Showing posts from September, 2012

Galerie des Modes, 8e Cahier, 3e Figure

,  Bourgeoise walking with her daughter, she is dressed in a silk dotted with little flowers, and her daughter in buras trimmed with ribbons. (1778) Bourgeoise walking with her daughter; she is wearing an informal gown and petticoat of the same material, pulled up at the sides with cord or gold braid.*  Trimming in two rows of poufs; volant very high, in regular pleats, with a band of double poufs at the top like the trim of the gown. Mantelet of black taffeta, trimmed with black gauze, scalloped on two sides, not covering the lace manchettes with three rows of ruffles, trimmed with sleeve bows. Hair in a racine droite , a little raised, with the confident near the ear, and a brush in the opening of the shell.  Medium cap on three oblique curls, with a ribbon placed around the head; a pearl strand below the ribbon- papillon ; the lappets hang in the back. The little girl is dressed in a child's gown** of buras, trimmed with ribbons and a half-apron of striped gauze,

Galerie des Modes, 8e Cahier, 2e Figure

Young Lady in a Circassienne trimmed with blonde lace, decorated with a streaked ribbon, wearing a romantic Hat and a loose, braided chignon. (1778) Of all the beauties which decorate the seraglio of the Grand Seigneur, there are none that rival those who come from Circassia.  One would be tempted to believe that in that happy country, nature takes pleasure in not forming women except in the most agreeable and perfect models; their dress answers to their charms, and if the Graces were not nude, they would not have adopted any other dress.  But its use is not given to all women: only those of a light and almost airy size should aspire to its advantages. This dress is known under the name " robe à la Circassienne ", or simply " Circassienne ": it is composed of an undervest with long, very tight sleeves, and a gown or overcoat pulled up behind on the sides and in back; very short sleeves, cut like the mouth of a canon, from which the undervest's sleeves s

Galerie des Modes, 8e Cahier, 1ere Figure

Young Lady of Quality in full Dress, topped with an elegant pouf cap called "the Victory cap". (1778) Grande sacque, with closed bodice.  This gown is pleated in the back, like all the other sacques, but has no pleats in the front: it is low-cut and busquée like a scabbard,* and the bodice seems, as it were, isolated in the center of a vast and rich drapery.  It requires an elegant figure from the wearer; it is only suitable for the beautiful young woman. The parement is of blonde lace in even pleats, and cut by narrow, gathered blonde lace; the pleats on the flat trim are crossed by two rows of eight bouillons , edges covered with two bands of gathered lace; the ends of the bouillonné ribbons are left to fall diagonally, held up with tassels; the upper edge of the parement is covered with a third bouillonné ribbon, which marks the waistline and shows its lightness; two straight, gathered bands are the only trimmings on the bodice, which is busqué in a point; b

Galerie des Modes, 7e Cahier, 6e Figure

Child's governess in the home of People of Quality. (1778) Another character Drawing, in the dress of a child's Governess in the home of people of quality.  Caraco of Indian taffeta, with matching petticoat, the whole trimmed in box pleats of the same material; sabot-cuffed sleeves, having a head of gauze resembling short manchettes or bonshommes . Large muslin apron, with a trimmed pocket and a busquée bib* in the shape of a semi-circle, in the style of a maid's clothing. Coiffure on a racine droite , with four curls; pouf cap à papillon pleated en gouleau ;* ribbon wrapped around it,** pinched at the front of the head by a black brush, with two bouillonné bands on top. The position of this governess prevents one from seeing her fine leg; her breast is lily-white, and a ruffled handkerchief covers it; but it can be found by Lubin. * Unknown meaning. ** "formante le turban "

Galerie des Modes, 7e Cahier, 5e Figure

Marchande de modes carrying her merchandise in the city. (1778)   Drawing of a character, representing the marchande de mode , who carries her merchandise in the city. A vast therese of black silk with turned-up edges, trimmed with gauze, covers her head and hides a part of her charms from the avid gaze of passersby; but her mantelet is arranged in such a manner to keep the elegance of her shape from escaping the viewer. She is dressed in a robe unie ,* trimmed with the same material in box pleats, as is the volant , and pulled up in the back with a ribbon in the manner of a polonaise.** Stylish silk mittens, allowing the bracelet to be seen; green paper fan; contentement on the chest: nothing is lacking from the trimming. * This could refer to the gown and petticoat being of the same fabric, or the gown fabric being unpatterned. ** Note, " en forme de polonaise " is the formulation used here for indicating a non-polonaise gown pulled up like a polonaise

