New – Damask Liberty print Tana Cotton Lawn reversible & washable face masks
In time for the introduction of the mandatory requirement to wear face masks in shops as well as on public transport, Damask have launched a range of pretty but practical Liberty print Tana lawn cotton face masks. Each mask is reversible, so you have a choice of two different prints to wear, together with adjustable ear loops, a top opening for a disposable filter and 2 pleats allow them to fit everyone.
Tana lawn is cool and comfortable against the skin and machine washable fabric makes them reusable and hygienic to wear. Available in a variety of prints, why not treat yourself to a few, so you always have one ready to wear.
New to Damask, a range of accessories in Liberty print fabrics – perfect Christmas gifts
Damask have chosen some of the most popular Liberty prints, classic & contemporary for a range of cosmetic and wash bags. Perfect for Christmas presents, available on their website: http://www.damask.co.uk
Liberty London is one of the best known department stores in the UK. They are renowned for their range of ‘Liberty prints’ – in particular their Tana Lawn cotton.
Since I first started dressmaking over 40 years ago, Liberty print cotton has been a favourite of mine. Over time I have used them to make my own clothes, patchwork quilts, smocked dresses and nightwear for my children. When I started work, my first job was as a cloth buyer for a fashion company. This often involved the re-colouring of prints to offer garments for sale in different colourways. I have always been fascinated by the way a print can be transformed by changing the colours in it. A pretty pastel print can be turned into a bold contemporary print. A classic print can become vibrant with the change of colours. (See examples below.)
The history of Liberty London
Arthur Liberty the founder, began his career in textiles. In 1875 he started his own business named ‘East India House’ where he sold Oriental imports. These included rugs, ceramics, decorative objects and textiles which were fashionable at the time. Demand for their beautiful fabrics grew so Liberty decided to import undyed fabrics. He then had them hand printed in England in the style of Oriental fabrics. At this point, Liberty started marketing their fabrics as ‘Made in England’ and the distinctive British brand was established.
Whilst travelling in East Africa in the 1920s, Liberty buyer William Dorell discovered silk like cotton close to Lake Tana. Back in Britain, the silk like threads were spun into a lustrous form and screen printed with brilliant ink. This became the fabric that is now known worldwide as Tana Lawn.
In the 1920s, Liberty began to produce miniature floral, paisley & abstract prints that became known as ‘Liberty Prints’. Their fabrics have become best sellers worldwide with over 150 prints to choose from. Available in different qualities including Tana Lawn for clothes & accessories, silk for scarves, and even PVC for wash bags.
Nearly a hundred years on, Tana Lawn is recognised as a unique part of the Liberty heritage. The product of a bespoke production process: hand-drawn by the in-house design team and screen printed in their factory close to Lake Como in Italy, where over 150 different designs are produced. Tana Lawn cotton is by far the most popular – it’s distinctive lightweight hand-feel and translucent softness make it a versatile favourite. It is ideal for nightwear, blouses and shirts and is the perfect fabric for little girls traditional smocked dresses.
The best-known pattern was French in origin and is an Art Nouveau design created by R. Beauclair in 1900. It has been produced in colourways from shocking pink to ochre and elephant grey but in it’s original colourway of mid-blue, burgundy and purple (below left), it remains a signature Liberty print fabric so we have chosen this for cosmetic and wash bags on our website http://www.damask.co.uk
This famous Liberty print was designed by William Morris in 1883. It was part of a group of designs incorporating animals with flowers and has been a classic on Tana lawn since 1955, we have used the popular colourway on the left below for cosmetic and wash bags on our website http://www.damask.co.uk
This is a smaller version of the Liberty London Classic design ‘Mitsi’, the original being designed by Gillian Farr, a member of the design studio in the 1950s. Recoloured, the pattern takes on a different hue from pretty pastels to vibrant reds and hot pink used in our range of wash bags and make up bags available on our website: damask.co.uk
From The Botanical Garden Collection, this modern watercolour Liberty print is a study of flowers, ferns and succulents and represents a rich collection of plants gathered from around the globe.
