Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Dressing up over a century ago

For general specifics of the new exhibit 'Grosser Auftritt' at the Wien Museum, see my Vienna blog. For the stitcher, there is lots to oooh and aaah over. How much of those bands on the underwear are hand stitched, and how much already machine work? How long did it take to iron some of the underwear? There is a ball gown with straw embroidery. I had seen this sort of work before, but it still boggles the mind that you would do such a thing. On the other hand it covers better than thread. Other gowns had sequin embroidery, and it occured to me that it also is faster than working in metallic threads. (That wouldn't have anything to do with replacing hearts with lots of quarter stitches with beads and buttons on a sampler I'm working on, now would it?)

My favourite dress is a mother of the bride dress in black with a wide ivory lace collar. Parts of the collar are needlelace. Severe squares with fancy fillings. But around it is other lace that is rounded and less open. A very different feel. The catalog speaks of 'breitem Ă„tzspitzenbesatz'. Apparently another word for that is Guipure. As always, that gown only has a small picture in the catalog.

If you are going to be in Vienna, and have even a small interest in the textiles of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, this is a must.