Curtains, and Patterning Update

I'm strongly considering joining the curtain-along.  I want to make a demi-polonaise , because it fascinates me!  (There are a few more examples of them in the coming plates.)  It will give me a chance to try out the polonaise skirt shape and some trim types before I make an actual polonaise with my Williamsburg fabric.  Also, I'm not quite happy with the shape of my stays, and I'm a bit nervous that if I make something with a bodice it won't fit when I get around to making better ca. 1785 stays. Detail of the Cherry Hill gown back Last Friday I visited Historic Cherry Hill to pattern a ca. 1780 closed-front gown with sleeves en pagode and a matching petticoat; Monday, I went to the Albany Institute and had a marathon all-day session patterning two rather similar gowns (not as pointed in the front, though), one of which has a matching but waistbandless petticoat with self-fabric trim, the other with loops inside to pull up the skirt, as well as a jacket, a stom

Galerie des Modes, 7e Cahier, 4e Figure

Lady of Quality in Undress, walking in the morning in the Country.  This dress is white, trimmed with bands of painted cloth, and consists of a petticoat and a bodice with a tail pulled up in the back. (1778) Demi-polonaise, or polonaise à la liberté .  It is a diminutive version of the bottom part of the gowns that Court Ladies, obligated by etiquette to be seen in public in the morning, adopted long ago, which made a rather happy addition to the new fashions. The demi-polonaise consists of a petticoat, to which is attached the bottom of the polonaise, or simply a polonaise tail pulled up as usual; it is as comfortable as it is pretty, and has the double advantage of making one appear fully dressed when one isn't. The Print shows a Lady of quality, walking in the country, dressed in a demi-polonaise with a simple tail.  The petticoat and the tail are of white linen, of which the trim and flounce, which are very inconvenient while walking, were replaced with

Galerie des Modes, 7e Cahier, 3e Figure

 Little Mistress in a Polonaise Gown of painted linen trimmed with muslin, reading a letter. (1778) Polonaise, open over the chest and closed in the middle of the waist, with wings that are developed in the front and a tail that blooms in the back.* As the polonaise allows the sight of the chest in its brilliance, if you desire to excite curiosity you will require a fichu or a gauze handkerchief, folded back on itself and trimmed all around the edges: this gives a negligée appearance an air of decency which seems to add to its beauty. The Print represents a young lady reading a letter.  Her gown is of linen painted with floral sprigs and narrow stripes; linen trimming in box pleats, sabot cuffs of the same and a little flared; very high volant , plain at the top* with box pleats. Coiffure in racine droite , topped with a gauze pouf with a curved heron aigrette fitted to her head; four curls on each side, one of which is stylishly falling. Watch cord of hair, equipp

Galerie des Modes: Vocabulary

The hardest thing about translating these fashion plates is that there are a number of words that have different meanings in 18th century and 21st century French.  It did finally ( finally ) occur to me that I could find older French dictionaries on Google Books, which is very helpful, but there are still terms that are difficult for me to understand.  While many of them clear up after looking at them with fresh eyes or seeing them in a new context, busqué is continuing to stymie me.  The literal meaning of busquer in the 18th century dictionary is "to seek", related to the Spanish buscar ; there is also busque , meaning "busk" (so therefore possibly "busked") - and Google Translate is telling me it can mean "hooked", as in a nose's shape.  But in the fashion text, the term is used to describe an apron bib that is " busqué in a half-circle, like a maid's", and a pointed, closed-front bodice that is " décolleté and busqu

Galerie des Modes, 7e Cahier, 2e Figure

Polonaise Gown, hooded, of unpatterned material. (1778) Polonaise with pockets and hood,* or winter Polonaise.  These gowns are very narrow in front, and leave free the little vest** trimmed down the center with and surrounded by a large ribbon. The wings and the rounded tail are pulled up very high, as in the preceding print, with ribbons or with cords and tassels. Large ruffle, covered at the top with a bouilloné band of the same stuff as the rest of the clothing.  Narrow cuffs, with bons-hommes . Chignon hair is falling, cut by two diagonal curls which touch at one end. Hat à la Biscayenne , composed of a row of pleated gauze, tilted on the head, forming brims; a large ribbon, in box pleats, surrounding the hat crown and supported by a second plain ribbon, ending in the back with a double bow: the crown of the hat, in a gauze pouf, is half-covered by a panache of three ostrich plumes, a little raised, of which the root is hidden in the double bow. Shoes are

Galerie des Modes, 7e Cahier, 1ere Figure

Woman in a Polonaise Gown of striped taffeta, trimmed with gauze, retying her garter  and allowing the sight of her lovely leg. (1778) Current Polonaise, or frock-coat Polonaise, very comfortable for the morning and the country.  This stylish, sprightly, and informal Dress is fastened with a ribbon*; it should be pulled up very high, and is made only of light stuff.  The wings, or sides of the Polonaise, must be short and the tail very long. The Print represents one of these gowns, in Indian taffeta with little stripes of equal width; trimmed with plain gauze; the volant is also of gauze, bouillonée at the top; the sleeves are hidden under the ruched cuffs, which match the top of the flounce; very large ribbon on the chest, matching the bows that hold up the polonaise. Tambourine hat (it has been called, since this Print, the "beautiful leg" hat**); the edges folded up, of plain gauze like the gown trim; the crown or toque of material that matches th

