very large eye, and a very blunt end, used for lacing corsets, threading ribbon through lace beading, cord through casings, or any other time when you need to ‘carry’ a yarn without the chance of poking holes or sewing through something. Bodkin is also occasionally spelled bodekine, bodikin, botkin, bodkine, and boidken. Here is how you thread a bodkin through a casing: To create a bit of confusion, the word bodkin also refers to almost the opposite tool: a sharp, pointed tool for poking holes in leather or fabric (like an awl).  And bodkin is also a decorative hairpin, particularly one that is shaped like a stiletto dagger, and a stiletto dagger is itself a bodkin (keeping up?). A 17th century guide to the tailors tools describes a bodkin of the awl variety as: a blad or or round Pin of Iron fixed in …

Glove terminology thedreamstress.com7

Terminology: Fourchette, quirks and other glove terms

For this terminology post, we’re looking at glove terms: fourchettes, quirks, tranks and points. I love these words just because they are so random and specific.  Other than glove makers and fashion historians, who would know that there are specific words for the different parts of gloves? The main piece of a glove, with the back and front of the glove and the tops and bottoms of the fingers all cut in one, with only one side seam, is the trank.  It’s shown in pretty pink in the photo above. Going between the fingers, and attached to the trank, is the fourchette (in lovely lavender in the coloured photo above), also called the fork or forge which is: A forked strip of material forming the sides of two adjacent fingers of a glove In other words, this bit: It is from the French, for forked, because a fourchette is forked, and allows the fingers to fork. Some fourchettes have an extra little V gusset at the bottom, called a quirk (shown in beautiful blue in the coloured photo) or querk (scrabble players …

Terminology: What is Dazzle?

‘Dazzle‘ (or ‘Razzle-Dazzle, or Dazzle Camouflage) was an early use of camouflage in modern warfare. It looked like this: And this: Starting in WWI, Allied ships, and, less frequently, airplanes, canons and tents, were painted in a series of broken stripes and intersecting geometric shapes – not to hide an object, but to confuse, or ‘dazzle’ the eyes of observers.  The point was not to conceal a ship, but to make it hard to tell precisely what kind of ship it was, where a ship was, which direction it was going in, and how fast it was travelling. The goal of Dazzle, as the British Admiralty explained was: …to make it look as if your stern was where your head ought to be. If you think that a Dazzle painted ship looks like a cubist artwork, you’re absolutely right.  The concept of Dazzle is generally credited to artist Norman Wilkinson (though zooologist John Graham Kerr had earlier proposed a disruption system inspired by animal camouflage). He knew that steamships could not be hidden because of the …