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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Inspired by London (historical fashion)

On my recent trip to London I hopped the tube over to The Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace, to take in the exhibit, In Fine Style, The Art of Tudor and Stuart Fashion (if you're headed to London yourself that show is on through October of this year).

Sure the wealthy ladies and gentlemen in the exhibits portraits indulged in a lot of intricate garments that aren't practical today (nor were they then, for regular folks), but they still inspire plenty of details that do more than just make me utter a long drawn out romantic sigh. They give me ideas for my modern sewing projects.

Here Mary of Modena (a Duchess of York in the late 17'th century) wears a lovely riding habit. Although the lace at her neck may have been unaffordable for the majority of the population, I bet the beautiful hang of her sleeve inspired many a delicate blouse or shirt among the less monied people she encountered. Many of us might still enjoy stitching up a poet shirt with similar drippy hanging sleeves, perhaps in a soft white cotton batiste?

What do you think about her color scheme? I'm pretty partial to the way the soft peach in her turned back jacket sleeve and lining, picks up the brown tones in the primary fabric. A modern day vest (think waistcoat in the U.K. of course) or jacket sewn in an embossed print with a peachy lining would be a beauty!

My very favorite detail in this habit, is the welt pocket. It caught my attention the minute I spied the portrait. Though I think of a welt as being a subtle little detail, her ladyship's mantua maker drew everyone's eye to this practical little pocket, by displaying the lining and not hiding the opening with the welting strip I associate with this feature. (So does this really count as a welt pocket? No matter, it plays the same function in the garment.) She highlighted the pocket even more by embellishing it with an oval of the same carmel/honey colored buttons that would nicely suit our modern jacket or waistcoat. This gorgeous opening also looks to be farther down the hip than we might typically find it, but oh so practical for our spare change, or the handkerchief many of us still carry there, just as Mary very likely did.

Historical Inspiration keeps me enchanted by sewing!

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