Monday, February 25, 2013

No, I Didn't Get It Done, No, I Didn't Get It Done...and the Rest of 2013

We've seen this image too much. If I were you,
I'd object, too.
...No, I didn't get it done at all!  Sung off-key to "I Didn't Get to Sleep Last Night" by the 5th Dimension.


I didn't meet the Historical Sew Fortnightly Embellish challenge and the little spencer sits just where I left it before the surgery, partly sewn.

You see, I still can't see. Had to mend a pillowcase tonight -- little Christopher watched closely and walked me through where the thread was versus where the hole in the needle was, as I was attempting to thread it. The whipstitching I did by feel, not by sight. I know the stitches are even enough from touch.

Should I trust my skill luck so far as to backstitch with yellow silk upon purple silk? No way. So we'll just have to wait until I get new glasses.


...What About the Rest of 2013?

Once the new glasses arrive?

Well, what with the surgery and its aftermath there was lots of time to think, and what I was thinking was this. Have to get healthy and stay that way so the rest of me has less chance to fall apart like the well-worn vehicle it's becoming. Used to be a cyclist, and a step class fiend (um, that's so ancient some of you probably haven't heard of it) at the gym. Loved weight-lifting. What happened? What about tennis? When was the last time my husband and I ran after stray tennis balls? That part was the real exercise for us, anyway, since it was what we mostly did when we played. What about the weekly long walks with friends, so full of chatter we forgot how many miles we'd gone?

Blame the little boys. They took my time and my health and ran off with my heart into the bargain. They can keep the heart -- it will always be theirs -- but some time and most of my health? I wants them back!

I'm attempting to sound light, but it's in all seriousness. No repeats of what I've been through these last 2-ish years, pretty please.

Then there are the lack of curtains in windows, the walls that need painting -- or repainting, and so on. Home decorating again. Le sigh. It will be fun, once I get past the grim work part. Hate paintbrushes. Dumb, evil things.

Something has to give, and you already know what the victim will be: the dear hobby.

Therefore, in 2013, NO NEW PROJECTS. (Unless the obsession gets so bad that I can't take it anymore and just have to pull out the sketch paper again. One always needs an escape clause.)

You Mean No Costuming At All, All Year?

Deep breath. Exhale. You know that your heart slows down when you exhale and speeds up when you inhale? It's true, according to a recent study reported on NPR. So just exhale more than you inhale and you'll either calm down or faint. Don't quote me on that last bit: I was extrapolating from the report.

I didn't say "no costuming"; just no new projects.

UFOs Sighted

We have projects to finish up. As in, truly be done with. The spencer, of course, and the lilac petticoat. Then the ensembles for each of these will need to be pulled together, and that means learning how to tie wrapped turbans, making earrings, arranging sashes and other accessories, and hair curling and styling and powdering. The 1790s were about the last gasp for that. Now you see wherefore all the Perruquier translating. I'll be working on papillote curls, lengthy chignons, and making powder, with the aim of achieving as accurate an effect as I can. The experiments should be lots of fun. Not time-consuming.

Perhaps a hat to retrim, too. My best hat is looking tired and the ostrich feathers flop too much. Time to pull everything off and try, try again.

So that's spring and summer.

Then there's the fall. The 1870s dress needs work: side seams need taking in, the sleeves stink, the trim must be finished, and I have everything ready for one of those lacey removeable neck trims that were so popular, and the flat hat must be rethought.

And oh, that hair. Must be fuller. Curlier. With side curls to create a cheekbone line but not look 1840s, and one or two dripping in the back.  More hair styling and trying of hair products and switches.

Wait just a minute. Begad. If I'd been 50 in 1870, I'd have been, let's see, 20 in conceivably, I could really still slink in a side curl or two, the same way I might wear a day cap. You know, clinging to youth and all that. Oh, the horror.

So think of this as a year of playtime. Nothing stressy, just playtime, while in the background I work on mending longterm health -- with exercise, not a needle -- play with the boys and husband and friends, and, oh, gargantuan sigh, wield a paint brush once more.

Can't end with a paint-brush; what a downer. Think needles and thread and curtains, Natalie!

Goodnight, dear readers! Next time, it's all about ways perruquiers help their clients "carry the hair". What's that? I don't know, either. Let's find out.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Wigmaker, Barber..., Part 2: Powdering!!

Well frizzed and powdered, 1782.
Misses Annabella and Mary Craufurd (mistakenly
Crawford), afterwards Countess Lockhart
and Mrs Palmer. V&A
Another selection from the Encyclopédie Méthodique, Arts Mécaniques, "Perruquier-Barbier-Étuviste (Art du).

This time, let's have the English version, first.


The hairstyle being arranged, one has nothing else to do, but powder.

The best powder for the hair is made of wheat flour, and the pomade is of lard*; one puts the powder into a large box of tin, or in a sack of mutton skin.

The best powder puffs are made with the long bristles that are the tops of silk fabric (I am not sure about this, but this sounds like fringed ends from silk fabric. However, see the plate: the images show different materials!)

Begin by laying on pomade on the inside of the two hands, which you then pass lightly over the entire hairstyle; charge your puff with a little powder to powder "in half-powder style", as perruquiers term it.

This small quantity of powder suffices to make perceivable the hair which comes out from its general arrangement and [allows you] to cut it, after which you finish the powder.

For fear that the powder does not fall on the face and does not enter the eyes of the person being powdered, perruquiers give them a "horn"; this is a piece of pasteboard turned like a paper horn.
One hides one face in the large end of this horn; there are glass (glass-covered) holes for eyes, and air for breathing comes in through the small end; one holds it in one's hand.

* Many thanks to Marion Brégier for explaining that "satin-doux" is lard. Gracious, what a dandy name for something so, so, so...fragrant...

Madame Isis powders Marianne's hair. From Madame Isis' Toilette.
Now for the French original:


La frisure étant arrangée, il ne s'agit plus, que de poudrer.

La meilleure poudre pour les cheveux est faite de farine de froment, et la pommade est du sain-doux: on met la poudre dans une large boîte de fer blanc, ou dans un sac de peau de mouton.

