All posts tagged: terminology

Terminology: What are Bizarre silks?

Bizarre silks are silk fabrics (obviously) that were fashionable in Europe from the mid 1690s to the 1720s.  They featured large, asymmetrical designs, vivid colours, fantastical floral designs which were Oriental in inspiration, and an emphasis on the diagonal ‘serpentine line’ which would later come to characterise the Rococo style.  The first bizarre silks were woven in Lyons, France, but by the early 1700s they were also being made in Spitalfelds, England, and to a lesser extent in Italy. The name ‘Bizarre Silks’ is not period – it wasn’t used until 1957 when art historian Dr. Vilhelm Sloman coined the term to describe the style.  Dr Sloman believed that bizarre silks were made in India and imported into Europe, but subsequent scholarship has made it clear that they were exclusively produced in Europe. According to my research, there is no particular set of term that was used in the late 17th & 18th centuries for the fabric design – they might be described as Oriental, but generally they were just the popular style, and no particular distinction …

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 …