Thursday, 29 January 2015

Before and After Restoration

I was asked the other day why I don't write any posts here about restorations of the antique clothing items that I sell on Antique Historika.

So here we are. This is a turn of the 20th century nightgown. You can see in the 'before' photos what a pickle it was in. It was lovely to see the original silk ribbon in place (a pretty peach colour), even though it was completely shattered (you can see tiny bits of the ribbon on the floor next to my mannequin).

Late 1800s/Early 1900s Nightgown before Restoration

It is made from a light cotton. So pretty, and I love the high collar. It fastens with 2 linen buttons and handsewn button bars which are hidden.

Details of the nightgown I am restoring

You can see here that it was very, very grubby. General storage staining throughout, but the back also had these rather unsightly marks:-

Not very attractive. But after quite a lot of work, and the purchase of some new pink silk ribbon, she looks absolutely super:-

Apart from a good clean, and the ribbon replacement, there was nothing else to do. It has obviously been stored and barely used. There are no holes or marks. It is now in mint condition.

Late 1800s/Early 1900s Nightgown after Restoration
Rear of 1890s/Early 1900s Nightgown

I have just finished listing it for sale here

Naomi x

Monday, 19 January 2015

Late Victorian 1890s Quilted Petticoat

Although this isn't in superb condition, it is an example of a Victorian underpinning that you don't come across every day.

Front of 1890s  Quilted Petticoat

Back of 1890s Quilted Petticoat

This warm, winter quilted petticoat is made with a brown cotton, and is lined in a stripey cotton. It is all machine made. The drawstring has been altered to make the petticoat shorter at some point. It has 7 panels/gores, and the lower quilted section is about half of the whole petticoat. The hem has been piped, and underneath the hem, where the fabric has worn away, I can see that the stuffing which has been used for the quilting is wool. Amongst the vertical stitches of the quilting is some lovely two-tone machine embroidery. Originally it would have been a deep, dark brown all over.

So only a quick post today, but something that is worth sharing, none the less. :)
Naomi x

Monday, 5 January 2015

1820s 1830s Lace Cuffs with Dorset Buttons

My latest find is a pair of beautiful 1820s/30s lace cuffs. As luck would have it my lace expert friend was down at the weekend, so I was able to pick her brains (and vast knowledge) about them.  They are formed of 3 sections, the top which is a piece of net doubled over, then the middle section which is embroidered net lace with the same honeycomb net as the top, and then the lower section, which is on a diamond net ground. The hand stitched Dorset Blandford buttons fasten with stitched bars. They will fit a wrist of 6 1/2''.

Late 1820s/1830s Lace Cuffs

They have the tiniest Dorset buttons I have ever seen, a mere 1/4'' or 7mm. There is some evidence of them being sewn to the long sleeves which these would have been worn with. There are a couple of holes along the top third of the cuffs, and there are a couple of pieces of thread. But this is simple conjecture here.

They are in very good condition for their age, but on one cuff there are a few issues. One of the buttons does not match the other 3. It has been replaced at some point with a 'Singleton' style of button. The other button on the cuff has sadly been damaged and bent. I can only guess that this was the cuff sewn to the sleeve of the hand of the writer maybe, or perhaps that one was damaged during washing?

Dorset Blandford button and Singleton button on 1820s/30s lace cuffs 

Date wise, I was thinking the 1830s, (due to my knowledge of fashion rather than anything else. I am trying to learn about lace, but don't find it easy). By the late 1820s and into the 1830s, long sleeves finished at the wrist rather than much further down over the hands as they often used to during the Regency period. And as pelerines, wide canezous/fichus came into their own in the latter half of the 1820s, lace and whiteworked cuffs were a beautiful accompaniment. Some were worn at the base of the sleeve with the lace cuff poking out, and larger ones were folded right back over the sleeve hem. In my 'go to' book for whitework accessories, "White-embroidered costume accessories: the 1790s to 1840s" by Heather Toomer and Elspeth Reed, it reads:-
"In the late 1820s  - mid 1830s this resulted in cuffs that were as flamboyant as the accessory they matched but, in the later 1830s, they became smaller and neater."

Late 1820s Gown with pelerine and Cuffs - The Victoria and Albert Museum

My friend brought out her 'linen tester' (everyone carries those in their handbag!), and was able to show me much more than I could see with my magnifying glass, it was excellent (I am buying one).  These cuffs have sadly been well washed and ironed, so my friend had a little trouble seeing what would have been more obvious without the ironing, but was still able to give me some pointers. The lace section of the hem/bottom of the cuffs (with the 'tallies', the square decoration) is most likely older than the middle section with the trailing flower motif. It is probably handmade entirely, although due to the ironing my friend couldn't quite see the picots clearly enough along the edge. She thinks the middle section is hand run on machine lace.

Late Regency/Romantic Era Lace Cuffs

The point about lace cuffs such as these is that it would have been so simple to remove small pieces of lace from something else which was perhaps damaged, or no longer of any use, rather than make a pair of lace cuffs from start to finish. The lace sections here are certainly different; the bottom is made with a diamond net, the middle (an embroidered machine made net) with a honeycomb ground.

Detail of late 1820s Lace Cuffs

You can see 2 other examples of nineteenth century lace cuffs in this earlier post:- (I think it is very interesting that all 3 have the 'tallies' as a feature in the lace.)

Well, that is an interesting start to the year. I am currently studying an 1840s chemisette, with some interesting features, which will be my next post soon. I hope you are all having a good start to 2015!

Naomi x