Les meilleures houpes à poudrer sont faites avec les longues soies qui sont aux chefs des étoffes de soie.

Commencez par enduire de pommade le dedans de vos deux mains, que vous passerez ensuite legèrement sur toute la frisure; chargez d'abord votre houpe de peu de poudre pour poudrer "à demi poudre", terme de perruquier.
Cette petite quantité de poudre suffira pour faire appercevoir les cheveux qui sortent de l'arrangement général et les couper, après quoi vous acheverez de les poudrer.

Madame Isis prepares to powder
Caroline's hair. From Madame Isis' Toilette. Do
see the article!

De peur que la poudre ne se répande sur le visage et n'entre dans les yeux de celui que l'on poudre, les perruquiers lui donnent un "cornet", c'est une feuille de carton tournée comme un cornet de papier. On se cache le visage dans le gros bout de ce cornet; il y-a des yeux de verre, et l'air pour la respiration entre par le petit bout: on le tient à la main.



The process makes perfect sense: run pomade -- good sticky product -- through the hair with your hands, powder lightly, trim off any poorly cut ragged ends, and then finish the powdering.

Not that I relish hair that lacks softness and bounce and shine, but think how many people routinely spike or otherwise sculpt their hair into improbable shapes, or color all or bits of it in violent purples and hot pinks. It's all in the eye of the beholder.

What about the pomade's lard fragrance? I certainly hope that the perruquier either made or bought his pomade from a parfumier well mixed with good-smelling things. I've used pig lard to make winter bird food, and after five minutes with the stuff, had to take it outside to bury it -- well -- in the garbage. Granted, the 18th century nose, assailed as it was with strong odors every sort, from smoke and sewage to body odor, might not have objected out of hand to the scent of lard. Still, there were other, non-animal recipes. The Toilet of Flora (1772) has a chapter entitled Pomatums (pp. 152-176) with recipes for pomades of all sorts. These days, Ageless Artifice uses one of these recipes, with almond oil and beeswax, in their version. Isis discusses pomatum (pomade) at points in her blog. 

Yet ye gods, the idea of running one's hands through a beloved's be-floured hair...erk...


Okay, now for the plate. It's a repeat from last post, but you don't mind, do you? The implements used in powdering are at the bottom of the plate.

(Hey! If you haven't heard them, have a listen to the Icelandic band, Of Monsters and Men. First heard them on Tom Morton (Radio Scotland). What a band, what a sound! I know, they've been around a bit, but I'm a bit slow, you know.)
Planche II.
Plate 2.

Fig. 34, n°. 2, boîte à poudre; A, la boîte à poudre; BB, les boîtes à pommade liquide and forte; C. l'anse. Fig 34, number 2, powder box; A, the powder box; BB, the liquid and strong pomade boxes; the handle.
Fig. 34, n°. 3, pot à pommade liquide. Fig. 34, number 3, pot of liquid pomade.

Fig. 35, boîte à pommade liquide; A, le couvercle; B, la boîte. Fig. 35, liquid pomade box; A, the cover; B, the box.
Fig. 36, bâton de pommade forte. Fig. 36, stick of strong pomade.

Fig 37, sac à poudre pour porter en ville; AA, les cordons. Fig. 37, powder sack for carring in town; AA, the twists.

Fig. 38, poudroir à soufflet; A, la boîte; B, le soufflet. Fig. 38, powder bellows; A, the box; B, the bellows.

Fig. 39, houppe de cígne pour la toilette des femmes; A, la houppe; B, le manche.
Fig. 39, a swans-feather tuft for the women's toilette; A, the tuft; B, the handle.

Fig. 40, houppe sans tête. Fig. 40, tuft without a head.

Fig. 41, houppe à tête; A, la tête. Fig. 41, tuft with a head; A, the head.

Fig. 42, masque à placer sur le visage lorsque l'on poudre. Fig. 42, mask to place on the face when one powders it.

Fig, 43, cornet destiné au même usage. Fig. 43, horn meant for the same usage.


Madame Isis' Toilette (blog). Isis is making and testing 18th century receipts for pomades, rouges, powders, and more.

Hair and Hairdos of the 18th Century. La Couturière Parisienne.

Women’s Hairstyles and Cosmetics of the 18th Century: France and England, 1750-1790. Kendra Van Cleave. Démodé.

American Duchess (blog). Type 18th century hair into the blog's search engine and you'll find several nifty posts.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Wigmaker, Barber..., Encyclopédie Méthodique, Part 1 Cutting and Curling Hair

The perruquier, Plate 1.
In a post recently I wrote that I had the urge to explore the world of the wigmaker and translate that article from the Encyclopédie Méthodique. Isis, of Isis' Wardrobe and Madame Isis' Toilette said please do! Now, if you haven't read her research and experimentation on and with 18th century cosmetics, you should. It's fascinating. From distilling to rouge to strange ingredients like burned bone and labdanum, she's showing us wonders.

So, in honor of all that work (!) I offer this more or less faulty translation of selections from the encyclopedia, all about that rather odd, talented, but somehow equivocal character, the man mandated by French law with keeping French men, and women, fresh and trimmed and stylish.

Isis, wish I could translate it all, but, Real Life (TM) and all demanding primary attention, we'll focus on the barbering, styling and perruquing parts, and leave out the baths.

Today, here are the article's first sections, about what the perruquier does as a whole, then how hair is cut and curled.

Notes on the translations:
  • I have kept as close as possible not only to the original words used, but to the original sentence structure and phrasing. In this way I hope to portray some of the flavor, and perhaps shades of meaning, of the 18th century usage that otherwise would disappear.
  • Other words that might be substituted for the words I chose are put in parentheses.
  • Dictionary used: Boyer, A. The Royal Dictionary, French and English, and English and French.... London, 1729.  (Google ebook)
  • The perruquier article appears in Lacombe, Jacques. Encyclopédie Méthodique. Arts et Métiers Mécaniques. Vol. 6. Paris: Panckoucke, 1782-1791. (Gallica). Please note that much of the work is identical to Diderot.
Extra, extra! Janet Stephens has published a superb tutorial on making papillote curls today, plus explained their history. Watch the method in action!

