Wednesday, May 04, 2011

In Which Humble Cotton Becomes a Work of Art: Sabine's Capote

Cotton, oh thou modest fabric, to what heights you can climb? To the tippy top of Everest, it appears.

Sabine used cotton so handily in her latest capote confection, inspired by 1812 French examples in Napoleon and the Empire of Fashion, that I am reminded of an old-fashioned moss rose cake decorated with mounds of coconut-flecked boiled frosting.

See what the capote gains by leaving the cotton edges raw, so that they fray? Look closely: a lacy halo!

Whether I ever have the good fortune to make a similar hat, or not, is debatable. Meanwhile, we can all congratulate her on her success.

4 comments:

Kleidung um 1800 said...

*blush*
Thank you very much, Natalie. As you always put so much effort into detailed research, I feel quite honoured that you're that fond of the capote. Apparently we like the same thing about this strange headwear. I think it's fascinating that - what we today often regard as "plain" or "merely" - cotton, makes such a lovely capote for the summer. It's light, it's white, but far away from being plain.
I only wish we could learn more about the quality of fabrics back then. It's inevitable that questions arise like: what was percale in the 19th century? And how cottons/silks/wools are different from those today.
Thank you once again,
Sabine

ZipZip said...

Dear Sabine,

:} I've always thought those clothes the most interesting that took simplicity and made it art. Rather like Tuscan cooking, in which beans in a pot become a dish capable of being served at the best occasions.

Not that austerity is always my taste; I actually prefer the cooking of Umbria, with its truffles :]

Back to fabrics...that little early cap I have, that did a post on some weeks ago, uses plain muslin as well as gauze. I should count the threads and see what the thread ply is, and we can get some sense of quality from that. Not sure when I'll do that...but want to!

Also, if you go to the Luxus und der Moden journal, in 1795 they did an article on batiste. I am part way through translating it. It's fascinating and tells a lot about quality.

Finally, do see the Lacis Museum site. They have an article on whitework in which they repeat a claim that spinners in India were capable of taking a pound of cotton and spinning it to a thread which could stretch 250 miles. See http://lacismuseum.org/exhibit/catalogs/Whitework%20Catalog.pdf for that information.

Very best indeed,

Natalie

Lina Kim ♥ said...

aweee...love the photo, it's so lovely

ZipZip said...

Dear Lina Kim,
I loved the photo too. Sabine is very talented. If you haven't seen some of her other work, you might want to. Just click the link on her name in her comment on this page.

Very best,

Natalie