Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Regency Fabrics, Part 18

Here’s another post in our ongoing series on Regency fabrics.

As I have in previous posts, I’ll be examining actual fabric samples glued into several earlier editions of Ackermann’s Repository, samples supplied by the manufacturers and published by Ackermann in order to boost the British cloth-making industry at a time when exporting British goods to Europe was almost impossible because of the Napoleonic war. I'll give you a close-up scan of each sample, the published description if available, and my own observations of the color, weight, condition, and similarity to present-day materials, to give you as close a picture as possible of what these fabrics are like.

Today’s three samples are from the March 1811 issue of Ackermann’s Repository. The overall condition of my copy is excellent: the page has been trimmed but is otherwise free of foxing and toning, and the fabric samples themselves appear to be in fine shape.

Here we go!

Nos. 1 and 2. A bright permanent morone printed cambric, calculated for the intermediate order of dress. This print will admit of repeated washing, without any detriment to its colours. Round dresses and wraps in this article should be constructed quite plain, or with lace cuffs and frills. It is sold by Messrs. Jones and Co. 179, Piccadilly.

My comments: I’m always fascinated by these print fabrics, because so few are shown in the dresses illustrated in the fashion prints often in the same issue; as much as I adore them for the eye candy they are, I have to conclude they aren’t as representative as we sometimes take them for. This cambric reminds me of cross between a modern quilting cotton and a chintz. The dye is a rich, slightly orange-ish red, almost as intense on the back of the fabric as the front; the printing is a little sloppy on close examination, but passes well enough.

No. 3. A green figured shot sarsnet, adapted for robes, spencers, pelisses, and mantles. The trimmings appropriate to this article are, fancy Chinese floss, Indian gimp, and thread lace. Jewellery ornaments must consist of diamonds, pearl, satin bead, or white cornelian. Sold by D. and R. Hodges, Henrietta-street, Covent-Garden.

My comments: I think I would have been a sarsnet fiend had I lived in 1811, though I'm not sure I could have supplied the diamonds that must be worn with this particular fabric. ☺ This is lovely stuff, beautifully silky in texture and with enough weight lent by the twill weave that it would drape beautifully as a dress. It seems perhaps a little light in weight for a pelisse or mantle, though I assume such garments would be made with a lining to add substance. The green is a little lighter than it might seem; the contrasting sheen of the off-white threads makes it appear a little darker.

No. 4. A beautiful regency shot sarsnet, a most fashionable article, for the same purposes as described in No. 3. The regency helmet cap, composed of white velvet or satin, and ornamented with the Prince’s plumes of white feathers, is an appropriate and  becoming head-dress with robes of this attractive material. It is furnished by Joseph Snuggs, 20, Henrietta-street, Covent-Garden.

My comments: Yup, totally a sarsnet fan here. This cream-colored sample is a little stiffer than No. 3, but of a similar weight and just as delightful to the touch. This fabric in particular would make a gorgeous gown!

Any thoughts on this month’s fabrics?

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