Thursday, July 07, 2011

1795-1800 Reticule Completed Enough, Plus Ball Gown Tucker and Sleeve Ruffles

Today's News Item No. 1: The Reticule

Here's the reticule, done enough for use at the festival.

It's of scraps of almost slubless duppioni silk, bag lined in same, and the top edge whipped. Tired of seeing the same silk all the time? :} I still have some scraps, so watch out...

The pattern: a square 7 inches wide by nine inches long, with the bottom edges rounded off.

The source? A homemade embroidered "bag" from the Victoria and Albert Museum, circa 1790 to 1800 (image below). The museum notes that at this point such bags still looked rather like pockets.

The seams are covered with vintage gold-colored silk ribbon, prick-stitched with the same color silk thread, both from the stash. What luck that the colors matched. The ribbon helps create sides to the bag so that it is three-dimensional, not flat. This was again pure luck; I had no idea the ribbon would help make the edges stand out like that.

There are eyelets across the top through which brown cord is drawn. I had no thin ribbon or gold or blue cord of any sort in the stash, and so will have to purchase two yards of something like that at the festival.

Reticule, 1790-1800. From Victoria and Albert
Museum. Item number 
The bottom features a handmade tassel. I wound a bunch of old cotton floss around four fingers, perhaps thirty winds. Then I took the skein off my hand, pinched the top, and wrapped more floss to create the ball shape. Then sewed gold thread all over it to hold it. Messily done, for it was frustrating and I was winging it. Nordic Needle has nice instructions. Memo to file...

Tassels at the ends of the ties would be nice touches, but no time for that now. I leave for the festival Saturday!

The design on the front is drawn with watercolor pencil...pen drawings and paintings, anyhow, were done on reticules so I extended to pencil, and I may soften the edges with a brush later, and add a few more sprigged flowers. Hmmm.

The interstices in the pattern are decorated with true gold spangles (Berlin Embroidery). They have heft and richness plastic spangles lack. Some spangles have a bit of gold purl sewn on top.

When I return from the festival I hope to add more spangles around the outside of the drawn pattern, and I may quilt the reticule a bit, to give more weight to the scene, which is somewhat flat right now given that the design is drawn rather than embroidered.

This has been a pleasant, colorful project, perfect for evening time after the tots are in bed.

Today's News Item No. 2: The Ballgown Tucker and Sleeve Ruffles

What ballgown, you ask? I am wearing my cream open robe again, but this time with a different petticoat that for now is under wraps. To prepare it for ball use, I added a tucker of wide cotton vintage lace from the stash. Oh, and sleeve ruffles.

Lace trimming in this manner was still popular in 1795. See the September 1795 afternoon dress below, from Gallery of Fashion.

Gallery of Fashion, afternoon dress, 1795.
From Bunka Gakuen Digital Library.
 The relevant portion of the dress description reads:

Robe and petticoat of fine muslin; the petticoat richly embroidered; the robe trimmed round the neck, and down the sides with lace. Two plaitings of lace around the neck. Short muslin sleeves, trimmed with edging, and the epaulettes trimmed with three rows of lace.

Here's an extant example, with the lace still attached. Notice that its depth is similar to mine:

Silver round gown, 1798-1805, from Karen Augusta.

Have had this lace a long while and it's good to finally be able to use it. The design, which features small dots and a small repeating pattern, is open and airy enough to work for the period. I have a fragment of early lace in my little collection that is quite similar, though much narrower. The wide stuff is for real collectors, not accidental ones :}.

Memo to all readers and Sewing and Sundry, our resident conservator, in particular: the lace is not antique: it was bought as a cutter attached to a destroyed tea-length slip that isn't that old, so I felt comfortable using it. When considering whether or not to use older materials, my rule is not to spoil anything antique or of value: the item must be common, and either bought as a remnant piece or with a garment that is too spoiled even for study. My other rule: do as They did, and reuse what I already have, over and over, in new ways, remaking or retrimming.

The lace is simply tacked to the dress lining with big stitches. Such "suits of lace" were meant to be able to be removed easily for cleaning and reuse on other dresses. (See Gail Marsh's 18th Century Embroidery Techniques for details.)


Sarah Jane said...

The hat came out beautifully - how lovely! The white is such a pretty contrast with the color of the straw and the plumes are so fluffy and regal. I can't wait to see YOU wearing this beautiful hat! I'm so excited for this weekend! Also quite nervous, but that should wear off during our 5 hour trek down tomorrow afternoon. :) The reticule is wonderful.

Sarah Jane said...

Oops, I meant to comment on the hat post *blush*. I read several posts all at once so I suppose I had information from all floating around in my head when I commented!

ZipZip said...

Dear Sarah Jane,

Likewise, likewise! I am more excited about this festival than any other to date, and you know why? It's because you and so many others from online will be there and we shall all meet each other at last.

Good luck packing, and safe driving, and I will see you Saturday!

Oh, and glad you like the hat and reticule; they were fun projects, for the most part, that didn't drive me distracted or take months to complete.



Anonymous said...

Hi Natalie,

I too use antique/vintage trims and materials in my sewing projects. It's jsut reasonable to expect museums to warehouse every old thing. Rarer objects are just that, rare, difficult to get a hold of and therefore less likely to be "wasted" on modern sewing projects. In the mean time individuals like you and I and readers of this blog are best able to use appreciate these pretty old things! Kudos for giving that bit of lace new life!

I simply can't wait to see you all dressed up!

ZipZip said...

Dear renna-darling,

Thnk you for that insight. I've been so conflicted about using anything old, so it's good to hear.

Hope to have pictures and so on soon. The weekend was wonderful, if filled with incidents, one of which was that my camera flash was off so almost all the pictures are blurry and no good. I am going to have to borrow them from others.

Very best,