Saturday, 15 November 2014

TREASURE IN THE ATTIC

This time every year we have a whole new set of students to get to know, amazingly this year I can already remember all their names. It usually takes me till the new year to accomplish this monumental task. Every year some one will throw a curve ball that will distract me from the initial intention of the class.
This time it really was a huge curve ball.

 

Many years ago while she was still living in her native Scotland Mo worked for a costume hire company. She put an advert in the local paper asking for donations of vintage clothes that might be suitable for their stock.


A little old lady replied.
He husband had died, her children had left home, she was selling the family home.
The home her family had lived in for generations.
There was treasure in the attic.
Edwardian treasure no less.

 

Mo brought the first of the treasures in this week. It had been stored in a vacuum bag for some time.
The dress is not in the best condition and is probably deteriorating quite fast. Our Technician Ralph and I gave her a few hints about safer ways to store the garment and then I spent every spare moment during the day ignoring my students and pressing the crumpled mess in to a recognisable form. Though I must admit the genuine smell of 110 years of accumulated vintage dirt and dust was a trifle too heady at times.


We have dated it to somewhere between 1903 and 1907.
Mo is convinced it was a wedding dress, which it may well have been, though this style and colours could have easily also have been a day dress.
But really who wants a day dress when you could have a wedding dress?
We spent most of the day imagining who the young lady who wore it was and what her big day was like.
What happened to her? Did her husband survive the Great War? Was she happy?
Most fascinating of all was being able to see all the tiny details of the dress close to.


A beautiful mix of hand and machine lace.

 

Tiny little pin tucks hand stitched and then gathered on the skirt and bodice.


Snap fasteners on the skirt looking pleasingly more industrial than the ones we use today.


Tiny tacking stitches left in around the armhole.
One of the students, who is now in her third year of me nagging them about finish on the costumes  they make said "See Jane it really is ok to leave your tacking threads in."
Hummm.....


Tiny covered bones to support the collar.


Lovely embroidered label on the waist band.
I have looked A & J Scrimgeour costumiers of Crieff up, but could find out nothing more than an address on Comrie St and the fact they sold textiles as well as being a dressmakers.
Apparently there is more treasure to come.
Can't wait.
Love Nora xxx
PS: apologies  for the bad photos, I didn't have my camera so ended up taking them on my ipad never the perfect solution.

10 comments:

  1. How wonderful to see all of that in detail.

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  2. This is absolutely stunning. I love this so much. Thanks for sharing it. x

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  3. How beautiful this is. Definitely a dress with history- and what imaginings it provokes ..

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  4. Oooh what a treat to see...thank you x

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  5. Oh, lovely to see, and the photos are very good given that they are taken by iPad. I will send you a pic of an aunt of mine - wearing a similar dress when she was 16 - in the year 1899. Pity I can't join it here.

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  6. That is amazing! Thank you so much for sharing with us. Wish I was one of your students x

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  7. Wow, how fantastic to see this in the flesh so to speak. My favourite sort of dress! Just beautiful, thanks for showing us x

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  8. this is an incredible example of beautiful cloth and handwork....I would be in heaven just to own the label. I am always finding tacking stitches ''after the event'' so to speak...

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