Tag Archives: mantua

Elsa mantua- unusual inspiration 1

While I edit and standardise some files I thought I’d also share some of why I decided on a mantua over a francaise: The Blue second Managers gown from Phantom of the Opera.

The 1870s had a heady mix of 18th century inspiration. Right across the Baroque to Rococo.

So there are times where self fabric or matched colour trimmings mimic or reference the latter part of the century, so too are there times the mantua is a clear inspiration.

This is especially true for the late 1870s as the waist dropped a little, and the bodice hem dropped further. The entire style was narrow, with a focus on the tablier (front of skirt panel) and a looped back train.

It’s possible to consider pannier style drapery as the extension of the front of the mantua robe, and the water fall as the back of the robe. The apron drapery can even be brought in separately though usually these seem to be of a different material.

I am quite enjoying the fact that my mantua can be used to illustrate the similarities and differences in cut and fit and in construction as I used my library of patterns for both my own Blue dress and Mantua.

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Elsa mantua inspiration -3

I’m separating each inspiration source, so here is the Welsh Museum garment with a bit more information.

COLLECTION AREA Social & Cultural History
ITEM NUMBER 23.189.1
MATERIAL damask (silk) metal thread silver parchment flax (spun and twisted) silk (spun and twisted)


I don’t know if it’s possible to convey how much I love this gown.

A few people have managed to take photos when it has been exhibited and it does exactly as expected- the colour shifts to a more aqua tone.

British circa 1730 Teal Spitalfields Silk Court Mantua possibly belonged to Lady Rachel Morgan nee Cavendish daughter of the Duke of Devonshire. St Fagans National Museum of Wales


For a pattern and a lot more information:

Arnold, Janet, A court mantua of c. 1740,Costume, London,#6, 1972, pp 48 – 52.

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Elsa mantua inspiration -1

My progress has gotten to the “piece very chunky silver lace into an invisible join” stage of my own Mantua, so to let my mind work in the background on that I’m using the front of my mind to look at my inspiration garments.

So the first is the one that started it all. Many years ago I was perusing the University library and a tiny book on some garments of the Museum of London. At the time I had the Arnold and Payne pattern diagrams of the Kimberly gown in the Metropolitan museum of art and was interested. But also I had all the fashion prints that show decorations are like very ornate piped icing on tall and narrow cakes.

It was not my deal. But the early London Museum mantua strips all the ostentation down to the stomacher.

Now this is “Me.” All the fit is in the pleats and turnings, much of which is done from the outside. What a nifty and frustrating way for someone used to draping and drafting toiles!

I wish I could link to the museum but they no longer have a record of the garment.

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Elsa Mantua foundations

I have all my stay pieces. They are a beautiful satin faced linen, a very close weave so still will be a bit warm.

I need to cut some straps, but all the channels are stitched and it is fully boned. Meaning no gap between bones. The majority of stays are like this. But the channels also tend to be much smaller. I’m using some left over cable ties as I can quickly swap out permanently bent ones. Without waiting on a package from overseas ūüôā

Actually I do want to order a huge amount of ultra thin boning. I think I could actually get a better match to the extremes between my rib and waist that way but also I will be able to do so a bit more comfortably.

Cording just collapses.

I’ve had a look for stay patterns as close to 1700 as possible and I think I need to alter a few pieces. I’m missing a little extra at the waist in either a side front panel or side back.

I had to include Garsault here for the boning within each panel, but a c1700 Polish manual (scroll down to 2016)and a 1713 manual (there are two parts so I linked to my reference site) can be used with it.

The Linzner Schittbuch also includes some gowns.

I think I used Hunnisette for the basic shapes to allow me to have a little leeway for my ribs because they distort stays even like this. It’s very hard to get a conical shape, so the way Hunnsett’s works seems to work with me.

I keep really wanting to go earlier as well like these:

But look at how fine all those channels are. And these are not outliers. Most of the stays even from the 16thC have narrow channels.

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Elsa inspired mantua

Finally, I’ve started to get back to projects. I really need something with no rules, and makes use of two very pretty but modern fabrics, a shot blue taffeta and a heavy fully sequined lace. It was very hard to decide between my two designs. My few rules are it does stick to historic cut, and to use up all of both fabrics. 4m of the lace, I think it was 9m of the blue.

Deciding to go all in on an early Mantua by pinning my lace the full width? Wow.

I started adding all of my references but I think I should do that over a few posts so I can focus on each properly.

