Spring pastels

Spring is slowly coming, the first flowers are popping up. Meanwhile the weather is still rather rainy and grey, however. So although I’m not always a big fan of pastel and fluffyness (especially at the same time), right now is a good time for it.

The Album de la Mode Illustree has a version with lovely watercolor fashion plates, so I picked some of my favourites from the most frilly examples. Ranging from the 1860s to 1890’s. If you don’t like fluff, now might be a good time to stop reading.




Round gown inspiration

One of my most concrete plans for 2018 is to make an 18th century round gown. As this is my first round gown, and simultaneously my first 18th century dress, I’ve been doing some visual research (aka: spend too much time on pinterest).

One of my favorite round gowns, and one of the inspirations to use damask for my own project. (Mine will be silver, as that’s what I have. This green is stunning though!)

Round gown, American, ca. 1775. Metropolitan Museum of Art Popular around the 1770s through late 18th century, the round gown was similar to the robe a l'anglaise. It is not an open robe but rather the skirt and petticoat are as one. The gown has a front-closing bodice with no stomacher.


First, a brief definition. (I’m not a terminology expert, nor an 18th century expert, but this is what I believe ’round gown’ is mostly used for.) Quite simply put: a round gown is a dress with a full (’round’) skirt, of which the front is not attached to the bodice. You might say: don’t all dresses have a full skirt? But in the 18th century, most dresses were actually open in front, and had a (sometimes matching, sometimes not) petticoat underneath which shows in the front. The round gown is an exception to this ‘rule’. A round gown is different from most ‘later’ styles of dresses, in that he bodice is attached only to the back of the skirt, while the front of the skirt has ties and is attached underneath the front bodice with ties. The sides of the skirts have slits to allow for getting into the skirt. I’m using the term as applied to 1770’s and 1780’s gowns mostly, as the changing fashions in the 1790’s also seem to broaden the definition of the term.

Because pictures are clearer than words sometimes. This is a round gown:

Brown Cotton Round Gown from the Blog, Slightly Obsessed. http://slightly-obsessed.blogspot.com/

A bit difficult to see, but there’s no separate petticoat. This image shows how the front of the skirt is not attached to the bodice, while the back is.

Around and about ROCOCO 1780 Closed dress, cotton. Private collection.


I’ve seen examples of round gowns both with a pleated back (pleats stitched down), or with the (later) seamed back style. For my own dress, I’ll probably go with the seamed back, as that’s quite a bit easier to do.

Time for some more inspiration! Most round-gowns are relatively simple trim-wise, and there’s quite a number of chintz examples.

Gown, blue floral pattern on cream ground. Copperplate printed linen. Worn by Deborah Sampson, possibly as her wedding dress. Date: 1760-1790

Textiles (Clothing) - Dress, 1785-1795


One of my all-time favorite dresses is this red-ground chintz one.

Japon. Het japonlijf heeft een vierkante hals. Twee platte plooien lopen over de schouder langs de voorpanden en verdwijnen in de rok. Het lijfje heeft vestpanden die gesloten worden met haken en ogen met overdwars een split even in de taille. Vanaf de hals middenachter een brede aangehechte platte plooi die puntig toeloopt en in één stuk is geknipt met de rok. De mouwen zijn glad en uit één stuk tot op de elleboog en hebben een geplooid elleboogstukje...1780 - 1785


There’s also patterned silks. This is another fancy silk example.

eMuseum - View Media


And a ‘plain’ silk one. I love the styling with the belt on this one, and I’m thinking of adding one to my dress as well!

Levite or round gown, The Netherlands, 1780-1800. Sky blue silk taffeta with a light blue silk sash.

2018 plans

I’ve already done the 2017 in review, so now it’s time to look ahead!

I actually haven’t made too many specific plans for this year yet, but I do have a couple of ‘unfinished’ projects. These have either been started, or I’ve bought the fabric with a very specific purpose in mind.

The first project of the year is already done! An 17th century chemise for underneath my 1660’s dress.



The only unfinished project I have at the moment is a pair of 18th century stays. These got pushed to the side line by other projects, but are already some way done. Those’ll be next. A little teaser:



I also have two vintage-style dresses I still want to make. These were first planned for last year, but got pushed away by other projects. I have both the fabric and the patterns though, so these are high on the list. (Hopefully before it becomes too warm for long sleeves…?)

This, in a black floral.

Simplicity - 8050

And this one, in a grey plaid.

Simplicity - 8251


Another thing I’m thinking of is to make the steeple butterfly henin to go with my burgundian dress. That was the original plan, but due to lack of time I first made a smaller, flowerpot style henin. I do love the slight crazyness of the style though, so I’d like to make the taller one as well.

The lady in yellow has the hanging part of the veil folded back up. Note the gold loops. This image is from King René's tournament book.


Those are the concrete plans! After that, it gets a little more vague, but I do have a number of fabrics I want to use next year.

I think I might first go towards the 18th century. I’ve made a bum roll and petticoat for the 17th dress, those would both work for 18th century, and with the stays made I’d only need a shift to complete the undergarments. I also have an 18th century themed event in October, so that’d be a good goal.

