Tag Archives: fashion history

How deep can you fall? “Getrödelt, gefunden, gefreut” in march

As every month, Bewingtes Fräulein asks us to show our flea market, antiques shoppings and other old stuff hauls and I happily oblige.

The day I photographed my embroidered basket, I went to a charity shop nearby. This shop had opened already a while ago and I had been there once shortly after the opening. But as you can imagine, shop like these do have to grow a little while to get interesing, to become a treasure cave that you want to search and my first visit wasn’t very fruitful at all. After I had took the photos I thought it was about time to see if it already had become more interesting. Oh yes, it had! When I left more than an hour later I was heavily laden with all kinds of stuff, 6m of vintage silk, a 50ies paper basket, an old porcelain ginger jar, only to name a few.
Today I want to show you the item I spent most on this day, at the same time this was the greatest bargain of all. The item I was ecstatic and horrified to find at the same time.

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Maybe some of you might remember: When I started my blog in june 2011, one of the first posts I wrote was about a 19th century dalmatic I found at a flea market. This kind of church vestment is worn by the deacon in the catholic mass. I loved being able to touch a silk that old and to see how the 19th century copied styles from earlier centuries.
(Note: this is not going to be a post about faith, god and the church. My interest lies in the development of the forms and styles of these vestments and the fabrics used for them. It is absolutely not in my interest to evangelise anybody, I am not even catholic myself. When I would talk about 18th century court dress you wouldn’t expect opinions on absolutism, either, would you 😉 )

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While the deacon wears the dalmatic, during the mass the priest is wearing something called a chasuble. The chasuble started as a long, half circle cone shaped garment, that was gathered at the sides to release the arms. As you can imagine this resulted in a lot of fabric lying on the priests arms. Many medieval works of art show this kind of bell-shaped chasuble. During the centuries the sides where more and more shortened to lessen the amount of fabric gathered on the arms. The longing for elaborate decoration grew every decade and when the chasubles were made from heavier and stiffer fabrics or completely encrusted in gold embroidery, pleats and gathers were a) very impractical because of the stiffness and b) didn’t show the beautiful design and even destroyed it through rubbing and tearing. Around 1600 the shape changed, the gathered sides were completely gone and the chasuble had reached the so-called “fiddle-shape”, because of the curved front cut that resembles a fiddle. Now the chasubles where very stiff and looked more like a shell then like a garment. To prevent the already stiff embroidery and fabrics from wrinkling, an interlining made from paper or parchment was added.

So much prelude to understand what I found that day.

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What you see here is the back of a chasuble, the fabrics date from ca. the 1770ies (the pink one, still not sure about the yellow one, but it’s 2nd half 18th ct., no doubt). While the sides are made from a dusky pink silk damask (most probably lyonese), the middle part shows a very complex silber brocaded silk fabric. I will limit my technical descriptions to the image subtitles, if you are interested.

When you turn this frame around, you see that it isn’t a chasuble anymore. What is still visible is the upper part of the front. The fabric is very damaged due to the rites in the mass. Until the 2nd vatican council in the 1960ies most of the mass the priest faced the altar, therefore showing his back to the crowd (that is the reason, why chasubles often have a rich back decoration). Manipulating all the different instruments on the altar, rubbing with the belly on the stone of the latter left traces on the fabrics. I can at least be happy that the front is still existant, not few chasubles where undid and only the backs saved.

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Lie it on the floor and you see what happened: Someone undid the shoulderseams and placed the back onto the front part after relining everything. And I would argue that this lining is not older than maybe 30 years, so this is a very recent reworking.

To cut a long story short: Why was it altered?
Well, it is decorative, it is antique. It was very “en vogue” for a long time to decorate the house with antique textiles (and still is). You can’t do much with a chasuble, it doesn’t lie flat because of the shoulders (watch the movie “The third man” carefully, in one scene you will see a chasuble on a drawer, like a giant doily). Altered like this you can use it to hide your radiator, as an alternative to a picture and so on. That this will damage the fabric because silks that old shouldn’t be exposed to light is partly unknown partly ignored.
I wouldn’t have bought an item like this in an antique store, because I would have supported this practice. The seller in the charity shop didn’t even know what it was, I assume she got it when a dissolved household was given to her.

Obviously the cut was altered at least one more time before this installation, you see the light damage.
Obviously the cut was altered at least one more time before this installation, you see the light damage and the remains of an old seam ¦ Offenbar wurde die Kasel schon einmal verändert, man sieht den Lichtschaden und alte Nahtspuren.

Why this makes me sad?
I am not religious, but I do respect faith and in my believe we should show some respect to the believes of others as well as to the things our ancestors made. To see something as “high” as a church vestment and as precious as silver brocaded 18th century silk between plastic potties and 90ies back packs just hurts my heart. I know that the museums of the world can’t save everything, but this just didn’t seem right to me.

Why this makes me happy?
Well, because I paid 10 CHF. Chasubles in good condition can cost hundreds of Swiss Francs (or Euro or dollar, it doesn’t really matter, it simply is very very cheap), and most of them are younger. So even though this chasuble is damaged and altered, the brocaded fabric is magnificent and the fabrics alone should be worth more.

At the moment it is rolled on a large cardboard tube with acid-free silk tissue between the layers, I will give it to my professor’s study collection at the university. Like this, future students can learn from it and it will be appreciated as the item it is: a witness of the past.

