All posts tagged: 18th century

Miniature, late 1770s

18th century purple

Every once in a while when I post a purple 18th century dress on Instagram someone comments in surprise that they didn’t think there were purple fabrics in the 18th century. The fame of mauvine, and the story of the first aniline dye, means that people sometimes think that it was so exciting because it was the first purple dye.  Not at all!  All shades of purple were already wildly popular before Perkin’s found mauvine, because Queen Victoria had chosen to wear purple at her oldest daughter’s wedding in January 1858, and lilac was fashion trendsetter Empress Eugenie’s favourite colour. Mauvine was exciting because it was a shade that was incredibly hard to dye with natural dyes, and was cheaper and faster than natural alternatives. There were indeed natural alternatives, and purple fabrics were absolutely available before 1859, and in the 18th century. Here’s a quick survey of extant garments, paintings, and fashion plates from the second half of the 18th century showing purple garments, as well as some fabric samples.  I’ve arranged them chronologically. …

Scroop Patterns + Virgil's Fine Goods Amalia Jacket

Jenni’s Amalia Jacket: a costuming community collaboration

When it came time to make samples for the Scroop + Virgil’s Fine Goods Amalia Jacket pattern I was in a bit of a quandary.  I made View A in my size, knowing Elisabeth would fit, and look absolutely stunning, in it. I really wanted my friend Jenni to model View B.  Jenni is a fabulous model – and I’ve tempted her into the dark and full of handsewing world of historical costuming, so she actually has a reason to have a personal Amalia Jacket.   But asking your model to make her own garment is more than a wee bit cheeky!  And Jenni has a rather full life of her own. She’s also been quite busy for the past year and then some illustrating a massive book, ‘Heart of Flame: Katherine Mansfield’s Flowers and Trees’, and then launching her first exhibition. So I offered her an Amalia & petticoat in return for her modelling it.  She gets a pretty 18th century ensemble, I got a gorgeous model, and got to give back to Jenni …