Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Hippy-Hooray! A Pair of Hip Pads to Attach Directly to the Stays

Completed hip pads pinned to stays.
It's not too easy to find extant hip pads, those second and third quarter of the eighteenth century tubelike or boxy protuberances worn over the stays to give the hips, and the skirts over them, a little extra oomph and ooh là là. Some mantua makers sell them, such as the Village Green Clothier, and some reenactors have made them, including a pair recently made by Kitty Calash. Among costumers, the larger pannier, made with cane or boning, are quite popular and create a dramatic hip line.

The circa 1770 English gown I am making is designed for fairly relaxed, informal day wear, so while I made a pair of panniers some years ago, methought semi-dramatic hips were more in order than gargantuan basket hips. Sarah Jane Meister, from whom I purchased my stays, sweetly sent the remnant of pink linen that the stays were covered with, so I took that and designed a pair of hip pads.

Historical Hip Pads

Many of you may already be familiar with the Boston Museum of Fine Art's banana-bright pads, complete with their original, worn strings. They were my immediate inspiration, and it would have been fun to have made them with yellow chintz, 'cept I didn't have any of that.

I was also a little leery of strings and more strings around the waist:

  • 1 pair of pads
  • 1 decency petticoat
  • 2 regular under petticoats
  • 1 outer petticoat
equals five sets of tapes, equals extra inches and a nearly sure rat's nest of knots.


Hip rolls. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. 43.1275a,b.
Though guess what? The tape ties are made of wool!  Ha, ha! Evidence that I can use my handspun wool on the tape loom to make narrow tape ties as needed.

Anyhow, the excess string business. What to do about it? Then I found the stays below in the Met's collection, and lo, there were hip pads attached to them already, sans strings. Wish answered.

Stays, 1750-75, European. C.I.39.13.206a, b, Met.




Stays, third quarter of the eighteenth century. Probably Spanish. C.I.39.13.211. Met.
Do you see the pretty remnant of block-printed fabric used to create the European pads? What fun, what good use of scraps.

I've peered and peered at these images, and believe that they are tacked to the stays with thread. The dimples in the pad fabric lead me to believe that. Something else to notice: these pads are not exactly works of art. The pads on the Spanish stays are compact and nicely shaped, a bit like kidney beans. The European pads are apparently rectangles of fabric stuffed, and none too neatly. These were purely utilitarian addenda to the human shape :}

The Hip Pads, Drafted

My cues for shape are the MFA pads. Because the pads form a crescent, it seemed to me that the skirts would like more neatly and naturally on them than on sudden squarish bumps.  Here's how I did them.

A blog post about the making of a farthingale roll, I think, gave me the needed tip. Sure wish I had written down or remembered the maker in order to give them credit!

First, the stays were donned, and the waist measured. Then I laid out the measuring tape in a waist-like ring on a piece of paper, and sketched in the rough shape of my waist in stays. Then I drew in a pad shape on one side of the "waistline". I estimated the Boston pads at about three inches wide at their widest. Drawing the shape into a crescent was easy: you can see that it's rather natural to do this given the shape of the waist.


Next, I cut out the pad shape with scissors.


It was folded in half and the shape evened out so that both ends matched.


Fascinating, eh?

Next, using the cut-out as a template, I draw around its edges on a fresh piece of paper. I added one inch all around to account for the depth -- the thickness -- of the resulting pad.


Then I added another one inch all around for a seam allowance. The wide seam allowance gave me lots of room to tweak the shape and thickness of the pads if needed.


There, the pattern was finished.

The Hip Pads Take Shape

The rest is pretty straightforward. Following the pattern, four pieces were cut out of the pink linen.


I sewed up each pad with linen thread, leaving a little hole in each for turning them right side out and stuffing them. The boys' toy car is in the photo for kicks and giggles.







The pads are stuffed with alpaca, which is all I have at the moment. The stuffing is not crammed in, so that at some point the alpaca can be spun...the stuffing would then become down from one of our very old, ready-to-be-retired pillows.
The Final Pads

Here they are, pinned to the stays:




A rather fun little project. Straightforward and unfussy.

Next, a plain, narrow decency petticoat to wear just above the stays.  Before I leave you, a little boy and kitty silliness. Christopher rests his head on Muffin, all soft and warm, and reads as she  naps. Bliss for both.



Ciao!

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Finished Tape from the Tape Loom, and Spinning Wool...What Are We Up To?

It's done, the first handwoven tape from the tape loom -- actually an English trim loom -- and I report that making it was a pleasure.

J. K. Seidel, who made my loom, prewarped it for me and started a tape so that I could learn from the already woven bit. The pattern is reminiscent of the American flag, and is just right for the boys to use as lanyards, bows for their stuffed animals, or ginormous bookmarks.

Weaving these tapes does take a little thought and care; beating the just-woven row at an angle or not keeping an even tension on the warp threads will cause the result to lean and the width of the tape to vary. It's also good to be on the watch for feline paws; Muffin has become expert at nabbing the finished end of my work.

Nevertheless, after awhile the fingers do learn their work and you can chat or, as I do, monitor the boys as they do their homework, while weaving. It's a meditative, peaceful activity, and it doesn't mind interruptions.

Here we are, at the end of the warp threads: they are knotted to a narrow brass bar. The ribbon tucked into the loom is used as a strap to keep the loom stationary during weaving.



Here's a sample of the tape in the process of being pawed, and then test-chewed, by Muffin. You can see small variations in the width of the tape. The pattern is achieved by the warp threads pretty much alone. The warp on a trim loom is all pulled together and held that way by the turns of the weft through the outer threads of the warp. There is nothing to keep the warp threads spaced out so that the weft shows. Thus the warp is all one sees, except at the very edges of the tape. The result is a very strong, durable fabric.


So, what next? Another tape, natuerlich, but this one using a fine linen thread, probably a 20/2 thread suitable for fine weaving, or maybe a 16/2 thread. Note: the higher the first number, the finer the thread; the second number refers to the number of plies in the finished thread. A "1" means there is no plying and the thread is straight from being spun. It's not too strong and thus not right for tapes. A "2" means 2-ply, and that can be used in fine linen weaving.

A Tape to Close a Petticoat...and Where the Costuming Hobby Is Heading

Ah, you say, so that's it. You're weaving tapes for a period costume. Well, so I am. These next tapes will be the ties for a late 1760s-early 1770s petticoat, and the two under petticoats that support them. I've got the design well in hand for the gown to go over them, and Hallie Larkin's 18th century English gown pattern to construct it with. The cap and the handkerchief for the ensemble are done. I'll be writing more about the ensemble as the months pass.