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Auf Deutsch

Wie jeden Monat ruft das Beswingte Fräulein dazu auf, unsere neuen alten Errungeschaften des Vormonats zu präsentieren. Da bin ich doch mal wieder dabei 🙂

Als ich meinen Korb vor einigen Wochen fotografierte, stattete ich kurz danach dem ortlichen Trödelladen einen Besuch ab. Ich war erst einmal kurz nach der Eröffnung dort gewesen, damals war er noch dementsprechend leer und langweilig. Solche Läden brauchen ja immer etwas Zeit zum wachsen, bis sie zu Fundgruben reifen. Jetzt, dachte ich, könnte ich mal wieder nachschauen, und tatsächlich, eine Schatztruhe. Nach über einer Stunde verlies ich den Laden schwer bepackt, unter anderem mit 6m alter (=ca. 1960) Seide, einem 50er Jahre Papierkorb und einem Ingwerglas aus Porzellan.
Das Fundstück aber, für das ich am meisten Geld ausgab und welches gleichzeitig das grösste Schnäppchen war, das mich gleichzeitig verzückt grinsen und verzweifeln liess, möchte ich euch heute vorstellen.

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Next to the colourful flower pattern, there is a monochrome damask pattern in the background ¦ Neben dem farbigen Muster sieht man noch ein Damastmuster im Hintergrund.

Vielleicht mögen sich ein paar noch erinnern: Als ich im Juni 2011 mit meinem Blog anfing, schrieb ich einen meiner ersten Posts über ein Kirchengewand aus dem 19. Jahrhundert, welches ich auf einem Flohmarkt gefunden hatte, eine Dalmatik, wie sie vom Diakon während der Messe getragen wird. Ich war begeistert davon, die alte Seide berühren zu können und zu sehen, wie das 19. Jahrhundert seine Inspration aus früheren Jahrhunderten zog.
(Kurze Anmerkung für alle die etwas zögern: Es wird hier nicht um Glaube, Gott oder die Kirche gehen. Ich interessiere mich für die Formgeschichte dieser Kleidungsstücke sowie die dafür verwendeten Stoffe. Es liegt mir fern, zu missionieren, ich bin ja selbst nicht einmal katholisch. Würde ich über höfische Mode des 18. Jahrhunderts reden erwartet ja auch niemend eine Meinung zum Absolutismus, oder 😉 )

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As you see, the patterned areas look very 3-dimensional, further down I explain why. The grey lines on the yellowground are silver threads, woven between the silk threads ¦ Man sieht schön, wie die Blumen hervortreten, weiter unten versuche ich das zu erklären. Die grauen Striche sind Silberfäden, die zwischen die gelbe Seide gewoben wurden

Während der Diakon also die Dalmatik trägt, kleidet sich der Prister während der Messe in die sogenannte Kasel. Diese war ursprünglich ein langes Gewand, geschnitten aus  einem Halbkreis und vorne zusammengenäht (eigentlich wie ein halber Tellerrock, nur länger und eben auf den Schultern getragen), die sogenannte Glockenkasel. Um die Arme bewegen zu können, raffte man den Stoff an den Seiten zusammen, dieser lag dann als faltiger Berg auf den Unterarmen. Viele mittelalterliche Kunstwerke zeigen das sehr schön. Im Laufe der Zeit wurden die Seiten immer mehr gekürzt, die Stoffberge auf den Armen wurden weniger. Gleichzeitig begann man, die Kaseln immer aufwändiger zu verzieren und  als man begann a) steifere und auffällig gemusterte Gewebe sowie b) schwere Goldstickereien zu verwenden, konnten die Kaseln endgültig nicht mehr gerafft werden. Nicht nur weil dann von den ganzen schönen Mustern kaum etwas zu sehen gewesen wäre, sondern auch weil das Aneinanderreiben der Goldfäden sehr schnell zu Schäden geführt hätte. Um 1600 hatte die Kasel daher eine Form angenommen, die man heute als “Bassgeigen-Kasel” bezeichnet, aufgrund des Zuschnitts auf der Vorderseite, der Ähnlichkeit mit eben einer solchen hat. Um Faltenwurf und Knittern zu verhindern wurden diese Kaseln zusätzlich mit Pergament oder Papier versteift.

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You see the paper under the fabric and unterneath a red linen fabric, maybe the original lining ¦ Hier sieht man das Papier unter dem Stoff und dahinter einen roten Leinenstoff, vielleicht das ursprüngliche Futter.

So, lange Vorrede, aber notwendig um zu verstehen, was ich euch heute zeigen möchte.
Was ihr oben seht ist die Rückseite einer eben solchen Bassgeigen-Kasel,  die Stoffe sind aus den 1770ern (zumindest der pinke, der gelbe ist auch sicher aus der 2. Hälfte des 18. Jhdts.). Die Seiten sind aus einem altrosa Seidendamast (sehr wahrscheinlich aus Lyon), der Mittelteil besteht aus einem sehr komplexen Seidengewebe mit Silberfäden. Ich werde meinen technischen Senf auf die Bildunterschriften beschränken, falls ihr interessiert seid.

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You see that the green threads turn after the motif has ended, not like in normal weaving where the weft passes through the whole width, this technique is called “brocading”, the silver vases are made the same way ¦ Hier sieht man, dass die grünen Fäden nicht auf der Rückseite weiterlaufen, wie es normal in einem Gewebe ist, sondern nach dem Motiv umkehren. Diese Technik nennt sich “broschieren”, die silbernen Vasen sind genauso gearbeitet.

Wenn man den Holzrahmen dreht wird sichtbar, dass es eben keine Kasel mehr ist. Immer noch sichtbar ist die obere Hälfte der Vorderseite. Der Stoff ist hier ziemlich beschädigt. Das liegt an der Verwendung, denn bis zum 2. vatikanischen Konzil in den 1960ern wurde ein Grossteil der Messe mit dem Rücken zu den Glüubigen zelebriert. Die Bewegungen, die Kelche und die Altarkante, ihr könnt euch vorstellen was da mit einer Seide alles passieren kann. Aber das ist auch der Grund, weshalb historische Kaseln vor allem den Rücken dekoriert haben. Bei dieser kann man froh sein, dass die Vorderseite noch existiert, nicht wenige Kaseln wurden komplett demontiert und nur der Rücken bewahrt.

