Monday, November 26, 2012

Busy with a Bedgown, Turkey and Xmas Decorations

My blogging this holiday week has taken a backseat to Thanksgiving, christmas decorations and preparing for a bedgown workshop. The turkey that I did not have to cook was good, the decorations are coming along, and are up in the kitchen.   This year the vintage ornaments are coming out. I have been collecting for years and have a deal of 1950s Christmas kitch, which is the Christmas of my own childhood.

So under the watchful eye of Santa in his red candy holder boot, today is going to be laundry day as yards and yards of fabric are being washed in preparation for the bedgown workshop.   Last fall on my study trip to the UK, I was fortunate to study, measure and photograph the bedgown in the Manchester City Galleries.

Manchester City Galleries
This bedgown is made of white linen, block printed with blue in a floral design.  It is in perfect condition.  Never worn or washed, it is that perfect, there is still a glaze on the printed linen.  It is this bedgown that will be featured in the workshop.  Why?  Bedgowns are easy to make and there are patterns out there to make them.

The most popular and best pattern for a bedgown is the Kannik's Korner pattern, it is meticulously drawn with good directions.  It is however based on the French version of a bedgown detailed by M. Garsault.

This French diagram is c1760s, making a bedgown with very full sleeves and pleats at the back and at the waist.  The English bedgown we are making is not as full in the sleeve, it is later c1770s, and has no pleats at either the back or the waist.  It is fully lined. There are other commercial patterns and diagrams available but they are speculative and not based on a particular extant example.

Since this is a one day workshop only, the decision was made (and we will find out if it works) to have the bedgowns pre cut and ready as a kit for the participants.  This means a ton more work on our end, but will simplify the day for those taking the class and allow them to make significant progress on the construction instead of struggling to cut out large expanses of fabric in a short amount of time.  More pictures to follow.  I have made a prototype, but have yet to photograph it!

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