Friday, July 29, 2016

Flemish Fantasy Kit update

Kits in Stock Again!

The response I have received for my 2016 Flemish Fantasy Ornament Kit has been wonderful~ well beyond my expectations. To my super fantastic customers who have been patiently waiting their kit to be shipped, they have all gone out this morning~ so please check your email for your specific tracking number. I have really tried to keep them in stock, really I have~ and it never fails when I get down low and reorder my silks, I will get orders in that inbewteen time that have to wait to ship~ so I do sincerely apologize to those of you who I could not ship out your kit the same day you ordered one. I have fourteen left sitting here, ready to ship out if you have been pondering getting one!  You can find ordering info for them here .

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Exploring an 1820 Mache Doll

Off with the Apron!
 After removing the petticoat, the pin has been removed from the top neckline of the back opening. A thin muslin cover has been stitched over the bottom of the shoulderplate. Just under the shoulder, wadding can be seen packed tightly up underneath it to fill the gap between shoulderplate and kid body. On top of the muslin  shoulderplate covering, the top of the linen chemise can be seen.
 There are no back closings on the gown at all, it was originally pin'd closed. The blued steel pin in the apron waistband also passes through the bottom of the bodice, so it has to come off next....only it doesnt want to come out. Bluing was a technique (still used today) used to treat bare steel to make it more rust resistant. One must be very careful when removing pins from early textiles, as the rust will grow out into the fibers, and as you try and pull out the pin, you can tear a huge hole in the fabric. I was not able to actually lay my eyes on where the pin was stuck, so gently wiggled it up and down the weeniest little bit, and then twisted it gently to pop it loose.
  The top fullness of the apron is gathered onto the waistband...there are little skye blue puffs of stitching remaining in the waistband.... somewhat puzzling at this point.....
 The waist band is just long enough to reach fully round the waist, there is no extra to tie into a bow.
 The only stitching I can find on the back, other than the waistband and gathering, is tiny whip stitches right at the hem corners. The sides are turned, but not stitched down, and the hem is turned up....but is a raw edge. ::Enter more puzzlement here ::
 As I am examining these three little puffs to the apron edge....I realize they arent lint, but actual stitches....and then as I get out my magnifiers, I can see a zig zag of dots all way round the apron front, these are original stitch holes.
 Now long gone, (most likely from the dye used to color the wool thread),  one can see that the sides and hem of the apron were stitched down from the front with a decorative edging of blue wool
 The same blue wool as these last little bits still in the waistband.
 The blue stitches, combined with her blue petticoat, tell me dolly most likely had another dress, a pretty blue print probably, in her original wardrobe.
Inside the waistband, showing detail of side gathers.  
What will we find next?????

Monday, July 25, 2016

Museum Monday!

1750-80 Child's Leather shoes 734.2013.52
  This weeks Museum Monday lucky number is 734! One of the most common questions people ask me, is,  'Where do I find the pieces in your collection?'  Simply put, some are donated, and I do have good connections with textile dealers, but for the most part, I scour and scour for them~ of coarse it helps to be able to tell what something is when its crumpled up in a corner or in the bottom of a box, as was case with these little shoes. They were not looking their best, but I was over the moon when I found them. (above)
 The sole's shape helps in dating early shoes immensely~ the wide throat and stocky heel, along with lightly rounded toe put this shoe firmly in the mid 18th century. The channel cut in the heel to stitch the tiny spring heel above it can clearly be seen, as well the last marks. A decorative tooled line is all that defines the heel from the sole.
 The thin leather is quite dry and has torn like paper from the stress of being crushed under who knows what was on top of them in their old junk box.
 While I do some conservation and repair her at the Museum, I tend to always tread on the side of less is more, especially with fragile objects such as these.
 This is same shoe as in the picture above, after just a kind and gentle coaxing of the leather back into shape using a stuffing of inert poly. I stuff all of my shoes this way~ making a form with poly stuffing, and inserting that into a bit of nylon hose~ the hose keeps the stuffing contained and will not catch on the inside of the shoe, making it easy to remove. A simple string tie drawn thru the latchets and tied into a bow brings the shoe back to its original shape. The tear is still there, left fully untreated, but much less noticeable now.
 They look so much happier now!
 Careful placement for display or photographs has brought a crumpled little pair of shoes no one cared about, back to life for us to enjoy and study. The fact they are 'damaged' never plays a role in my weighing their value...if anything, damaged pieces can provide details and clues to how they were made much better than the same in pristine condition.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Exploring an 1820 Mache Doll