The vibrant green colourway (in the middle) is used in our range of wash bags and make up bags on our website: damask.co.uk
Among the oldest designs Hera is named after the Greek goddess associated with peacocks—the bird’s feathers were a fashionable Aesthetic Movement motif during the last quarter of the 19th century. Designed in 1887, it features the iconic peacock feather pattern.
Ciara is a print taken straight from a popular 1960s Liberty scarf and has been reworked into a vibrant and colourful pattern.
White Cotton Nightwear, cool for Warm Summer Nights
To keep cool on warm summer nights, Damask have introduced a new style to their range of white cotton ladies nightwear – Clarissa, a pretty white nightie with delicate 1cm wide shoulder straps and 18cm long pintucks on front & back, white on white embroidery between the pintucks.
As embroidery has always been an important feature of our nightwear, we often look to antique pieces for our design inspiration. With this in mind I have chosen a selection of some of the finest antique embroidered pieces from the V & A archives below:
Baby’s long gown (detail). White muslin, embroidered and finished with a scalloped hem. circa 1850. The intricate embroidery suggests it may have been Indian in origin.
Apron detail. White muslin with white work embroidery, bordered with Flemish bobbin lace. Circa 1720-1740. The embroidered chinoiserie design depicts birds in flight, pagodas and Oriental figures.
White work embroidery refers to any embroidery technique in which the stitching is the same colour as the base fabric (traditionally white cotton, muslin or linen). White work embroidery was one of the heirloom techniques used for sewing nightwear, chemises, christening gowns and baby bonnets.
Muslin collar with white work embroidery. circa 1830-1869. This collar has been finely embroidered with patterns of sprig motifs, diamonda, stars, leaves, berries and flowers. It is said to have been worn by Queen Victoria as a girl.
Muslin collar with Chikan embroidery. Possibly from India, 19th century. This collar for a chemisette is finely embroidered with birds and elephants, probably for the European market.
Chikan is a traditional embroidery style from Lucknow in India. Literally translated, the word means embroidery. Believed to have been introduced by Nur Jehan, the wife of Mugal emperor Jahangir, it is one of Lucknow’s best known textile decoration styles. The market for local chikan is mainly in Chowk, Lucknow, although the technique is also used nowadays by missonary nuns in that area to produce delicately embroidered tablelinen as well as garments. Chikan began as a type of white-on-white (or white work) embroidery.
The technique of chikan work is known as chikankari. Chikan is a delicate and artfully done hand embroidery on a variety of textile fabric like muslin, silk, chiffon, organza, net, etc. The fabric cannot be too thick or hard, or else the embroidery needle won’t pierce it. White thread is embroidered on cool, pastel shades of light muslin and cotton garments. Nowadays chikan embroidery is also done with coloured and silk threads in colours to meet the fashion trends and keep chikankari up-to-date. Lucknow is the heart of the chikankari industry today and the variety is known as Lucknawi chikan.
Apron detail. White cotton work on muslin. Circa 1725-1750. the motif incorporates an Indian style buti (flower) embroidery motif.
White on white Aari style embroidery is the inspiration for Una from our nightwear collection.www.damask.co.uk
Aari embroidery is practiced in various regions such as in Kashmir and Gujarat. Embroidery in India includes dozens of regional embroidery styles that vary by region. Designs in Indian embroidery are formed on the basis of the texture and the design of the fabric and the stitch technique.
Copyright belongs to the V & A on all archive images. www.vam.ac.uk
Damask Post – inspiration for our embroidered cotton nightwear, May 2017
This month I wanted to mention some of the beautiful dresses that have inspired my embroidered cotton nightwear designs over the years. The Victoria & Albert Museum wedding dress archive collection includes examples using beautiful fabrics, embroidery and attention to detail.
Together, their collection of wedding dress expresses social and historical change over four centuries. As individual garments, they reveal fascinating insights into the lifestyles and tastes of their original owners.