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18th century musings

Well this has been a tough decision and I’m still not sure.

First is my 100% dino shot taffeta. It’s a really heavy weight incredibly crisp and is such a beautiful shade I can forgive the content. But I usually have a very distinct line between historic and historic inspired.

Second is my black silk. Very heavy, very heavy. Also able to be used front and back.

sm_dsc_1518 sm_dsc_1520 76c655368e1abea996bf521c24afb1a3

Seriously torn as to which to make from it. Other options for the blue is a francaise or 1870s convertable gown.

The black silk can be anything from 16thC on!

sm_dsc_1517 sm_dsc_1516

Also my beaded silk? Sigh it really does look fab as a Reinette inspired gown. But I also want to go total fantasy with it and yet it drapes so nicely over hoops.

Also coming soon, a fancier Leia wig tutorial. Also her buns are so much bigger than most costumers realise… I need to do a scale diagram. ¬†But her buns sit on her dress collar.


They may also get bigger the more sass she expresses.


And also I am having major issues with the way the lace sits at the crown. I have already done major work on this so I may as well get the sectioning clips out to stitch that down!

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More inspiration! c1700 mantua!

It’s not surprise I am obsessed with the style. I have been for more than a decade but never found a fabric I thought would do the style justice. Well now I do have a fabric! And thanks to an online friend sharing images from her own research that connection was sparked and the final push to actually make one inspired!

Many moons ago a very well respected costumier who creates the most amazing 18thC gowns gave me information on a few mantua especially one of my favourite gowns ever, he shared privately but there is now an official source:


National Museets Samlinger Online
Kjole med sl√¶b, gr√łn silke
Kjole med sl√¶b. Af gr√łn silke med broderet guldm√łnster, antagelig 1740erne. Fra Valdemar Slot, T√•singe.
(I have a pattern for this)


Victoria and Albert Museum.
Blue silk: Museum no. T.88 to C-1978, early 18thC (note the skirt is essentially a full ruffle from hip height)
Shrewsbury Museums Service:
Mantua.18th century (1710).(SHYMS: T/1973/6/1). Image sy14188

835cfae8425c6857d96840c701a161db fb00e267c9f7d8707842d5d0baecc5d1

National Museum Wales:
Silver embroidered blue damask court mantua (an open fronted gown with an elaborate train), (mix of suggested dates, 1720-1740)
Tredegar Collection

Date: late 17th century
Culture: British
Medium: wool, metal thread
Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1933
Accession Number: 33.54a, b
I have two patterns for this)
c34d72cb1a92d3ee9a7a03db7d5d59ffMetropolitan Museum of Art: Mantua (note the skirt is a series of reverse flounces!)
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

Canon 20D Digital Capture

Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Woman’s Mantua with Stomacher and Petticoat
Italy, circa 1700
Costumes; principal attire (entire body)
Silk satin with gold- and silver-metallic thread embroidery
a) Dress: Center back length: 56 in. (142.2 cm); b) Petticoat: Center front length: 35 in. (88.9 cm)
Costume Council Fund (M.88.39a-c)

lincoln lincoln2

Collections of the Lincoln Museums:
Usher Gallery, The Lincolnshire mantua
There is a pattern to a similar garment in the first PDF, also a skirt layout and layout of the train. All three documents are available to download and are incredibly fascinating!)


I have another favourite from the Museum of London but there is no link online.

I will share a thumbnail though and hopefully in time the museum will have this on their site:


Museum of London
Dress 1720-30 (no. 2) front view, with added STOMACHER, 1720-1730 (no.39)
(I have a pattern for this)

This does not appear to in their collections, I will update as soon as I know more. I much prefer to link to the collections rather than take from a book, but I can at least, hopefully, generate interest in this garment!)


So I have a fantastic start, a nice range of extant garments to look at trends and to decide on particular style.

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1720 Tailor's manual

I have posted this before but wanted to make sure that this was really put out there so to speak :)

Geometria y trazas By Juan Albayzeta, 1720.

So a lot of this is religious apparel, but oh what do we see?

f75-78? Ropa de levantar para muger

Looks like a…

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1720 Tailor’s manual

I have posted this before but wanted to make sure that this was really put out there so to speak :)

Geometria y trazas By Juan Albayzeta, 1720.

So a lot of this is religious apparel, but oh what do we see?

f75-78? Ropa de levantar para muger

Looks like a…

View Post

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