I’m still working through my files, so here is another of my favourite Mantua. A deep blue silk covered in silver embroidery.
Right now I don’t have access to the printed materials so I’m mostly inspired by the over all effect, and as my lace has a very uneven but scalloped hem I’m using this to help with what to do with it. I wish I had noticed the hem protection earlier as I am going to want that, and I can do that by machine. If the machine work is over in my lace I’m going to reserve my hand sewing for where it will have impact.
We tend to think of all open robes of the 1680s to early eighteenth century as “mantua” or “manteau.” However there are at least two documentable pattern types to over gowns of this era.
The mantua as often described is a garment with a very unique construction. It puts all the side skirt shaping on a single wedge of fabric, made of several widths of fabric, entirely in line with the front panels. The angled top edge lined up with the side of the back, the short piece (with the grain) in line with the front. This leaves the bottom of the piece to the hem that keeps the grain perpendicular to the floor no matter how long the train becomes.
To create my own pattern I collected and redrew every pattern of an extant garment published and redrew them to the same scale (1/4) and overlaid them to understand the interplay between each pattern piece. I ignored facings, cuffs, and petticoats and focused on the over garments.
Pattern type 1
A traditional method of dividing the side fullness between the front and back can be seen in the patterns of Albayzeta from 1720. Included are several “ropa de levantar.” The
edited from: Geometria y trazas pertenecientes al oficio de sastres …. Juan Albayzeta por Francisco Revilla, 1720 – 95 pages
This pattern is for a garment with a very long train, though there is also a secondary hemline drawn where the skirt back would just touch the ground- most of the patterns for “rope de levantar of this book are of the shorter type.
Of the extant garments that have been patterned the Danish gown most closely resembles this. It’s possible to find the parallel seams joining fabric widths as well as a seam between the two diagonal sides.
Moden i 1700-årene Author: Ellen Andersen Publisher: [København] : Nationalmuseet, cop. 1977. Series: Danske dragter
I have divided the pattern so that the shapes can be compared more easily to the other garments- this garment has the sleeves cut with the body. The pattern can be easily put back as the dividing lines are the only diagonal lines in the draft.
Of special interest is the length of the front of the mantua. It is quite short (see image of overlaid pattern drafts.). Holme confirms that this is a common feature of mantua.
“A mantua is a kind of loose Coat without stayes [sic] in it, the Body part and Sleeves are of many fashions as i have mentioned in the Gown Body; but the skirt is sometimes no longer than the Knees, others have them down to the Heels. The short skirt is open before, and behind to the middle.”
This next garment from 1720-1730 and is housed at the Museum of London and patterned by Zillah Halls in Women’s Costumes 1600-1750: London Museum. This garment is not currently digitised or on display.
Another garment at the Museum of London was patterned by Nora Waugh, but not photographed. It is from 1735-1745 and uses the same construction. The train has been pinned up to the waist in the illustration but the pattern does not indicate any change in the construction.
And again this mantua is shorter at the front than the anticipated petticoat hemline (see image of overlaid pattern drafts.)
These are unfortunately the only garments with patterns I have been able to find but there are several more that have been catalogued and the skirt layout captured in photographs.
Manteau without patterns
The Metropolitan Museum has another early mantua example and the photographs do suggest the construction is of a kind- comparing the alignment of the pattern to the outside of the side back join in fabric shows it is in line with the hem not the seam.
Mantua Date: ca. 1708 Culture: British Medium: silk, metal Credit Line: Purchase, Rogers Fund, Isabel Shults Fund and Irene Lewisohn Bequest, 1991 Accession Number:1991.6.1a, b
A mantua in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London has been dated to 1733-1740 based on fabric (earlier date) and cut (later date). This gown has been photographed to show the construction of the skirt. This photo shows the brocade has been reversed from below hip level of the back panels and most of the side panels. This is so that only the face of the brocade is seen when worn and pinned in place.
Mantua Place of origin: Spitalfields (probably, woven) Great Britain (made) Date: 1733-1734 (woven) 1735-1740 (made) Artist/Maker: Unknown Materials and Techniques: Brocaded silk, hand-sewn with spun silk and spun threads, lined with linen, brown paper lining for cuffs, brass, canvas and pleated silk Credit Line: Given by Gladys Windsor Fry Museum number: T.324&A-1985
The Lincolnshire Mantua has been dated to 1735 based on the fabric and over all pattern pieces. This particular mantua has the train and most side panels reversed so that when pinned for display only the face of the brocade is seen.
