Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Late 17th/early 18th century mantilla

What the item is: A stole, or mantilla.

There are two extant examples of this kind of garment in Scandinavia One in Denmark and one in Sweden. Both are made of black silk gauze and embroidered white silk. It’s a shawl, there the front is elongated with an extra panel. From the front this makes it look like a gown when worn. Both the extant mantillas have a stomacher made of the white fabric. The Swedish one is dated to the 1690’s, the Danish one to 1695-1709(ish)

Nationalmuseum, Denmark

Nordiska museet, Sweden

I’ve found very little information about this kind of garment. Ellen Andersen writes that this type of garment originated from Spain, and has been known since the late 16th century. In France it became popular in the 1720’s. Garsault mentions it in 1769, when he talks about how a lady should dress for court presentation:

If the Lady to be presented is not able to endure the heavily boned bodice [of a robe de cour] then she is allowed to wear a lighter one, covered with a mantilla, with the court train and petticoat.  As the mantilla covers the upper arm the top lace flounce, which would not be seen, is omitted.  The mantilla is made from any light material such as gauze, net, lace, etc.

I strongly suspect the boundaries between the kind of mantilla I have made, and one which is just a plain shawl, is very hazy. I have only found one painting where I’m almost sure the lady is wearing a mantilla. Christina Brodersonia, Carl Linneaus mother:

Source Linnè Hammarby, Sweden

It drapes the right way, but it may, of course, only be a shawl. There is certainly not difficult to find paintings of 18th century women wearing shawls. Most of them only show the upper half of the body.

It seems to me that this must be a versatile garment. It’s a lightweight wrap and worn over just stays and petticoats it must have been a good alternative for a hot day. It must also have been quite practical to wear during pregnancies.

The Challenge: Monochrome

Fabric: White silk brocade. Black silk habotai.

Pattern: I used the pattern in Danske Dragter , though adapting it to fit my own body. I aimed to keep the ratio between measurements the same as in the original pattern. In retrospect I could have cut the black silk shorter, but it still works. I omitted the stomacher as I realised I had enough brocade left to make a pair of stays, if I did so.

Year: 1695-1709, but can probably be stretched a bit further into the 18th century.

Notions: Silver lace and white sewing silk. I cut the lace down the middle to make it go further. Silk ribbons to bind the seams in.

How historically accurate is it? The pattern is made after an original garment. However, the original was made of white embroidered silk and black silk gauze. So I would say about 80%.

Hours to complete: I cut it all out just before Midsummer. It’s completely hand sewn and I have been sewing all summer, but I have no idea how many hours it took.

First worn: For these photos. I apologize for wearing a pair of 1780’s stays. All my other stays are in the attic, and I was feeling lazy. Period accurate makeup; pearl powder, burnt clove for the eyebrows and lip pomade coloured with alkanet. Reproduction earrings from Dames a la Mode

Total cost: 1045 Euro. One yard silk habotai: 13 Euro. Three yards of silk brocade: 60 Euro (but I will get a pair of stays out of it too). Fourteen yards of silver lace: 40 Euro. 18 yards of habotai silk ribbon: 32 Euro. Thread from my stash.

Sources: Andersen, Ellen, Danske Dragter: Moden i 1700-årene, Nationalmuseet, 1977

Brown, Carolina, Mode: klädedräktens historia genom fem sekler, Rabén & Sjögren, 1991
Waugh, Nora, The Cut of Women's Clothes, 1600-1930, Routledge, 1984

Monday, 25 July 2016

HSF 2016 Travels: Wool gown, 1680-1712

I have finished a gown! And for once it also fitted into The Historical Sew Monthly!

The Challenge: Travels.

The pattern for this gown came to my attention thanks to a friend in Czechia. It was part of a small collection of pattern diagrams published there in 1712 and called “Swedish court clothes”. They are not, however, particularly fancy clothes, and the fabric notes indicates wool for all the garments except for a pair of stays. In the early 18th century, king Karl XII of Sweden and his army were, if not actually in present Czechia, not all that far north from it. Even if a king at war didn’t have a sumptuous court, there were still a number of aristocratic ladies travelling their officer husbands, so there was some kind of travelling court. My guess is that these clothes, which seems quite useful for travelling, came from that court. And the pattern themselves have done a bit of travelling.

