Your Weekend Wow!

How lovely it would be to have a little something special in which to rattle around the house. (Not exactly my best color, but I’d probably manage to cope…)

Dressing gown, 1879. Made in Japan for the Western market. Silk. Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, accession number 2009.300.71a, b. Click on link to access enlarged views.

front

side

detail, bodice back

Advertisements

In Honor of Earth Day

(Image by earth.imagico.de)

(Image by earth.imagico.de)

So, you may ask, what is a post about Earth Day doing in a historical sewing blog? Well, I was thinking about the Earth and it occurred to me that we who are enthused about history and historical fabrics owe a great deal of thanks to the Earth for saving those intriguing bits and bobs of ancient life that pop up every so often. Without the preservation Earth has provided, we would be even more clueless about ancient fabrics than we already are.

So here is my modest tribute to the Earth – with thanks for all it does for us, in spite of what we do to it.

*********************

A fine wool textile dyed red and blue, found at the ancient copper mines of Timna Valley, Israel. Approximately 3000 yrs old. Image credit – Clara Amit, Israel Antiquities Authority.

A fine wool textile dyed red and blue, found at the ancient copper mines of Timna Valley, Israel. Approximately 3000 yrs old. Image credit - Clara Amit, Israel Antiquities Authority.

*********************

A small 3rd century AD fragment of fabric known as the Falkirk Tartan Textile Fragment (although there is some discussion as to whether it is correct to call it “tartan”).

a small 3rd century AD fragment of fabric known as the Falkirk Tartan Textile Fragment

*********************

Coptic Egypt, c. 5th-7th century AD textile fragment decorated with blue flowers, outlined in black.

Coptic Egypt, c. 5th-7th century AD. Nice textile fragment decorated with blue flowers, outlined in black. 36 mm (1 3_8 inch) dia.

*********************

Dyed fabric found at Masada – breached by the Romans in 73 CE (Common Era)

Dyed fabric found at Masada - breached by the Romans in 73 CE (Common Era)

*********************

Four twisted hanks of flax fiber, probably late Middle Kingdom (Egypt) – about 1850-1750 BC.

four twisted hanks of flax fibre, 13-15 cm long, probably late Middle Kingdom (Egypt), about 1850-1750 BC

*********************

Iron Age woven cloth from the Hallstatt salt mines. (Hallstatt Culture 850-350 BC).

Iron Age woven cloth from the Hallstatt salt mines. (Hallstatt Culture 850-350 BC)

*********************

Fabric woven from nettles. This piece of fabric is 2,800 years old, found in the Lusehøj barrow, Denmark. (Photo – The National museum of Denmark)

nettle fabric found in a 2,800-year-old grave in Denmark

*********************

Ptolemaic Egypt, c. 332 – 30 BC. One nice piece of linen mummy-wrapping.

Ptolemaic Egypt, c. 332 - 30 BC. One nice piece of linen mummy-wrapping. Measures 25 mm (1 inch).

*********************

Remnants of wool garments from the Lønne Hede (Denmark) find. Early Roman Iron Age (1-150 CE).

Remnants of wool garments from the Lønne Hede (Denmark) find. Early Roman Iron Age (1-150 CE)

*********************

Hami burial plaid – from the Tarim Basin of the Taklamakan Desert in North-West China.

Hami burial plaid - from the Tarim Basin of the Taklamakan Desert in North-West China

*********************

Woman’s clothing from Iron Age (1200 BC) Huldre Fen, at Ramten in Djursland, Jutland (in Denmark).

Woman's clothing from Iron Age (1200 BC) Huldre Fen, at Ramten in Djursland, Jutland (in Denmark)

*********************

Detail of skirt worn by the body known as “the woman from Huldremose” (Denmark, Early Iron Age Bog burial).

Detail of skirt from the woman from Huldremose (Denmark, Early Iron Age Bog burial)

Archaeologist Ulla Mannering studying the skirt in the laboratory. (Photo - Colourbox)

Archaeologist Ulla Mannering studying the skirt in the laboratory. (Photo – Colourbox)

 

The Huldre bog woman's scarf.