I just got this silver damask fabric, and I think it’d be perfect for a round gown. I like the idea of starting the 18th century journey with a round gown, as it’s really one garment and doesn’t require a separate petticoat. Most round gowns are also relatively simple trim-wise (they often don’t have any), so that allows me to really focus on fit and silhouette. Plus, with the damask fabric many frills aren’t necessary.


Something like this dress from the MET? I like the idea of matching my fabric with a black belt. And white lace and fichu?

Ensemble | American | The Met


What gets made also depends on events as well. If I have a time-specific event, that’ll probably be what gets made first. I have plenty of fabric and ideas in any case.

One is a sheer black cotton I was thinking of making an early Victorian dress of. Something like this? I love how the sheerness of the fabric is used in the design.

Vanaf 1830 komt de nadruk steeds meer te liggen op wijduitstaande rokken. Door vele onderrokken te dragen wordt dit effect bereikt. De zware rokkenvracht…


But I also have the materials for several other possibilities. A gorgeous red/black/gold plaid silk, combined with black maybe for this left number?


Der Bazar 1886


Or a light gold flower patterned silk which was talking about the 1830’s to me.


For something like this maybe?

Evening dress | British | The Met


It’s fun to dream in any case! I might do another post with plans half way through the year, if stuff is more concrete by then :).

Aside from the dressmaking plans, I also want to visit a few more historical events this year. I’d wanted to in 2017 as well, but things got sold out so some fell through. In the end, I only went to Bath and missed all more local events. This year has started off well though, as the first historical ball is already past! I also have a regency ball in my calendar in May, so either the red/white or the blue/silver dress will finally get a proper outing. And in October there’s a soiree with an 18th century theme, to which I hope to wear something 18th century. The theme for this is not as strict, so other historical stuff is also allowed, but I’d like to make something new. If the silver round gown gets made, I’ll probably wear it there! And who knows, some more events might come up!

Dutch quilted petticoats

As it’s almost Christmas, something winter-themed for today, namely 18th century quilted petticoats!

When looking through the Dutch collections, I noticed a couple of skirts with very similar stitching patterns. You have to look carefully, but they’re all just slightly different. All of these are also in different museum collections! Apparently, this was a popular design.

Below is one of the best photographed of the lot. Clicking will bring you to the museum page, where you can zoom in to see the details.


Quilted petticoats were very popular during the 18th century all over Europe. They gave more volume to a skirt than a ‘regular’ petticoat due to their thickness. They were also nice and warm due to the wool inner layer. Although they went out of fashion at the end of the 18th century, some regional costumes in both the Netherlands and France kept them. This might be one of the reasons so many of them survive in the Netherlands. Another possible reason might be that there were some Dutch regions where the jacket/petticoat combination was worn more than full gowns, even for the middle upper classes. More use for pretty skirts!

Very similar to the first one! But this one has a small yoke at the top.



Many existing petticoats are of silk satin, with a wool inner layer and lined in linen. You see linen, cotton and wool examples as well though. The stitching is incredible to see up close, I’ve seen some originals and the workmanship is amazing. These petticoats would’ve often been made by specialist stitchers, a newspaper from Friesland mentions the move of such a professional lady in 1762 (https://www.modemuze.nl/blog/winterwarme-rokken-0).

Nope, it’s not the same! See the little singular diamonds in the bottom pattern? Those aren’t there in the other ones.



I know that at least in some of the examples, the technique used was different from what we’d call ‘quilting’ nowadays. Instead of a layer of wool or flannel put between the outer and inner layer, wool threads were pulled through the stitched channels afterwards. This technique is called matelassé in French, and ‘Zaans stikwerk’ in Dutch, after the region where it was found a lot. I suspect that in these petticoats, the bottom part might be matelassé work.

Yet another one! This one is display with a chintz jacket, showing how it could be worn.


Blog anniversary

My blog is 4 years old today! In summer 2013 I started my first big historical sewing project. I’d only made a (not very accurate) Regency dress before, and this project was a 1860s dinner dress including all undergarments, so quite a leap. When this blog started I was still working on that dress, and suffice to say that project got me hooked!

Since starting historical costuming, I’ve made 4 corsets, 4 chemises, 2 pairs of drawers, a corset cover, two hoop skirts, a bustle cage, a bum pad, five petticoats and a balayeuse. That’s the underwear list (it’s mostly stored in one very, very full box).

My first and last Victorian corset. Still room for improvement, but it’s definitely moving in the right direction.


For outer wear, I’ve now made dresses/outfits for 7 different era’s. Late medieval, 1810’s, 1820’s, 1860’s, 1870’s, 1900’s and 1920’s. Aditionally, there are 2 spencer jackets, one mantelet, a jacket and 4 head pieces. Accessories really do finish a look.

