Nederlandse Kostuumvereniging

Jaarboek Kostuum 2002


Table of Contents

  1. Jacoba de Jonge
    Cutting the fabric?
    The altering of clothes in the 18th and 19th centuries

    Nowadays fabric is cheap and labour is expensive, but in previous centuries this was the other way round. Even rich people had their clothes altered and they reused the fabric of old garments. In the 18th century straight, uncut pieces of fabric were used for sewing as these were better suited for reuse. Excess material was folded back rather than cut off. Cutting was only necessary for expensive outerwear. A men's suit required a proper fit and the pattern consisted of many pieces, which could not easily be reused for new garments. Ladies' dresses required much more fabric, but it was possible to use much of it uncut, especially in sack-back dresses. The dresses were remodelled time and again throughout the eighteenth century, until the heavy silks went out of fashion. Obviously it did not matter if old seams or folds stayed visible.

    The robe l'anglaise, which came into fashion later in the 18th century, required an exact fit of the bodice, as did tight-fitting jackets. For the latter fabric was sometimes pieced together, which would be hardly noticeable in a densely patterned chintz; up to 76 pieces have been counted. By 1800 the shape had become simpler, and jackets were once again made according to the basic pattern of a shift, with the excess material folded back.

    In the 19th century the preference for skirts made of uncut lengths of fabric persisted. In the earlier part of the century the sleek skirts required gored skirt panels. But as skirts became wider again, straight skirt panels returned to save as much fabric as possible. Even when some skirt panels had to be gored, for instance in the 1860s, the two longer back panels would be straight.

    Unaltered 18th-century dresses are very rare. In the 19th century silks from the 18th-century were reused, though only if they were in accordance with the fashion of the day. In the 1840s silks from the last quarter of the 18th century, with their delicate striped and flower patterns, were popular for reuse. In the last quarter of the 19th century clothes from the 18th century were altered for a completely different purpose: dressing up.

    The plain silks of the mid-19th century were very popular for reuse. When a garment was altered in that period, it would first be unpicked completely and each separate piece pressed flat. The new pattern was placed very carefully so the original seams and folds would not be visible. This is why careful examination is needed to discover signs of alteration.

    In the 20th century World War Il is an exceptional period. Because of fabric shortages garments from all periods were cut up at that time. It is therefore necessary to study antique dresses with utmost care: many objects will reveal unexpected surprises.

  2. Hyke and Sytze Pilat
    Made to measure
    The making of costume replicas

    Hyke and Sytze Pilat started making replica costumes to complete  their costume collection as well as possible. Nowadays they own the private costume museum De Gouden Leeuw in Noordhorn in Groningen, the most north-eastern province of the Netherlands. They will pass on their knowledge of the making of replicas to folkloristic societies and living history groups.

    Making a replica costume requires knowledge of the period, appropriate fabrics, the sequence of work and sewing  techniques. This article describes the making of an enlarged replica of an 1830-1835 woman's jacket originating from Friesland, the neighbouring northern province. The jacket is made of a light-lilac printed cotton. It has a high waistline, a boatneck, a long peplum and wide leg-of-mutton sleeves. For the replica a thin cotton fabric was chosen, woven in a check pattern in the same shades of lilac. Instead of linen unbleached cotton was used for the lining. At the front the lining is modelled as a separate inner bodice fastening centre front, whereas the jacket has an asymmetrical fastening in the left side seam and shoulder.

    The patterns for the front and back panels and the peplum were copied from the original jacket. The shape of the densely pleated sleeves was drawn after models in books by Janet Arnold and Jean Hunnisett.

    Very distinctive is the use of piping: a bias binding wrapped around a thin cord which is sewn into the seams. The front and back panels and the sleeves are all finished separately with their own lining, and the final shaping is done on the body. The shoulder and side seams are sewn to shape, and after that the waistline is established. The front panel is gathered and attached to the shoulder piece already finished with piping. Everything is hand-sewn with great patience in order to obtain the closest similarity possible to the original jacket.

    The finished replica jacket is complemented with a matching skirt, lace neckerchief, silk apron, a cap over a Frisian oorijzer (the metal frame worn under the cap), and jewellery such as a brooch, a necklace, bracelets and a chatelaine. Textiles for the accessories are often bought in France or England; the oorijzer is made by the Frisian silversmith Nynke Gardenier.

    Decisive for the final result are the wearer’s posture and her appearance, showing pleasure in wearing  these clothes. In this way they are 'made to measure' literally and figuratively.

  3. Ingrid Grunnill
    From turban cloth to toque-turban
    Searching for the turban in women’s fashion

    Two pre-revolutionary portraits by Elisabeth-Louise Vigée Lebrun (1755-1842) sparked off a search for the turban in women's fashion. Throughout the 18th century the turban was popular for masquerades and dressing up. In the last quarter of the 18 century oriental styles, including the turban, entered women's fashion. We find many examples of them in the Dutch fashion magazine Kabinet van Mode en Smaak (Cabinet of Fashion and Taste), 1791-1794.

