Monday, May 20, 2013

How to Embroider Your Gown

Monday, May 20, 2013
Loretta reports:

I recently attended a Jane Austen Tea at the 1809 Hedge House,
one of three historic properties the Plymouth Antiquarian Society maintains in Plymouth, MA.  You’ll be hearing about it for most of this week, because Executive Director Donna Curtin and her team very kindly answered questions, and allowed me to take photographs.  But as you know, photos are nothing like the real thing—so if you’re in the Northeast U.S., put this on your field trip list.

Today we’re taking a close-up look at a beautiful piece of embroidery that was once a border for a skirt or petticoat.  Because of the length, we had to photograph it in sections (the photos have been cropped a little, too).  Since tambour work was something the lady of the house or her daughters would do, this might be the work of the dress’s owner, whoever she was.  It was not only a ladylike occupation, but a wonderful form of artistic expression.

Why do we have only the border?  Maybe the dress was damaged in some way, or went out of style, and the border was meant to be used in another article of clothing.  Or maybe the work was done by a loved one, and preserved out of sentiment.  Whatever the reason for our having a fragment, we can get an idea of what the complete dress looked like here at the Met Museum


The Farm at Morrison Corner said...

I notice the dress is very full and stands away from the body.. would this be because of the way it is displayed, or would there have been support worn under the dress to give it that shape?

LorettaChase said...

They would not be wearing hoops at this time, except to Court functions. Underneath, the lady might be wearing one or more petticoats. Remember, too, that the dress was cut and sewn to look full. The owner might also might be wearing a small bustle. Please see my blog dealing with this look:

Snuze said...

Beautiful. I embroider my traditional outfits too, but nothing that elaborate (so I made up for it with beads).

Ms. Chase, I've just finished Sophy's story. Now I can't wait for the third sister's novel to be out! The Noirots are awesomely wicked!

MrsC (Maryanne) said...

Hello! Just a quick note to Loretta to let you know I downloaded one of your novels to my Kindle and loved it so much I am into my second. :)

LorettaChase said...

Snuze and MrsC, thank you! I'm working on Leonie's story, which I hope will be out in the summer of 2014.

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