Every dress in the collection has its own story, but the four described here are particularly distinct. The most important dresses of their wearer’s lives, they make bold statements about identity and personality: belonging to four very different women, living four very different lives.
The oldest of these dresses was worn by Mary Dalton Norcliffe in 1807. The sash-tied empire line dress might look familiar if you’ve watched a Jane Austen period drama. Late 18th- and early-19th century England was preoccupied with neoclassicism. Much like modern-day fans of 1950s vintage clothing, the Georgians romanticised an earlier time. Mary’s dress, influenced by the styles of Ancient Rome and Greece, would have been a very fashionable choice. It also seems appropriate that Mary, only 17 when she married, chose a style which had its origins in children’s and early teen wear – the simple sash-tied and embroidered dress evokes the simple cotton muslin garments worn by young girls, before they progressed to stiff bodied gowns.
The second dress, a fine example of Edwardian elegance, belonged to Edith Hope-Murray. Edith married Reverend Thomas Senior in south London in 1902. She was a clergyman’s daughter, who, through marriage, became a clergyman’s wife. These social distinctions meant she had a high standing in the affluent middle-class suburb of Upper Norwood, where she and her family lived.
The dress, made by skilled local dressmakers Houghton & Dalton, consists of a separate cream silk beautifully embroidered bodice and skirt, which swells into a stately, heavy-lined train. The high neck and long, darted sleeves convey a sense of dignity and sophistication, befitting of Edith’s conservative standards and social rank.
In contrast to this, thirty years later, society beauty, Margaret Whigham (later, the Duchess of Argyll), wore a stunning Norman Hartnell gown for her 1933 wedding to Charles Sweeny at Brompton Oratory, London.
Public interest in the wedding was spurred on by daily mentions of Margaret in the newspapers. On the day, the couple’s exit from the Brompton Oratory was filmed by Pathé, and shown as a newsreel entitled Brilliant Society Wedding. So large was the crowd of spectators, Hyde Park traffic was brought to a halt. For an event that was so much in the public eye, leading British fashion designer Norman Hartnell (who would later design both the wedding dress and Coronation gown of Queen Elizabeth II) created a spectacular dress.
Designed specifically for making an entrance, Margaret’s dress has an 18-foot train framed in ruched silk tulle. It is scattered with pearl-embroidered stars, some of which are transparent, placed both on the skirt and the dress’s bodice. Opulent and lavish, this dress, and the extreme public interest it inspired, secured its wearer’s position as a signifier of style and fashion.
Twenty five years later, in 1957. Laurel Heath wore a very different Norman Hartnell dress for her wedding to Gerald Robinson. Following wartime restraint, the late 1950s were a time of glamour and elegance. Fortunately for Laurel, she had a mother-in-law who appreciated style and had all of her clothes made especially for her by Hartnell. Laurel experienced Hartnell’s beautiful workmanship and eye for detail when her mother-in-law gave her a Hartnell dress to wear on her big day.
Wedding dress with matching satin clutch bag, Norman Hartnell, 1957, London, United Kingdom. Museum no. T.530-1996 Victoria & Albert Museum, London
As this was to be Laurel’s second marriage, she wanted to avoid the floor-length fuss of a first-time bride. Instead, Hartnell made her a dress that rested at mid-calf, its skirt rounded and full in the manner of a ballerina’s. Such cuts were very fashionable at the time, popularised by the likes of Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face (1957), which came out the same year as Laurel married Gerald.
Each of these dresses demonstrates how a bride’s fashion choices reflect elements of her personality and status in married life. Historically, they provide a glimpse into the evolution of female identity.
A selection of these beautiful dresses from the V & A archives can be seen in Room 40 at: Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, London SW7 2RL.