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Wenn man das Ding mal auf den Boden legt, sieht man, was passiert ist: Die Schulternähte wurden aufgetrennt und der Rücken auf dem Vorderteil festgenäht, nachdem man das Ganze neu gefüttert hatte. Und dieses weisse Futter ist in meinen Augen nicht älter als 30 Jahre, es ist also eine relativ neue Umarbeitung.

Um es kurz zu machen: Warum macht man sowas?
Es ist schön, dekorativ, ein alter Stoff. Es war lange Zeit ziemlich “in”, seine Wohnung mit alten Stoffen zu schmücken (und ist es immer noch in bestimmten Kreisen). Mit einer Kasel kann man nicht so viel machen, flach liegend stehen die Schultern ab, es gibt ein Loch in der Mitte (schaut euch mal aufmerksam “Der dritte Mann” an, in einer Szene liegt eine Kasel auf einer Kommode im Hintergrund, wie ein riesiges Deckchen). So abgeändert kann man damit Heizkörper verstecken oder einfach etwas anderes als ein Bild als Dekoration haben. Dass so alte Stoffe nicht mehr dem Licht ausgesetzt werden sollen wird gerne ignoriert, manche wissen es vielleicht auch gar nicht.
Ich hätte ein solches Objekt nie in einem Antiquitäten-Laden gekauft, denn da müsste ich von einem System ausgehen und ich laufe Gefahr, eine solche Praxis zu unterstützen. Die Verkäuferin im Trödelladen wusste nicht einmal, was es ist. Wahrscheinlich hat sie es mit einer Haushaltsauflösung bekommen. Die Chance dass sie so etwas nähen würde, ist verschwindend gering.

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The vases are woven with a special kind of thread, a thin silver “tinsel” is wrapped around a white silk thread ¦ Die Vasen sind aus sogenanntem Silberlahn gemacht, bei diesem Garn wird ein dünner Silberstreifen um eine (hier weisse) Seidenseele gewickelt

Warum verzweifeln?
Ich bin nicht besonders gläubig, aber ich respektiere den Glauben. Und so  wie man meiner Meinung die Überzeugungen anderer akzeptieren sollte, sollte man auch die Zeugnisse, die uns aus der Vergangenheit erhalten sind respektieren. Etwas so würdevolles wie ein Kirchengewand und so kostbares und aufwändiges wie eine silber-broschierte Seide aus dem 18. Jahrhundert gehört einfach nicht zwischen Töpfchen und Billigrucksäcke, das tut mir einfach weh zu sehen. Ich weiss, dass die Museen auch nicht alles retten können, aber das fühlt sich für mich einfach falsch an.

Warum Verzücken?
Weil ich 10 Franken bezahlt hab. Kaseln können mehrere Hundert kosten, dann vielleicht im guten Zustand, aber auch oft jünger.  Auch wenn  diese beschädigt und umgearbeitet ist, alleine der Stoff ist mehr wert.

Zur Zeit lagere ich sie gerollt auf einer grossen Versandrolle mit säurefreiem Seidenpapier zwischen den Lagen. Ich werde sie der Studiensammlung meiner Professorin geben, so können zukünftige Studenten von ihr lernen und sie als das würdigen, was sie ist: Ein Zeugnis der Vergangenheit.

Das war viel, das war lang, ich hoffe ihr seid noch bei mir. Wünsche euch einen schönen Sonntag!

 That was long, that was a lot, hope you are still with me. I wish you a lovely sunday.

ette

Journal des Demoiselles 1878

Already a while ago I was asked if I would like to share some of the old fashion plates I have.
Of course I would! Unfortunately most are too large for my small scanner and I don’t want to damage them, but I do what I can. Additionally you can already find so many scans on the interweb, so if you are searching for good scans you might want to check if someone else already uploaded what you are searching for.

Here are the colour plates in my “Journal des Demoiselles” from 1878. Unfortunately some are missing, you can find all plates (and the text as well) here.

parvasedapta.ch - Journal d Demoiselles 1878 VII parvasedapta.ch - Journal d Demoiselles 1878 VIII parvasedapta.ch - Journal d Demoiselles 1978 V parvasedapta.ch - Journal d Demoiselles 1878 I parvasedapta.ch - Journal d Demoiselles 1878 II parvasedapta.ch - Journal d Demoiselles 1878 III parvasedapta.ch - Journal d Demoiselles 1878 IV parvasedapta.ch - Journal d Demoiselles 1878 VI

 

I hope you like them, see you soon,

ette

In the wee small hours of history

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Let’s have something unusual today 😉

Maybe you wonder, remembering I said I don’t want to publish modern projects on this blog? Well, you are absolutely right about what I said and absolutely wrong if you consider today’s project being something modern.

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In fact, this is by far the oldest and most antique project I have ever made or shown.
Before you are too confused now: We are talking about the shirt, not the skirt 😉
The first time I saw this pattern was in 2012, I discovered it in a book on prehistoric textiles in the library of the musée des tissus in Lyons.  I copied the pattern to try it back home (unfortunately without noting in which book I had found it. That really is a pity because until today it is the only version of this pattern I know that comes with measurements).

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Only later I realized I owned a book myself that had the pattern in it.* And among Archaeologists it is pretty well known: This blouse was found in numerous women’s and girl’s graves dating from the bronze age. For example it formed part of the clothing worn by the Egtved girl who died around 1370 b.c., though the skirt that was found as well is today much more famous than the blouse.

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What fascinated me about this bronze age pattern, was that it was cut from only one piece of fabric.  Today it is assumed that the special cut and the sizing of the blouse can be connected to fur- and leather-sewing-techniques of the time. Considering you only need a piece of fabric measuring 110cm x 60cm this seems quite plausible as it should be a size you could easily cut from a cow’s or a stag’s skin. The blouses found were however made from woven fabrics.

