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I reecently shared this image of a test pinning session over my princess dress (well underdress- it’s going to be used under a few gowns.


 


This saree was a chance find in my nearest Save Mart store, I regularly scour them for saree and anything able to be transformed such as shoes, lengths of fabric, but mainly saree!)


 


But I haven’t shared the images that inspired them.


 


Over the years I have hoarded images from eBay sales as often the display does not do justice to the gown but do offer fantastic chances to understand contructions and physical properties.


 


Or sometimes there are amazing finds.


The two overgowns below are from such finds. They have a few things in common- polonaise style with a shorter bustle feature.



 

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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:


kjole


National Museets Samlinger Online

Kjole med slæb, grøn silke

Beskrivelse

Kjole med slæb. Af grøn silke med broderet guldmønster, antagelig 1740erne. Fra Valdemar Slot, Tåsinge.

(I have a pattern for this)


 


76c655368e1abea996bf521c24afb1a3

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)

3aab1bdaf2398849c8e9bbfa781f3433

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


8d573f02739441f6caf0b0adc5b9a4a2

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:


mantuamol


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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While these stays were worn for a specific scene, it is a really interesting look at how the bodices in general seem to have worked. It’s very modern in some aspects but not in others. So while not historically accurate in any way, it winds up as an interesting insight into Hollywood being creative, and also using the techniques they had.

invaluable, Profiles in History Auction

Lot 293: NORMA SHEARER MARIE ANTOINETTE CORSET

HOLLYWOOD LEGENDS AUCTION –

featuring property from the career of David Hasselhoff Day 1 session 2by Julien’s Auctions

H1088-L52100084 H1088-L52100089

Front and back. The front uses the same seam placement as on the bodices for Norma, with two long lines over the bust,  and straight seams from side around the back. The very large unboned tabs look functionless but have given me an idea- they would help protect pressure from the weight of the skirt around the waist- like real tabs in real stays through the 16th-18thC. I am not sure what kind of stays I do want to wear but I will be wearing something to pad my upper hips as I know too well the pressure of skirts right there.

H1088-L52100090 H1088-L52100094

These details feel modernly vintage- that lovely ruched ribbon work around the edges especially.

 

 

Crossposted from my blog, but please do comment here :)

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