Keep warm on cold winter nights with a cosy quilted bedspread or dressing gown, 30% off until end February
With the cold Winter weather here, why not keep warm and cosy with a quilted bedspread or dressing gown. Until the end of February, Damask are offering more than 30% off their range of quilts and ladies quilted cotton robe. visit http://www.damask.co.uk
Quilting was a popular social activity among women in the mid 19th century and is enjoying a resurgence in popularity today. Often known as a ‘Quilting Bee’, it provided a social space for women to gather and gossip while they simultaneously used their artistic and sewing skills. The quilting bee was often held in a local hall or church which allowed up to 12 women to attend though often the number of guests was limited to seven, who, with the hostess, made up two quilting frames, the equivalent of two tables of bridge. Good quilting and sewing skills in earlier times was a social requisite, and it meant an amibitious woman should be an expert with her needle.
Le Touquet quilt available in king size. Was £199, reduced to £139 until the end of February. visit: www.damask.co.uk
Quilts have been a passion of mine since I made my first log cabin quilt by hand, using Liberty prints.
In the late Nineteenth Century the log cabin patchwork quilt was very popular in the United Kingdom and in the Unites States of America. This design has an equal number of light and dark shades of fabric that radiate out from the square in the centre and is one of the simplest blocks to sew.
It is still very popular today as it can be sewn fairly quickly. It is sewn into a block and then the separate blocks can be sewn to form a quilt that will give a light and dark patterned design depending on how they are sewn together.
More than 30 years later my log cabin quilt has become a family heirloom and is still in good use.
I have since made a variety of quilts included appliqued quilts where a cut out fabric (for example a flower design) is stitched onto the base fabric before quilting. The technique of appliqué goes back as far as sewing does when people began using other bits of cloth to cover up holes in clothing items. Appliqué derives from the word appliquer which means to cover or put on. Early appliqué was used to lengthen the life of clothing and moved into decorative designs used on quilts.
Trapunto, from the Italian for “to quilt,” is a method of quilting that is also called “stuffed technique.” A puffy, decorative feature, trapunto utilizes at least two layers, the underside of which is slit and padded, producing a raised surface on the quilt. Popular designs using the trapunto technique include paisleys, flowers, leafs and diamond patterns.
One of my favourite places for a day out that has a beautiful range of quilts is the ‘American Museum in Bath‘. https://americanmuseum.org
The museum reopens this year on 18th March and is open Tuesday – Sunday 12-5 pm. It opens with an exhibition of ‘the Jazz Age – 1920’s Fashion & Photographs and is well worth a visit.
Housed in a beautiful Georgian house overlooking the vale of Bath, the museum takes you through the history of America, from the early settlers through to American independence. The museum has a room devoted to its extensive collection of quilts together with rag rugs and embroidered samplers.
Quilts & Textiles
Ranging from the eighteenth to mid-twentieth centuries, the American Museum’s collection of over 200 quilts is acclaimed as the finest of its type in Europe. Over 50 quilts are always on view in the Textile Room (on the first floor of the Museum) and throughout the Period Rooms. Also on display in the Textile Room are a selection of Navajo weavings, hooked rugs, and woven bedspreads.
Baltimore Album Quilt, made for or by, someone living in Baltimore during the years from 1846 to 1852.
Chalice Quilt, made by slaves on the Mimosa Hall Plantation in Marshall Texas for the use of the anglican Bishop of New Orleans, mid 19th century.
Hannah Taylor sampler. Samplers were made by young girls learning to sew different embroidery stitches, mid 19th century.
There is also a lovely shop selling fabrics for patchwork as well as the Orangery cafe & terrace selling home made food from American recipes including home made cookies, chicken pot pie and pecan pie.
Save the Date – Chelsea Physic Garden Christmas Fair 26 & 27 November 2016
Save the Date – Chelsea Physic Garden Christmas Fair
26 & 27 November 2016
Just a reminder that Damask will be exhibiting at the Chelsea Physic Garden Christmas Fair for the first time, where apart from our ladies & children’s nightwear and quilts, we will be selling a beautiful range of
Christmas decorations, stocking fillers & new-born baby presents – all hand made in England by a talented friend of mine, using vintage prints. They make lovely Xmas presents like this heart-shaped tree decoration
Christmas tree jingle bell decorations
Vintage print pin cushions & needle cases – great stocking filler for keen sewers!
