anna meyer dress and more stitching musings

This was one of my earliest forays into handsewing. But I am not entirely sure I used the right fabric (a very fine tabby wool that feels like there is a tiny bit of overtwisted yarns to make for a slightly crepey surface.

But I do love it. But I have to accept I’ll never do the embroidery needed. I already gave away the Cleves inspired redo of the underdress (dyed it baby pink, it was very cute but too short for me really).

There are definitely lots of examples of finely pleated skirts and aprons of single layered fabric. This has been interpreted as linen when white but what if it’s not?

There are more extant pieces coming to light and one of them is a set of fine sheer silk with silk lace cuffs and collar. This makes me super happy as it is a great match to the silk organza I have to make a few sets of super sheer items.

But it does make for a bit of a new look at the inventories I have. There are lots of little pieces of cloth, not entirely always where they would be expected to be in lists of things. Also of course there is not a lot of consistency in spelling so basically I’m sounding words out and trying different levels of force. C/K is an easy spot, but G/K/C is closer to the interchange.

This year I have not devoted enough time to keeping all that fresh in my mind so I’ll be bringing it all with me to Canterbury Faire as well as some for public consumption parts of my Schnittbuch.

Okay, so I know of 19thC sewing books (stitching for linen goods and embroidery) and of model books. Also the tailors manuals. I think I have copies of everything possible (Including snippets from a Polish pattern book and the Milanese- both of which I’m still hunting down the full context.)

Does anyone know of books of stitching pre 18thC? I can understand the oral traditions of passing down mending etc. But there were people teaching sewing, either to professionals or for leisure. So, there has got to be a hand written book somewhere? There are glimpses in books of trades but it’s sort of tantilising rather than answers many questions.

Some of those woodcuts though are amazing in showing construction (especially on the insides of collars or near a fastening. They correspond well to extant garments, so I think I would be pretty trusting of a tradebook printed that shows stitches.

I’m working towards producing my own book and so I would like to try and make my illustrations look like they come from the location (lots of printing in the area so that’s possible.) Working from the work done on extant garments is a big part of this. As is practicing line art. I have some lovely fine pens and they do seem to help. My hands are less sensitive now so it can be difficult to write or draw. Also my hands simply don’t bend in ways that help in this 🙂

excited again

I have held of sorting my historic documents and art research or a very long time. It is so OTT that I really should be using Dewey Decimel to sort it. But that would actually be a bit annoying. So I’m trying to be more sensible. But there are so many wonderful scans of original documents right across Germany that I;m having trouble not adding everything. But restrained I am being. I have been trying to find pdfs of the pre-18thC volumes of Die Mode or Modes and Manners by  Max von Boehn.

All other volumes are in fact available on though. So exciting. There is also a nifty book with very early extant garments.:

Bekleidungskunst und Mode
by Boehn, Max von, 1860-1932

There is a huge section on reformation of costume of the late 19thC through to the date of publication.


It’s dated obviously but handy. I highly recommend grabbing volumes of Die Mode as there is art in all these little books that has recently become available through the institutions holding them, but imagine a time before this. It’s easy for some of us of course 😉