Thursday, July 18, 2013

Extant 1896 Bridal Gown at the Schoolcraft Underground Railroad House

On the fourth of July, Mom and I went to visit the Underground Railroad house in Schoolcraft, Michigan after the town parade.  It's a national historic site that's always open for tours on the 4th, and we had never been there before. I'll post more pictures from that trip at another time, but now I want to share my pictures of an 1896 wedding dress they had on display.


It had a card tucked into the neckline that read: "Bridal Gown - Worn by Marybell Stuart, daughter of William & Joanna Stuart, at her 1896 marriage to Dr. Raymond C. Morris.  Marybell Stuart was born March 17th, 1872.  She died in childbirth October 4th, 1899, age 27."  The rest of the card can't be read.  In addition to items that belonged to the family who sheltered formerly enslaved people trying to escape to Canada, the house contains a collection of items designed to show what life was like in Schoolcraft in the 19th century.  I imagine they celebrated the arrival of birth control.


I had fun taking pictures.  The dress has pleated trim at the neckline, cuffs, and hem.  The sleeve is voluminous until the elbow, where it becomes fitted.



The lace on the sleeves was gorgeous.


It looks like dress hooks helped secure the skirt to the bodice in back.


More hook closures.




The skirt has an asymmetric ribbon detail.  It appears to be the same ribbon used to trim the sleeve cuffs.


Pleated trim attached to an underskirt or petticoat?


Here's how the ruched fabric on the bodice was gathered at the shoulders.



I had great fun examining the way this dress was put together.  I think the fabric detailing at the cuffs, bust, and hem could be replicated by block printing.

Clerical Bead Embroidery in Vienna

One of our stops in Vienna was the Schatzkammer, or Imperial Treasury, now a museum.  The Schatzkammer houses the former jewels and robes of office of the Habsburgs.  Additionally, a large section of the collection was composed of clerical finery and ornate reliquaries.  This piece caught my eye.

This, if I understand my clerical garments properly, is the back of a cope or pluviale, a cape that goes over the rest of the vestments.  The embroidery is a combination of raise goldwork and bead embroidery.


The beads appear to be made out of coral.  While gold and silver embroidery was fairly common in the collection, bead embroidery was not.  If I had to guess, I would think that the beads were strung then couched onto the fabric, but I couldn't get close enough to say for sure.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Yarnbombing in Salzburg

While we were waiting for a group of students to get back from a brewery tour in Salzburg, I saw this:


Yarnbombing!  I was amused.

Next layer in Victorian dress project

I'm in the process of making a bustle dress, because I can.

I've already made the corset.  The next step is to make the bustle to go over the corset, then a petticoat to go over the bustle.  After that, I can finally begin work on the dress itself.

I'm using Truly Victorian's Petticoat with Wire Bustle pattern.


So far I love Truly Victorian patterns.  The instructions are clear and the patterns are printed on heavy paper, not tissue, which makes it easy to trace off my size then have the pattern available for future use.

Gizmo insists on helping by making sure the ironing board doesn't run away.


I've finished the main part of the bustle, minus a dress hook or two.  The next step is to create a ruffle overlay that will cover the boning channels so the hoop wire can't be seen through the skirt.

This requires about 50 feet of hemmed ruffle fabric.

One of the problems I ran into was how to keep the hemmed ruffle from devolving into a wrinkled mess while I worked on the rest of it.


My solution was to wrap the completed ruffle around an empty paper towel tube as I pressed, pinned, and stitched the rest.  I'm using a slip-stitch hem.

I have about twenty more feet to go before I start stitching the gathering threads.  Thankfully, that part I can do with the sewing machine.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Ancient Egyptian Beadwork in Vienna

As a part of the teaching job, we took students on excursions to various cities other than Graz.  We spent four days in Vienna, during which we visited a number of museums.  At the Kunsthistorisches Museum, they had some nice examples of Ancient Egyptian beadwork.


I'm not 100% sure on how these figures were stitched.  My instincts say brick stitch (Diane Fitzgerald has previously documented the use of brick stitch by the Ancient Egyptians), but it could technically be peyote stitch.


In addition to the supposedly brick stitch portions, there are remnants of beaded netting around the edges.


The face is also beaded.  The eyes are interesting.  In order to create fine lines, the stitching changes from a 2-drop stitch to a single stitch.  There's some damage to the middle of the face.  If the threads are original in that area, it might be evidence for peyote stitch based on the direction of the continuous thread, but I suppose it could also be the result of an attempted repair for display.


In addition to the pictorial pieces, there was also a netted shroud.  I'd bet that this piece has been restrung, it's just too neat.


There were also beaded collars.  The drop beads are horizontally double-drilled.


As well as assorted necklaces and collections of beads.