Fabric: Double sided wool, striped in grey/blue/brown on one side, black on the other. Brown linen for lining.

Pattern: I adapted my basic 18th century bodice and sleeve pattern while trying to keep to the proportions of the original pattern diagram. The skirt is made of four half trapezoid pattern pieces. The skirt was drafted directly onto the fabric, using the same angles as the pattern diagram.

Year: 1690-1712

Notions: Gold braid. Sewing silk in black, brown, blue and pale gold. Grosgrain ribbon in pale blue rayon. Antique paste belt buckle.
How historically accurate is it? I would say 75 %. The pattern is based on original sources, but due to fabric shortage I had to do a few changes on the skirt. The original skirt length was the back bodice length multiplied with three, which would have given the skirt a longer trail. The measurements of the skirt was double the waist measurement, but the front has much less fabric, I’m sorry to say. I sew it all together on machine, but all other seams were made by hand.

The gown turned out too big, partly because I’ve lost weight, but probably also because wool is stretchy. Even if I’m quite pleased with it, I’ll need to do some changes for a better fit. I also need to drape up the skirt more toward the back when I wear it. The fontange cap was made after a self drafted pattern, using these instructions. I thought it was too narrow on top, but it looked fine when I actually wore it. I used fine linen and remnants of lace my grandmother made. I need to purchase lace for the lapels and add a bow on the back. I also made a first try for the proper hairstyle and I Think it turned out ok. Not as high as I wanted it, but I merely worked with curled hair. Next time I'll see what pomade and powder can do.

Hours to complete: Cant’s say. The cutting, fitting and sewing it all together took about five hours. Then came all that hand sewing.
First worn: Yesterday at an 18th century picknick.
Total cost:  4 meter of wool fabric; 77 Euro. Belt buckle; 7 Euro. 4 meter of gold braid; 23 Euro. The brown linen was the gift from an aunt and originally purchased in the 1980’s. The grosgrain ribbon and the silk thread was inherited from my grandmother. So I guess the total cost would be 110-115 Euro.

This kind of gown can be seen on paintings and fashion plates in the late 17th/early 18th century. Though the skirt is slit and draped the same way as a mantua, the bodice is smooth and not fitted with the help of pleats.

Anne Marie d'Orléans while Duchess of Savoy by L. Mariette, 1684

Anne de Souvré, marquise de Louvois (1646-1715) by Simon Dequoy, 1695

Anonymous portrait, 1680-1700, Nordiska museet

Recueil des modes de la cour de France, 'Fille de qualité', 1680

The Cryes of the City of London Drawne after the Life: Fair Lemons & Oranges, 1688

The Cryes of the City of London Drawne after the Life: Crab crab any crab, 1688

Friday, 22 April 2016

The HSM 2016: Challenge # 5: Holes

The fifth Historical Sew Monthly challenge is due May 31. The theme is holes and, of course technically, all clothes have holes, at least as soon as you go from a piece of material wrapped or draped around the body to a sewn garment. You simply cannot get into a garment if there isn’t openings in it. But holes can also serve a dual purpose combining utility with decoration. Or they can be there simply as an ornament. They can be punched and cut, the can form a circle or a slit or any other shape. There can even be more open space than material in a garment. I hope this post with a small sample of all kinds of holes will provide some inspiration.

Functional holes for lacing a bodice in blue glazed cotton, 1775-1800.

Digitalt museum

Holes necessary for adjusting the size of a corset.

Corset 1875-99, V&A

The buttonholes on this coat, dated to 1725-50, are both functional and decorative.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

A sideless gown where the necessity of arm holes also becomes a way to show off the garment underneath.

From Grandes Heures of Anne of Brittany, 1603-08. Wikimedia Commons
Gown by Lanvin from 1938 where the neckline that also provides a design element.

Metropolitan Museum of Art
The more holes in a bathing suit, the more places to get a lovely tan.

1920s bathing suit, back view. Metropolitan Museum of Art

Red doublet with decorative slits and a row of lacing holes to keep the breeches attached.