Doggie bandanas – so your dog gets to dress up at Xmas too!
Available in assorted vintage prints including London transport, scull & cross bow and scottie dogs. Available in small & medium
Lovely gifts for new-borns, baby bunting & heart decorations available in pink or blue
There will be over 100 exhibitors selling a broad range of beautifully designed and crafted products including jewellery, clothing, contemporary crafts, toys and a selection of festive fare. We look forward to seeing you there.
The Christmas Fair is on: Sat 26 Nov 10am–5pm & Sun 27 Nov 10am–4pm
Adults £6 / Friends & under 16’s free
Tickets available on the door, or pre book on their website:
This month I wanted to talk about one of my favourite gardens in London, and definitely worth a visit. Located between Chelsea Embankment and the Kings Road, (10 minutes walk from Sloane Square tube station or a short bus ride from Victoria station).
Chelsea Physic Garden is the oldest botanic garden in London and was founded in 1673 by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries for the purpose of training apprentices in the identification and use of medicinal plants. It subsequently became one of the most important centres of botany and plant exchange in the world.
Nowadays it is dedicated to demonstrating the medicinal, economic, cultural and environmental importance of plants to the survival and well-being of humankind and is a celebration of the beauty and importance of plants. A unique living collection of around 5,000 different edible, useful, medicinal and historical plants is contained within its sheltering walls.
The Garden’s warm microclimate means that many tender plants flourish here including a number of rare and endangered species. It has the largest outdoor fruiting olive tree in Britain and the world’s most northerly outdoor grapefruit tree. From pomegranates to ginkgos, mulberries to eucalyptus, there are over 100 different species of tree in the Garden, many of which are rare in Britain. The Glasshouses hold a collection of tropical and sub-tropical species, complemented by a Victorian Cool Fernery.
This hidden gem is a peaceful green oasis for a relaxing stroll and lunch or afternoon tea at the Tangerine Dream Café which sells delicious food freshly prepared and cooked on the premises, using some of the plants grown in the garden.
More information about the garden’s rich history can be found on their website.
Damask will be exhibiting for the first time at their popular Christmas Fair in November, where we will be selling our ladies cotton nightdresses & children’s cotton nightdresses, pyjamas & cotton dressing gowns together with a selection of quilts and accessories, all of which make ideal Xmas presents.
There will be over 100 exhibitors selling a broad range of beautifully designed and crafted products including jewellery, clothing, contemporary crafts, toys and a selection of festive fare. It is the perfect opportunity to buy gifts for your loved ones or perhaps to treat yourself. This fundraising event will help to support the Garden.
The Christmas Fair is on: Sat 26 Nov 10am–5pm & Sun 27 Nov 10am–4pm
Adults £6 / Friends & under 16’s free
Tickets available on the door, or pre book on their website:
The Garden, Café, Book & Gift Shop are open Tuesdays – Fridays, Sundays and Bank Holidays until 31 October 2016.
On Mondays the Garden is open, 10am – 5pm, but the Book & Gift Shop and Café are closed.
Chelsea Physic Garden: 66 Royal Hospital Road, London SW3 4HS
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7352 5646
Summer memories of childhood – places to visit and activities for the school holidays
Whilst preparing a summer promotion for my childrens nightwear, I remembered some of the places I used to visit in the long school holidays with my children when they were younger. One of our favourite museums was the V&A Museum of Childhood, Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green, London E2 9PA. Open daily 10 – 5.45, admission free. www.vam.ac.uk/moc/
They have a programme of activities and exhibitions and children will love the range of toys, old and new including some lovely dolls houses and there are plenty of hands on activities.
The Museum holds a collection of around 100 dolls’ houses, models and shops, we can learn a lot about how people used to live by looking into these miniature worlds.