Watch Janet Stephens' Papillotte Curls: Historical Hairdressing Techniques.
It's excellent. These kinds of spiral curls were popular well into the
19th century.

Selections from Encyclopédie Méthodique, Arts Mécaniques, "Perruquier-Barbier-Étuviste (Art du).

About the Perruquier

Curl papers in use.
First comes a history of hair in France, then what tasks pertain to wigmakers, barbers, and bath-keepers, and what do not, and how the situation came to be. Next, some words on what perruquiers are allowed to do.

N.B. I am going to use the French term perruquier throughout; no English translation covers all the bases adaquately, so we might as well use the French so as to set it off.

Ils font la barbe; cette opération du perruquier est la seule qui soit permise aux chirurgiens, le rasoir étant regardé comme un instrument de chirurgie.

They perform barbering; this operation of the perruquier is the only which is permitted to surgeons, the razor being regarded as an instrument of surgery.

Wigmaking at Williamsburg. Image courtesy fletcher6, Wikimedia Commons.
Ce qui constítue particulièrement Part du perruquier, est celui de faire les cheveux, c'est-à-dire, de les étager pour leur donner un aspect agréable, celui de construire toutes espèces de perruques et  parties de perruques, comnme tours, toupets, chignons, and c. pour hommes and pour femmes, and de tenir des bains and étuves.

La manufacture des perruques est un art moderne ; il se perfectionne de jour en jour; and il y a apparence qu'il sera durable par les avantages qu'il acquiert sur les cheveux naturels, dont un des plus grands est de débarrasser des soins journaliers.

Les femmes même en profitent, quoique plus rarement, attendu que leur tête ne se dégarnit pas; si cemmunément que celle des hemmes: en un mot, la perruque est de tout sexe and de toutes conditions.
L'usage de la poudre est encore plus nouveau que celui de la perruque: Louis XIV ne pouvoit la souffrir ; on obtint cependant de lui sor la fin de son règne, quelqu'adoucissement à cette aversion, and même il enduroit qu'on en mît très-peu à ses perruques; maintenant il est très-commun de mettre de la poudre aux cheveux and aux perruques.

Curling irons for
curl papers.
That which constitutes particularly the art of the perruquier, is that which has to do with hair, that is to say, to layer (cut) it to give it an agreeable look, to construct types of wigs and parts of wigs, such as  "tours", "toupets", "chignons", and etc. for men and for women, and to hold baths and hot baths.

The manufacture of wigs is a modern art; it is perfected day by day; and there is the appearance that it will be durable through the advantages that it has on natural hair, of which one of the biggest is the riddance of daily care.

Even women profit by it, though more rarely, expected that their heads are less often trimmed than those of men": in a word, the wig is for all sexes and all conditions.

The usage of powder is even more new than that of the wig; Louis XIV would not allow it; yet one obtained it despite him at the end of his reign, somewhat softening his aversion, and even it came that one put a little bit on their wigs; now it is very common to put powder on hair and on wigs.

Plate 1 (see the image above)

Planche Première.

Le haut de cette planche représente une boutique de perruquier, où plusieurs garçons sont occupés à divers ouvrages de cet art; un en a, à faire la barbe; un en b, à accommoder une perruque; une femme en c, à tresser; deux ouvriers en d, à monter des perruques; un autre en e, à faire chaufer les fers à friser, tandis qu'un particulier en f ôte la poudre de dessus son visage.

Soap and sponge
in their boxes.
The top of this plate represents a perruquier's boutique, where several men are occupied in diverse parts of this art; the one in a, is barbering, the one in b, fitting a wig; a woman in c, in weaving hair
(Dictionary definition: tresser: mettre des cheveux enm tresse - to weave hair); two tasks in d, to mount wigs; another in e, to heat the curling irons, while a particular in f takes away powder from above a face.

The Art of Hairstyling

First, the original French. (For pictures of most of the tools referred to below, please see plate 2 and its captions under the translation.) Please note: this section is just an introduction to the outlines of cutting, combing, and curling. The article goes into much greater detail later on.


Faire les cheveux et friser.

La coupe des cheveux consiste à donner aux cheveux naturels une forme régulière, en retranchant leurs inégalités, and les taillant par étages, lesquels doivent s'arranger avec grâce, èn accompagnant le visage.

II est à propos de détailler lê mieux qu'on pourra cette opération; attendu qu'elle est une des plus essentielles du perruquier.

Les "perruquiers" appellent "faire les cheveux", les couper soivant les règles de l'art; ce qui se termine ordinairement par friser and poudrer.

Ordinary curl
paper and crepe
curl paper.
Commencez par peigner toute la tête à fond, pour bien démêler les cheveux; ensuite prenant and engageant dans votre peigne, d'abord sor le haut de la tête, une portion ou rangée de cheveux, vous amènerez doucement le peigne vers vous en droiture ou de biais, soivant que vous voudrez couper ou dròit ou en biais.

Avancez ainsi jusques vers la pointe des cheveux, que vous laisserez en-dehors engagée dans le peigne; puis coulant vos ciseaux à demi fermés, par-dessous le peigne, ils couperont tout ce que vous voulez retrancher de ce rang.

Vous continuerez cette façon sor toute la tête, jusqu'à ce que les cheveux soient faits, observant que les rangs supérieurs soient plus courts que les inférieurs par toute la tête.

II est nécessaire que le perruquier en amenant, comme il vient d'être dit, les cheveux-à-lui, les maintienne toujours d'équerre à la tête; car s'il les abáissoit avant de couper, il arriveroit que ceux de dessus recouvriroient ceux de dessous, ce qui seroit une épaisseur désagréable.

Cette remarque doit servir aussi pour les perruques sur lesquelles lê perruquier fait à-peu-près la même opération.

II sembleroit, sur l'exposé qu'on vient de faire de la coupe des cheveux, qu'un peu d'habitude suffroit en venir à bout; cependant il se trouve des perruquiers bien soupérieurs en cela à d'autres.