At this juncture in my experiments with period dressmaking, I am interested in the bones of the textiles that make up an ensemble. It's as if I started costuming, years ago, at the top of a tree, all fascinated by fluff and flutter among the leaves and blossoms. Then I turned to the construction, how the branches and the trunk created the tree's shape. Now I am interested in the bark and sapwood, the heartwood and the sap itself, the fibers and fluids that form the tree and make it live and grow.

Why are tapes strong? How does linen thread feel? Why is it so "crunchy" when it's first woven, and how is it softened up? How are patterns made? What about color? These are the questions this next project asks.

Other Bone-sy Projects: Spinning and Indigo Dyeing

Detail of one of the spinning wheels Dad and Letitia gave me.
Couldn't I leave well enough alone with the tapes? No, no. Weaving and spinning go together; they are the backbone of women's work throughout recorded and pre-recorded history. If I am going to weave anything, and handle thread, I should understand how the threads got the way they did and why they act the way they do. Enter spinning.

Learning to spin, I begin to understand fibers, and how over the ages humanity has learned to take advantage of each fiber's nature to make yarn and threads durable, shiny, soft, tough, cushy-cozy, and mirror-smooth. I learn about twist, and how it affects everything that is woven or knitted or knotted.

Will I use the spun thread? Of course: off it goes into tapes, at least.

Actually, there's another, simpler reason for testing out spinning. I have a spinning wheel, and another arriving next week, both gifts from my parents, and two drop spindles. Really now, should they sit as decor to be dusted? That would be a shame. The wheels want to be used, and when I see friends Jane and Caroline spinning, the urge to join in is so strong.

The rest of that spinning wheel. You see why it's wanting to be loved and used? It's pretty in a cozy sort of way.
Simplest of all, I HAVE to learn. I've been tapped to help with our church's Vacation Bible School this summer. One of the responsibilities includes demonstrating drop spinning. Not knowing diddly squat, since a short spinning class when I was a teenager hardly counts, my friend Jane and I had a lesson a few weeks back from a professional spinner (what a nifty person!), with more to come, and now am practicing up for this summer, so the resulting yarn won't fall apart immediately, like last year's did :}

An eastern European drop spindle. Am slowly filling it with wool yarn spun from
some handsome creamy wool "top". Some of the yarn is nice, some
is pretty slubby.
Fruits of the spin: a fuzzy slub and some decent yarn.
Then there's indigo. Jane wants to dye with indigo again, as she did years ago, and I started hopping up and down, begging to be able to help her. So, yay! Sometime before it gets to hot out we're going to set up the process outdoors, and I'll dye enough linen for a petticoat, plus a bit extra for some throw pillow backs. From all I've read, it's a strange and fascinating process, and reminds us just how involved the creation of non-bleedy colors can be.

So there we are, a nice big bunch of different skills to mess with. I wonder where they will lead, these paths?

(By the way, I haven't forgotten about the cap and what I learned from its construction. The post is mostly written, but needs editing and for some reason, I just can't seem to get going on it.)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Journal Journey into the Year 1811: La Belle Assemblée, March


The March issue of La Belle Assemblée is reporting on April, and it's clear that in 1811, April was definitely springtime. There's lots of color, lots. Here though, here in Kentucky, right now the snowdrops are still blooming under the onslaught of yet another round of sleet. Yesterday was so warm we went coatless and played in the sunshine. Today is leaden. A good day to curl up with a magazine and consider colors like jonquille, don't you think?

Before we start, don't forget to read the London report from Ackerman's, and those from Weimar and Paris.

  • Sabine in Weimar: Journal des Luxus und der Mode
  • Alessandra in Paris: Journal des Dames et des Mode
  • Maggie, in London: Ackermann's

The March issue includes three articles spanning pages 156 to 158. The articles are transcribed below, with a few notes and comments.

FASHIONS FOR APRIL, 1811.

EXPLANATION OF THE PRINTS OF FASHION.

ENGLISH COSTUME.
No. 1. -- A Ball Dress.

A white sarsnet or satin petticoat, with short sleeves; over which is worn a body and drapery of light-blue gauze, formed in three points, or vandykes over the petticoat, reaching nearly to the bottom, the ends finished with white silk tassels; it is crossed over the figure in front towards the left side, and fastened in tufts, or bows, of the same colour; a short sash, tied in a bow on the left side; sleeves looped up in the front of the arm. The bottom of the petticoat trimmed in vandykes to correspond. White silk stockings, with blue kid shoes. The hair twisted up behind, and dressed in full curls, ornamented with a bandeau of light-blue twisted crape and roses. White kid gloves.



No. 2. -- A Walking Dress.


Round dress of cambric muslin, with a ruff collar, trimmed round the bottom with narrow purple ribband; cassimere crimson mantle, confined close to the neck, lined with purple silk, embroidered round the neck, cape and sides with purple fancy border; a deep cape falling from the shoulders, sloping to a narrow point, with tassels. A crimson velvet bonnet, turban front, and trimmed with purple to correspond. York tan gloves. Yellow kid boots.

GENERAL OBSERVATIONS ON FASHION AND DRESS.

Independent of the season of Lent, which, among the serious and well-judging, is never entirely delivered up to the idle dominion of fancy, Fashion herself seems to have put on a more sedate and consistent aspect, and to have discovered that in the production of such an endless variety of new and contradictory modes, she has submitted to the wild vagaries of fancy, rather than followed the dictates of good taste. It is an incessant desire of novelty that leads the manufacturer and milliner into inventions full of absurdity which are, nevertheless, adopted with the most extravagant applause, but are as quickly followed by satiety and disgust. A new set of artificers start up, invent new methods to please, still more grotesque than the former, and depart still further from simplicity and nature than those who first ventured from its paths into the wilds of fancy, till overwhelmed with new inventions, which succeed and efface each other with incredible rapidity, we scarcely know where we are, and cast back our eager eyes to that period when true taste reigned under the empire of nature. It was this momentary self-possession, this retrograde motion, which led us to adopt the simple and graceful costume of the Greeks and Romans, and thus extricated ourselves at once from a labyrinth of folly and fanciful extravagance. 

During the past month short pelisses, for the most part of purple velvet, lined with white sarsnet, have been most prevailing; they are made with plain collars, and exactly to meet from the throat to the bottom; the waists of the pelisses are joined to the skirts, which admits of their fitting closer to the bust, and is a considerable advantage to the shape; a band of the same, pinned before, confines the  waist; they are trimmed round the bottom with a deep French lace. Short mantles are also considered very elegant; and spencers, as usual, with the return of spring put in their claim for fashionable approbation; we have observed several of dove-coloured velvet, trimmed with swansdown, and many in blue satin, and as the season advances we expect to see them yield to those of sarsnet or muslin lined. Variegated chip hats in the cottage form seem to be advancing into notice, the small cottage shape, sufficiently raised from the face to admit underneath a rosette of lace or a small bunch of hyacinths, primroses, or other spring flower, whether in chip, satin, or straw, is decidedly the most admired. In carriages, caps are very numerous, they are made in broad yellow sarsnet ribband and lace, brought forward on the face, flat on the head, and projecting behind in the form of a cone, the crown is formed by a round of lace, the cap must be formed so as to give the appearance of length to the head, the crown rather tapers, the ears are left uncovered, strings confine it under the chin, and a small knot of flowers, or long rosette of lace, ornaments the front; a deep black lace square veil thrown over the head is much worn by elegant people. A hat in the form of a crown, with a broad band of gold above the temples, and rich gold tassels suspended from the top, either in dove, coloured beaver or green velvet, is much worn in carriages, to which they are exclusively confined, call the Regency hat.

