Thursday 24 October 2013

1740/50s Chardin Striped Robe a la Francaise

(C) Coltrane Koh

I have been stumbling across stripey 18th century gowns lately and wanting to do something 1750s, I have come up with my 1740/50s striped Chardin Francaise.
It all started with this wonderful gown, a very beautiful late Robe a la Francaise with green stripes. SOOO nice! But not 1750s.

MetMuseum 1780s

Then I came across this picture by Chardin which has been painted in 1741. And what Stripes they are! Of course you can't see much of the gown,  but it's wide stripes- I think the flounces are sticking out of wide winged cuffs. The robe is worn retroussee dans le poches. It really fuelled my imagination! :)

Morgentoilette, Chardin 1741

Also Norah Waugh mentions wide stripes as typical for the earlier 18th century in "the Cut of Women's clothes".  And THEN this really wide green and ivory stiped taffeta silks just begged to be made into something. ;)

ivory/seaweed green

The stripes are 20cm/8inches wide, that's quite something, I dare say, that's pretty wild. I have to admit, when ordering the fabric online, 8 inches stripes didn't seem quite as wide as they are, when 10 yards of fabric are spread out in front of you... :) (possibly has to do with being used to the metric system too... 8 inches just doesn't sound quite as big as 20cm!!)
Anyway, I decided to give it a real go. My version has relatively slim sleeves with winged cuffs.
Also I chose to make the petticoat from the same fabric and not a different colour like in the picture.
The robe is worn over side hoops (rocking horse pattern) and a quilted petticoat, and I have once again used JP Ryans Pet-en-l'air/Robe a la Francaise pattern. Still loving it.

Wednesday 23 October 2013

Anna Maria Garthwaite (1688-1763) - 18th century textile designer

When it comes to choosing fabric for a dress project I am rather reluctant to take risks. Which  means I mostly opt for plain colours as I found you can go SO wrong with a pattern... I mean, you can't take ANY plaid or striped or colour combination, and coming to even more complicated things like floral patterns the possibilities for choosing the wrong kind of style and colour become even more abundant.

Anyway, I have been stumbling across some fabulous pictures of this English designer from the 18th century and wanted to share it with you.

Garthwaite 1726-28, HOW MODERN IS THIS!!!

Garthwaite 1752

Garthwaite 1726, one of my favourites

Garthwaite 1728

Garthwaite 1751

Garthwaite 1734

Garthwaite at the V&A, search

(above pictures are from V&A)

Pinterest Board Garthwaite

About Anna Maria Garthwaite (from Wikipedia)

Anna Maria Garthwaite (born 14 March 1688 in Leicestershire– October 1763, Spitalfields ) was a textile designer and created beautiful and intriguing floral designs for Spitalfield Silks (damask and brocades). Mainly from the 1720s to 50s. Many of her watercolour and fabric designs (more than 1000!) have survived (see V&A collection), but also pictures of her designs and original garments. (follow the wikipedia link above for more information on her biography)

What I found most astonishing was how incredibly modern some of her graphical work seems. The little trees (first picture above) could have been designed just recently but no, she came up with it about 300 years ago! 300 years!!! The below pictures show a few dresses with designs that are really bold , nearly greometrical patterns. I didn't believe my eyes! She turned from these very stylized designs to more "true to nature" designs which came into fashion in England (picture at the very bottom), while French designers went more stylized.

Mrs Charles Willing of Philadelphia was painted by Robert Feke in 1746 wearing a gown of English silk damask woven to a surviving 1743 design by Anna Maria Garthwaite. ( from wikipedia)

Robe à l’anglaise
Red silk damask
Circa 1775, England
Fabric by Anna Maria Garthwaite, 1751 from:

1740-1750 (woven) 1750-1760 (made) (attributed) from after 1751 1752

More about patterns and do's and don't's here: Marquise Stoffmuster