Comme cette opération n'a point de règles précises, un certain talent, le goût and le coup-d'oeil en font tous les frais.

Quand les cheveux sont faits, on les met ordinairement tout de suite en papillotes pour les friser, on les passe au fer and on les poudre.

Or, comme ces opérations ne se font point au hasard, mais sont assujéties à des procédés and à quelques instrumens particuliers, c'est ici le lieu d'expliquer comment on doit s'y prendre pour bien opérer.

Lés papillotes font faites de papier taillé en petits triangles de deux pouces ou environ: préférez, pour les faire, le papier gris, le papier joseph, le papier brouillard, parce qu'ils se déchirent and se cassent plus difficilement que tout autre.

Rassemblez avec votre peigne une petite portion de cheveux, saisissez-les en-dessous avec les deux premiers doigts d'une main vers le milieu, and les prenant de l'autre par la pointe, roulez-les sur eux-mêmes, and enveloppez-les tout de suite avec une papillote.

II se fait deux sortes de frisures, ou en crêpé, ou en boucles.

Pour le crêpé qui s'exécute ordinairement aux cheveux courts du haut de la tête, on prend les cheveux pêle-mêle, and on les tourne court and serré sans précaution, afin qu'il ne se fasse point de vuide dans le milieu; au lieu qu'à la frisure en boucles, on ménage un vuide dans le milieu, du roulement.

Toupet iron and two
hair rollers.
Toute la tête étant garnie de papillotes, il s'a git maintenant de la passer au fer.

Le perruquier se sert de deux sortes de fer: l'un est une pince terminée par deux mâchoires plates en-dedans, l'ancienne façon étoit de les faire d'égale épaisseur: l'autre ressemble à de longs ciseaux.

Le premier se nomme "fer à friser".

Le second, "fer à toupet", dont une des branches qui est ronde, entre dans l'autre qui est creusée.

Faites chauffer le fer à friser, à nud, sur de la braise, jamais fur le charbon.

Quand il sera au degré de chaleur nécassaire, ce qu'on, reconnóît lorsqu'il ne roussit pas un papier qu'on lui présente, ou bien en l'approchant de la joue, vous serrerez chaque papillote un instant plus ou moins long; mais il vaut mieux l'employer assez chaud pour qu'il reste peu fur chacune: c'est pourquoi, quand on a toute une tête à passer, on a plusieurs fers qui chauffent en même-temps.

Quand toutes les papillotes seront refroidies, vous les déferez and peignerez le tout ensemble, puis vous formerez and arrangerez avec grâce les boucles, le toupet and le crêpé qui se pratique ordinairement aux cheveux courts vers le front and les tempes.

Crêper est mêler and confondre ensemble les cheveux frisés: cet accommodage par sa legérété donne un aspect agréable à la vue.

Pour crêper, on pince de haut en bas légèrement avec deux doigts au travers des cheveux qu'on veut crêper; on amène doucement à soi ceux qu'on a saisis, and en même temps on les repousse avec le peigne fin à mesure qu'ils se dégagent d'entre les doigts.

The Barber's Shop, Marcellus Laroon the
Younger. Yale Center for British Art.
Quant aux boucles, on les forme, en peignant ensemble une quantité de cheveux, dont on rabat la frisure sur le premier doigt qui leur sert de moule.

"Le perruquier" a encore d'autres rubriques, soit pour dégarnir les chevelures trop épaisses, soit pour rendre les cheveux plus fermes, afin qu'ils tiennent la frisure.

Pour dégarnir, il fait une opération qu'il appelle "effiler": voci comme il s'y prend.

Il relève and fait tenir à lá tête avec son peigne un rang de cheveux, and portant ses ciseaux aux racines de ceux que ce rang relevé a découverts, il les tient entr'ouverts les pointes en bas, and par le moyen d'un léger pincement, il coupe ce-qu'il juge être de trop; il parvient ainsi à réduire une chevelure quand ellë est trop enflée.

II affermit and donne plus de consistance aux cheveux mous and qui se laissent trop aller, avec ce qu'il appelle de la "pommade forte".

II fait cette pommade sur le champ, en mêlant un peu de poudre avec de la pommade qu'il fait fondre dans ses maîns.

Hair in process of
being curled.
II retrousse les cheveux comme à la précédente opération, met de cette pommade à la racine des cheveux qu'il vient de découvrir, ce qu'il continue d'étages en étages.

Quand on veut un toupet qui couronne le front, c'est-à-dire, que le premier rang, au lieu d'être frisé, soit relevé à plat and recourbé en arrière , c'est l'office du fer à toupet.

Le "perruquier" le fait chauffer modérément; il prend ensuite entre ses deux branches le rang qui doit former le toupet, il le dirige en haut tout droit; puis tournant le fer, sa branche ronde en dessous, il le courbe en arrière, and 'fait faire aux cheveux par le bout le crochet en bas.

Now, the translation.

The Art of Hairstyling

+Do the hair and curl it.+

Cutting hair consists in giving to natural hair a regular form, by subtracting its inequalities, and cutting it by stages, which must be arranged with grace, to go with the face.

It is a propos, then to detail the best one can do in this operation; the expection of which is one of the essentials of the barber.

The "perruquiers" call "doing the  hair", to cut it following the rules of the art; this which ordinarily ends by curling and powdering.

Combs in two finenesses.
Start by combing the whole head to the bottom, to fully untangle the hair; then taking and engaging in your comb, first on the top of the head, a portion or row of hair, you will bring the comb gently straight towards you or on an angle, according to whether you want to cut straight or on an angle.

Advance in this way until towards the end of the hair, which you leave outside engaged in the comb; then running your scissors half closed, from below the comb, it will cut all that you wish to subtract from  this row.

You will continue in this fashion on the entire head, until the hair is done, observing that the upper rows are shorter than the lower rows throughout the head.

It is necessary that the barber in bringing, as it has been said, the hair towards him, still maintains squareness on the head; because if he lets it fall before cutting it, it would happen that the hair on top would cover over the hair below, this would give it a disagreeable thickness.