Mr Potato Head
The invention of New York born George Lerner, Mr Potato Head was launched by the toy company Hasbro in 1952. the original Mr Potato Head contained only parts, such as eyes, ears, noses and mouths, and parents had to supply their children with real potatoes for the head. Over the next three decades, a variety of Mr Potato Head products were sold including Mrs Potato head and two children, Spud and sister Yam.
Mr Potato Head has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in recent years, due in part to his appearance as one of the characters in the enormously popular animated feature films Toy Story, Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3. The Mr Potato Head pictured is the British version was made by Peter Pan Toys in 1960.
They also have a wonderful clothing collection which includes over 6000 garments and accessories worn by children from birth up to their teenage years. One of my favourite is this beautiful smocked dress because it is reminiscent of the beautiful hand smocked dresses my mother made for my sisters and me – we have kept some of them as they are now heirlooms, our own daughters have worn them and they are now waiting to be passed down to the next generation!
Patchwork dress, 1942 V & A Museum collection
Another passion of mine is patchwork and quilting, a selection of quilts are available on the Damask website: www.damask.co.uk
One of the dresses in the museum’s collection is a patchwork dress made for a little girl called Jane by her mother in 1942 after an unexpected invitation to a children’s party. By this stage of the Second World War, parties were unusual as there were significant food shortages and many children had been separated from family and friends after being evacuated.
At this time, new party dresses would have been very difficult to obtain as clothing was rationed, and cost money as well as precious coupons.
The night before the party, after Jane had gone to bed, her mother collected every spare scrap of fabric she could find. In the morning, Jane’s patchwork party dress (pictured) was ready: her mother had cleverly made a dress using all the scraps of fabric.
This also reminded me of some of the classic children’s books by Mary Cicely Barker my daughter Lucy used to enjoy, featuring fairies and wood land creatures – a perenially popular theme with little girls. Inspiration for the embroidery on my nightwear designs, ‘Titania’ and ‘Tinkerbell’ came from some of these delightful books and illustrations including:
‘Wee Forest Folk – Fairy Circle’
‘The Fairy Orchestra’ by Cicely Mary Barker
‘Titania’ fairy embroidered pure cotton nightdress available from: http://www.damask.co.uk
Until the end of August, Damask have a 30% off sale on their traditional childrens nightwear.
Damask specialise in beautiful childrens nightwear. Our exclusive embroideries feature perenially popular themes such as fairies, ballerinas, racing cars and aeroplanes.
We use fine quality fabrics in white cotton lawn for girls and wovens for boys.
All nightdresses are treated with flame retardant finish to comply with BS5722. All nightwear is finished to a high standard using only the best quality trims and buttons and is machine washable at 40°C. Styling is traditional with generous sizing that starts from age 3 upto 8 years. The nightwear collection comprises nightdresses and pyjamas.
Another museum dedicated to children is:
The Museum of Childhood. 42 High Street, Edinburgh EH1 1TG.
Open 10 – 5 Mon – Sat, Sun 12-5pm. Free entry.
The Museum of Childhood is a fun day out for the whole family. Young people can learn about the children of the past and see a fantastic range of toys and games, while adults enjoy a trip down memory lane.
They will enjoy finding out about growing up through the ages, from toys and games to health and school days. Hands-on activities, including a puppet theatre and dressing up area, together with our fantastic museum shop, help to make your visit a memorable one.
The Museum of Childhood’s costume collection contains over 2,500 items of clothing. These range from dainty christening robes to sturdy sandals and dressing up costumes.
The costume collection covers baby clothes, boys’ and girls’ ‘best’ clothes, school uniforms, society uniforms and all sorts of other clothes and accessories.
Visitors to the Museum can see ‘children’ dressed in their party clothes, school uniform and fancy dress. These outfits are only a fraction of the collection, which covers everything from sailor suits to cowboy hats.
