Frills are the name of the game in May 1815’s fashion plates, with both the walking dress of Plate 24 and the Evening dress of plate 25 trimmed on bottom an around the neck with white flounces. Though in the print they appear to my eye to be made of lace, the walking dress’s deep full flounces above the hem and neck are described as being made of “French cambric” “richly worked.” Perhaps that fabric was embroidered using one of the needlework designs featured in one of Ackermann’s earlier issues?
The rich ornament on the hem of Plate 25’s Evening Dress is described as “garnet yewer.” The word “yewer” does not appear in Fairchild’s Dictionary of Textiles, and as the only definitions in the Oxford English Dictionary refer to water pitchers and udders (!), I’m wondering if this might be a typo. Especially as the trim in question is decidedly not red, but white, in the fashion plate. But I’m having a hard time figuring out what might be the correct wording. Any guesses?
Both prints give us a clear look at each lady’s footwear, and how those dainty slippers were kept on her feet. The walking dress features “sandals of green kid,” with 3 bands of ribbon lying flat across the top of the foot before crossing round the ankle and tying in a tiny bow. The white kid slippers look to have only the 3 bands of ribbon—I wonder, in the days before elastic was invented, how well such ribbons would have held a slipper on the foot?
This month’s magazine features fabric samples for ladies’ dresses. Sample one introduces another word with which I am not familiar: “kluteen.” Again, I could find no definition for this word in Fairchild’s nor in the OED; perhaps the typesetter for this edition of the magazine was unusually careless?
The “Japanese betilla muslins” of samples #2 & 3 were a little easier to identify; Fairchild’s lists “beteela,” “bethilles,” and “betilles,” all types of Indian muslin. Why these samples are deemed “Japanese” I’m not quite sure (especially as the copy tells us they were manufactured in Britain). But the description assures readers that “since the interchange with Parisian fashions and the rage for colors have taken place, they are becoming the leading article of the day.” I can picture a morning dress being made from one of them, can’t you? But I think I’d like one more that was made from sample #4, the “pink and blue printed muslin, of extremely delicate appearance.” Perhaps I’ll have to send one of my characters off to J. and T. Smith’s in Tavistock Street in a future book?
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