Mantua dated after these examples can be recognised by the folding of the train which follows the folding of the Lincoln mantua and the floral brocades mantua in the V&A as above.
One of the earliest is a blue silk mantua at the Victoria and Albert museum. From the 1720s it retains the extra length in the train despite being pinned up.
Place of origin: Spitalfields (textile, weaving) England (mantua, sewing) Date: ca. 1720 (weaving) 1720-1730 (sewing) Artist/Maker: Unknown Materials and Techniques: Silk, silk thread, silver-gilt thread; hand-woven brocading, hand-sewn. Museum number: T.88 to C-19788
A brown brocaded silk mantua is also of this earlier type and is dated to 1732-1740.
Place of origin: Spitalfields (textile, weaving) Great Britain (ensemble, sewing) Date: ca. 1732 (weaving) 1735-1740 (sewing) 1870 – 1910 (altered) Artist/Maker: Unknown Materials and Techniques: Silk, silk thread; hand-woven brocade, hand sewn Museum number: T.9&A-1971
Other garments described as mantua are harder to confirm from the photos.
The earliest is held at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art with a date of 1700. It is perhaps the most stunning example of its kind. A deep rich blue silk satin, the petticoat completely covered in metal embroidery, the sleeves and stomacher ditto, only the train seems to be more sparsely covered.
Woman’s Dress (Mantua) with Stomacher and Petticoat Italy, circa 1700 Costumes; principal attire (entire body) Silk satin with metallic-thread embroidery Center back length (Dress): 67 in. (170.18 cm) Length (Stomacher): 16 1/4 in. (41.28 cm) Center back length (Petticoat): 41 3/4 in. (106.05 cm) Costume Council Fund (M.88.39a-c)
A stunning embroidered mantua is held at the National Museum of Wales, dated to the 1720s though much of the train has been removed during the nineteenth century.
COLLECTION AREA mwl ITEM NUMBER 23.189.1 ACQUISITION Donation MEASUREMENTS height (mm):1400 width (mm):2000 (max) depth (mm):1500 (max) TECHNIQUES metal thread embroidery hand sewn weaving MATERIAL damask (silk) metal thread silver parchment flax (spun and twisted) silk (spun and twisted) LOCATION In store CATEGORIES Court
Another blue and silver mantua is held at the Kyoto Costume Institute and again has skirt panels reversed so as to always display the face of the brocade.
Dress (Mantua) 1740-50s – England Material Blue silk taffeta brocade with botanical pattern, buttons to tack train; matching petticoat. Dimension Length from the hips 183cm (Train) Inventory Number(s) AC10788 2002-29AB
While this garment has been dated to the 1750s i believe it is somewhat earlier. The skirt as displayed does not fit well suggesting it was not worn over wide hoops. The train has been folded and appears to show the fabric has been reversed in a similar manner to the above folded mantua trains. So it could be 1720-1740.
A COURT MANTUA OF CHINESE IMPERIAL YELLOW SILK DAMASK, THE SILK CIRCA 1740, THE MANTUA 1750S the bodice with long sweeping train of elaborately folded damask buttoning in swags onto two silk covered buttons at the small of the back, the bodice re pleated as a closed robe, the petticoats re-strung, shown here worn with a stomacher which is part of lot 141
While looking for WIP photos I’m also finding inspiration photos and now I am really inspired by a few pearled garments.
Finding the original source of this is proving very difficult (the photo owner is in there but where she posted it is not) but there is a great interactive exhibit! Huge photos definitely worth the effort of being stuck in the site and no static pages.
Right click to translate to English (or your own) click Catalogue> Women’s Suit> Court Costume then the dress is after the royal blue velvet. I’ve grabbed info for my favourites after sharing info about this gown 🙂
Dress by the court ceremonial of the Empress Alexandra Fedorovna
Russia, St. Petersburg. The end of XIX – beginning of XX century.
Workshop O. N. Bulbenkova
artificial pearls, silk threads.
Leaf: back length 39.0;
skirt: the length is 103.0;
On the strap of the corsage printed with gold Workshop mark: Mrs. OLGA DRESS
S.-Petersburg Sink No. 8
Post. in 1941 from the GME; earlier: in the dressing room of the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna in the Winter Palace of
Inv. № ЭРТ-13146 а-в
Silver eye, silver thread, silk, beat, sequins, wire, fluff, lace; embroidery Leaf:
back length 33.0; skirt: the length of 169.0;
On the strap of the corsage printed with gold Workshop mark: Mrs. OLGA DRESS
Dress of the court ceremonial Grand Duchess Maria Feodorovna
Russia (?). 1860s
Silk crepe with embossed texture, satin, lace, silk ribbons.
