Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Regency Fabrics, Part 25

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 April 1812 issue of Ackermann’s Repository. The overall condition of my copy is excellent; the page itself is free of foxing and is only slightly toned; one of the samples shows some foxing and another some toning, but overall they’re in very good condition.

Here we go!

No. 1 and 2. An elegant and unique pattern, resembling tambour work, for gentlemen’s waistcoats, associating most pleasingly and happily with the puce or blue riding-coat. This truly spring-like and fashionable article is now in great request; and several members of the Whip Club have lately distinguished themselves by double-breasted waistcoats of this attractive article. It is furnished by Messrs. Maund and Co. wholesale and retail men’s-mercers, Cornhill; a house most justly celebrated for taste and variety in stuffs and manufactures for ladies’ habits, as well as gentlemen’s attire.

We are sorry that we could not, in this number, introduce another very elegant and chaste pattern from the same respectable house; but, as it is calculated for either winter or summer, we shall give it in out next number.

My comments: This is a heavy, very sturdy twill-woven fabric, probably of cotton, printed with stylized flowery things...though I shudder to think of this print paired with a puce riding coat!

No. 3. A cerulean blue imperial gauze, calculated for evening or dinner parties. Dresses of this article are usually constructed plain, and with little superficial decoration; they are worn over a white sarsnet or satin slip. Thread lace, white beads, or swansdown (when seasonable) are its usual ornaments. It is furnished by Mr. Wm. King, silk mercer, 44, Pall-Mall.

My comments: Very dainty stripes of solid and net weaving, in a lustrous pale blue silk, very smooth; I can’t (unfortunately) discern if this pale color is original, or if it has faded from a more intense hue. Very pretty in an evening dress.

No. 4. A most delicately printed cambric for morning or domestic wear. Robes of this article are usually formed in plain high dresses, or Grecian wraps, with no other ornament than a high plaited ruff, or Armenian collar, or muslin or lace. –This article is sold by Messrs. Hodgkinson & Co. 91, New Bond-street.

My comments: More quilting fabric! ;) This is a tightly woven cotton with nice even threads and good quality printing, with only a little bit of bleed on the colors. The tight weave means the fabric is sufficiently opaque to not require an underdress or slip.

What do you think of this month’s fabrics?


QNPoohBear said...

I love the blue fabric and really like the last one. I think the colors have faded a bit. Natural dyes don't last as long as chemical dyes but those hadn't been invented yet. Thank you again for sharing these detailed descriptions. It helps enormously when trying to make an authentic reproduction costume. Being a historian, I tend to get anal about details.

Daisy said...

I like #3 but I think I would prefer it if it was a more intense blue. Neither of the prints speak to me.

Marissa Doyle said...

Glad you like these posts, QNPoohBear! I love writing them, as a quilter and sewer.

I'm sure the blue has faded; most texts I've seen referring to cerulean blue seem to indicate a medium blue. But this was still pretty fabric--the alternating stripes of solid weave and net give it an ethereal feeling.

Daisy, I'm not a big fan of the prints either--but it amuses the heck out of me how much some of them resemble vintage quilt fabric from the thirties and forties!