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Studying Theatrical Costume and other adventures in London - sewing, fabrics and events.

Tag: research

Book: “Patterns of Fashion 1″ – Janet Arnold

Patterns of Fashion: v.1: Vol 1 - Janet Arnold

Patterns of Fashion: v.1: Vol 1 - Janet Arnold

My best friend thoughtfully sent me “Patterns of Fashion 1″ by Janet Arnold for Christmas. I was very pleased when it arrived as it covers ‘Englishwomen’s dresses and their construction’ from 1660 to 1860, which of course includes the polonaise circa 1770-1785 – in fact it has two between pages 36-40.

The author, Janet Arnold is a well respected fashion historian who has written and illustrated a number of books on period costume. She has been able to study many items which are normally too rare or fragile to be handled often, including burial gowns such as Medici burial clothes from the 16th century.

My friend lives fairly near Snowshill Manor where some of the dresses studied in the book used to be housed as part of the Wade Collection.  2000 costume pieces, plus 22000 other objects ‘invested with the spirit of the craftsman and the age in which it was created’ were collected by Charles Wade from 1900 to 1951, when Wade donated the collection and the manor to the National Trust.

The Wade Costume collection can now be seen at Berrington Hall, Herefordshire where it is on loan.

Class 11: Visit to Victoria and Albert museum

Today the class met at the V&A and explored the British Galleries, textile study room and the theatre and performance collection.

We started by having a cup of tea in the splendid cafe. The cafe rooms interior decoration is amazing, so I would highly recommend taking a break there. The food looks really good, but is more restaurant prices than cafe, so I didn’t have a chance to try.

On to the British galleries. So many wonderful things to look at from James II wedding suit, a flower pyramid, to the most amazing room installations. It was great to be able to inspect the items of clothing on show so closely; but there are also many other artefacts where we could get inspiration for our costumes including the furniture, paintings and textiles. I particularly liked looking at the Spitalfield silk collection, and there were some lovely examples of printed cotton.

Manuta 1740-1745

Spitalfield silks

Spitalfield silks

We tried on a pannier petticoat, tried to tie a cravat, and I designed my own textile. I am planning to make my pocket at some point and upload a picture to the website.

The theatre and performance collection hadn’t changed much since the last time I visited  it at the  beginning of the course, but there is always a new thing you notice when you have a look around.

Unused panel for a man's waistcoat 1790

Unused panel for a man's waistcoat 1790

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