30 April 2011

Livery and Lace: The Royal Wedding's Historic Clothing Connections

Photo linked from the British Monarchy's Filckr page.
Livery is still in style for formal occasions in England. (Or at least I like to think it is.) I learned through TLC's special on preparing for the Royal Wedding that the tailor shop who crafts the livery still creates the waistcoats using 18th century techniques. (Fourteen stitches by hand to the inch!) There's a great spotlight on tailor, Keith Levett, at this blog.

Though this departs from my 18th century focus, I was excited to learn that the lace from Catherine Duchess of Cambridge's wedding gown was handmade by the Royal Needlework School at Hampton Court. Two great articles are on the BBC News website, one about the Carrickmacross lace and the other deconstructing the gown's details

26 April 2011

Block Printed Cotton

The Mary Dickenson Shop at Colonial Williamsburg sells printed cotton that is reproduced from their collections. Their new fabric is a gorgeous printed cotton, named Scrolling Floral Stripe, that comes in blue or purple. I was told that this print came from a bed curtain in CW's collections that was scaled down for garments. Unfortunately I can't find the original in their online catalog.

Colonial Williamsburg's Wavy Floral

Most of the fabric measures 60 inches wide and sells for $12 a yard, with free shipping. The only downside to this great cotton is that it's only available directly through the store (it can be difficult to speak with a salesperson on busy days) or, obviously, visiting CW.

Word on the street - the Battings pattern is being discontinued. This is reproduced from a late 18th century child's dress, seen here (accession number 1992-139).

(Sorry this photo is a little washed out.)
Another repro fabric includes this scrolling floral print from a Woman's English Gown (accession number 1991-450) which I heard might be discontinued this year.

I'm hopeful that this printed cotton will be reproduced in next year's lineup (accession number 1991-465,A) along with the print on this jacket (accession number 1962-259), and that they will sell these through their website / catalog in the near future. 

11 April 2011

Rhode Island Historical Society's John Brown House Museum

Last week we toured the Rhode Island Historical Society's John Brown House Museum. This wonderfully maintained 18th century house is located in the historic section of Providence. What most impressed me about the site was the textile collection dispersed throughout the property. Figures in each room showcase textiles from their collection in a manner similar to how they would have been worn, such as a woman sitting in the parlor at a tea table.

For textile gurus, there are some historical inaccuracies (a late 19th century shaw paired with a mid 18th century quilted petticoat in a room interpreting the late 18th century). But it's encouraging and exciting to see this technique as it's one that I think is underutilized by many house museums who often have fabulous textile collections hidden in boxes.

I didn't illegally take a picture to illustrate my point so you'll have to check it out for yourself. The house and it's impressive collection (which includes several pieces of Townsend & Goddard furniture, a Clagget clock, and an 18th century carriage) is well worth the $8 admission price.

07 April 2011

Museum of London's Online Collections

Mid 18th Century Court Gown from the Museum of London's collections

For months, the Museum of London's webpage has said that their collections will be online at the end of February. I checked it regularly for several weeks, but nothing had been updated.

I was happily surprised when I discovered last week that things have been updated and those of us living on the opposite side of the pond can enjoy and study their collections.