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You can find a scheme of the pattern here, just scroll down to the end of the page, here you have a perspective drawing that could help you understand how it is assembled. And finally, this drawing shows the outlines from the different blouses found (the link to the original source unfortunately doesn’t work). The pattern and the measurements I copied back in Lyons (and therefore the ones I used for making this blouse) were taken from the example in the middle, the Borum Eshøj-blouse. What you see is that most of the preserved blouses have an additional strip sewn onto the lower edge of the main part, like this it was possible to adjust the hemline even if the width of the fabric or the skin wasn’t enough. The strip found on this blouse was 5cm wide, I made mine much wider and doubled it so it would give a little structure to the blouse (the fabric I used is very thin and unlike the heavy cloth used 3000 years ago). If made narrower (or directly added to the pattern and cut in one piece, as today a width of more than 60cm should be that much of a problem) it could pass for a very modern shirt as they were very en vogue last summer. And the length of the sleeves is adjustable as well. The version above was made with a 30cm wide neck opening while the sleeves each measure 40cm from the neckline to the hem (therefore the 110cm I talked of above).  Making a version with longer or shorter sleeves would be perfectly easy.

The fit is not as bad as you could imagine. Because of the lack of a proper seam underneath the sleeves you can’t insert gussets, but that is not that big a problem because the blouse should be pretty wide, unlike mine which is in fact too small (sits a little tight, breathing isn’t that good an idea when wearing it). But this was because I started to work with the measurement taken from the original (80cm bust circumference *cough*), planning to adjust a second version to my size. Haven’t made this second version so far, so you get to see the too small first version today.

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And look, it could very well pass as a vintage pattern, don’t you think?

I love this pattern because it is quite simple to make (only the seam allowances have to be comparably narrow), very very old but absolutely timeless in its style. Imagine this in a brown wool and you surely have some kind of prehistoric garment. Use a patterned viscose as I did and it looks like a summer blouse that hides its historic background perfectly. Keep in mind that you have some seams in the back when chosing the fabric, otherwise it might look odd, cutting through a large motif.

But to me this project is still one of the best examples of how simple a sewing pattern can be and how important the fabric and its pattern is when it comes to the impression a garment gives.

parvasedapta.ch-Bronze Age Shirt V
1st outfit: skirt: edc – shoes: G-Star, 2nd outfit: skirt: ette – shoes: Limelight

I am participating with this post in Idle Needle’s “Make, Thrift & Tell” January challenge (Patterns). It is a lovely idea and she is having a link party over at her blog!

To finish with: The post’s title came to my mind when I looked out of the window the morning I wrote the post (yesterday, so tuesday) and had Sinatra’s In the wee small hours of the morning in my head immediately.  Unfortunately the photos I made directly afterwards were all blurry, so I can only show you the scenery in bright daylight (imagine this only lit by a small street lamp).

parvasedapta.ch-snowy garden

This is how the garden looks today. At least somebody in the house appreciates snow (I don’t really), our landlord’s dog, caught in full speed:

parvasedapta.ch-dig in the snow

See you on sunday, love

ette

* From this book I also drew all the archaeological information given in this post:
Karin Grömer: Prähistorische Textilkunst in Mitteleuropa. Geschichte des Handwerkes und der Kleidung vor den Römern, Wien 2010.

 

Just the tiniest little present for Christmas

This post was inspired by one little Christmas present I got last year, but shows in fact much more than this.

Already some years ago I got fascinated in tatting. This crafting technique became popular in the 19th century and derived from a pastime of ladies in the 18th century: To show off their gracile hands and wrists women knotted cords in a special kind of way, using shuttles to do so. The results must have been long cords but only very few objects decorated with these have survived (I found this pair of baby shoes in the V&A-collection, though I am not entirely sure if this was really done with a shuttle. In any case it is not, as the description says, tatting, if you look closely you’ll see that the cords are only arranged in a loop pattern, the rings are not connected to each other as they would if they were tatted). The shuttles were comparably large (appr. 15cm long) and richly decorated (see this or this). Maybe you know the portrait of young Marie Antoinette holding such a shuttle.

In the 19th century this technique was developed further, the shuttles became smaller and a variety of knots was invented, now enabling to produce loops and rings connected to each other and in doing so, a new kind of lace-making was established. Depending on the complexity of the pattern and the forms used, one or two shuttles are needed as well as a small hook, for example a crochet hook.

I have never been good in learning one thing really well because I am too soon distracted by some other thing I want to learn. For that reason my only finished tatting project has up to now been my last finished one, that was in 2012:

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very simple tatted lace, made with one shuttle

But of course that doesn’t prevent me from still wanting to learn it properly and from buying tatting-related things.

Let’s start with the most basic and indispensable one, the shuttle. Still today tatting shuttles can be found in haberdashery shops, for example from Prym. These are made from plastic and comparably light. I started with them and they are ok. But as soon as I had found an old one I switched to this one. These are often made from horn, are heavier and therefore can be dropped more easily through the loops, additionally I have the feeling they are even smoother than the plastic ones. Others can be made from Ivory, tortoiseshell or bone.
I found the two shuttles below in the middle on a flea market (paying 1CHF) and an antique fair (paying 3CHF)- Both have a little chip but function perfectly. So if you plan to start tatting you should stop at the market stalls with the untidy and jampacked boxes of small things, maybe you are lucky, too. The light one is presumably horn, the dark one could also be some kind of early plastic, I am not sure about this.

my two standard horn shuttles in the middle (the project on them has been in this state since early 2013), the modern plastic shuttles on the right
my two standard shuttles in the middle (the project on them has been in this state since early 2013), the modern plastic shuttles on the right

On the left you see two more shuttles. The one with the plaid pattern is made from metal, the paint seems to be something like laquer or enamel. Unfortunately it is pretty damaged and the paint chips easily so I can’t use it anymore. The horn one on the far right I already showed once after my trip to London in 2013, I found it on Camden Market (post doesn’t exist anymore). It has inlays made from metal and mother of pearl. With something around 20-30£ it wasn’t cheap, but I found some online afterwards being sold for three-figure sums, so it seems to have been a good deal after all.