Ah ~ Ha! I knew it!
 I knew I saw something peeking out of her bodice when I saw her sale listing.... ah but its really wedged in we will come back to this later!
 Dolly is fully dressed as a Ladye would have been in the time, so we must carefully remove each layer of her ensemble, to finally reach her bare legs. I have taken off already her caplet/fichu/pelerine and collar, and have turned her on her tummy with toes only extending out past the edge of the counter. One of her legs is fully detached, the other partially, as she is leaking bits from both pantaloon legs. Under her quaint pink print gown, she wears an absolutely marvelous robins egg blue polished cotton petticoat! Her gown is in two pieces, with bodice and skirting separate. Rarely have I seen a period gown of human type that is separate in this era~ but given dolly's milliners type rigid hard stuffed kid body, one would not be able to get the gown on her if it was once piece. Milliner's type bodies are one piece, meaning no joints at the arms or legs, hips or knees or elbows~ they cannot sit poor dears....they stand tall and proud their entire lives.
 The back of the skirting was pin'd closed, so pin was removed and skirting carefully shimmied off. I am careful to not just pull out her legs from the pantaloons, as I do not know the extent of the damage, and am trying to keep as much wood fill in place as I can.  Her petticoat is just marvelous! marvelous marvelous! It has a single hammered hook and eye closure at the waist. The fabric is pleated to a narrow twill tape waistband.
 The cloth is not only polished, but heavily sized and very rigid~ off of dollye it retains her waist shape fully without collapsing.
 When wiggled, it has a very distinct sound....Im trying to place it exactly but cant a the sounds like heavy paper rustling...or if one has a heavy linen sheet out on the dry line, and the wind blows and snaps it back and forth~ that sound.
 Hook and eye are hammered flat
 Quite a short back opening, I really had to shimmiy this back and forth ever so careful to get it over her behind/hips.
 This is inside the waist, looking down at the front ,  waistband is at the very bottom of the picture.
 Inside hem
Outside hem

Monday, July 18, 2016

Museum Monday!

Child's Handkerchief, 893.2016.16
 This weeks Museum Monday lucky number is 893! This little hanky came in the same lot as 902 that we covered a few Mondays ago~ its utterly charming and has been cut down from a larger kerchief and seamed on two sides.
Inked in the upper corner is 'A Pott' over a 12, the number 12 not necessarily denoting a year date, but more likely a laundry marking, telling us it was 12th in the owners stash of hankies!
If you enjoy Museum Mondays, please choose a number between 1-950 and post in the comment section~ Ill add it to the jar and pick one randomly for next week's post!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

New dollye on eBay this week!

My Love is on eBay this week~ if you would like to meet her, you can visit her 

Friday, July 15, 2016

Exploring an1820 Mache Doll

Welcome home M'Ladye~

  This new Ladye has found her way here to her new forever home. She is huge~ 26" tall, and all original on her kid milliner's model body, and I just couldn't be more excited to share her with you all~
 Upon her arrival, as the tea was brewing for our long awaited chat, as she stepped out of her traveling carton.... oh no! What is this I see gently sifting down from her skirts?  Poor girl is a trail of wood chips leaking from her detached legs! So instead of a single hello greeting, she has agreed to let you all follow along as we carefully remove her many layers to repair her legs~ a common problem with this early type of body. So check back often for a very special journey to meet this Grande Ladye~

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

New Dollye coming to eBay soon!

 Queenie is tying her lace, getting ready to greet you soon on eBay. 
I. L.O.V.E. this. doll.
And I think you will too
 ~from my little worlde to yours~

Monday, July 11, 2016

Museum Monday

1850-5 Embroidered Black velvet Mantilla, 31.1998.15
  If you were a fashionable young ladye in the mid 19th century, to keep up with all  the latest fashions, there was no greater an anticipated arrival...well, other than ones beau, than the latest edition of Godey's Lady's Magazine. Of coarse there were others....World of Fashion, Sartain's, Petersons, Akermann's Repository ...but Godey's was the most popular and widespread fashion publication here in the US. It came out monthly, and along with stories there were recipes, music, current events, ideas for household amusements, embroidery and craft patterns....and at the very back, before the advertisements, usually 2 hand colored fashion plates and several pages of engravings of the latest styles. They were highly coveted by those that were fortunate to subscribe. Ladies would save them up and take to the book binder to have bound into book volumes. Above is the latest style of mantilla 'The Andalusia" ,  which bears close resemblance to this weeks Museum Monday lucky number 31!
  This piece holds a special place in my heart, as one of the first permanent pieces in my collection. I used to run an ad in the paper when we lived in Maine for any old clothings, and was offered this piece from its original family in Machias, Maine.  Its hand stitched of plush black silk velvet, with allover black silk embroidery and fringes, center front hook/eye closure and lined in a quilted silk wadded with wool, making it the perfect covering for a walk in the brisk fall air.
  The black is very hard to photograph, but there are separate pagoda sleeves set in very low~ there is absolutely NO picking up ones arms in this! Any bending of the arm or movement was done from the elbow down.
 While the back is not cut in quite as deep of a V as the Raglan , above, it does have the same long fringe our mantilla is rather a hybrid of the Andalusia & the Raglan. Let's see what the September 1855 issue of Godey's has to say about the Raglan....