    That turbans were worn in daily life is demonstrated by some prints depicting a turban cloth: a multi-coloured piece of fabric which could be wound round the head in several ways. This is the turban in its simplest form, without feathers or gold lace.

    In the 18th century the turban was part of negligé dress, informal clothing which was not governed by the rules of etiquette the way full dress was, and thus subject to all the whims of fashion. But all the rules were swept away by the Terreur, until in the Costumes Parisiens we see that, when the Parisian fashion press started up again in 1797, turbans were worn with all kinds of garments, from ball gowns to morning-dress, and by everyone, from seamstresses to elegant ladies.

    This state of affairs lasted until 1804-1805, when toques, brimless hats which look very similar to turbans, became more popular. Whenever we do find depictions of turbans, they are worn with ball gowns or court dress. They were often created by hairdressers. Turbans remained formal evening wear for the next three decades and were made of costly fabrics such as velvet, brocade and lace. In that case they were often decorated with feathers and jewellery, but they also retained a more humble function when worn with dressing gowns.

    There are two evening turbans in the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, which probably can be dated around 1837. In these last stages the emphasis was very much on the fabric and ornaments hanging down from the turban. The turban could no longer be worn with the now popular hairstyle of ringlets on either side of the face, nor did it quite match the demure fashion of the early 1840s. But Dutchwomen were both economical and conservative, and the original owner may well have worn her turbans into the 1840s.

    Orientalism and the turban made their triumphant comeback in the early 20th century before World War I. Poiret was inspired by the early volumes of the Costumes Parisiens and prescribed turbans with every kind of dress. It is doubtful whether they were worn very much, as they smacked of dressing up. But aigrettes worn in the hair with evening dress did become popular, and so did turban-like hats made of fur or fabric. The latter continued to be worn during the rest of the 20th century, be it never again in the forefront of fashion.

  4. An Moonen
    Linen for the trousseau
    The last cottage industry in linen, recorded in the Markelo area

    From 1860 onward there was a dramatical drop in flax cultivation in the Netherlands. In the eastern provinces of GeIderland and Overijssel only in the area around the village of Markelo farmers kept growing flax. The relative wealth of the farmers’ population is reflected in household inventories. These often list tools for flax cultivation, to be used by girls who were furnishing their linen cabinet for when they would get married. On their wedding day this should be well filled, both with linen garments and a good supply of linen cloth.

    From the age of twelve a girl would work for a farmer and part of her wages consisted of flax seed and a parcel of land to grow it. Flax cultivation and everything needed to turn flax into linen thread was women's work. Spinning flax and sewing linen garments was often done in groups, which stimulated production. Weaving linen fabric, done by the men, was a way to make some extra money in winter.

    In Markelo the 17th-century custom of turning the linen cabinet into a showcase became a phenomenon with its own rules. The cabinet and its contents were among the bride's contributions to the marriage, as well as the flax tools.

    On the day of the wedding the bride changed her costume several times in front of her open cabinet, in order to show off all her linen. The cabinet should be completely full, its rear panel not visible. A bride who did not have enough linen, would borrow some from another woman in order to fill her cabinet to the brim. After the wedding this linen was returned; in that case the bride had ‘a hole in her cabinet', which in her later life could come to be seen as the possible cause of problems she might have.

    The pieces of linen (5 to 18,5 metres long) were rolled tightly to protect them from dirt and insects. They were folded lengthwise in harmonica fashion to a width of 7 cm for a short piece and 50 cm for a long one. The folded strip was rolled as tightly as possible by two women working from the edges towards the centre. The folds in the layers of linen made different patterns such as 'two roses with a heart in the middle' or 'children's heads'. The two halves of the roll were sewn together at the centre.

    Cabinets with a display of linen can still be seen in the museum farm Eungs Schöppe in Markelo, at Erve Brooks in Gelselaar and at Erve Kots in Lievelde.

  5. Bettie Zwartjes
    Calendar booklets and perfume cards

    Because jewellery and accessories are as interesting a source of information about any given period as dress, the author collects accessories, amongst which is a small collection of calendar booklets and perfume cards. This includes a number of covers for calendar booklets which come from a Paris printer's sample book from 1928.

    Big retail shops, for example Au Bon Marché, used to offer calendar booklets to their clients. In the booklets important days were highlighted, such as the beginning of sales. They were also used to disseminate information about the shop in question. Calendar booklets issued by perfume shops contained even a scented card.

    Most covers were printed in the pochoir technique which at that time was also used a lot for fashion prints. Such fashion prints appeared in popular magazines such as Très Parisien and the Gazette du Bon Ton. Great fashion designers, such as Paul Poiret, Madeleine Vionnet and Worth contributed to such magazines. The drawings were often made by well-known artists among whom were E.G. Benito, Pierre Brissaud and André Marty.