They have lots of baby clothes from the period 1880 to 1930, including beautifully-made christening robes. Baby clothes were often kept for sentimental reasons, and many of their christening robes have been passed down through families for generations.
Amongst clothes for older children, there are lots of party or ‘best’ dresses for girls and Highland outfits or sailor suits for boys. They have more girls’ clothes than boys’, as they tended to last longer, and their prettiness made them hard to part with.
In 1997, the Museum acquired a wonderful collection from a former television costume designer. It is made up of childrens everyday clothes and shoes from the early to mid-20th century – the sorts of things that weren’t kept, and so have become rare.
They don’t just have clothes in the collection. Their accessories collection includes fans, bags, purses, jewellery, muffs, parasols and hair ornaments, many of which reflect adult fashions.
A model aeroplane made from Meccano and inspiration for our boy’s pyjama called ‘Biggles’
‘Biggles’ aeroplane boys pyjamahttp://www.damask.co.uk
Another children’s museum worth a visit is:
Sudbury Hall and the National Trust Museum of Childhood.
Main Road, Sudbury, Ashbourne, Derbyshire, DE6 5HT.
The National Trust Museum of Childhood is a delight for all ages with something for everyone. Children can discover something new, or relive nostalgic memories by exploring the childhoods of times gone by, make stories and play with toys. You can be a chimney sweep, a scullion or a Victorian pupil, and enjoy interactive displays.
June inspiration and vintage ideas
In addition to our range of ladies & children’s nightwear and quilts, Damask have added a selection of vintage and designer clothes for sale on our website: www.damask.co.uk Items feature lace, embroidery, unusual prints and woven textiles.
We are pleased to offer a 20% discount on our vintage pieces for the month of June
‘Rowe of Kingston’ beautiful 1950’s black lace ball gown with fitted bodice and flared 3 layer skirt.
Detail of the dress with black taffeta shoulder straps and bows on the side fronts.
‘Blank of London’ reversible hand quilted cotton coat using Indian block prints, black ground with green flowers reversing to mustard yellow floral print.
For inspiration this month, I visited the Fashion Museum in Bath www.fashionmuseum.co.uk where they currently have an exhibition entitled:
A History of Fashion in 100 Objects and includes a selection from their ‘Dress of the Year’, where a fashion expert is invited to choose a piece that epitomises the year in fashion. 2011 featured a beautiful long white dress with exquisite embroidery, by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen.
Some of my favourite pieces in the Behind the Scenes: Historic Collection were the delicate white muslin Regency dresses from the Jane Austen period. Muslin is a cotton fabric that was first made in the city of Mosul in Iraq, from which it derived its name. Early Indian muslins were hand woven from fine hand spun yarns and were imported into Europe from India in the 17th century, where they were used in the manufacture of clothing
A selection of beautiful antique pieces are available from a website called: antiquedress.com
Embroidered Empire muslin gown 1805-1810
Regency girl’s muslin gown
White embroidered muslin dress circa 1820
I have often looked to vintage clothing for inspiration for the Damask range of ladies white cotton embroidered nightwear.
A page from a New York department store featuring nightwear & petticoat designs circa 1910
Barcelona above, is one of the nightwear styles Damask sells which is inspired by an antique nightdress, a feminine white cotton lawn nightdress with fine pin tuck detail, frilled neck and cuff edge and delicate Mother of Pearl buttons. The front button opening makes it suitable for maternity and nursing mothers.
Another exhibition well worth a visit is Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear at the Victoria & Albert Museum, South Kensington, London SW7 until 12th March 2017 www.vam.ac.uk
It examines the history of intimate garments throughout history and the inventions and fashions that have shaped them. Some of the most interesting exhibits are the boned and laced corsets women had to wear to create the narrow waisted silhouette for period gowns.
Corset, cotton with whalebones circa 1890. V & A Museum
Corset, black woven silk boned corset with tiny blue & pink flowers with tiny blue & pink flowers made for Madame Worth circa 1890. Fashion Museum, Bath.