 " As the approach of the cold weather will render our Lady friends thoughtful about their winter garments, they will, we trust,  be grateful to find that we are at pains to afford them all the information in our power as to the several styles which the modistes of Paris have prepared for the season. 
   We commence with a beautiful article fashioned of royal purple velvet. It adjusts itself to the figure closely as far as the waist, thus presenting a remarkably elegant contour; three fold box pleats start from this point with fine effect; the balance of the skirt sweeps in a circular manner forward, over and in advance of the arm at the bend of the elbow, thus forming a covering for it. The front falls in tabs cut nearly square, but rather drooping towards the forward edge. The manner in which the trimming ornaments the upper portion will be understood at a glance; it is arranged similarly in front. We need scarcely observe that it is composed of a rich guipure lace with massive fringe. The lining is of satin, beautifully quilted in an elaborate design."

 Our mantilla does not have any lace, and here, you can see the embroidered sleeve~ its set into the body of the coat right at the fringe there. The shine of the black silk embroidery, along with the pattern itself, has the look of lace against the deep pile of the black velvet.
 From afar, the embroidery really looks like a lace flounce
Padded satin stitch, chain stitch, french knotts were worked to make this beautiful design, similar to many published each month in Godey's...which I think, is just as entertaining to read today, as it was 161 years ago!

Friday, July 08, 2016

New Blackwork Thread Palette Set

Hand Painted 17th c Blackwork
 Recently a customer ordered a set of slate frames and when I asked how she wanted them painted, she said "Paint whatever makes you happy". Is that awesome or what??  I have always loved blackwork embroidery~ the early 17th c style~ not the cross stitch that folks think of today that is labeled as such. Early blackwork is basically done in outline stitch, with any shading done in speckling or fil turk. If you have followed my blog for some may remember I did an inked jacket based on this coif quiet a while ago. Along with this coif, the V&A has several fragments of what is believed to be a jacket, in same pattern. I drafted my own version of the pattern using all the pieces and some others found held privately. I have wanted to make a painted version for f-o-r-e-v-e-r...and so, I took the opportunity to paint up a blackwork slate frame.
 The design is first drawn on by hand with india ink using a dip pen...(did you that steel tip pens were in use in the early 1720s?.....most think of them as replacing quills in the late 19thc)
 After I have the outlines on, then I go back and add black shading~ I really love how it came out...I think an entire box would look stunning! The slat on the bottom is without shading, the top slat is finished.
 I left all the pictures large on this post today, so you can click on them to see details easier~ This is a large frame, and looks quite nice just hanging out when not in use. I am totally jealous of my customer having a blackwork frame and I think I may need to paint me the mean time, I made up a thread palette set~
  using a fragment of same pattern~ I think a must have for anyone who loves blackwork embroidery!  If you are interested in it, or would just like to see more pictures~ it is available on eBay this week here .

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Museum Monday!

Girls Corded Cotton Poke Bonnet c1820-40, 14.1997.6
 This week's Museum Monday lucky number is 14!  When one say's 'Poke Bonnet', I have found most folks will immediately think of the stiff straw types, ornamented with flowers and ribbons and lined in silk. Did you know they were very popular as sun bonnets? Some really quite deep, the simple cotton holding its shape with a starch stiffening. These bonnets were lightweight and cool in the summer, and white seems to be a popular choice over prints...perhaps because white reflects the heat away from the wearer...or  that they could be easily boiled and washed....or a little of both. This example, for a child, has another common component of these sun bonnets, a long neck bavolet, or ruffle, that would keep the sun off the wearers neck. Unlike today, it was not a welcome thing to have tanned of the first signs of a 'ladye' was her pale white, unblemished complexion.
 These bonnets extend out from the face, hense the name 'poke bonnet', (because one had to poke their head in there for the wearer to see them), and thus offered the wearer a bit of a sun shade....I like to think of them as the Grandmother's to the modern ball caps that everyone wears around today....
 The date is a broad one on this piece, the extra fine stitching and double ruffle around the front scream 1820's.. the double ruffle with its rolled hems is quite popular in 1820's era gowns, like several I have here in the collection.
 Entirely hand stitched and corded with 6 strands of cotton string in each channel. The channels made by taking up a little tuck in the fabric, then running the string thru each one. These provided another layer of stiffening, with four rows of cording around the front to help the bonnet to keep from collapsing in on the wearer.
I'd much rather wear one of these, than a ball cap....