Spencers and pelisses are worn trimmed with rich silk Brandenburgs.

For morning dress the gowns are made high in the neck, to button up the back, without collars, mostly in cambric or moss muslin, they are considered equally elegant, either entirely plain or much let in with lace and work; a small jacket, set in to the band, is a graceful addition to the dress. Caps are indispensable, as are Roman boots of white Morocco. Small muslin aprons are greatly admired.

For home or dinner dresses, sarsnets, Merino crapes, Opera nets made high, with long sleeves, and small falling collar of lace, trimmed round the hands with the same, are by far the most approved, imperial and Spanish bombazeens may probably be considered of too close a texture for the season, they are, however, as is also velvet, still worn among the most fashionable circles.

In full or evening dress, the bosoms of the dresses are cut square and rather low, the backs inclining higher, the sleeves universally short, the trains of moderate length. Coloured satin or sarsnet bodies are very numerous, with a narrow shell edging laid plain on round the bosom and sleeves. White satin dresses seem to meet with the most fashionable approval, or black lace over white satin; coloured slips seem to be reserved for a more advanced season. Gossamer nets, figured white gauze are in high estimation.

The small lace Opera tippet is a reigning favourite, particularly in full dress. In public, where you are liable to be exposed to a current of air, the satin or swansdown tippet may be more appropriate. Beads are much worn on the hair, a double row twisted across the temple, terminating in tassels on one side; as are Spanish turbans, or Scotch hat, with a point in front confined down with a brilliant pin, the hat trimmed and edged with beads; full tiaras of flowers, pearls, or silver foil. Small lace handkerchiefs tied behind the ear, the point disposed so as to fall on one side of the face.

Among the newest articles worthy of the notice of the fashionable world, are the Regency Spots, or the beautiful Bottilla grounds, for ladies' morning dresses; these have an agreeable effect, having a pleasing fall, and giving a graceful effect to the shape. Also a new style of Doyles, of rich and elegant designs, adapted both for dinner and super parties. A superior article of this description has long been wanted, and were happy to announce its appearance; these articles are bought at the house of MILLARD, in the City.

No change has taken place in the mode of wearing the hair; we think it something between the Sappho and Madona; it is combed smooth over the forehead, divided and curled in large flat curls on each side; it is twisted as low in the neck behind as possible, rolled or braided round, and confined with gold or other ornamental combs.

The Roman boot of white morroco, and Kemble slipper, are the only varieties in part of the dress.

There is no variation in the style of jewelry. Necklaces in sapphire, emeralds, garnets, topaz, amber, pearls, or diamonds, &c. blended with gold, or long gold chains, with a variety of trinkets suspended, and earrings in the drop form to correspond, are alike worn. Our [italics]belles[italics] begin to exert their taste in the choice of bracelets, those of large pearl with emeralds, clasps, or elastic gold are at present the most admired. The watches are worn small, richly chased, with gold and pearl chains, with transparent Ceylon seals.

The prevailing colors for the season are, purple, primrose, jonquille, green, pink, blue, and dove.


OBSERVATIONS ON PARISIAN FASHIONS AND DRESS.
EXTRACTED FROM "LE JOURNAL DES DAMES", OF FEBRUARY AND MARCH

Some velvet demi-pelisses are yet worn, and the most elegant thing of this kind, which we have yet seen, which seems determined, in spite of the unusual warmness of the weather, to assert the wintry prerogative of the generally boisterous month of March, is a kind of green pelisse made of fine Merino cloth, its color is between the deep Spanish fly-green and the Pomona; pelisses and mantles of this beautiful colour are generally trimmed with sable or Astracan fur.

The French have lately manufactured a trimming which they called tulle, and we believe it is the same which we call patent lace, but of a much finer and more valuable texture. This tulle is not made on a cushion, according to the tedious process of lace-making; but on a machine, in the same manner as our British lace; and we rather imagine that our idea of making patent lace was taken from it; for the Sieur Genton produced the first specimens of this invention thirty years ago. In 1791, a brevet of invention (similar to our patents), was given to Monsieurs Jolivet and Cochet, of Lyons, for the fabrication of tulle.

The hair elegantly dressed seems to be preferred in evening costume to any other headdress; yet we have remarked some caps of embroidered chenille on white satin, ornamented with an embroidered ribband of the same pattern, in a large bow; this bow is of various forms; chiefly long, and forming two distinct rows; between which a large oblong curl of hair is introduced. Black caps are also much worn, both in plain velvet, or with lace elegantly introduced between, which gives them a light and airy appearance; but for full-dress, the chief covering for the hair is mostly flowers and velvet, on rich caps of patent lace; the gossamer Merino crape in a light wave over one side of the head; or a turban a la Turque, of fine India muslin or white crape.

For public spectacles, however, and large evening parties, a bandeau of different coloured gems, or the hair full dressed, without any ornament, is most prevalent. Those ladies whose hair is not naturally fine, and who do not wish to have recourse to false hair, wear much the Minerva cap, ornamented with a plume of white ostrich feathers; and to the turbans and demi-tubans, they add flowers of crape, velvet, or foil; the only established rule for varying the fashion, is to suit the colour of the flowers and jewels to that of the hair and the gown.

White gossamer satin and crape caps are also worn; they are made to fit exactly to the head, with an half wreath of full flowers, of roses or jonquille. And we cannot dismiss this article without saying one word of the Egyptian head-dress; two large plaits of hair cover the top of the head from one ear to the other; these braids are mingle with a ribband of the same thickness, and their hair and ribband are drawn together in the middle; and between the twisted curls in front and the plaits, are a few light ornaments of pearls or diamonds. Some black velvet caps seem to rival these head-dresses, and have a trimming of gold lace next to the face. During the spring weather experienced in March, a few green caps made their appearance, with a wreath of white roses.

The Swedish tippets, and the fur pelerines, vanished with the cold. Merino shawls, and even the thin Pekin wrap, spensers, and scarf shawls, made their appearance during the mild weather.

