Friday, October 28, 2011

A Few Odd Things

Some random thoughts have been binging around in my head lately... I've had a lot of time to think, read, etc.

On a personal & business note: I will be unable to hand sew for the next 3 or 4 months... you have no idea how much this pains me. I'm willing to forgo one of my favorite past times & a major part of my business to maintain good health, but I'm not happy about it. It has to do with pressure points & some wacky nerve/muscle things, which I hope will be stable enough in a few months to resume my favorite activity. The restriction is temporary... just annoying.
I am still sewing on the machine & have started looking for a good hand-stitcher to fill in for me. So far, cutting has not been an issue as the scissors don't press against that point.


So if I can't do it, I'll blog about it!
This is the Good Housekeeping diagram for a buttonhole stitch, it was printed in the 1950's, and again in the 70's... so for MY ENTIRE LIFETIME, the buttonhole stitch has been a "C" wrapped under the needle.

Not to say that this is how I make a buttonhole.

Not to say that it's "historically correct" for anything other than the 1950's - 1970's... but it is a buttonhole stitch.

Hope that clears some stuff up....

But then, this is also a buttonhole stitch / blanket stitch from the embroidery section of the same book, which clearly shows a single forward wrap, which is actually how I end up doing most of my buttonholes depending on thread weight, fabric & how well I can control the knots (those doubles are a pain, especially with hand quilting thread).

I'm coming from an embroidery background & old habits die hard. Maybe I'll get good at the double wrap when I can play again.

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On another historic note, I've seen some strange rumblings regarding 18th c. modesty cloths, shifts/chemises & other ladies accessories "always" being pure white. Sigh. This is just not the case & since pictures are worth 1,000 words, here you go!

This is "The Recruiting Sargent" by John Colette, 1760's.

Check out the lady bending down to hand the older lady something... and what is this? A striped modesty cloth, you say? The woman next to her has a plaid cap, though I admit it could be a "hood."

And peaking out from under the sad young lady's hat - Behold! A pink cap with white lace! OMG I think I just fainted.



My, my, what do we have here? Yet another Colette! 1763 The High Life Below Stairs (fantastic play if you ever get to see/read it)...

THREE ladies in the same room all wearing colored cloths! Heart attack! Heart attack!

From left to right, the modesty cloths are madder with flowers (could be embroidered, could be printed), Striped (same as above?), and what looks like black with white dots, though it may also be blue as indigo was quite popular then.

I wonder if the lady doing the wash is about to yell at the poor but enthusiastic singers?

On a side note, check out the show/book "Threads of Feeling" from the Foundling Hospital in London. Amazing exhibition which I wish I could see in person, but will have to be satisfied with books & websites.

1780 Man Harassing a Carrot Seller, I think by Rawlandson, but not sure.

You can clearly see that her stockings & skin are white, but her modesty cloth is not.

Please note that her apron is also colored, thankfully no one has been silly enough to make a statement about apron colors.





1730, Phillips, Tea Party, Detail

While I'm not 100% sure that the yellow thing around the lady's neck is actually a modesty cloth, it functions as the same thing & sure isn't white. From the small image, I think it looks like a line of rushing for a fichu... though again, I'm just not sure.

These women are slightly higher class than the folks above, so it's not just poor people wearing colors... though they do lean towards them more than the upper-crust ladies.









1738 Yikes! Stripes! Chardin's Kitchen Maid has a blue & white striped modesty cloth. It's lovely & I want it. I also want her lined pet-en l'aire / "sack back bedgown" (yes, I made that up, but it's better than arguing about who wore what when it's clearly a sack format in shortened form on a working class French gal).

Also: note the spiffy chopping block, cleaver, interesting pots & pans and cool ladder-back chair!






Last, but not least...
1745 The Chocolate Pot by Liotard
This just happens to be one of my favorite paintings for obvious reasons.

Check out the pink cap (and yeah, I know how screwed up the color on this image can get... doesn't change the fact that her cap is colored).

Also note that her hoop is a small, round hoop vs. a large bell or oval. The look could also be accomplished by multiple petticoats & a bum roll, but I really think it's a hoop.


That isn't all that's been flitting around in my brain, but it'll do for now. A bit of provocation, a bit of history & some really pretty pictures to go along with the first 2!

1 comment:

Aylwen Gardiner-Garden said...

The buttonhole stitch in this document looks like your "C" - http://www.nwta.com/patterns/pdfs/135bhole.pdf