I hope you can stop by the new "Early Works Mercantile" tomorrow evening for the Grande Opening! Mifs Goody Partlett will be there, along with all sorts of early 18th & 19th Century inspired dollys and crafts! You can find me here:
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Most people are acquainted with, or at least have heard the term "Marceilles Quilting"- which refers to elegant and superbly hand quilted Boutis (quilts) and Coats (petticoats) from Marseilles, France at the beginning of the 18th century. These were very highly prized, and
subject to much taxation and import restrictions by other countries. These early pieces were entirely hand stitched, using 2 fabric layers, a top and backing, with stuffing in between. Hundreds and hundreds of hours were spent int he making up of a single coverlet or petticoat. This made them extremely expensive, not to mention, it was very hard to keep up with demand, especially as the fashions changed from season to season....
Towards the middle of the 18th century, several London firms began to offer premiums for those entrepreneurs who could find a way to duplicate the elaborate quilting on a loom. NO one thought it could ever be done. Transactions of the Society for Encouragement of the Arts, in 1783, published this 'historical' account:
"When the proposition was first made in the Society, of offering a premium to encourage the making in the loom, an imitation of that Species of Needlework, long known by the name of Marseilles Quilting, it was almost rejected as visionary and impossible; but the laudable spirit of
enterprize, which has always distinguished the Society, determined them to publish the premium, and the consequence has justified the venture. The manufacture is now so thoroughly established and so extensive, being wrought in all the different materials of Linen, Woolen,
Cotton, and Silk, that few persons of any rank, condition, or fix......exist who do not use it in some part of their clothing"
They called this loom woven variety, 'Marseilles Cloth', and some shortened this even more to 'Marcella'. It was woven of double cloth with an extra heavy cording weft between the layers. By the 1780's, merchants in America were ordering this cloth by the yard, and could even choose
from different numbered patterns.
This example is the cotton variety, and is made up into a petticoat held by Colonial Williamsburg. As you can see, from a distance, it is hard to discern if it is hand quilting, or if it has been woven on a loom. This is amazing stuff to me! The 18th c was by no means an era of mechanical
marvels....but it is still mind boggling to me, how anyone could have figured out how to weave this on a loom.
This next example, is a bit of a folding pattern card prepared by Thomas Smith in 1783, of cotton Manchester Goods, that is part of the Winterthur Museum Library.
The coat in the Colonial Williamsburg collection bears striking resemblance to some of these pattern swatches, as does one of my examples here at the LRM.
This particular petticoat has full American provenance, and came to me with its original green brocaded open robe, c1760s. It was most definitely ordered, or brought back to America from England. Examples of Marseilles cloth anything are few and far between, which one may wonder why, if they were so common then, they can scarce be found today? So many common articles of clothing have not survived, as they were worn literally to rags....but in studying my example here, I have come to the conclusion these did not wear time well.
There are several areas of darning on the back, as the silk top threads have worn away leaving the cording to jump out at its leisure. And on the outside, if you look closely, the thin pink silk has worn down on nearly every diamond, showing the cream of the cording beneath.
I cannot imagine these silk ones could be washed with any kind of good outcome. The cotton variety were said to have been very popular for men's waistcoats and summer wear.
The bottom half of the design, imitates the elaborate quilting with floral bouquets and swags, with the top half's ground done fully in a diamond pattern.
Monday, April 20, 2009
So many occurrences of 'cutting' have come to my attention lately, that I feel compelled....nay-obligated, to address this current fad here on my blog. This is a subject near and dear to my heart, that has forever tormented me beyond belief.
What exactly do I mean by 'cutting', you ask? I use the term 'cutting' to refer to a person taking an otherwise structurally sound piece of olde, antique clothing, and literally cutting it up to use for other projects- like quilting, patchwork and doll clothing. Lately, there is a new phenomena, of online sellers purchasing clothing to which they in turn cut into squares and strips to sell to unknowing doll makers and craftsmen.
To say it bluntly, THIS IS WRONG.
I totally, 150% , support the boycott of any seller that has such blatant disregard for the historical importance of an object- for once a piece of clothing has been cut into its basic
elements, once it has been reduced from its conceived utilitarian purpose of covering the human body- it can no longer be tied to a certain place in time and history. It looses all its past significance- its use, and purpose......and is now just a pile of flat textile. Many times, in the study of a textile alone as a woven piece of cloth, so much of its history is learned by how it was made up- what it had 'become.' What a piece of fabric is made up into- be it a dress or apron or coat...can specifically date the fabric just by cut (style) alone. To take that away from a piece of
clothing, leaves it to float in space- with practically no worth, no home.
I do agree, that once a person buys 'something', it is theirs to do with as they please, it just pains me so, how people these days can be so ignorant and selfish. There are plenty of re production fabrics, and finely made modern fabrics, that with a little work, can be made to look nice and olde, like what we all like to see our precious olde dollys in. It is perfectly O.K. to make things from scraps~ to reuse precious olde bits....as long as they ARE that..precious olde BITS.....and not an early piece of clothing.
Many articles of clothing around the 1900s were sized and weighted with metallic substances, which has cause them to shred badly- some call it melting- in these cases, what more honor could a person do, but to take what usable parts remain, and make something beautiful from them. Cutting a garment that is not beyond all repair is a totally different story, and when we are talking clothing prior to 1850, these should not be cut at all!
I beg of you, plead with you all, to not allow this horrible fad to continue- history is being
lost forever, and once lost, can NEVER be replaced.
Do NOT buy from sellers or doll makers who specifically cut up otherwise perfectly good clothing to use in their crafts.
And if you are reading this, and are thinking of doing the 'unthinkable' for your next project, please, please..... pleeeeease~ do NOT!
Monday, April 13, 2009
Hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend. We had a nice wet snow, which we really needed. Its all gone already, and everything is back to being green. Hope you will stop by the TDIPT Mercantile tomorrow evening of the 14th, to see 3 new precious dollys I will have to offer.....
Friday, April 10, 2009
We cant celebrate Spring without new baby chicks of coarse! These little ones just hatched from the incubator on the 4th & 5th. We had one broody hen, but she decided after 4 days and nights on her eggs, that she had had enough. The children were amazed when they started to hatch~ they were all glued to the little glass window in the top of it to watch them pip their shells. Its pretty amazing!
Saturday, April 04, 2009
I have carried over my spring cleaning to eBay~ you can see some super l*o*w* prices here http://shop.ebay.com/merchant/mezpah_W0QQ_nkwZQQ_armrsZ1QQ_fromZQQ_mdoZ
AND!!!!!!! How do you like my new banner above? I made it today for my page on an AWESOME new group site, the Early Works Mercantile . The Grande opening is set for May 1st~ so keep in touch and I will be posting the link. This is a new juried site with emphasis and focus on the 18th & early 19th centuries.....I'm very excited about it!