Leaf: back length 37.0; skirt: the length of 180,0; loop: length 440,0
At the corsage printed with gold workshop brand: FASHION AND DRESSES / AT T. IVANOVOY / S. PETERBURGH
Post. in 1941 from the GME; earlier: in the Anichkov Palace
inv. № ERT-9429 а-в
Dress the court ceremonial
Russia, St. Petersburg. The end of XIX – beginning of XX century.
Workshop of Ivanovs
Velvet, satin, metal thread, beat, gimp, silver plates; embroidery
Leaf: back length 34,0; skirt: the length is 150,0; loop:length 330.0
On the tape of the corsage printed with gold the workshop brand: on the sides – an image of two exhibition medals, a shield of arms
and an inscription – Supplier / courtyard of His
Imperial Majesty Ivanovs / Fashion
and dresses. Saint-Petersburg / Fontanka
at Chernyshova Bridge # 68-7, sq. M. 16. Phone K-2234
Post. in 1941 from the GME
Inv. № ЭРТ-13132 а-в
but yes, photo sorting because there is quite a backlog of photos to sort and lots more to try and locate.
I am not sure if the petticoat and front are original, if they are it’s a lovely example of a non matching set. There are a handful of these early mantua that are extant. The very delicate colour choices of pale blue and silver would have made this stand out in candlelight.
I have foam core board to make a test run of the McDowll cutting system 🙂 So I may be able to get a third tool printed off tonight too 🙂
Oky, since posting that I actually have. My firt prints were twice the size, then 1/4.. now I think I have it. It looks right. I have them in light card and paper for cardstock so I’ll cut the card tonight and see if it looks right!
I decided that I have wanted an authentic pattern drafting machine but I’ll never be able to afford one, so I’ve got a nice clear copy of a few originals and now with the power of image editing software it’s time to make some.
Step one, figure out where to scale.
Done and done 🙂 By the end of the day there should be a copy ready for any other drafting nerds 🙂
Also these might just be inspiring enough to hunt down originals 🙂
I have two massive research projects to share (Spanish tailoring and Westfalen clothing) but kind of fell into a trap of trying to do it all at once because this one little thing here has huge consequences here, and another over here, and then I got super bogged down in trying to support information when I have the support documents in hand so it’s not like I’m citing anything I haven’t actually read. I can use footnotes and quote!
So now I am happy shifting the focus of both to be really easily published and shared.
I’ve taken 10 years after first making gear to make sure everything I have read in English is backed up. In part due to books being published and not digitised so I had to have used book searches. Not easy from NZ until the last few years!
BUT I HAVE SO MUCH EXCITEMENT!
Teaching my Victorian workshops has really helped me figure out how I want to share all my research. So far yes, skirts then sleeves has been a big help in understanding the principles of fabric engineering (I am an engineer at heart- I don’t just see in 3D I can visualise forces and densities and I just don’t have the jargon to really explain. But I do read papers on textiles and even found one trying to predict properties of bias for different fabrics.) We’re just going a little faster and in shorter bursts than I’d like. But I also now have sliding galleries to be able to use in my online tutorials so those big blocks of images can be made easier to follow.
So I’ll try the same thing for the Spanish stuff as it’s really about the use of the pattern elements. Much easier, and I’m just rethinking from resources every could have access too. The other stuff is a mix. So really need my academic hat put on.
My workshop this weekend is on skirts. And drapery. Two polar opposites in terms of making but work together.
So I can do a conservative skirt, fully gathered/pleated (to waistband/yoke), very gored. And work through the waterfall drapery and then basically quote from resources at the time- you can’t work out a drapery pattern by looking at the finished garment in the 1880s. And it’s fairly true. So I’m collecting all the extant and contemporary ones I can find to put them into some sort of easy to visualise system.
Currently though printing All The Patterns so as to have them ready for the other workshops too 🙂
Been fighting a few updating issues with my PC so getting to my blog has been a struggle for about a week. In that time I’ve been trying to grab all the amazonian behind the scenes of Wonder Woman as the costumes really fascinate me! There is not only a clear aesthetic but there seem to be rules about what can be mixed and matched.
I just need a good connection again to be able to get all those references in one place.
In the meantime I have two places for putting the images in easy to find locations:
(I’m sorry for anyone who doesn’t have a pinterest account)