The Huldre bog woman’s scarf.

Your Weekend Wow!

Here’s the question: Do we no longer use beautiful parasols because we no longer promenade? Or do we no longer promenade because we no longer use beautiful parasols? (Place cursor over each image for more information.)

Your Weekend Wow – The Victorian Heritage Festival and Fashion Show Report

Who says historical costumers are dull?! (Agnes Gawes, Valarie LaBore and Mara Perry)

Think historic costumers are dull? Not! (Agnes Gawne, Valarie LaBore & Mara Perry ham it up at the Commender’s Beach House.)

I finally got around to downloading my photos from the Victorian Heritage Festival! Ever since I upgraded to Windows 10, the only way I can manage and attach images from my camera is to download them in one big chunk, then copy them individually to my desktop and go from there. It’s a pain and takes forever but it’s done. Better a bit late than never (I hope).

The Heritage Festival

The weather was cool and a bit breezy, but no rain. Unfortunately, this year seemed a bit lackluster. Not nearly as many people promenading downtown in period dress. And many of those in costume went Steampunk or in Edwardian dress which, on the one hand, bugs me a bit (since it’s not true Victorian) but, on the other hand, it’s a weekend for fun and if Victorian Steampunk or Edwardian floats their boat then OK. A lot of locals didn’t even know about the festival. I think perhaps better advertising is called for.

A number of demonstrations were ongoing, but they were held in a dark room that prevented photos without harsh flash lighting. I did get to play with an antique treadle sewing machine, which only made we want one more (and taught me I definitely want one that is capable of operating in reverse – the earliest ones didn’t and, as a result, jam quite easily as I proved…repeatedly).

One nifty feature was a gentleman who took photographs using genuine antique equipment and processed them as was done at the time. Unfortunately, the unreliability of the process meant many re-takes and the line was long. But it was fascinating to watch.

DSCF1119

Valarie LaBore – Watches and How Women Wore Them

Val LaBore, who many of you may know from Costume College, gave an excellent presentation on watches. It’s a detail often overlooked, but once you start paying specific attention to old photos and paintings it’s amazing to see how many women are wearing watches. And how they wore them changed with time. Val’s presentation spanned from the 1500’s to the 1920’s and included not only a great range of photos and paintings, but extant examples. You might think this a bit of an exotic topic, but the room was packed with both women and men.

For more info on how watches were worn, visit Val’s “Watches and Watch Chains” Pinterest board: https://www.pinterest.com/timetravels/watches-watch-chains/ (with info and images of both men and women).

High Tea at the Commander’s Beach House

I didn’t get my bustle dress finished and wasn’t seated at the “costumed” table, but the ladies I did have tea with were delightful and I got so carried away that I missed taking photos of the table with everyone in period dress. Rats! But I did get some nice photos with Agnes Gawne, Valarie LaBore and Mara Perry – all in period dress they personally made.

DSCF1207

DSCF1209 (3)

The Victorian Fashion Show

I feel the need to apologize ahead for the quality of these photos. The fashion show is held in the local First Presbyterian church, which was built in the late 1890’s so although the interior is great, the lighting isn’t geared towards photography. The stained glass windows cast a golden glow on everything, so colors are often skewed a bit, and it’s just dark enough that sometimes the camera speed stops down and I end up with blurs. Even professional photographers run into these problems, so at least I’m not alone. I will say the pipe organ is pretty darned impressive.

Most of the participants either made their garments or wore extant garments, be they purchased or handed down through family. There was some truly magnificent work and I’m disappointed that most of it doesn’t show half as nice as it looked. I also regret not being able to get a photo of everyone who participated. But here’s an example of the costuming talent on display. It is wonderful to see to many men participating – more every year.

Included in the fashion show were examples of traditional Norwegian dress (the Bunad), as large areas nearby were settled by Norwegian immigrants.

The finale!

DSCF1203