Wool doublet worn by Gustaf II Adolf of Sweden, 1620s. Livrustkammaren
A child’s bodice from the early 17th century where the open sleeves are tied with ribbons to form decorative slits.

Digitalt museum

Yellow silk dress from 1819 with decorative slits on the sleeveheads.

Back view. V&A

Red evening gown, c 1934 with the traditional lacing converted into a design element.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Full length sleeveless negligée in pink silk satin from the 1930’s.


We wouldn’t have lace if there wasn’t any holes...

A woman’s waistcoat in drawn and pulled threadwork, 1630-39.


17th century collar in drawn lacework.


Cotton lace cap from 1829

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Linen petticoat with eyelet embroidery, 1860-65

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Bobbin lace bodice front, 1865-75.


And let's not forget shoes, that can provide many variations of both functional and decorative holes.

Chopines, 17th century. Livrustkammaren

A woman's silk shoe, 17th century. Livrustkammaren

Boots, 1920s. V&A

1930s shoes

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Scandinavian gowns in the late 17th and early 18th century.

The more I dig into fashion history, the more interested I get in what was actually worn here, in Sweden, where I live. It’s not altogether easy to find information about that. So I have been very happy in diffing into a Danish website: Dragter på epitafier og gravsten i Danmark (Costumes on epitaphs and tombs in Denmark). There are even a few from germany and more than a few from Swedish churches, dated from the 16th century to the 18th. So far I have only dug into the paintings and they are a wonderful source to what well to do, but not necessarily aristocratic, women wore in Denmark and Sweden. Here are a few from the late 17th-early 18th century, showing some really nice mantuas, caps and hairstyles.

Click on the links for more pictures.

Two great fontange caps.

Anonymous lady by Lucas Ambders, 1685

Anonymous lady by Necolaus Tych, 1695
I love, love, love these mantuas. The different patterns on mantua, petticoat and stomacher on the mother, the play with the stripes on the daughter's gowns.

Peder Jensen Lucoppidan and Anna Christine Jørgensdatter with their children. Svendborg Sct Nicolai kirke, Denmark. Painted in 1696

More somber mantuas, but the caps are spectacular!

This mantua in black is even more sober.

Frands König and Anne Lauritzdatter. Kirke Helsige kirke, Denmark. Painted in 1694.

Also very pretty with the borders.

Mathias Rubenius and his wives; Anna and Gertrud Katrina Liljengranat. Färlövs kyrka, Sweden. Painted 1700-09

And this mantua is stunning and the cap is too! I want it!

Anne Christensdatter Søe 1644-1736. Thisted kirke, Denmark. Painted 1684.

Catharina, married to Johannes Georg Alsing. Västra Tommarps kyrka, Sweden

I'm not sure if the following gowns are closed front Mantuas or some other kind of gown. And more spectacular caps!

Mads Christensen and Martha Bertelsdatter with their children. Bjerned kirke, Denmark Painted 1691.
Laurits Jensen Beder and Anna Cathrine Pedersdatter Dorscheus with their children. Beder kirke, Denmark. painted around 1690.

Maren Stefansdatter and her daughters. Varde Sct Jacobi Kirke, Denmark. Painted in 1677

Christen Lauridsen Rhuus and Johanne Samuelsdatter Gesmel. Saeby kirke, Denmark. Painted around 1700 by Christen Lauridsen Rhuus .

The red fabric is so gorgeous! And a nice view on the stays too.

Christiane Marie Foss 1684-1750, married to Carsten Worm 1707, Århus stift

 And here it looks like the stays are laced over a different coloured stomacher.

Knud Hauch and Sophie Brun. Ribe Sct Catharina kirke, Denmark. Painted by Knud Hauch 1703

And a few hairstyles. Big hair was a thing around 1700 too.

Edel Sophie Bille 1684-1706. Ubby kirke, Roskilde stift. Painted in 1714

Margrethe Ingeborg Hemmer, 1643-1723, married to Mathias Worm. Painting from 1700-09, Århus Stift

Unknown girl, 12 years old. painted 1690-09. Denmark

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