Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Antique Velvet

I'm kind of stumped about the velvet on the Victorian bodice. It was taken such good care of - it was living in a museum archive in England and then returned and wrapped in acid free paper. It was part of a family collection and has made its way into my studio so that I can touch it and treasure it for a couple weeks before it makes its way back home. It was the ugly duckling of the collection, and so it was much more expendable should something go wrong. We even thought about turning it into a dance vest, but it seems a shame to wreck it, so I'll just make one from scratch.

It looks almost new. I checked it out carefully to see if maybe someone had recovered it, but the threads and stitching and backing look period. Someone obviously at some point tried to turn it into something else - added newer trim and some kind of red wool facing. But if it were for a show or a play, I doubt they would have gone to so much trouble to replace the outer cover and the purple silk. They more than likely wouldn't have replaced that boning and front inner padding so deliberately.

One of my most favorite things to do is to check out the innards of garments and see how they were put together. I remember once when a friend of mine was modeling for one of Thierry Mugler's trunks shows back in the day. I got to inspect some of his suits. There is a reason why some things cost an arm and a leg................sheer genius. Another friend of mine ended up making some clothes for him, so it was fun to discuss craftsmanship. I hope these skills become more appreciated again one day. Well, one can hope.

So it is always fun for me to check things out up close and personal. And I'm hoping that I can go overseas next year and visit my friend and wallow in the joy of opening up the trunks of pristine Regency and Victoriana that are waiting for a new home. Another museum perhaps? I hope I can get there first!

If anyone reading this has any comments on the condition of this bodice and if this is the original velvet or not, feel free to comment!! Ive just never seen any old velvet in such pristine condition before! Ive never held it in my hands!

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