Already quite some time ago I found a small cardboard box on a flea market in Bern, filled with tatting material. Unfortunately the seller wasn’t present and I was asked to wait. Because I had promised my already very tired boyfriend to leave instantly I was forced to leave it behind but I was lucky and re-discovered it some months later and bought it.

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As you see there is also a lot of other stuff inside.

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I love this piece of black velvet with all the samples sewn onto it. Maybe I should frame it? What you can easily see is the distinct effect of tatting, loops and rings with tiny picots.

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Two other shuttles, horn or tortoiseshell, and a tiny little glass dog that has absolutely nothing to do with tatting 🙂

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In the back you see a pretty clever box made from fabric-covered cardboard. In front of it lies a tatting pin (that thing with the ring and the chain), some lace and well, I guess you know scissors and a crochet hook.

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These fork-like things are meant for hairpin lace, a completely different technique, but not less interesting. In the lower right you see an old postcard from Wila, a small town of less than 2000 souls somewere in the canton of Zurich.
Well, and if anyone could tell me what that cylindrical thing in the middle is, I would be very grateful 🙂
The pale part can be moved freely around the middle axis.

Well, you might ask “Where is the bespoken present?”. It’s here:

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An early 20th century box for a tatting pin as seen above. I was able to have a quick look inside to see that it actually came filled before my boyfriend snapped it away and refused to give it back to me, but paid the seller and had me wait one long month until Christmas to see it again. And when I was finally able to unpack it, I was quite surprised. Not one, but two pins, at least one of them never used. The other one is a bit rusty but I can’t say if this comes from having been used or from aging.

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to give you an idea of the size I put a standard crocket hook beside it.

And the fun bit to finish: I have no idea how these are used. Yes, of course, they serve the same purpose as does a crochet needle, which is mentioned in a lot of tutorials you find. And I know one illustration that shows how it is held: the pin like a crochet hook and the ring slid on one of your fingers. And then? I assume the ring enables you to drop the pin when it isn’t needed without entirely losing it. But I imagine the pin would tangle with the thread and the dangling shuttle when it is hanging on the chain freely.
I searched Google, I searched Bing, I browsed the Antique Pattern Library, but I couldn’t find a single image of how to use it, the only image I found online shows the pin alone (here on page 5, the aforementioned illustration with the pin held is  printed in a modern book on tatting, so I can’t show it).

Is anybody of you experienced in tatting and has ever worked with such a pin?
If not I will just try to use it someday, maybe it will work better than I can imagine now, who knows?
So much for today, love

ette

How to combine colours – table from 1924

I found this interesting table in a 1924 Dressmaking book. Actually the “Women’s Institute Library of Dressmaking” consists of multiple books, but I only own Volume 2 which covers “Harmony in dress – Beautiful clothes, corsets and dress foundations, silhouettes, colors, fabrics, good taste in dress, millinery and accessories, the dressmaker and tailor shop, european shops”.

This table gives you hints on how to combine different colours in street and evening wear, arranged according to wether they can be used as a second major colour, for accents or only in small doses as trimming. I wouldn’t agree with all the given advises from my modern point of view, but it is very interesting to see what colour combinations were modern and considered interesting  90 years ago. And it can provide help when choosing fabrics and colour combinations to recreate a garment as correctly as possible.

click on the image to see it in full size
click on the image to see it in full size

 

See you soon, love

ette

slow, slow, slow as you can go (Christmas dress pt. 3)

Depeche Mode found the right words to describe my progress, I am just hesitating with everything.

 

The agenda:

Ich bin in Stimmung, erste Nähte sind gemacht!
Endlich hab ich angefangen
Probemodell sitzt, ich kann den richtigen Stoff zuschneiden
Ich bin ein Streber und nähe jetzt mein zweites Weihnachtskleid
Plätzchenessen ist doch irgendwie auch Nähen, oder?

I’m in the mood, the first seams are done!
Finally got started
Toile is fine, off to cut the real fabric
i’m a nerd and start my second Christmas dress
Eating bisquits can be considered sewing, too, right?

 

As I already told you I wasn’t sure on how to arrange the plaid on the dress. Should I leave it as plaid (=changes the look of the dress significantly, could look a little boring), should I cut it on the bias (=would look like the pattern, but could cause problems with the pleats, fabric on the bias acts different), should I combine both (=bias cut the bodice, straight cut the skirt)? I was confused, somehow scared to ruin anything, close to completely shutting down. So I decided to take on step away from the project and sought for advice.

All fashion prints shown in this post were published in 1920ies issues of "Le petit echo de la mode". I only own single pages of these issues so I can't give you exact dates.

Le petit echo de la mode - parva sed apta

I searched for plaid- and lozenge-patterned dresses or garments in 1920ies fashion plates to see how it was done back then. First thing I had to learn:

The pattern is always treated alike in the whole dress. If the bodice is cut in straight grain, the skirt is, too. At this point I said good-bye to my half-straight-half-bias-idea.

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The only thing that can indeed be cut differently are little details. Facings, pockets, collars and things alike.

 

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But because I had already decided to use the pink velvet for these parts, this was of minor importance for me.

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But what I did learn was that it didn’t look at all weird to have a complete dress cut in plaid in straight grain and that it even seems to have been more common than bias cut dresses.

