What's Going On?

Because I have the fashion plates to post, I don't really think to update very often about my life, my sewing projects, etc.  But stuff does happen in those areas!

- I went out with the Empire State Costumers to the Victorian Stroll in Troy last Sunday (not in costume, but everyone else was, and they looked great!), and then to Linda Baumgarten's talk on the history of quilting at the Albany Institute.  I got to meet her, it was so cool!

- I'm having a few weeks off from working at the Chapman, because it made sense for me to wait until the exhibition space could be emptied and then filled with the objects in the storage unit, as I've put numbers on everything else and if I stayed until then the grant would nearly run out while I did less necessary things.  Don't feel sorry for me, it was my idea!

- The 1771 L'Art de la Lingere, by M. de Garsault, was shamelessly dangled in front of me and now I'm trying to translate that as well as the Galerie des Modes.  Once I'm done I'm going to post it all, but for now I'll give you a teaser: the list given of all the items supplied by a Lingere (one who makes linens) for a wealthy woman's trousseau.  The garments that are farmed out to seamstresses are marked with an asterisk.

 "A Laundry Maid Ironing", Henry Robert Morland, ca. 1765; Tate Collection N01403


For the Head

A city Toilette in muslin or dentelle [bobbin lace].
A country Toilette in muslin.
Six Trousses or comb Etuis, of good basin [a cotton fabric] of Troyes.
Six over-Pelotes, of the same.
Forty-eight Toilette Napkins.
Twenty-four Toilette Aprons.
Six Peignoirs, of which four are trimmed in good muslin and two in dentelle.
Thirty-six Frottoirs for taking off rouge, in basin with nap.
Thirty-six Frottoirs for taking off powder, in doubled muslin.
A Coiffure, the Around-the-throat and pleated Fichu, of point d'Alençon.
A Coiffure, the Around-the-throat and pleated Fichu, of point d'Angleterre.
A Coiffure, the Around-the-throat and pleated Fichu, of true Valenciennes lace.
A Coiffure called Batting-the-eye of embroidered Maline, for undress.
Six simple Fichus in mille-fleur muslin trimmed with dentelle, for undress.
Twelve muslin Fichus.
Twelve piqué full Caps trimmed with a narrow dentelle, for night.
Twelve full Caps with two rows [of ruffles] in muslin and dentelle, for night.
Twelve full Caps with two rows [of ruffles] most beautiful, for day, in case of indisposition.
Twelve Head-bands or Bandeaux trimmed with a narrow dentelle, for night.
Twelve full Coiffs in muslin, for night.
Six full Coiffs in fabric used for stiffening, for day.
Twelve Pillowcases, of which ten are trimmed with muslin, and two with dentelle.
Six piqué Caps of a medium formality.

For the Body

Seventy-two Chemises.
Seventy-two Handkerchiefs in half-Hollande.
Forty-eight Handkerchiefs in Batiste.
Seventy-two pairs of Under-stockings.
* Six Jumps in a good basin.
Twelve Stomachers trimmed at the top with a narrow dentelle.
* Six Camisoles [loose garments worn over shifts] with cords, in good cotton cloth or a good Indian basin, lined with napped basin, for night.
* Six piqué Petticoats in muslin.
* Six Underpetticoats for the summer of good cotton cloth or Indian basin.
* Six Bedgowns / Six Petticoats in good embroidered muslin, trimmed with the same, for what is called a pretty Déshabillé.
Six Jumps Trimmings / Six Around-the-throats / Twelve pairs of Ruffles in scalloped muslin.
Six Jumps Trimmings / Twelve Around-the-throats / Twelve pairs of Ruffles in dentelle backed with embroidered muslin.
Six pairs of fabric Sleeves for washing the hands.
Forty-eight fabric Cloths for washing the arms.
Seventy-two fabric Cloths for the Garderobe [toilet].


  1. 72 CHEMISES.... I mean, I hate doing laundry too, but 72???? This blows my working-class-obsessed mind. As a comparison, your average slave got two chemises a year.

    1. Perhaps being a lady she changed her chemise at every change of dress and used 3 or 4 per day. Pity the poor laundry maid!

    2. I'm trying to imagine what a stack of 72 neatly-folded chemises (which I should have translated to shifts, oops) would even look like.

  2. What does "in a good basin" for the 6 jumps?
    : )

    1. Nowadays it's a linen/cotton blend, but in the 1770s it was just a type of cotton. I'll give you the longer explanation from the book (which sadly doesn't explain very much):

      Basin must be entirely of cotton thread; it is made in France, and it comes from foreign Countries: there are wide, narrow, fine, medium, coarse, plain with nap on one side, without nap, in little and big stripes, in imperceptible stripes. The best in France is made in Troyes in Champagne.

      The wide is a half-ell and an inch.

      The plain or small-striped narrow, when it has twenty-five bars, is a half-ell wide; when it has thirty six bars of three stripes each, it is a half-ell minus an inch wide.

      It is also made in other places, some are a half-ell and an inch wide, others are a half-ell and a twentieth.

      Foreign Basins come to us from Holland, Bruges, the East Indies; striped ones from Holland are five eighths wide; plain and napped ones from Bruges are five twelfths wide; striped or barred are nearly an inch less; those of the East Indies are made in Pondicherry, Bengal, Bellafor, are three, four, five, six quarters wide.


Post a Comment