My “easy” project has turned into a little bit of a research fest. I might have found a copy of an out of print book with two mantua patterns. On the plus side I’ve got enough information to now screen cap larger files to incorporate into both my own project and a resource database.

My research site has a category called “The Baroque Frock” and I don’t aim to do more than others, but I am trying to focus very much on frocks from about 1690 to 1730.

Mantua have a very distinct pattern. And I’m trying to find the earliest explanation for that as it still makes no sense. There are contemporary robes made by tailors with the classic four panel pattern with lines of joins in fabric.

But mantua.

So weird.

Not even related to linen work.

There are extant garments that use a linen type patterning in very expensive fabric, but mantua are just weird.

And exciting for that weirdness.

If I take a moment to consider the standard explanation of how they evolved? It’s incredible!

Linen work uses rectangles with triangles. Front and back usually the same, diagonal of triangle to the straight. So that is what I would have expected when a trade expanded to work with silks and wools.

But no.

Mantua have a single long right angle triangle to connect front and back rectangles.


Why one side?

Tailors still divided the angles section between front and back, so this is a very cool and very specific solution.

So yes, it now means learning about trades just prior because I think I’ve got a bit of a gap over that time.

I have to admit I really didn’t like c1700 dress.

I wrote a restoration comedy at 17 about Nelle Gwynn. Then wound up playing an over the top character for our restoration comedy pieces at performing art school. Not going to lie; I rocked that character and totally deserved my marks because I took everything I knew about the fashions of the era (c1700) and the actress path as well. I knew that only an established actress would have played the role. An actress who had massive clout to get the best frocks, with her own makers, to steal the scene.

I still am not on board the fashion print train, but extant mantua are just so very delicious.

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