Notes

Aprons: once again this month aprons appear. The General Observations article says in the paragrah on morning dress that "small muslin aprons are greatly admired". I assume that these are more an accessory than a work apron :}

Ball and dinner dress: both the fashion plate and the General Observations article show that it's the bodices (bodies) that sport the color. White satin dresses are the "most approved", or black lace over white, or white net or figured (embroidered) gauze. In the case of the fashion plate, the bodice is separate from the petticoat altogether: it's blue gauze, while the petticoat is either white satin or white gauze. Colored slips that would show through a net or gauze or lace layer are not worn and "seem to be reserved for a more advanced season" -- late spring or summer, it seems. So, at least in full dress, colors are restrained, like the fashion for spring pastels that comes up fairly often in the 20th and 21st centuries. Stronger or more overall colors are for warmer, more colorful seasons.

Boots: for outdoor wear they are very popular. Last month we read about nankeen boots. This month "Morocco" -- I assume a type of leather -- boots are mentioned.

Brandenburg: what is this? In the General Observations article the Brandenburg trims outerwear: spencers and pelisses.

Buttoned dress: the general observations section remarks that morning dresses have high plain necks and button up the back. I am assuming that the buttons are confined to the bodice, as we see pretty often in extant garments?

Caps: carriage caps, as described in the general observations section, sound really strange: close-fitting, flat on top, and sticking out at the back in the shape of a cone. I have yet to find a picture of one of these. Caps (the nature undescribed) are a must with morning/day wear. This is right in line with what we see in paintings and fashion plates.

Colors this month are shifting. While the purples and reds of earlier remain, spring colors are appearing: dove (a warm gray), blue, yellow, jonquille (a bright yellow), green, white.

An example of chip construction in an 18th century hat.
From the Snowshill collection: The Hidden Wardrobe blog.
Cottage hats: these are made in straw, satin (buckram underneath?) and chip. Chip means, as you might guess, long thin strips of wood, woven into a hat. Chip was used at least from the 18th century. Apparently the brim was set high enough to have flowers or lace pinned there. I need to find some examples.

Fabrics are changing too. The magazine remarks that while velvet is still worn ("still worn abong the most fashionable circles"), as it's not terribly warm yet, after all, and Merino crape (a wool fabric), and satin,, thinner fabrics like sarsnet and muslin will take over. I find it interesting that velvet is worn in March and April. In our current era, we tend to drop very wintery fabrics a little earlier, though we wear wool right up until warm weather arrives.

Flowers, a sure sign of spring, appear in the hair and on hats.

  • In this month's ball ensemble, the hair is worn with a bandeau of "light blue twisted crape and roses". Looking at the plate, it appears that a narrow, long length of the crape is fairly tightly twisted -- it's not puffy -- and then a few roses -- most likely of paper -- are tacked at the crown, so that the leaves are at the center and the flowers just offset. Simple and effective.
  • Flowers also appear on chip hats, under the brim and not on top of it: hyacinths, primroses, or other spring flower". In this case the flowers are specifically spring flowers. This tells me that the fashion must be for naturalism and colors and shapes directly referencing the current season more than abstract designs of flowers.
  • Flowers in the hair are just as popular in Parisian fashion.

Hair: pretty much the same as last month. Note the hairstyle names, one Greek, one Romantic: Sappho and Madona.

Jewelry: both plates this month show small-scale jewelry. The ball ensemble model wears tiny drops, the day dress model wears small-scale hoops. This is in line with last month's note that the fashion is moving towards smaller scale. The description in General Observations also mentions small scale.

Lace rosettes: last month introduced a new fashion for lace made into rosettes. It's still a thing. This month, lace rosettes appear under cottage bonnets and carriage caps.

Moss muslin: as in "gowns...mostly in cambric or moss muslin". Assuming that the "moss" is not a color, but a treatment of the fabric.

Net and tulle: Nets were mentioned in January and February and again here. So far this year, they are perennial. They seen generally for more elegant occasions, although the General Observations states that Opera net may be for "home or dinner dresses". By "home" I am thinking this means a nice dress worn to be ready for visitors (callers).

Regency hat: The Prince Regent has a hat named for him already, less than a month into his reign. This one is crown-shaped -- no surprise there, and is worn in the carriage. Carriages are for the gentry and upper classes, and carriage wear is ornate, so this is a fancy hat.

Regency Spots: advertised this month as a fashionable fabric along with the "Botilla" ground. Both of these appear to be fabrics with either a pattern woven in or printed on.

Round dress: this month's day dress is a round dress. By that is meant that that the dress isn't a wrap dress or a dress that buttons down the front or back, but is closed all the way around. It's too bad that we cannot see the entire thing, but it does have a standing pleated lace "ruff" collar.

Spencers and jackets: the magazine says that spencers are warmer-weather garments, where pelisses were what was popular in wintertime. A useful note for costumers. The observation that a jacket to accompany a plain morning dress is "a graceful addition" is interesting. How is a jacket different than a spencer? Does is have or lack buttons? Or is there really no difference? Is it of the same fabric? Note that a similar shift is occurring in Paris, per Le Journal des Dames.

Tippets: they're still around, they're in satin and swansdown or lace, all lighter than winter fur tippets.

Tulle: the article copied from Le Journal des Dames highlights the introduction of a new fabric, tulle, which remains popular for formal and bridal wear even now. Until this period net fabrics were a bit more rudimentary; tulle, by contrast, is finer, and less expensive, because it's machine made. In the Regency era, tulle would become a favorite.

Turban: note that the almost whelk-shaped turban in this month's day dress is called a bonnet, not a turban. Perhaps this is because the turban is sewn together and not wrapped fresh each time? Hard to say.

Vandykes are still hot, as are pointed edges in general. I would ascribe this to the fashion for "Oriental" designs that the other magazines in our 1811 project are also noticing. In this month alone both the ball dress and the day dress are arranged so that the outermost layer falls in points, tasseled or plain.

That's it for this month. Hoping you enjoyed your trip into the magazine-land of another time.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

A Haiku on March the Ninth



Hello, sweet springtime. 
Last week's snows are melting fast.
A mirage, you say?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Journal Journey into the Year 1811: La Belle Assemblée, February



Winter is moving on. We have had a lot of lovely snow here, while in England they suffer under torrents of rain, day after day. I wonder if the suffering was as great in 1811? This I do know, fashion's changes were getting underway once again, since mourning for the Princess Amelia was over. Where in January all was black, gray, scarlet, and somber, this month sees color creeping back in along with plays and operas and entertainments. Since it's still cold, we hear about quilted tippets and long sleeves, but apparently the sable tippets are discarded. This is damp London, after all, not frigid Weimar, where the fashionables are layering their furs.