This remark must also serve for wigs on which the wigmaker performs a similar operation.

It would seem, due to the experience which one gets by cutting hair, that a little experience would suffice to bring it a good level; however it occurs that some wigmakers are better at it than others.

As this operation has no precise rules, a certain talent, taste and a good eye are what set the fees.  (loose translation)

When the hair is done, one ordinarily puts it immediately in curlers to curl it, one irons it (passer au fer) and one powders it. [Dictionary definition: Papillote: papier dont on envellope les cheveux pour les tenir frisés. Curl paper: paper with which one envelops the hair to hold curls.]

Now, as these operations are not made at hazard (randomly), but are subject to procedures and to several particular instruments, it's the place here to explain how one must proceed to operate well.

The curl papers are made of paper cut into small triangles of two inches [Dictionary definition: pouce: humb, or the 12th part of a foot] or thereabouts: do use preferentially, to make them, gray paper, joseph paper, blotting paper, because it rips and breaks with more difficulty than any other.

Tailed combs.
Gather with your comb a small section of hair, seizing it underneath with the two primary fingers of a hand towards the middle, and taking of the other by the end, roll them on themselves, and envelop them immediately with a curl paper.

To sorts of curls are made: frizzed (frizzled, crisped) or in curls (interestingly, also described as buckles).

For the frizzed hair which is executed ordinarily with hair that is short high on the head, one takes the hair pell-mell, and turns it short and tight without care (precaution), so that it does not leave (fasser???) any hole (void) in the middle; instead of the hairstyle in curls, one takes care of a hole in the middle with rolls (a-rollings). (Could also be read as "leaves a hole in the middle of rollings", which makes no sense).

The entire head being garnished with curl papers, now it is time to iron [the hair].

The wigmaker uses two sorts of irons, one is a pincer (nipper) terminated by two jaws with plates inside, the old fashion being to make them of equal thickness: the other resemble long scissors.

The first one calls a "curling iron".

The second, a toupee iron, of which one of the branches is round, in between the other which is hollowed. [Dictionary definition: toupet: a little tuft of hair]

Make hot the curling iron, bare, on the embers (live coals), never on the coal.

When it (the iron) gets to the necessary heat level, which one recognizes when it does not brown a paper presented to it, or even when it  comes close to (approaches) the cheek, you iron each curl paper a moment more or less long, but it is better worth employing it (the iron) hot enough  so that it remains less on each (curl paper): this is because, when one has an entire head to iron, one has several irons which are heating at the same time.

When all the curl papers are cooled again, you yield (remove?) each one and comb the entire ensemble, then you form and arrange the curls with grace, the toupee (tuft of hair) and the frizzes which ordinarily are practiced on short hair towards the front and the temples.

Frizzing is mixing and mingling (jumbling) the frizzed hair together: this dressing (fitting up) by its lightness gives an agreable aspect to the sight.

To frizzle (crisp, curl), one lightly pinches from top to bottom with two fingers across the hair which one wants to frizz; one softly draws towards onesself that which one holds; and at the same time one 
As for curls, one formes them while combing together a quantity of hair, which one tilts (brings down) the curl on the first finger which serves as (a) mold.

The wigmaker has other rules, whether to thin out (ungarnish) too thick strands, or whether to render the hair firm (to hold fast) so that it holds the curl.

To thin out (the hair) he performs the operation which is called "unravelling": this is how one does it.
He raises and holds at the head with his comb a row of hair, and carrying the scissors to the roots of those which this rown raises and uncovers, he holds them (the scissors) half open with the points lowered, and via the middle of a light pinching, he cuts that (hair) which he judges too much; so he reaches reduction of a strand when it is too thick (swollen).

Marriage à-la-mode: The Countess’s Morning Levee. William Hogarth.
He strengthens and gives consistence to soft hair and (hair) which lets too much go, with what one calls "strong pommade".

He makes this pommade on the field (on the spot), in mixing a little powder with a little pommade which he makes in his hands.

He rolls up the hair just like the preceding operation, puts this pommade at the roots of the hair which he comes to uncover, and so continues stage by stage.

When one wants un toupet (tuft of hair) which crowns (garlands) the front (hair), that is to say, the first row, in place of being frizzed, whether raised flat and bent (curved) backwards, this is the office of the toupet iron.

The wigmaker heats it moderately; he then takes between two branches the row which must form the toupet, he guides it right straight up; then turning the iron, its branch round below, he bends (curves) it backwards, and makes a low hook at the end of the hair.

The Second Plate, and Its Captions

Note: I have yet to really examine each of the tools in detail.