 

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Indeed I found dresses with lozenge pattern as it is shown in the pattern I’m using, but it is quite unclear if these used woven plaid (what would cause the fabric to stretch) or if they used printed fabric whose pattern was completely detached from its weaving structure. This one for example could most likely be a printed fabric:

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Whereas this one looks like a standard woven plaid fabric. Obviously the pleats don’t seem messy at all (my fear when cutting it on the bias). But grey, dear friend, is all theory. Until today fashion magazines show us dresses and patterns that look so different when seen in real life. So maybe I should not use a fashion plate as a reference for fabric behaviour.

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So let us come to the most important part of all this chitchat: What did I make of my little plaid-roundup?

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Nothing yet. All I have done is marked the velvet parts. But I was somehow busy, somehow lazy this week and didn’t manage to do anything to the plaid at all. So my motto this week was really all about nibbling bisquits.

Auf Deutsch:

Weil ich mir ja doch recht unsicher war was den Karo-Zuschnitt angeht (schräg, gerade, teils-teils), habe ich mal ein paar Modezeichnungen aus den 20ern zusammengesucht und verglichen. Es gibt eindeutig mehr gerade Karos als Rauten und wenn etwas schräg geschnitten wurden dann Taschen, Belege u.ä., aber es wurde der Rock immer im gleichen Musterverlauf wie das Oberteil gearbeitet.
Mal abgesehen von dieser Erkenntnis und ein paar Markierungen auf dem rosa Samt habe ich diese Woche nichts gemacht. Ich halte es also mit der letzten Zeile des Mottos und sinniere bei einer guten Packung Plätzchen über dieses Projekt nach.

See you tomorrow, I will show you my newest vintage sewing haul, love

ette

Contrast in Colour and Contour

[OT] I love alliterations [/OT]

Yet again I had to skip a HSF-Challenge, simply because all my UFOs where in such an early state of work that I wouldn’t have been able to finish any of them in time.

But this time I’m back in the game. The task was “black and white” ant though I would have loved to sew a magnificent black robe with white details, I was too eager to start an experiment. So I made this experiment match the challenge.

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Earlier this year, a colleague in the museum asked me if I were interested in some antique patterns she had been given years ago. She had wanted to add them to the museum’s collection, but back then nobody was intested in doing so, so she kept them in her office. Now she found them amongst her documents and finally the now new colleague in the graphic collection will officially add them to the inventory. Before this was done she gave them to me so I could copy them for my own purposes. Besides one pattern sheet from the 1910s all sheets were from 1904 and 1905 issues of the “Schweizer Frauenheim” (because it is museum property I can’t publish any photos).  As Wikipedia tells, this was one of the early magazines of the Swiss women’s movement in the beginning 20th century.

The pattern I chose makes this even more obvious: It is a so called “Reformleibchen” a bodice without any boning, invented as an alternative draft to the heavily boned s-line corset of the 1900s. While it is still tight fitting and more or less supportive, it is not shaping the body, but can be understood as a hybrid between a chemise and a brassiere. I am not completely sure if it names the same thing, but it can at least be compared with the liberty bodice. And of course this new shape wasn’t restricted to undergarments, but is part of the so called dress reform (the second one, there was already a first attempt in the 19th century, today often closely connected with Amelia Bloomer, similar attempts but in different shape were also done by the Pre-Raphaelites, whose women dressed in wide dresses without shaping corsets underneath). In contrast to the early, victorian dress reform, this early 20th century reform gained much more attention and did even appear in fashion plates, but also in caricature.

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reformed dress next to a fashionable dress, Der Bazar, september 1904

In contrast to the s-shaped-Line of high fashion, the reformed dress has no accentuated waist, but falls straight from the shoulders with a wide flared skirt. The decoration is often predominantly placed around the shoulders and ends above the stomach.

caricature, depicting the woman wearing a reformed dress as a masculine women's libber, note the short hair cut, from "Die Auster", munich 1903 as printed in: J. Grand-Carteret: Images Galanted et Esprit de l'étranger, Paris (no date given)
caricature, depicting the woman wearing a reformed dress as a masculine women’s libber, note the short hair cut, from “Die Auster”, munich 1903 as printed in: J. Grand-Carteret: Images Galantes et Esprit de l’étranger, Paris (no date given)

The “Reformleibchen” consists of flat lying bodice parts and ruffled parts around the breasts. My pattern closes with a facing in the front. The biggest problem I had when working with this pattern was, that I had neither instructions nor pictures of how it was meant to look like, only the different cut pieces with numbers in the corners to match. I first sewed everything together to see how it looks like. Having had embroidered the facing before doing anything else, it didn’t even came to my mind that they should be placed differently than next to each other (thinking of a corset substitute rather than a fitted chemise), but in fact it seems as if these bodices where meant to be closed with buttons in the front (note that the linked example is at least somehow stiffened, maybe not with boning, but something similar as the seams around the bodice show).

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The bodice consists of very loose woven cotton, bought as a duvet cover at IKEA years ago.
Fot the embroidery I used black cotton thread and patterns from a 1906 issue of “Kunstgewerbe für’s Haus”.

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I used a ribbon with hooks and eyes as closure. Though I doubt that the quality I used existed in the 1900s, I did find similar ribbons in late 19th century garments, so at least the concept was known and used.

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I made no changes to the pattern at all until it was finished but for the hem. In this state, it looked like this in the back:

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Next thing I did was to eliminate approximately 15cm width to make it fit.

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yes, I am prudish and wear a bra, but it was really a little too transparent for my taste not to do so

Only after I had done it I found this caricature, showing an upper garment with a very similar cut in the back without any fitting at all.

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caricature by Koysrand, published in the “Wiener Caricaturen”, no year given, as printed in J. Grand-Carteret: Images Galantes (see above)

Well, it isn’t the best fitting garment I ever made, but it came together surprisingly well and it was a great experience to reproduce such a special and alternative piece of clothing.