Yet these were not the only changes. After much tension and argument, the Prince of Wales was formally installed as Regent, and King George III ceased to hold the reins of power. He had hardly done so for some while, being ill with an acute disease scholars now think may have been porphyria, and that could have been caused by arsenic poisoning. At the time, he was said to have gone mad.

Let's have a look, then, at this month's La Belle Assemblée.

Gentle reminders: the magazine reports on fashions one month ahead, so the February issue remarks on fashions for March. Plus, don't forget to read the London report from Ackerman's, and those from Weimar and Paris! The comparisons are really interesting.
  • Sabine in Weimar: Journal des Luxus und der Moden
  • Alessandra in Paris: Journal des Dames et des Modes
  • Maggie, in London: Ackermann's
  • Natalie, in London:  La Belle Assemblée (below)
La Belle Assemblée
This month we have two articles over two pages, nos. 100-101. The articles are transcribed below, followed by my few notes and questions.

FASHIONS FOR MARCH 1811
EXPLANATION OF THE PRINTS OF FASHION.

ENGLISH COSTUME

No 1. -- EVENING FULL DRESS

A gown of plain white India muslin, made loose in the neck, with long sleeves, and short train trimmed with a fancy border of stamped leaves in satin. A white satin cap, ornamented with crimson or morone coloured flossed trimming. A short Persian scarf of morone coloured silk, with rich border and tassels, is fancifully worn over the shoulders. Amber necklace and earrings. Hair in full curls, divided rather towards the left side. Gloves and shoes of white or morone kid.

Evening full dress, La Belle Assemblee, February 1811


No 2. - MORNING CARRIAGE DRESS

A bias corded muslin dress, a walking length, with long sleeves, made high in the neck, with collar; buttoned down the front of the waist with narrow lilac satin riband. Sash tied in a bow in front; a border of plain muslin, or lace, round the bottom. A square of lilac satin, with richly embroidered border in white silk, and tassels to correspond, is thrown over the shoulders in the form of a shawl, and is cut down the back to give it a more easy and graceful appearance about the figure. A simple white chip hat, tied round the crown in a bow in front of lilac satin ribband. The hair in full curls over the forehead. Pearl earrings. Gloves and shoes of pale lemon, or lilac-colored kid.


Morning carriage dress, La Belle Assemblee, February 1811.

GENERAL OBSERVATIONS
ON FASHION AND DRESS

The mourning for the late Princess Amelia expired on the 11th of last month, but though not general, the Court continued it in a slight degree for the deceased Queen of France. Sables are at length, however entirely laid aside, and notwithstanding the season of Lent is not usually distimguished by much of variety, gloom seems to have subsided, and gaiety and fashion fast entering on spring.

For the promenade, scarlet mantles have been so general during the mourning, that for mere variety they must now be laid aside; we think they are more frequently succeeded by the short pelisse of purple velvet, trimmed with broad black lace, or small cottage mantlet, lined with white sarsnet, ornamented with white chenille or gold. Purple sarsnet pelisses, or black velvet, lined with colours, are equally approved.

Cottage bonnets, cloth turbans, or small velvet caps, and one long drooping ostrich feather, or two small ones, are most prevailing; under the cottage bonnects, which are formed to set off from the face, small lace caps, rosettes of lace or ribband, or small flowers, are much worn, with a deep black French veil thrown over. Purple, black, or scarlet boots, are universal for walking.

For morning dress, short pelisses of cambric corded muslin, over a slip of the same, trimmed with edging, or made in poplin, bombazeen, or lustres, with ruffs and cuffs of fine clear muslin, with bands of the same, and clasps of "lope de pêrle".

Dinner dresses are most worn in lustres, sarsnets, Opera nets, or cloth, made up to the throat with lace cuffs, collars and small French aprons of lace, or fine embroidered muslin; and lace or quilted satin tippets, trimmed with swansdown, or white chenille.

The full dress, black or white lace over coloured or white satin slips, ornamented with gold, still continue the most admired, with pearl necklances, combs, and other ornaments blended with emeralds. -- Small tippets in antique lace or satin trimmed with swansdown, are considered indispensible, and small aprons of rich antique embroidered muslin with full pockets drawn and ornamented with white satin ribband, have an exceedingly elegant and novel effect, and are 
much to be preferred to the ridicule so long in vogue.

For the Opera, blue or white satin short pelisse, trimmed with deadsilver or gold; with massy gold chains and bracelets, brooched with emeralds or amethysts, and ?? to correspond; and gold or silver bands or nets for the hair, which is dressed in full, large, round curls over the face, and divided on one side by a diamond, pearl, or ornamented comb.

Hair knots are just introduced, in embroidered lace, with gold or silver thread, forming a light rosette, to be disposed among the hair according to fancy.

Short dresses, or draperies of coloured net worn over white satin, embroidered with coloured silk, silver, or gold thread, form very pretty full, or dancing dresses. Long sleeves are as general as ever; the neck is always shaded by lace or satin tippets, trimmed with gold.

In respect to jewellry, the most fashionable combs are made in gold set with lope de pêrle; bands for the hair are made in the same, set in gold, as are necklaces, bracelets, brooches, and earrings. Garnet rings are much admired, set in gold after the antique. Watches are worn very small, thickly and richly embossed; in short, nothing is admitted to be novel in jewellry that was not worn some hundred years back.

The prevailing colours are lavender, faded violet, silver, grey, purple, plum, and crimson.

Notes

Rather than use footnotes, when can become cumbersome, I am highlighting items of interest in boldface, and then defining or commenting on them, as needed.

Bombazeen (bombazine):  "a light silken manufacture used for mourning". From Barclay, A Complete and Universal English Dictionary. The fabric was generally in a twill weave (look at the weave in a pair of modern jeans and you'll see an example of a twill weave), generally in black. Sometimes the fabric was made of all silk, sometimes in a silk warp and a worsted wool weft (Encyclopedia Britannica).

Nankeen boots, from the Lady's Repository Museum.
Boots Footwear, often made of fabric rather than leather, reaching above the ankles. At this period boots and shoes often matched or complemented other parts of the outfit. Usually worn outside, as in February 1811, La Belle Assemblee: "Purple, black, or scarlet boots, are universal for walking." See an extant example of walking boots, in nankeen, from Rachel Kinnison's collection. You can read about them on her blog, too, at http://ladysrepositorymuseum.blogspot.com/ 2013/02/ladys-1810-1820-nankeen-walking-boots.html.

Colors this month are still in the purple and red range, perhaps due to winter or perhaps due to the lingering feeling for mourning.