Planche II.
Plate 2.
Fig. 1, boîte à savonnette; A, la boîte; B, le couvercle. Fig. 1, box of soup, ; A, the box; B, the cover.
Fig. 2, A, la boîte; B, la savonnette. Fig. 2, A, the box, B, the soap.
Fig, 3, rasoir; A, la lame; B, le manche. Fig. 3, razor; A, the blade; B, the handle.
Fig. 4, couvercle de l'étui à rasoirs. Fig. 4, cover of  the razor case.
Fig. 5, étui à rasoirs; A, l'étui ; BB, les rasoirs. Fig. 5, razor case; A, the case, BB, the razors.
Fig. 6 and 7, savon and éponge dans leurs boîtes. Fig. 6 and 7, soap and sponge in their boxes.
Fig, 8, poche à rasoir; A, la poche; BB, les cordons; CC, les rasoirs. Fig. 8, razor pocket; A, the pocket, BB, the twists;  CC, the razors.
Fig. 9 and 10, papillotte ordinaire and à crêpe. Fig. 9 and 10, ordinary curl paper and a crepe curl paper.
Fig. 11 and 12, peignes à retaper et à queue; AA, les dents; BB, les dos;
CC; les queues. Fig. 11 and 12, touch-up combs and a tail; AA, the teeth, BB, the back;
CC, the tails.
Fig. 13, papillotte tortillée, sur laquelle en roule les cheveux. Fig. 13, twisted curl paper, on which one rolls the hair.
Fig. 14 and 15, petites brosses à nettoyer les peignes; AA, les brosses;
BB, les manches. Fig. 14 and 15, small brushes for cleaning the combs; AA, the brushes;
BBm, the handles.
Fig, 16, pincée de cheveux à demi en papillotte; A, les cheveux; B, la
papillotte. Fig. 16, pinch of hair half in the curl paper; A, the hair; B, the curl paper.
Fig. 17, la même mise en papillotte; A, la pincée; B, la papillotte
faite. Fig. 17, the same placed in the curl paper; A, the pinch; B, the made-up curl paper.
Fig. 18 and 19, élévation coupe d'un peigne à retaper, à deux fins and à
dos plat; AA, les dents; B, le dos plat. Fig 18 and 19, side view and cut of a touch-up comb; of two finenesses and
of two sides; AA, the teeth, B, the flat back.
Fig. 20 and 21, élévation and coupe d'un peigne à retaper and à deux fins, and à
dos rond; AA, les dents; B, le dos rond. Fig. 20 and 21; side view and cut of a touch-up comb and of two finenesses, and a round back; AA, the teeth; B, the round back.
Fig. 22, ciseaux sans pointe à tailler les cheveux; AA, les branches; B,
la charnière; CC, les anneaux.  Fig. 22, scissors witout a hair cutting point; Aa, the branches; B, the
joint (hinge); CC, the rings.
Fig. 23, fer à friser le toupet, dît fer a toupet; AA, les branches; BB,
les anneaux; C, la charnìère. Fig. 23, curling iron for toupets, called toupet iron; AA, the branches;
BB, the rings; C, the hinge.
Fig. 24, Compas à pistolet à rouler les cheveux; AA, lée jambes; B, la poignée; C, le poucier; D, la charnière; E, le ressort. Fig. 24,  a "pistol compass" to roll the hair; AA, the legs; the
handful; C, the thumb; the hinge; E, the spring. [The term "pistol compass appears in other dictionaries and is just described as a tool for rolling hair.)
Fig. 25, autre compas à charnière à rouler les cheveux; AA, les jambes;
B, la charnière. Fig. 25, another hinged compass for rolling the hair; AA, the legs; B,
the hinge.
Fig. 26, pincée de cheveux prête à être frisés, A, la pointe. Fig. 26, pinch of hair ready to be curled; A, the hair end.
Fig. 27, la même tortillée lorsque l'on veut y mettre des papillottes
fendues; A, la pointe; B, le tortillé. Fig. 27, the same twist when one wants to make split curl papers.
Fig, 28, la même pincée par la pointe; A, la pointe pincée. Fig. 28, the same pinch by the end; A, the pinched end.
Fig. 29, la même frisée.Fig. 29, the same curl.
Fig. 30 bis and 31, démêloirs; AA, les dents; BB, les dos. Fig. 30 bis and 31; wide-toothed combs; AA, the teeth; BB, the back.
Fig. 32, peigne ceintré de chignon; A, les dents; D, le poucier. Fig. 32, arched chignon comb; AA, the teeth; D, the thumb.
Fig, 33, fer à passer les papillottes, dit fer à friser; AA, les mords;
B, la charnière ; C, la poignée; D, le poucier. Fig. 33, curl paper passing iron ; called curling iron; AA, the bits; the hinge; the handful; the thumb.
Fig. 34, autre fer à passer; AA, les mords; B, la charnière; C, la
poignée, D, le poucier. Fig. 34, another passing iron; AA, the bits; B, the hinge; C, the
handful; D, the thumb.
Fig. 34, n°. 2, boîte à poudre; A, la boîte à poudre; BB, les boîtes à pommade liquide and forte; C. l'anse. Fig 34, number 2, powder box; A, the powder box; BB, the liquid and
strong pomade boxes; the handle. 
Fig. 34, n°. 3, pot à pommade liquide. Fig. 34, number 3, pot of liquid pomade.
Fig. 35, boîte à pommade liquide; A, le couvercle; B, la boîte. Fig. 35, liquid pomade box; A, the cover; B, the box.
Fig. 36, bâton de pommade forte. Fig. 36, stick of strong pomade.
Fig 37, sac à poudre pour porter en ville; AA, les cordons. Fig. 37, powder sack for carring in town; AA, the twists.
Fig. 38, poudroir à soufflet; A, la boîte; B, le soufflet. Fig. 38, powder bellows; A, the box; B, the bellows.
Fig. 39, houppe de cígne pour la toilette des femmes; A, la houppe; B, le manche.
Fig. 39, a swans-feather tuft  for the women's toilette; A, the tuft; B, the handle.
Fig. 40, houppe sans tête. Fig. 40, tuft without a head.
Fig. 41, houppe à tête; A, la tête.
Fig. 41, tuft with a head; A, the head.
Fig. 42, masque à placer sur le visage lorsque l'on poudre.
Fig. 42, mask to place on the face when one powders it.
Fig, 43, cornet destiné au même usage. Fig. 43, horn meant for the same usage.

Here's what I think are among the most interesting things about the sections above. What do YOU think is coolest or uncoolest?
  • Many of the tools are quite similar to those we use today.
  • The curl papers don't curl the hair themselves: the papers with the hair inside them are ironed with a curling iron. The paper thus protects the hair from being burned.
  • The 18th century version of "bed head" hair products is a mix of pomade and hair powder, made right on the spot. Like setting the style with clay...
  • The description of frizzing: pell mell!
  • Boy, was he ever wrong about the continuing popularity of wig-wearing. They've never had such a heyday since.

Good gracious, that was a bit of work. A week's break is in order :} Next up: hair powdering...

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

La Lingère, by M. Panckoucke: Plate 2 Captions Translated

Here we go, the captions from La Lingère in M. Panckoucke's Encyclopédie Méthodique, plate 2.

This second plate is most interesting to me in its several versions of women's shifts, French and English.


