I have of late been absolutely engrossed with research for my 17th c wardrobe I am making for Marguarite. I intend to make her an embroidered jacket, like the one above, worn by Margaret Layton c1620. This is a painting of her currently on display at the v&A, along with the extant jacket. You can see it here ... http://www.vam.ac.uk/ and then search by its accession number T.228-1994 . I am taking the Tudor & Stuart Gold Master Class to perfect my stitches, and help me decide which one I want to do for the scrolls...but while I am gathering my threads, and making up Marguerite's smock and bodies, I also decided that I would make her a mock up jacket, to be sure to get her fit perfect before spending a year on the embroidery....
I started out with something simple, but then thought if I am going to make up something, I am going to totally make it up right, period correct, well, as close as I can come to period correct. In my research, I came across a c1630 coif, also at the V& A, and the second I saw it, that was what I wanted my jacket to look like. What makes it so absolutely fabulous, is that it is printed...yes~ printed!!! Just the outlines have been embroidered in a gold wrapped silk. I have been totally transfixed by this little bit of cloth...I can barely think of nothing else. Here is a closeup
I had planed on taking what pattern was on the coif (a small cap that covers the back of the head), and then tiling the pattern and repeating it to fill in my jacket pieces....I didn't like the idea at all...cause I want to know what lies beyond the cut edges. I want to see the entire pattern! Being from the 17th century, and knowing that so terrifically little extant textiles from this era still exist, I figured I would never know the entire pattern (If there is anyone out there who knows of ANOTHER example of it, let me know!!)
Early last week, I was talking to Wendy Lewis, and ended up sending her the picture above, and come to find out, she knew that fabric too, but from a different piece! She sent me the photo below she took of it~ This one is also at the V&A, and is labeled as a cushion cover....but if you look close, that is a neckline center top, I KNOW it~ this is a cutting from what should have been a jacket made from this awesome bit of H*e*a*v*e*n on Earth. It is clearly the exact....exact same fabric~ WOO HOO! (click on pic to enlarge)
Now is this providence or what???? I was born to make this jacket, and there isn't a person around that could ever tell me otherwise. But the plot thickens... Wendy also told me she had a modern copy of this, called 'Animal Toile' printed by Cowton & Tout about 10 years ago or so. So she sent it to me to look at. I couldn't wait for it to get here...I thought, perfect, I can just trace it off and be on my way.....but of coarse, nothing is ever that easy.