"Cottage" seems to be a common descriptive term: we have cottage mantles and cottage bonnets. So far I am unable to locate extant examples or fashion plates of them, but this may change.

deadsilver Appears to have been a matte silver metal thread used in weaving and embroidery. It was used in conjunction with "bright", shiny silver. See for example "A dress of transparent net, worked in bright and dead silver" in Robert Huish, Memoirs of Her late Royal Highness Charlotte Augusta, Princess of Wales.  Also "Evening primrose satin petticoat, with flounce at the bottom embroidered in burnished and dead silver". In La Belle Assemblee, June 1816, "Her Majesty's Drawing Room". "Dead silver" is also a term for silver during one part of the ore's preparation for use. When burnished, dead silver took on the familiar highly polished, bright and shiny look. See Ure, Andrew, A Dictionary of Arts, Manufactures, and Mines..., Volume 2, 1853. P. 643. Sadly, because silver embroidery tarnishes so easily, it all begins to look black, so it's hard to know, when looking at embroidered extant articles, what might once have been bright versus matte.

lope de pêrle This term occurs twice in this month's pages, and each time it's misspelled. The French term is actually "loupe de perle", and it means, roughly, pearl bits and pieces. In German, the term is "Warzen", which means wart.  Well, well, warty pearls, now known as mobe or Baroque pearls, are misshapen, often covered with bumps and indentations, and often flattened on the back. I believe the term can simply apply to a rounded pearl with a flat back. What the article is suggesting is that jewelry with little half pearls set into into it was fashionable. Little flat-backed pearls would be less expensive, and could be set into a ring around the edges of a clasp, or into the filigree of a tiara or comb. Thank you to Alessandra, for translating the term correctly, and to Sabine, for finding that indeed, such were used in jewelry, per Johann George Kruenitz et al, in Oeconomische Encyclopädie oder Allgemeines System der Land-, Haus- und Staats-Wirthschaft: in alphabetischer Ordnung, Band 108. (Google Books), p. 574.



Young lady. Louis-Marie Autissier, 1814.
Note the clasps on her pearl necklaces.
Christies, sale 7550, 2008.


Lustres (fabric) From a description of the fabric in the Feb. 1811 La Belle Assemblee issue,
I assume this to be a lustrous taffeta. See a reference to it in Mortimer, Thomas, A general Commercial Dictionary: Comprehending Trade, Manufactures, and... (1819)

Example of silk lustring, from
The Lady's Repository Museum.
Lustring (fabric) "The lustring was produced from the late 17th century to the early 19th century. Some of the most successful English silks were lustrings, they were a favorite export to the American Colonies and many of the designs by both Leman and Garthwaite were intended for them. It was a light crisp silk woven in a fine tabby with a special quality, a high lustre on the silk imparted by the process of lustrating the warp before weaving. The warp was stretched and heated having been coated with beer or something similar. Some accounts suggest that the silk was heated, stretched and glazed further after weaving." In Rothstein, Natalie, Silk Designs of the Eighteenth Century.  You can see an example of figured Lustring on Rachel Kinnison's site:
http://ladysrepositorymuseum.blogspot.com/ 2013_08_01_archive.html. See also lustres, above.

Mantle What is the difference between a mantle and a cape? It is hard to say. The Victoria and Albert classifies the long cape-like garment from circa 1820 as a mantle, and the Metropolitan Museum of does the same for a an amazingly ornate example from around 1806.

Mantle, c. 1820. The fronts are turned back
into revers, and there are two capes.
From V&A, T.167-1930.
Mantle, c. 1804-7. There appears to be a cape,
but no revers per se.
From Metropolitan Museum of art, accession no. 54.83

Morone Could this be "maroon"? Or is it chestnut colored? Marron is French for chestnut and in German, marone means chestnut as well. Maroon is a reddish-purplish color, but I wouldn't call it chestnut, exactly; chestnut is reddish-brownish. The plate shows a purplish color, but of course the color as painted may a) not have been painted to match exactly, b) the original paint may have oxidized or faded and/or c) the computer could have changed the color. I've been unable to locate this color in French or English dictionaries between 1790-1820, but have not looked through all of them available online. Neither "maroon" nor "marone" appears. SO much -ish-iness here, can you tell I am unsure-ish?

Opera Net A type of netted fabric. Types of looms to make netted fabrics were operating by the very early 18th century. See for example Duncan, John, Practical and Descriptive Essays on the Art of Weaving, Vol. 2. I have looked in histories of weaving for opera net per se, but have yet to locate it. Next, looking in lace histories. :}

Ridicule Alternative and sassy term for reticule. Use for instance in La Belle Assemblee, February 1811, "small aprons of rich antique embroidered muslin with full pockets drawn and ornamented with white satin ribband, have an exceedingly elegant and novel effect, and are much to be preferred to the ridicule so long in vogue."

Tippet  Just as they were in Jnuary's issue, tippets are still hot, but their materials vary. Tippets made of sable fur are out, while satin or quilted satin ones trimmed with swansdown or white chenille, both nice fluffy substances, are in.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Reproduction 18th Century English Trim Loom and Muffin Kitty

Toy? Or not? Mmm, probably a toy.
No more than a few minutes after I'd started weaving on this new 18th century style English trim loom, Miss Blueberry Muffin discovered its string. We had a neat couple of minutes together as she explored play possibilities.

Wait, what's this? Is this a tape loom I have here? Why, yes it is. It arrived last Tuesday, during the Big Delightful Snow Storm and the Boys' Endless Week Off from School.

Specifically, the loom is an English trim loom, modeled after one at Colonial Williamsburg. If you look carefully at some of the photos of the mantuamakers at the Margaret Hunter Shop, you will see them working on a quite similar loom, making floss fringe trims. 

Sarah Woodyard of Colonial Williamsburg uses a tape loom to make
floss fringe trim.
Tape and trim looms show up sometimes in art. When John Singleton Copley painted Thomas and Sarah Mifflin in 1773, he pictured her weaving fringe on a trim loom.

By John Singleton Copley, American, 1738 - 1815 (1738 - 1815) (American), via Wikimedia Commons
You can make regular fringe on them too, narrow gimp and other passementerie trims for dress and household. Of course, you can make the ubiquitous tapes that anchored 18th century dress as well as household items: apron strings, cap ties, petticoat ties, bindings, garters, ties for bags, loops for doors, anything that needed a strong tape. 


I first saw a tape loom years ago and was instantly fascinated. There are lots of kinds of tape looms, some of them quite ancient, and the Scandinavians wove gorgeous tapes on them with handsome patterns. They produce a product with a warp face...that is, it's the warp you see, the up-and-down threads, not the side-to-side weft threads. By picking up particular warp threads, you can build the pretty patterns.

This loom is handmade, gorgeously so, by Jonathan K. Seidel. It's made of walnut, and shows all the fine details of a careful craftsman: the tiny wire than helps keep the little drawer closed, the brass rod on the warp reel, the subtle shaping and the fine finish of the walnut case, and even the little shaped felt feet on the loom's underside. It's a work of art and I am glad he signed it, for I hope to pass it down to the next generation.