    In one of the calendar booklets, dated 1939, the name of the designer, Tanik, can be seen. This artist also made illustrations for the Dubied company, a Swiss manufacturer of knitting machines. In the little book Modes Dubied Paris twenty pochoir prints signed by Tanik are included, showing sports clothes made of jersey.

    Perfume cards were an elegant way of advertising. Many perfume houses used perfume cards to present new scents to the public. In some cards the scent still lingers after all these years. The best way of applying the scent was to immerse the cards in it. The dry method, which involved putting the cards in a closed cupboard together with a dish filled with perfume, was less effective: the scent would evaporate too quickly.

    Some cards stand out because of their unusual shapes, such as those for ‘Parfums de Rosine’. These perfumes were issued from 1911 onwards by Paul Poiret, who named his perfume department after his eldest daughter, Rosine. He was the first to forge a direct link between couture and perfume and his example would be followed by many great couture houses. Poiret never advertised, but sent perfumed invitations for the viewing of his collections. His best clients would receive a perfumed fan, on the back of which the names of the Parfums de Rosine were printed, with a little sticker indicating the one that had been used.

    Even though the calendar booklets and perfume cards are only small objects, they give us a special insight into the fashion of the first decades of the twentieth century.


  6. Paula van Astenrode
    's Gravenmoer lace

    's Gravenmoer, a village in the southwest of the Netherlands, has known a tradition of lacemaking dating from the 17th century. Inventories from that time onwards mention lacemaking equipment and although nothing is known about the early types of lace, it is assumed that they were made for the decoration of linen and dress. Many women and girls made lace for the local lace dealer/grocer. Sometimes the shopkeeper abused his position and charged the lacemakers more for bread, if this was paid for with the wages for the lace they had made. At the beginning of the 19th century there were 150 lacemakers in the village, at the end of that century only 30.

    's Gravenmoer is mainly known for the lace made for caps worn with regional dress in the second half of the 19th century. The lace has geometrical patterns and we find designs such as ‘the boat’, ’the windmill’, ‘the apple tree’ and various flowers. The pattern always consists of two designs which are repeated as mirror images, and the motifs are outlined in thick thread. The caps were not worn in the village itself, but were meant for the nearby province of Zeeland and the islands of the province of South-Holland. In these regions they were worn by farmers' wives who had not much to spend. Caps with Point de Lille lace, for instance, were a lot more expensive. The length of the lace border used for a cap was 210 cm. The parchment patterns were outlined in dots made by puncturing. The lacemakers worked without the help of any drawing.

    In the early 20th century the interest in lacemaking declined sharply. There was an attempt to revive the interest in lacemaking by setting up lace schools but at the beginning of World War Il the craft had disappeared almost completely. Another revival started in the 1970s and in ‘s Gravenmoer the lace circle Het Molenwiekje was established in 1983. Each five years’ lustrum is celebrated by an exhibition displaying antique laces as well as modern ones.


  7. Margaret Breukink-Peeze
    Fashion and maternity clothes from the 15th to the early 20th century

    Prospective motherhood and fashion usually are not a good mix. The author highlights the phenomenon of maternity clothes over a period of five centuries, using such sources as paintings, inventories and bills. It is not always easy to interpret these, because women, even though they were often pregnant, were only rarely depicted in that state, at least not visibly so. Fashions such as the 15th-century houppelande with folds which were held up in front of the belly, and the voluminous styles of dress of the 17th and 18th centuries may lead to confusing conclusions.

    In surviving clothes from the 18th and 19th centuries, the time when corsets had become very important in modelling the upper body into the fashionable shape, it is easier to see if they might have been worn by pregnant women. Specially made maternity clothes are very rare. Usually existing clothes were altered more or less to accommodate the change in body shape, as is shown by surviving garments with insets, panels added to the front, curved seams, fastenings with laces, skirts worn high on the belly, and other ways to make clothes wider.

    In the 19th century in particular a pregnancy had to be camouflaged with large shawls and wide capes for moral reasons. This is why the cuirasse-line dress from a Dutch private collection is very interesting; the fashionable shape is maintained in the front and the back of this dress. The pregnancy can only be seen from the side. It is not until the end of the 19th century that we occasionally find models for maternity clothes in fashion magazines and it is at this time that the couturier Worth starts offering dresses for pregnant women. The fairly loose reform dress which was fashionable in the first decade of the 20th century, was, though it was not meant as maternity dress, sometimes worn for that reason.

    Because of her position the Dutch Queen Wilhelmina could not totally withdraw from public life during her pregnancy in 1909. She left us a walking-dress that has been altered for pregnancy. It illustrates the Dutch sense of economy and the fact that even a queen would not always wear specially made maternity clothes.