Fig. A, French-style woman's shift. A, the shift body; b b, the gores, c, the slanting cut of the neckline; d d, the sleeves.
Fig. B, an English-style woman's shift; the gores cc, which are lifted (and placed) at ff.
Fig. C, other English-style woman's shift; he single gore joined g, which is lifted (and placed) at h.
Fig. D, man's shirt; ii, the shoulder piece; k k, the bosom (cut down the front); l, the bosom gusset, in the form of a heart; m m, the sleeve gussets; n n, the side gussets; o, the back of the shirt longer than the front; p p, the sleeves; q q, the sleeve slit.
Fig. E, pattern (cut) of a valet de chambre's apron; a b c, lifted (gathered) so that the length of the cotton fabric is folded in two; b b, part of the lifted (upper piece?) part joined to make a front pocket; c c, the other part of the lifted (upper piece?) part which one carries back to c, to double the underneath of the button??? (boutonniere).
Fig. F, neckcloth; 1, flap which receives the chape (chape) of the buckle. [In Wikipedia's buckle entry, a chape is described: "Chapes or "caps" of various designs could be fitted to the bar to enable one strap end to be secured before fastening the other, adjustable end. This made buckles easily removable and interchangeable leading to a significant advantage since buckles were expensive. Unfortunately, the teeth or spikes on the semi-circular chapes damaged the straps or belts, making frequent repairs of the material necessary. Buckles fitted with the “T”-, anchor-, or spade-shaped chapes avoided this problem but needed a slotted end in the belt to accommodate them." In the accompanying Wikipedia image, the chape is a button sort of affair attached to an arm which is connected to the buckle's bar. Putting the button through the hole in the neckcloth's flap attaches the buckle to the neckcloth.]; 2, flap with enters into the buckle and will be pricked by (he buckle's) prong.
Fig. G, "between-cut" of a bonnet-style headdress, heads set in opposition to spare (relieve stress upon) the cotton fabric.
Fig. H, cap-style headdress cut out to be assembled; 3, the slanting cuts; 4, the false hem.
Fig. I, brassiere-style shift for infants. [the details are missing from the text.]

Here is plate 2.

Well, there we are. I am going to have a look at the full text of La Lingère, and see if it might be interesting to translate it, as well, or if I should move on for the moment to a subject from the same source which is just itching to get some air: the wigmaker!

You might be wondering where in tarnation that sleeveless spencer is. Welllll, I can't see the eye in any needle right now; a stronger eyeglass prescription was already in order, but since last week, things are even blurrier. New glasses are forthcoming; then we'll get back to work :}

Monday, February 11, 2013

La Lingère, by M. Panckoucke: Plate 1 Captions Translated

Last post I promised to translate the captions from La Lingère in M. Panckoucke's Encyclopédie Méthodique. Voilà: herewith a translation of the captions for plate 1.

Let us waste no time on preludes, except one: I am not nearly the French translator that Cassidy is over at A Most Beguiling Accomplishment, and admit so candidly. Dictionary consulted when necessary:  Mr. A. Boyer, The Royal Dictionary, French and English, and, English and French..., 1764. Another version, French, 1729.

Edit, 02/12/13: Kind corrections/explanations provided by Cassidy. Thank you!

Match the "fig" (figure) numbers to those shown on the plates, and you're in business. I've blown up the labeled parts of each of the two plates.

Here's the upper half of the captions for plate one. I divided the image of the caption text into two parts, for easier matching between image and text. Look at the left column only.


Vignette representing the boutique of a lingère.
Fig. 1, the whip stitch.
Fig. 2, the side stitch, serving to make a hem.
Fig. 3, the back stitch.
Fig. 4, the front stitch. (if you follow the letters in the drawing, it looks like running stitch.)
Fig 5, manner of making a folded (turned down)[rabattue] stitch to join two pieces without selvage (border) [lisière], or of which one one piece has one (a selvage). d c, are the stitches front and back at which one begins to unite the two pieces; a, a, is the protuding edge [excédent] of the selvaged piece which one brings down (presses down) on b b, in which to sew with side stitches (hemming stitches), in order to hide the d c stitches. If the piece has no  Si la piece a a has no longer any selvage, one makes there a little "turn down" [rempli].
Fig 6, the blanket stitch, or lockstitch.
Fig 7, the cross stitch.

Here's the bottom half of the caption text for plate the left-hand column.

Fig. A, cut (pattern piece) of a slipper; a, the upper of the foot represented by d, before it is cut slopingly (cut ballow); b the under-piece.
Fig. B, night-rail or combing cloth, in pagoda style. [A night-rail is defined by A New General English Dictionary as "an ornamental garment made of muslin, or other fine linen, in the shape of a short cloak without a cape, for a woman to wear in the house."]
Fig. C, an assembled (literally "mounted") cap; a a, the ruffles (literally "butterflies"); b b the beards (wattles, whiskers); d d the bottom (the ground).
Fig. D, the pieces of a headdress (coif); p, the ruffles; b full beard [I take this to be a lappet].
Fig. E, quilted cap.
Fig. F, a large [sleeve] ruffle, pleated and mounted on its ribbon.
Fig. G, two rows of [sleeve] ruffles, neither sewn [directly to the garment] nor mounted [sewn to a tape and basted to a gown].
Fig. H, a round cap; a a, the channel; b, the bottom (ground, base); c c, the muslin which creates the "bat-the-eyelid" [Generally the term means "I don't care", a wink, a little nothing. There are other, scatological meanings to the term, but let's leave them alone.]; d, the channel (groove) where one passes the ribbons.

Now please see the top two lines of the second column, shown in the first text image.
Fig. I, the cut (pattern) of a headdress (coif), a, the part that one cuts slopingly; d, the sloping cut that one brings back on b. [Per Cassidy, Cut out d and bring it over to be b.]

Don't you love the idea of ruffles as butterflies, and lappets as beards? Evocative. Please take particular note of the unmounted sleeve ruffle. It seems to be pure lace, the design ideal for a graduated, narrow-to-wide ruffle.


There you go. Next time, plate 2.