Getting this loom has been quietly in planning for it for some two years, ever since getting the idea that I wanted to hand sew an 18th century sack gown, complete with homemade floss fringe and gimp trims, and all tapes used inside the gown also homemade. Learning to weave on it is just one more step in the long, multi-year journey that this project is becoming.


Weaving tapes is relaxing, and slow, but it does take practice to make an even tape. Consistency in tension and how the threads are held is key, and I have yet to master it. Mr. Seidel prepared the loom with a partly woven tape to get me started, and provided clear, full directions for both "dressing" the loom and plain weaving. 


If you look at the rows towards the top, you'll see that they're wider than those near my fingers. Why? Because I haven't figured out even weaving yet.



Mmm, play, please?


Got it!


So sorry, didn't mean to snag your tights. You'll forgive and pet, right? (But of course.)

So, forward! Yes, I owe you a post on the cap-seaming process, but also a report on the plans for the entire ensemble, and the steps to take along the way.

Want more kitty cat fun? See Miss Blueberry Muffin's cousin Miss Felicity, the Dreamstress' feline friend in New Zealand as she tests thread in "Thread Inspector".

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Journal Journey into the Year 1811: La Belle Assemblée, January


Would you like to take a journey this year back to 1811? Yes? Well, what if you could fly from Weimar, Germany, off to Paris and then to London each month, and find out what colors and baubles fashionable people were sporting? What if you traveled with four friendly guides, happy to unravel with you the mystery of the Spanish hat, or why bugle beads were so last month, and able to translate for you if you didn't speak the language? Really, we've got your ear? You're interested?

Then come with us a Journal Journey into the Year 1811. Each month Sabine, Alessandra, Maggie, and I will spirit you away into the fashion pages of four well-known journals of the day: Journal des Dames et des Modes, Ackermann's Repository of Arts, Literature, Commerce, Manufactures, Fashions, and Politics, La Belle Assemblée or Bell's Court Magazine, and Journal des Luxus und der Moden.

As any fashion guide will -- must, really, since after all we can't help ourselves-- we'll comment on what we read, speculate on the meaning of terms, highlight trends and little pretties we think especially interesting, and we'll whisper our translations from German and French straight into your ears. We hope you'll want to talk with us, too, making our journey that more enjoyable.

So, find a comfy seat, curl up, and let's start!

January

Your journals and your guides for January:
Cover of January issue of
La Belle Assemblée
La Belle Assemblée
This month we have three articles over two pages, nos. 44 and 45. You might wish to know that Her Royal Highness Princess Amelia had lately passed away, and the gentle society was in mourning for some weeks more. Therefore, like the stripped trees and frost-bleached grasses out of doors, and the snowflakes in the air, the Court, and those connected with it, were clad in black, and grey, but also in scarlet. Everyone was dressed as warmly as Dame Fashion allowed, which to my mind, wasn't warmly enough.

Another point you'll want to mark is that this magazine reports on the fashions for the next month, not the current one. So these are fashions for February, though this is the January issue.

Full text of fashion pages. Transcribed from La Belle Assemblée; Being Bell's Court and Fashionable Magazine journal, accessed through Google Books.

Footnotes marked with numbers.

EXPLANATION OF THE PRINTS OF FASHION
ENGLISH COSTUME
No. 1 - WALKING DRESS

A pelisse of scarlet Merino cloth (1), buttoned down the front and up the arm with small gold buttons; the collar and cuffs of purple velvet; but during the mourning (2), of black, striped with scarlet; an ermine tippet pointed in the back (3) and muffs of the same. A bonnet of scarlet cloth (4), turned up with velvet, and formed to come over the face; the veil passed through the front and brought round the neck. Boots of scarlet cloth (5) trimmed with velvet.

Plate No. 1: Walking Dress
No. 2 - EVENING FULL DRESS

A round dress of white satin, sloped up in the front (6); with small train ornamented round the bottom with velvet in a scroll pattern (7), vandyked at the edges, and dotted with black chenille (8); the velvet during the mourning should be grey or scarlet; the bosom, girdle (9), and sleeves of this dress are ornamented to correspond, in the form exhibited in the plate. A turban cap (10) of white satin; looped with pearls, and edged with velvet; the hair combed full over the face, curled in thick flat curls (11), divided on the forehead. Necklace, earrings, and bracelets of gold and pearls blended (12). White kid (13) shoes and gloves; fan of white crape (14) and gold.

Plate No. 2: Evening Full Dress

Footnotes

(1) "Cloth" in English terminology normally meant specifically wool cloth.

(2) This plate and its description include more colors in it than prescribed by mourning. That's why there's the notation that during the mourning period, the color would be replaced by black. This outfit then could be made up and worn after mourning was over. At first I puzzled over this, wondering if the plate had been decided upon before Princess Amelia had died, and all the text changed to reflect the situation, but since the entire fashion section is devoted to dealing with fashion during mourning, decided this was not an afterthought. It makes one wonder how the writing and publication process worked. How far in advance, and how much room for change? It also raises the question of where these fashions come from. Other magazines, such as Luxus und der Moden, and the eighteenth century Galerie des Modes and The Gallery of Fashion, purport to report on fashions they actually see. Does this one, too?

(3) "Ermine tippet pointed in the back": so far as I can tell, construction would be two long pieced sections of ermine, sewn in the center back in a vee shape so that the tippet would like flat in a vee at the back of the neck. Unclear whether the tippet was tubular or single-faced and backed with something like silk.

(4) "bonnet of scarlet cloth": scarlet wool. This would not have been felt, would it, because if so would that not have been specified? Could the bonnet cloth have been treated with a stiffener to help it hold its shape?

(5) "Boots of scarlet cloth trimmed with velvet": wool cloth boots, not leather. Not terribly weather proof. Indoor or good weather wear only? Every Lady Her Own Shoemaker (of a later period) says that shoes could last a matter of weeks or months. At that time fabric shoes were common, so perhaps these boots were not meant to have a long life.

(6) "round dress of white satin, sloped up in the front". Interesting construction notation that needs investigation.

(7) "ornamented with velvet in a scroll pattern": this must have been a very bold appliqued trim.

(8) "dotted with black chenille": it may be that the satin is woven with chenille such that it forms dots on the right side. These would appear in some relief.  However, it may be that it was cut into tiny lengths and couched down with matching silk thread. The term chenille means caterpiller in French, a reference to the fuzzy look and feel of the thread. It was made of a silk core thread twisted with thousands of tiny silk threads into the fuzzy result they knew then and we know today. De St. Aubin, author of The Art of the Embroiderer (part of Diderot's Encyclopedia), which came out in the latter half of the 18th century, says that it was usually couched down with matching threads and that it was a delicate embroidery, easily spoiled. It could also be pulled through fabric, such as with tambour stitch, but this tends to loosen the fuzzy threads so that they fall out, so that's less common. I worked with 100% silk chenille embroidery on tightly woven silk chantung, couched with fine spun silk thread, and report that couching is simple but that yes, it's delicate and pulls out easily. I have found examples of chenille work in the early 19th century, but it fell out of favor in women's dress.

