My Grodnertal Doll posted on August 07 2015 in 19th century fashion, dolls 4 Comments

Hello!  Here are a few pics of a doll I modeled after grodnertals, peg wooden dolls that were made in Germany and the Netherlands around the early 19th century.  She is here posed in front of my dollhouse.   I made her dress from a pattern from Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion called Snowshill Manor c. 1795-1800.  The description noted that "This half robe has been altered from a gown of c. 1780 and is interesting as an example of a transitional style."  I can definitely see the 18th century in the pleats in the skirt, and the coming 19th century in the empire waist! Bon Weekend!

 The description also noted: "Small loops from the inside of the bodice fasten over buttons on the rightside of the garment to give the neckline shape."



Josephine's Amazing Gowns posted on March 10 2015 in 19th century fashion, Exhibitions, french embroidery, haute couture embroidery 3 Comments

While I was in Paris last month, I happened to hear about and catch one of the last few days of an exhibition held by the illustrious fabric house Maison Prelle on the fashions worn and favored by Napoleon's elegant first wife, Josephine.  The house is tucked discreetly above a court yard of a building off the Place des Victoires and had some of the most beautiful fabrics I've ever seen.  The objects on the special exhibition also were dazzlingly embroidered and I was particularly touched by the dedication of their unnamed creators to a high level of craftsmanship, as exemplified by one perfectly even stitch after another.  I hope you enjoy these photos!

Josephine in Jacque Louis David's painting of Napoleon's Coronation

A court gown with a lavender embroidered train

The gorgeous train


Josephine's shoes (I think)

White gowns draped with cashmere shawls with Indian motifs, deemed then the perfect accompaniment to the empire gowns


A final look at Josephine in the surroundings of Malmaison, her beloved estate outside of Paris



Merry Christmas! And a Fabulous Gold Embroidered Court Dress! posted on December 24 2014 in 19th century fashion, haute couture embroidery

 It would be nice if Santa came down the chimney tonight in this 19th century red court dress of German origin with elaborate gold embroidery from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  

According to Gail Marsh in her excellent book "18th Century Embroidery Techniques," metal-thread embroidery became a popular form of embellishment in the 18th century, as it would "catch the eye and the light from shimmering candles and mirrors at any ball or banquet."  Sounds pretty beautiful to me. 

Merry Christmas! 




Front Bodice

Amazing Gold Embroidery

I believe, for the most part, the embroidery here is realized by folding the gold ribbon back and forth in a zig zag fashion and securing with couching stitches.  There seems to be two kinds of ribbon, one the shiny metallic and the other looks more woven in the picture.  

A Voluminous Elaborate Metallic Trim.  For a price, you can still find trims similar to this in the garment district in New York or at Tinsel Trading Company (now located on the Upper East Side).  

More Gold Embroidery