By the way, I am on the mend -- again. A day or so after the last post I came down with sepsis from a medical device used post surgery. Had a number of desperately ill days in the hospital. Now am home and on intravenous antibiotics and feeling stronger daily. Thank Heaven for family, friends, and prayers! As a result of all the excitement, stress, and what have you, there are some changes on the way for the costuming I do, and for this blog. Am still mulling everything over, but have about made up my mind.

Until next post, be well, everyone.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

A Followup to Diderot's Encyclopedie? You Bet: Meet M. Panckoucke and the Encyclopédie Méthodique

Was he a kook, Mr. Charles Joseph Panckoucke, thinking in 1781 that he could publish another giant French encyclopedia? Mais non, at least in the content department -- in the affairs of indexing, perhaps his plan was rather insufficiently cooked, but let's not be too hard on the man. Before he and his family were done, fifty years later, France was blessed with an estimated 166 1/2-tome Gargantua, under the title Encyclopédie Méthodique, explicating everything from fish to grammar to popular games to brocade patterns to -- lingerie.

The authors for each subject tended to both prolixity and exactitude, if these two characteristics can be considered simultaneously, which is a treat for us, all these years later. Further, technological advances since Diderot's time had exploded. In this encyclopedia, you can see the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution and its giant machines. In our world of fabric, for instance, the encyclopedia describes enormous looms and spinning machines, alongside earlier technologies. It's abundantly clear why Napoleon would soon have a strong base on which to build his economic empire.

All of the trades and manufactured items that costumers might be interested are covered: buttonmaking, lacemaking, manifold types of passementerie, silk weaving, dressmaking, tailoring, feather-working, jewelry making, embroidery, fan-making, glove-making and other leatherwork... Are you dizzy yet?

Hey, Where Have We Seen That Before?

Oh, a side note: previous costume professionals have made use of this content before; it's just that many of us haven't been aware of it.

For example, do you recognize one of the figures in the half of  a plate below, which goes with Manufactures: Arts et Métiers, Tome 1, section title "Habillemens"? Where have you seen it before, pray tell? Does anyone recognize it?

How about this one, which I'll only name Plate 64? Anyone know where they've seen this one elsewhere?

No don't go fishing in Google for these: let's let your visual memories do the work.

Now, more seriously. Let's cover an example: the work of the lingere, makers of underclothing and suchlike.

La Lingere: an Example of Content We Love

There are those of us who have studied Diderot's Lingere plates and L'Art de la Lingere, hoping to understand better the making of women's underclothing, circa 1760s-1770s. M. Panckoucke has an update for us, circa about a decade later. Feast your eyes, my dears. Alas, there are fewer plates devoted to the subject in this second encyclopedia, but they are fascinating. By the way, M. Panckoucke employed M. Bertand, the same designer who had done the plates for the Diderot/D'Alembert effort, for the Encyclopédie Méthodique. Some of the drawings within the plates on first view look very similar, nay, identical, but there are changes.

The First Panckoucke Plate, Compared to Diderot

Panckoucke: Lingere, first plate

Diderot: Lingere, first plate

The first thing you likely notice is the scene of the inside of the shop. It looks pleasant, no? What about the clothing the workwomen are wearing? Why yes, those gowns are a bit newer than those in Diderot: fascinating to see what they chose to work in.

Look at the patterns for caps, lace, and sleeve ruffles, and for lace: mmmm. The cap in particular is later in style than the smaller caps shown in Diderot.

Look at the sewing stitches. The way they are drawn I think is a bit clearer than in the Diderot version, because the stitches are shown in progress.

The Second Panckoucke Plate, Compared to Diderot's Subsequent Plates

Aha: patterns for shifts, and a man's shirt and stock. Interestingly, they are the same as within Diderot, although drawn in white. Sadly, there are fewer garments covered in the Panckoucke plate than within Diderot.

Panckoucke: Lingere, second plate
Diderot: Lingere, second plate
Diderot, Lingere, third plate

Diderot, Lingere, fourth plate
In Panckoucke, the cross-stitch
plate is moved to one of the Brodeur
plates, I think.
Panckoucke's Plate Captions
Here is the original text:

Over the next posts, I will attempt a translation of these plate captions for those of you who desire it, and maybe, if time and inclination both coincide, perhaps I'll get to translating the main text. It's pretty fascinating and makes the plates come alive.

Later on, I might have a go at the dressmaking or feather-trade sections. We will see.

Because the Encyclopedia Méthodique is so enormous, far larger than that of Diderot, it's hard to find a complete collection. Further, because there appear to have been multiple editions or particular volumes, sometimes the content is split different ways.  I've spent quite a bit of time over the last days seeking out the text, the captions, and the plates to the portions of the encyclopedia I was interested in. It got to the point that I was trolling deep within Google Images, parsing out URLs to find potential sources, following up on citations. The volumes that concern me are the Manufactures: Arts et Metiers, the Arts et Métiers Mécaniques (both sections in multiple volumes), and the Recueil de Planches (first bunch of volumes).

I tended to find repeats in each collection located: for example, Hathitrust has indexed the plates (planches) from the Universidat Complutense de Madrid, while Gallica and what I think may be a Hungarian archive hold various volumes of the text.

A rough-and-ready index, with notes to myself, has been put on this blog's Research and Resources page. Perhaps it will get prettified at some point, perhaps not.

Want to know more about the history of Mr. Panckoucke's life's work? Visit the University of Cambridge, and read Encyclopédie méthodique (1732–1834) Acton.b.45.27–176; XXVI.1.1–178, 2.1–11.

Fun, wasn't that? I'm just thrilled with my new research resource, and the chance to practice some French!

By the way: my hiatus is over a little early. The surgery was a success, recovery is underway, and I am well enough to read and write, if not do much of any sewing.

Second "by the way": what got me thinking about this encyclopedia, other than an interest in anything French-encyclopedia-esque? Kendra Van Cleave's recently republished article, "Late 18th Century Skirt Supports: Bums, Rumps, & Culs" draws a quotation from the Encyclopedia Méthodique. Curious to see if the original source was online, I sniffed around, promptly fell down a veru long rabbit hole, and came up here :}