(9) "girdle". Another interesting term that needs investigation. The bottom of the bodice is embroidered but it is unclear if it is actually a separate piece, a waistband, or just embroidery.

(10) "turban cap": notice the phrase includes the word "cap". Does this mean that the turban was not wound on from a length of fabric, as it would have been in the 1790s, but pre-constructed? Most assuredly yes.

(11) "flat curls": so therefore, very shaped, set, and unnatural, not springy natural coils.

(12) "gold and pearls blended": it would be nice to find samples in among extant items.

(13) kid: leather shoes, not fabric shoes.

(14) "fan of white crape": not a paper fan. This would have been crape silk. It's unclear whether the gold is meant to describe the decoration of the crape or of the sticks. The gold could have been in spangles (flat sequins, not cupped sequins), or painted, or possibly gilding (if referring to the sticks).

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Article number two from the La Belle Assemblée fashion pages.

PARISIAN FASHIONS

A long feather in front of the hat, and a bow of ribbands with long ends on the left side. These are two articles of fashion generally adopted. At the commencement of this fashion the feather was worn immediately in front of the hat; to-day it may be worn a little on one side. In the first instance it was worn in a straight and upright form; but to-day it is admitted to be a little inclinded; a white bow of riband may likewise be worn, or one of pink, but what is most admired is a mixture of both; that is to say, a ribband composed partly of pink and partly of white; or if you prefer, yellow and white. At first the ends of the bow were placed in an opposite position to the feather; but now it is worn on the same side. Borderings of gold embroidered on bats of black velvet are considered the summit of elegance, but the embroidery must be extremely light; it must form only a narrow border, for the broad would be considered vulgar. Pearl and coral beads are the grand resource of milliners; yes, pearl and coral. We have said that the pearls have taken precedence of bugles. It is not the same with the coral; they have taken precedence of the pearls.

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The last article from theJanuary La Belle Assemblée fashion pages. Of interest here is that the magazine, which publishes information about happenings among the higher levels of British society, very plainly supports the notion that fashion emanates from the socially privileged and that reporting on fashions coming from any other portion of society isn't necessary, or proper. This statement somehow feels to me like a rearguard action by writers concerned about the rise of a moneyed industrial and bourgeois class...something that was already occurring in Britain. How different from Parisian journals such as Galerie des Modes, which even back in the 1780s had fashion plates which appear to show women of the demi-monde.

GENERAL OBSERVATIONS ON FASHION AND DRESS

Our readers are doubtless informed that the mourning for the late Princess Amelia does not expire until the 11th of the present month, and that the Court has extended it three weeks beyond that period, in complement to the deceased Queen of France.

As the mourning habit admits but of small variation, we have again but little of novelty to communicate. The few remarks we have to make respect only the form of the dresses, and of those articles that compose them, which are considered as most correspondent to the order issued by the Court.

Were we to detail the different dresses worn by numbers of people, we might still fill our pages with the enumeration of varieties, and hold up something of gaiety, though not of splendour; but those who compose the Court, or are connected to it, and are therefore the surest models of fashion, afford us no such source; they still continue to adhere to their sable garments.

In morning dresses black sarsnets or lustres (1), either high in the neck with crape ruff (2), or in the pelisse or wrap form, seem most prevailing, buttoned down the front (3).

For dinner dressses, the long sleeves of sarsnet give place to those of crape; the bosom is cut down and the neck shaded by a small tippet of white crape or lace; in public, tippets of swansdown are very numerous; on the parade, sable seems most admired, and best adapted to the smoky atmosphere of the metropolis (4).

Evening dresses are most elegantly appropriate when made of black crape, and worn over white satin. We have also been compelled to admire those in grey crape, trimmed with white bugles (5); black lace dresses are also very frequent, but they are not mourning. Gold is much worn on the head, either in the form of bands or nets; pearls also, in every device, are very generally worn, and contrast extremely well with the mourning garb.

For the promenade, cloaks in scarlet Merino, or grey cloth (6), black velvet pelisses, lined with gray sarsnet, wrapped plain over with sable tippets; Spanish hats (7) in velvet, or cottage bonnets (8) in black, grey, or scarlet cloth, or scarlet.

In respect to the fashion for jewellry, all ornaments, whether rings necklaces, earrings, brooches, buckles, &c. are worn much smaller.(9)

There are no colors worn but black, grey or sarsnet.(10)

Footnotes

(1) "black sarsnets or lustres": sarsnet is a thin silk, lustre may be another term for "lustring", a thin, papery, rustly silk. Note that the recommendations are silk only for morning dress. No longer are journals recommending mostly muslins, as they did a few years previously. Fashion is moving on from the early Regency preoccupation with the Greek look.

(2) "crape ruff": crape is translucent, so this ruff would have let a good bit of skin show. It must have been starched or wired to retain its shape.

(3) "wrap form": would like to investigate the potential closure lines of coat-like garments at this date.

(4) Tippets, tippets, tippets! The must-have accessory in wintertime. Down and fur for their warmth, lace for its looks. It is too bad few have survived. I am especially looking for lace tippets, in order to understand their cut and length.

(5) "white bugles": white bugle beads. Napoleon and the Empire of Fashion features a dress beaded all over with lines of white bugle beads.

(6) "cloth": once again, they mean wool.

(7) "Spanish hats": looking into this.

(8) "cottage bonnets": here is a fashion that would last decades: the little, deep-brimmed bonnet. They are described as being made in wool or, most likely, sarsnet (thin silk), not "scarlet". 

(9) The jewelry is smaller in scale than years past. This fashion would last for some years, in keeping with the delicate flouncings and small-scale embroideries in dresses then fashionable. I am wondering what effect the Napoleonic Wars had on jewelry; there are probably publications about this. In Europe, at any rate, large amounts of older jewelry were melted to sell. See Napoleon and the Empire of Fashion for more information.

(10) First, I believe that there are two typos in this article: the end of the "For the promenade" paragraph probably should be "sarsnet", while the end of the last paragraph should be "scarlet". The two words have been transposed. Second, mourning has made colors other than scarlet not only taboo, but non-existent. I 

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See you next month, as we explore February, 1811. Let's see if our investigations bear any fruit. Let's also see what I learn about the journal itself and its readers.


Your journals and your guides for January:
Alessandra in ParisJournal des Dames et des Modes
Maggie, in London: Ackermann's
Natalie, in London:  La Belle Assemblée