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The Challenge: #9 Black and White

Fabric: white cotton (satin or twill, can’t remember exactly and am too lazy to search for my linen tester)

Pattern: reformed bodice from an “Schweizer Frauenheim”-issue of 1905, embroidery pattern for clothing from “Kunstgewerbe für’s Haus”, 1906

Year: 1905/1906

Notions: white cotton and polyester thread, black embroidery cotton thread, white ribbon (to stabilise the rear neckline), black bias binding, hook-and-eye-ribbon.

How historically accurate is it? I was pretty sure about it being quite acurate until I found out about this button-closure-thing. This and the modern hooks and eye ribbon, the polyester thread and the fact that I assume the bias binding not to be correct, 75% ?

First worn:  for the photos, on monday.

Total cost: the fabric cost me 4€ as a duvet cover because the pillowcase was missing, but there is plenty of it left and it was already years ago. Notions came all from my stash as well, can’t imagine having paid more than 5€ for all of them, so maybe we could say 7-8€.

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reformed bodice: Schweizer Frauenheim/ette, 1900s underskirt: flea market (july 2012)

 

See you soon, love,

ette

 

 

Long term project No 2 – My 40ies winter coat

Now, let’s see what I got for you today…

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A long time ago, back in 2011, I bought some sewing patterns while being on a study trip to Dresden.

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One of the was this 40ies pattern with different projects in “traditional dress”-style.

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Popular belief thinks that these traditional dresses once were the festive costumes of peasants, but the traditional dress as we know today is majorly a 19th century invention, based on traditional and simple peasant costume, but entirely constructed. The ‘why’ can be discussed rather controversely. You can call it a longing for tradition and history, an attempt to picture the past and the “good old times”, you can see the construction of a national identity, maybe of something called patriotism.
Well, nobody needs to have studied politics to guess that all these reasons made traditional dress a very popular style in Nazi-Germany. These costumes helped to form an image of the german nation, the rural life and peasants as the fundament of the nation’s unity and strength. To make this clear: I still have issues using this pattern, because apart from “normal” fashion, that could be political, but didn’t have to, this “traditional”-style was without a doubt used in a propagandistic and therefore very political way.

Being born German, having Grand-Parents who had to live under this regime, who suffered from and survived the war, the last thing I want is to romanticize this time and you will never hear me utter a word like “I love the 40ies” or me speaking of WWII-reenactment. I like 30ies and 40ies fashion, internationally seen, because aside from regional differences you can observe the same cuts and styles in pretty much the whole western world. I work with german patterns because I lived in (and still close to) Germany, so these are the patterns most easily accessible for me.

And one last note before we come to the project itself: I don’t like the other patterns of this set very much, so I don’t think I will be tempted to sew myself a 40ies-dirndl-style-dress in the nearer or farer future. And I try to convince myself that the woman who owned this pattern in the 1940ies didn’t like much of them, either: The marks on the pattern sheet show, the only garment that had ever been made from this sheet (or let’s say that left marks of its creation, surely I can’t say if other patterns were traced without a small ridged wheel) was the spencer, the jacket in the far right. And that isn’t very dirndl-like at all, in my opinion.

The reason why I bought this pattern (apart from its very low price) is the pattern second from the left, the coat. I already planned to sew it right after having bought the pattern and when I went to my hometown later in 2011 I went to the fabric store I used to work at and bought fabric for this project. An anthracite coat fabric, not made from wool, but from cotton, burgundy bias binding and matching lining.

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Because it was already late autumn I didn’t manage to finish the coat to wear this 2011-winter season. In 2012 I spent the autumn months in France and came back home only in mid-december, to late to be motivated to finish this project.  In autumn 2013 we moved and there wasn’t much time for sewing at all. But it brought the project back to my mind and because I really didn’t want to have it lying unfinished in my fabric-cupboard another summer, I forced myself to finally end this in early 2014.

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The coat was one of my first attemps to use historical patterns and I made all the mistakes I could make. Even with modern pattern, sizing often tends to be too large. Today I know that this gets even worse with vintage patterns, but I didn’t know back then, so I cut the fabric according to the 88cm-bust-circumference without any alterations. I closed the seams in the front and attached the bias binding by hand. Only after having closed all the other seams to form the corpus I saw, the coat was far too large.

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I managed to make it a little bit smaller shifting the side- and shoulder-seams as well as the seams in the centre back. Still it was far too wide, I had to add the diagonal darts in the back you can see in the photo above. What is really missing is an adjustment in the front. Only thing I was able to do there, was to cut back the front edges a tiny little bit, but because of the applied bias binding I had to leave the pricess seams as they were. Of course all those adjustments made the seam allowances very bulky and they were a pain even beforehand. The fabric floats very nicely, but at the same time it is kind of stiff, so I had to hand bast all the seam allowances to make them lie flat.

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The armholes were a little too large after all the adjustments, but the sleeves themselves were just massive and very wide. The puff sleeves looked ridiculous and I had to remove a lot of fabric from the width of the sleeve itself as well as from the sleeve cap.
This fabric fringes horribly and I had to undo the sleeves three times and still the left one looks terrible.

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Now, if these were all the problems I had faced, it would have been ok. I still longed to finally wear the coat and loved the colours as well as the pattern.
But the hem looks terribly crumpled, I re-did it a couple of times, the stitches still show and ironing just made it worse. The collar isn’t very flat either, normally I wear the coat with a large scarf so that the collar is hidden.

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The worst flaw I only saw in this photos. The waist flounce isn’t on the same height left and right. When I looked at the pictures I was like “no, it only looks like this, can’t be”, but in fact, it is even worse when looking at myself in the mirror wearing it.

