Is anyone out there watching Poldark? I keep being mystified by the costuming choices and I don't know if it's because my ideas about late 18th c. fashion are too rigid or what. I definitely don't know much about the state of fashion in Cornwall so I keep telling myself that it must be some regional thing every time I question something. Unfortunately I read a quote from the costume designer that makes me think otherwise: "rather than being pedantic about period accuracy, the priority was making the costumes look and feel relevant." I guess period accuracy isn't relevant.

I could understand if the main characters were well-outfitted and the minor characters looked like they were wearing 1970s Colonial Williamsburg cast-offs, but even the main female has me constantly thinking, "What?" Her necklines are so high, I guess to compensate for the fact that she's never wearing a handkerchief? And what is with the green cap that her servant girl wears? The caps are probably the worst thing about the series; either they're missing or being worn smooshed forward on the head way too far. Some of the women even wear 19th c. sunbonnets, unless again, that's a rural fashion of which I am unaware.

Rijksmuseum Fashion Plates

I'm probably the last to know, but in case anyone else missed that the Rijksmuseum has uploaded tons of fashion plates to their website, check here for over 5,000 images. (Click "Verfijnen" then "Periode" to choose a century)

This one is screaming for a funny caption.


I think I am going to give up on my "India" section of research. After compiling everything, I just have a bunch of random factoids I found interesting, with no real flow or purpose. Although it seems crazy to ignore the country that spawned the printed cottons I find so interesting, the situation of Indian weavers in the 18th century has no real bearing on the purpose of my research which is: how common were printed fabrics and what did they look like?

I'm going to move on to dye techniques next, I think. That should give the technical information needed to understand what printers were doing in Europe (and to a lesser extent, the New World). The part I'm most looking forward to is the statistical analysis. I don't know if I will come up with any solid information, but hopefully there will be some value in it.

More blog entries

Come and read about Printed Cotton Bans in the 18th century! Be shocked at the harsh punishments for selling calico, and feel sorry for the poor wool producers (until they start stripping people naked, that is).

Also, if you are so inclined and have 17th century clothing knowledge, please comment on my post about a jacket in a 1620s portrait, which I'd really like to believe is printed, but probably isn't. Or comment here, I'm not picky.

Actual writing!

After literally years of working on my research into printed fabrics, I've actually begun to string words together. I've decided to break it into entries based on subject, rather than writing one huge dissertation that no one will ever want to tackle. The first section will be the pre-1700 history of cotton, the dye trade and trade with India and the Levant. This will create context for future entries which will fall into the 1700-1780-ish period. Because I want my research to be relevant for other reenactors, I won't delve into the many developments that came about starting in the late 1780s.

I want to show as best I can how common printed cottons were and how they were used, and provide information that will help people choose fabrics that are appropriate.

One of my biggest issues with writing is knowing what and how to cite. I find APA style too bulky, but I don't want to mess with footnotes. Obviously, everything I know on the subject I've read, but if several sources state the same facts, does it become common knowledge that doesn't need to be cited? And if I quote a book that is quoting something else, do I cite the book I read, or the source the book used? I will need to do some research into this, but since I'm only writing a blog entry I can't bring myself to be as diligent as if I were being graded.

More thoughts on fabric

I've been transforming in the info on exports from Liverpool's port in 1770 from "An essay towards the history of Leverpool, drawn up from papers left by the late G. Perry, and from other materials" into spreadsheets to see if anything can be gleaned about printed fabrics. Taken as a percentage of textiles in general, printed fabrics are completely insignificant - less than 1%. Is this because most of the print houses were in London and shipped directly from there? And/or because East Indian re-exports would also leave from London? Were printed textiles that rare? And/or is it because I'm not comparing like to like?

The latter is one I'm seriously considering. Of 516,927 yards of textiles sent to New York, 201,193 are British and Irish linen. If these are just plain white linens, they're destined for shirts, shifts, sheets, and other utilitarian uses, and aren't competitors to printed fabrics. The same could be said for checked fabrics and so-called "negro cloth." If those are taken out of the equation, the percentage of printed fabrics will go way up.

Am I being reasonable, or just massaging the numbers to get the result I want?


I keep saying I'm going to post pictures and don't. Well, not tonight! Here is some honest-to-goodness proof that I've done something. Landscaping:


This is when we first bought the house, last August. Admire the saplings and milkweed vines in the landscaping. See the lovely greenery edging the sidewalk (extending straight out from the door)? That's all wild violets. Revel in it.


Ta da! Progress.

Crap. Nowhere near done.

My roof hates me.

As you may know, we bought this house last August. We didn't see any evidence of recent water damage when we repainted our ceilings and nothing looked too suspicious, but we knew the roof was fairly old and planned to replace it in a year or two. After all the snow, I noticed a water stain in our living room, but chalked it up to an ice dam because the insulation in this house is non-existent.

Nope. Our roof is actually leaking in several spots in the lower portions. The 2-story roof seems to be holding on for now, so we'll just replace the lower roofs. We still don't have our old house on the market because we need to do some structural work and other repairs. I want to get it in good shape and staged and all that so we can get a good price. DH is taking off from work next week so we can get some of that stuff done. This has been dragging on for way too long, and we still haven't finished everything we need to do here.

We did work on landscaping at our new house today. It was (is?) terrible in every way. Bad grading, overgrown everything, ivy patches full of weeds, and poison ivy in three corners of the backyard. One of the poison ivy vines is over an inch in diameter! Also, a pox on people who use brick chips as a mulch with no landscaping fabric underneath. I'll try to post some before/after pics in case anyone out there is interested.

So much stuff

I'm trying to organize my craft room (yay, a craft room!) here at the new house, but it's like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. I need to get rid of a TON of vintage clothing and fabric. It might actually be a literal ton. I haven't been very discriminating in my vintage clothing and accessories purchases, as long as they're cheap. I'm not allowing anything to go into the attic space here, but unfortunately that's where most of my less-nice clothing was stored at the old house. That means it either has to fit into my craft room or go bye-bye.

The main problem is "The Collection." You may or may not remember that I purchased 8 garbage bags full of vintage clothes in fresh-from-barn condition. I had to toss many wool pieces and a few other ruined pieces but about 7 garbage bags remained. "The Collection" consists mainly of women's clothing and several dozen bras. There are nice clothes, a bathing suit, a nurse's uniform, jodhpurs, and workaday clothes. I hate to separate them as they represent a (perhaps incomplete) slice of a 1950s wardrobe. The jeans would sell for a pretty penny and a few other pieces, too, though. That's money I could put toward reenacting and other things. If you had a collection like that, would you separate it? The alternative is I keep it forever or sell it to a museum (assuming any would be interested in slightly stained run-of-the-mill clothes).

I plan on selling some nicer pieces from the rest of my junk on Etsy, and probably some of my barkcloth and other weird vintage fabrics. I also need to re-acquire a booth at an antique mall to dispose of all of the little crap, vintage brik-a-brak, dolls, etc. that I have been hoarding and now have no place in my new house (life). I have a staggering amount of vintage Christmas stuff that needs to go, and vintage Barbies too. Unfortunately, I hate shipping stuff, so only the most valuable will end up on Ebay.

Didn't know I was such a collector, did you?