Showing posts from May, 2019

The Art of the Lingère - Chapter III: On Measuring

There is no question that this art rests on exact measures, given that its products are made to be extremely comfortable and ample enough to keep from interfering with the body's movements, and so washing the cloth before using it can hardly be dispensed with. By this precaution, which tightens it up, you can be assured that they will remain in the same state: you must do this to measure them well. And when the fabric is taken up to be used for any garment whatsoever, the only thing that the lingère has to do is to find out if the person is fat or thin, tall or short, which is sufficient to determine the amount needed to make the number of garments requested. For it is very rare that a single piece of body linen is made at a time, not only because there will be a greater waste of fabric, but also because linen worn on the skin gets dirty promptly, so that one is obliged to change it. Thus it is more common to speak here of pairs, half-dozens, and dozens, than one. Next: on the d

The Art of the Lingère - Chapter II: Fabrics of Linen, Hemp, Cotton, and Lace

Linge in general being the main product of all nations, its manufacture is multiplied in proportion to need and luxury. The following is a list of linen and other fabrics which are used in France, their width, and the countries and provinces where they are made. FABRICS. Holland Frise  (Frisian), or hollande  (holland), is white linen: usually three-quarters of an ell and two fingers wide. Silesia Hollandilles are made in Silesia; they are white linen and three-quarters of an ell wide. Flanders The fabrics of Ghent and Courtray, which are also called holland, are fine white linen, three-quarters of an ell wide. Flemish rolletes are made in Ghent, Bruges, Courtray, and Ypres; they are linen and three-quarters of an ell wide. Picardy Demi-hollande  (half-holland)  trussettes from Beauvais are five-eighths or seven-twelfths of an ell wide and are linen. The fabrics of Ortie de Saint-Quentin are unbleached linen and are two-thirds of an ell wide. Half-hollands

The Art of the Lingère - Chapter I: Measuring

FIRST CHAPTER The Ell and its fractions in feet, inches, and twelfths of an inch. The ell, the scissors, the needle, and the thimble are the only instruments of the lingère . The ell is an instrument only used to measure the quantity of linen required or judged necessary for this or that garment in any category. The measure is expressed in ells or in parts of an ell (the Paris ell is used here), language which is mysterious to a number of people; whereas the King's foot containing twelve inches and its division into inches and lines, which every measurement can be reduced to, are familiar to nearly everyone. That is why, to interpret the obscure language of the ell, we explain it here in feet, inches, and lines, and even in part-lines. The Paris ell is fixed at three feet, seven inches, and eight lines. It is generally measured with a wooden ruler an inch wide and half an inch thick. The two sides are divided up: on one side into four quarters, the last quarter into two ei

Garsault: The Art of the Lingère - Introduction

François Alexandre Pierre de Garsault (1691-1778) was a sort of Renaissance man of the eighteenth century, interested in art, natural science, and technology. In the 1760s and 1770s, he published a number of books explaining the occupations of a number of different types of artisans, including those in trades related to sewing. Of these, I believe only The Art of the Shoemaker has been translated (and annotated), and I decided to do my own translations of the others, and maybe seek publication or self-publish them. Fast-forward several years, and Regency Women's Dress has gone out of print (at least in the US). There simply isn't the level of interest in primary sources to justify all the bother of printing these translations! But there's no good reason to let them continue to languish on my hard drive, either. So, I will be gradually releasing them here, free of charge - as they represent rather older work, I'm not even making paid posts on Patreon for them. With