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Surprisingly enough, the lining made no problems at all. You can see a button sewn onto the facing, it’s my spare one.
The buttons were another disappointment. During the two years it took me sewing it, I bought two different sets of buttons, both burgundy coloured, they both looked terrible when pinned on. So I used this ones I still had in my stash. They do not function at all, but hide the press fasteners beneath, I really didn’t want to sew buttonholes into this fabric.

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I am still a little unsure what to do. The coat is somehow wearable, but I know I can do better and I know that this proof of my sewing skills is not what I want to be judged by. Additionally, it does nothing for me. It makes me look way larger than I actually am, the waist is not as accented as I would have liked it to be. So it really doesn’t improve my  figure at all. This winter I will wear it, but it is nearly over, I can’t say if this coat will live another season. I planned to sew a matching hat, having a little leftover from the fabric as well as from the bias binding, but what for if I will never wear it because I don’t like the coat?

DSC_1811b(cap: Globus, brooch: H&M, scarf: heirloom/my grandaunts, gloves: flea market, shoes: pointer)

Now, I would love to hear your opinions, I’m off, love,

ette

 

Getrödelt, Gefunden, Gefreut!

Puh, I know, this is my first post in weeks. I’m so sorry, but life got so busy, I just didn’t know where to start. I went to a conference in France, from France I flew directly to London for a job interview (and no, I will stay in Switzerland) and when I came back I went straight back to work the next morning only to welcome my father in the evening and already the next day we started moving.
Now, the moving is done, the old flat is empty, clean and given back to the housekeeper and but for a few untidy spots the new flat is complete. Right in the middle of moving I was also handed my MA-certificate, so now I am officially an art historian 🙂

So, as you can hopefully understand, I had lots of things to do and I had to neglect both blogging and sewing for a few weeks. Now my life is nearly back to normal and this month’s Getrödelt, Gefunden, Gefreut!-post is not only the post to say “welcome back”, but also the post where I will show you what I found in the weeks before the move.

 

 

As every month, SwinginCat of Beswingtes Allerlei is hosting Getrödelt, Gefreut, Gefunden! and I am really happy to be able to join again this month.

I went to France by train, but had to fly to London and from there back to Switzerland, so I had to keep the flight restrictions in mind before I left as well as in Lyon itself.
But, call it fortune or misfortune, on my first day in France, the only one that I had some free time, I ran into a flea market. It had been raining the whole day, so maybe I should be happy that there were only a few completely soaked sellers left.
And those are the things I took with me: a fabric covered glove box and a plastic Singer-box as well as some buttons. I tried to convince myself that the boxes could be filled with small garments and would need hardly any space in my suitcase, so it would be ok to buy them.

The lid of the glove box is covered with a printed fabric with light pink stripes on the sides, the bottom part is covered with blue paper.

The gloves are mine, it was empty when I bought it. Finally my gloves do have a home amd were able to move out from the box they had to share with my belts.

The second box is a original Singer-box. I assume it was used for sewing machine attachments. The red buttons will be used on my 40ies winter coat (I didn’t want to make a seperate photo of them).

I use them to store my machine needles. Can you see those metallic ovals in the foreground? They were still inside the box, I assume they were used to make buttonholes, though I have no idea, how.

All those three items were very reasonable priced. I paid 4€ for the glove box, 3€ for the Singer box and 2€ for the four buttons.

Now…lets talk about…addiction. You may know, I am addicted to books. I own too many of them, I buy too many of them, I read too little of them and I had a very hard time of getting rid of some of them before we moved. I knew we were moving, when I was in France, when I went to flea markets in the weeks before, I knew my boyfriend had already promised me, that I would have to carry my books on my own (and I did!).

still…I can’t help it:

I can’t pass on beautiful mid-century or earlier hard covers of famous authors or novels.

(from top to bottom: Novalis/ Fouqué, Graham Greene – The third man, Jules Verne – From the earth to the moon)

Just as well I had to buy this cute little 50ies book on silk (on the first page you can still see the price I paid: 7€):

And an especially weak spot of mine in books: 19th century fashion magazines. They are very high-priced in Germany as well as in Switzerland, but affordable in France (as long as you stay in the 19th century, I am still craving for that 1920ies issue, but the seller in the antique book shop asks more than 200€ for it).

The “Journal des Demoiselles” from 1878. Some of the plates are damaged or even torn, but they are still there, a lot of those compilations were cut and the plates sold seperately. That’s why I never buy those plates seperately or framed, I don’t want to support this practice (and that doesn’t only apply to fashion plates, but to other fields of interests as well)

Ok, and the last items for today, the topic is still books, but the content has changed from fashion to…cooking. Yes, my collection of old cook books is growing.

The Maggi-cook book has only very few recipes printed inside and was meant as a start to a handwritten recipe collection. The book itself is not dated, but the earliest recipe with a year given dates from 1932.

The fabric covered book is the Bernese educational cook book, that is being published until today. Those were books to learn cooking as a young girl when having home economics in school (I think most Germans know Dr. Oetkers Schulkochbuch). This issue dates from 1936 and is in deplorable condition. The pages disintegrate as soon as you touch them, comparable to old french books, I already observed this earlier with other books.

The third one is a funny one: It isn’t a cook book after all, but a law student’s exercise book. Many pages are filled with statutes and regulations. But atleer

a later point in time, somebody used it to store recipes cut out from newspapers.  There is a number of blank pages at the end, but in the middle, the recipes were simply glued on top of the writing. There is not a single date in it, but I bought it together with the two other books. The whole market stand looked like as if somebody was dissolving the household of an elderly person. It may be a little younger than the other two ones (at least the recipes) but still may date from the middle of the century.

A very long post, I’m sorry, maybe I’m trying to make up for the time without blogging.  See you soon,

love

ette