Galerie des Modes, 1ere Volume, Introduction

I recently discovered that the Galerie des Modes plates with their short captions also had longer descriptions that went with them, and decided it would be a great idea to go through them all and translate them. There are nine issues, each with several plates, and I'll post each separately.  Below, you will find the introduction to the first volume, as well as the plates and descriptions from the first issue.  Critiques of my translation are welcomed. Explanation of the Allegorical Frontispiece placed in the first Volume of the Collection of French Styles.   Folly and Love choose the changes to fashion.  Taste, marked by a Crown of flowers, holding a torch in one hand and a rod in the other, having Butterfly wings to show its lightness, illuminates their choice.  On one side, one sees a dressed Toilette; under its skirt Love hides, shooting arrows.  On top of the curtain at the back of the Picture is a little Mercury, who holds it up and who will announce with his trumpet the

1912 Project - Blouse #0219

This is my second garment for the VPLL 1912 Projec t, and my first done in normal scale and without any instructions.  For fabric, I used a large piece of $2/yd green checked cotton I'd bought for making a muslin a while back, which happened to match up with what the pattern recommended.  The reasons I picked this pattern are that I want to be more comfortable with blouse sewing, I'd like a 1912 blouse, and I find the emphasis on the shoulders which was very common from about 1906 on, which is present in the blouse, to be very interesting.

Portrait: Euphemia White Van Rensselaer

My next portrait costume analysis is of Euphemia White Van Rensselaer , by George P. A. Healy. 1842; MMA 23.102 Euphemia was the third daughter and eighth child of Stephen Van Rensselaer III and his second wife, Cornelia Paterson Van Rensselaer (the daughter of a former governor of New Jersey).  The Van Rensselaers were the premier landowners of upstate New York: Kiliaen Van Rensselaer (1586-1643), one of the original Dutch patroons, founded Rensselaerwyck in the Albany area.  Stephen is supposed to be the tenth richest American in history, according to Fortune magazine, inheriting the largest estate in New York at the time of his father's death.  (Read more about him and the family here and here .)  Euphemia was related to the Schuylers, the Westerlos, the Livingstons, the Ten Broecks - other families of wealth, prestige, and long standing.  It is a sure bet that anyone named "Van Rensselaer" is as up-to-the-minute fashionably dressed as possible.  She was pai

Chapeau à la Spa, or à la Devonshire

Back when I started this blog, I did quite a few posts on different types of eighteenth century gowns, illustrated with fashion plates and paintings.  At that time, my priority was in posting, and I didn't really adhere to my citation standards (or download/upload each picture, rather than hotlinking - not only is hotlinking bad *slaps wrist*, it means that when a museum like the Met goes through and changes its links all your pictures disappear), so I try to go back and redo the pictures, add links to their museum pages, and give their accession numbers for identification purposes.  I was fixing up the page on levites when I kept noticing the recurrence of the term "Spa hat". Gallerie des Modes, 1779; MFA 44.1439 The earliest mention of the chapeau à la Spa explains that the hat was created in Spa and moved from there to the French court. It was worn by the Duchess of Devonshire, a repeated visitor, and was also called the chapeau à la Devonshire .  In 1779, th

Project Update: Scheduling

Short update on my patterning!  As I'm working on getting eighteenth century patterns first (so that I could, theoretically, finish writing one book and have it started on the road to publication while I work on taking patterns for the next), I have to work hard to find extant garments - there are very few left in the area.  So far, I have sourced and am making appointments to pattern: Fitted jacket, French, in a pinkish brocaded silk - ca. 1740? Mantua of mustard-gold damasked silk, ca. 1750, possibly slightly altered Embroidered stomacher, date uncertain Damasked silk dressing gown, early to mid-century Gold silk petticoat, heavily quilted with all-over pattern, no longer on waistband Silk petticoat, quilted with overlapping scale pattern in body, border of something else, 1750-1775? White silk taffeta sacque and petticoat, brocaded with polychrome floral bunches, trimmed with self-fabric and fly-fringe, 1760-1773 (previously patterned) Gowns (anglaises): Blu

Versatile Blogger Award

A million thanks to KittyCalash for giving me the Versatile Blogger Award.  It is a wonderful birthday present. :D The rules of the award are that you must: Thank and link back to the person who nominated you Paste the award to your blog Tell 7 thing about yourself  Nominate 15 other blogs Seven things about me ... I love starting to write fiction, but I usually don't finish anything because I start working on some other endeavor (usually sewing) and lose the creative impulse.  Most of the time, when I start to write something it's because I've read some non-fiction and I want to explore a situation or historical person.  When it's relating closely to royalty (which is often), I write in some other universe so I can control all the history and plot. Most of the time periods I'm the most interested in are not very popular, and I'm not sure sometimes if it's part of the reason I like them or if there's some common thread that makes me like