All posts tagged: terminology

High heels for kings, empresses and Nana

For my Historical Sew Fortnightly ‘The Politics of Fashion’ challenge I present a carry-on from my Art submissions.  I’ve knocked off another little bit of Manet’s Nana’s outfit by making high heeled 1877 evening shoes. Like Nana’s shoes, mine feature very high Louis heels, a black velvet or suede ground (mine are faux suede), and gold decorations on the toes – I went for gold lace with gold beading. I made my shoes by taking a pair of 1990s shoes that had the right basic silhouette, and (most importantly) the right heel: a high Louis heel. Unfortunately, they were cut far too high in the foot, so I had to cut them down. Then I bound the edges (an endeavor that required pliers to pull the needles through, bent one and broke two) where I had cut them. Next, it was time for the lace.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have any suitable gold lace in the stash because I de-stashed my 1990s gold bridal lace bits because (duh) they were 1990s gold bridal lace bits, and when was …

The HSF ’14: Challenge #16: Terminology

Of all the challenges in the HSF 2014, Challenge #16, due 1 September, is probably the one I’m most excited about.  The theme is Terminology: pick something that’s been defined in the The Great Historical Fashion & Textile Glossary, and sew it up! Terminology posts aren’t the most popular things I write, but they have been my favourite things to write the last few years.  I’m a serious history nerd, so I always want to know exactly what something means in a historical sense, and why it means that.   I’ve really enjoyed researching each of the terms, so that I could not only define it, but understand where it fit into the societal context of the day, and how the term would be used in relation to similar items of clothing.  I’ve also really enjoyed the guests posts which usually explore a term and a textile from an era I don’t usually work in.  Whether through my own research and posts, or through guests posts, I’ve learned so much in researching each term, and hopefully some of you have found the …

Terminology: What is ramie or nettle cloth?

When I made my fairytale inspired nettle smock, I promised to write a terminology post for ramie.  It’s taken me a little longer than expected, and I wish I’d been able to find more extent period examples of garments from nettle fabrics, but here ’tis.  Enjoy! Ramie is the generic name for a bast fibre fabric made from the stems of plants in the wider nettle family.  It is also known as nettle cloth, china grass cloth, grass linen, and rhea.  Most of these names denote a specific plant source for the fibre.  Nettle cloth usually indicates fabric from the European Urtica dioica, the stinging nettle.  China grass cloth comes from white ramie, and is considered to be better quality than rhea, which comes from green ramie). Most of the ramie that is sold today is china grass/white ramie, and comes from the plant Boehmeria nivea, native to China and Japan, but widespread throughout Asia from ancient times.  Both white and green ramie were used historically across Asia.  Nettle fabric in Europe was made from stinging nettles.  In this post I will …