My first and last regency outfit. Left was a dress only (no period underwear yet), right is a chemise, stays, petticoat, dress, spencer and bonnet. The left dress was a great place to start costuming though! (Right image by Martijn van Huffelen)


It’s always fun to look back, and a good reminder that your current skill level always matters a lot less than the fun you have in making and wearing your outfits. The whole process of research and discovery and learning is such an important part for me, and the great thing is that there’s always so much more to learn!

At the moment there are two more outfits in the making, and I’ve got loads of plans for more! Suffice to say, I haven’t grown tired of this hobby yet in the past four years.

Since starting this blog I also made a Facebook page and Instagram account for it. I just saw that I reached a 1000 followers on the Facebook page this week, which is honestly still a bit unreal to me! A big advantage of Facebook is connecting with other enthusiasts through groups, and Instagram is great for showing progress. Nevertheless, I still really value the more in-depth view a blog offers, so this one will definitely continue to exist as well. In any case: to anyone who has been following me, thank you!

One of the things that inspired me to get started with historical sewing were the other sewing blogs out there. I still really enjoy seeing other peoples projects, so to close this anniversary post a shout-out to some of the blogs that really inspire me!

The Dreamstress

This was the first historical sewing blog I stumbled upon, and I actually went all the way to the beginning to read the whole thing (that took a while). This blog really inspired me to get started on the big, elaborate projects, and to do it right.

Before the Automobile

One thing most historical costumers strife for is to look as you’ve stepped out of a photograph. To really get the silhouette, details and accessories right. This lady does that so well, and the way her dresses are fitted is perfection.

Prior Attire

Izabella runs her own business sewing historical pieces, and has made so many lovely pieces from all different era’s. On her blog she shares loads of advice, and I’m always impressed with how generous she is with her knowledge. Plus, I briefly met her at her Victorian ball last year, and she was a lovely host as well!







Entering the 17th century

Those who follow my instagram account might have already seen that I’m currently working on a gown from ca. 1660.

This project started with a ball. There’s a yearly new-years ball in Gent, in the opera there. I’ve been wanting to go for a while but timing has been off (I was on holiday last year). This year I was talking with another costumer about it and we decided to go! Last years theme was 19th century, but this year it’s going back in time. Inspired by Versailles, the dress code is now 1660 – 1715.

So that means I need a new dress! I’ve decided to go for the early limit of the dress code, as I’d been looking at 1660’s fashions for a bit longer and those are best represented in research as well. As often happens, I started with looking for fabric. I wanted real silk, but keeping it affordable means searching for bargains and that often means picking from whatever happens to be available.

I got really lucky with fabric, and found a golden upholstery silk with a pattern quite suitable for the era. When I got it the color was absolutely stunning. It’s a bit of an ‘older’, antique golden color. What’s even better, it goes perfectly with the antique metallic lace I found a little while back.


The materials decide the style in this case, and I decided to go for a style that would fit with lace trimming. Lucky for me, many of the existent 1660’s bodices have lace trim and work very well with my materials.

To help with the patterning and construction I also got a new book, seventeenth century women’s dress patterns (part II). It’s absolutely brilliant, showing close up pictures of both inside and outside the garments, x-rays that show the boning, patterns for both exterior and foundation layers and full construction notes.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor seventeenth-century women's dress patterns book 2


Even better, it has all of that for this 1660-1670 bodice:

Pale-coloured silk satin bodice, 1660-1669, V&A. Decorated with parchment lace. The boned foundations is made from twelve pattern pieces, reinforced at places with up to three extra layers of linen. The middle side panel is unboned but stiffened with buckram and wool and may be a later addition to increase the size...


So that’s the base for my pattern. The skirt will be a pleated rectangle, so doable without any patterning.

For the rest of this post: some more pictures of what I’m going for, as inspiration!

One other dress in this style is the silver tissue gown I saw in Bath last year. So stunning in person.

Ca. 1660 silver tissue dress with parchment lace. Fashion museum Bath


I love this painting as well, as it shows the combination of patterned gold silk with lace.

Knallhattens osorterade tankar: Sveriges vackraste porträtt

Magnus Gabriel De la Gardie with his spouse Maria Eufrosyne of Pfalz-Zweibrücken, the sister of King Charles X of Sweden. Painting from 1653 by Hendrik Munnichhoven


It’s a style you see quite a lot in Dutch paintings. You do get quite some differences between countries the further back you go in history, and I like the idea of making something that could’ve been worn in the Netherlands.

bartholomeus-van-der-helst-court.jpg (675×800)

Bartholomeus van der Helst: Abraham del Court and his Wife, 1654


American Duchess:Historical Costuming | Historical Costuming and sewing of Rococo 18th century clothing, 16th century through 20th century, by designer Lauren Reeser

Bartholomeus van der Helst, Jeanne Parmentier, 1656


All of the above show thin linen or lace collars, but you also see what’s more like a thin linen shift above the dress. This is probably what I’ll go for as well for the ball, as it feels a bit more like evening wear.

Isaack Luttichuys   Datering   ca. 1660 (1655 - 1665)  Titel  Portrait of a lady with a fan

Isaac Luttichuys, ca. 1660


Details of Dutch fashion of 1658 include a string of pearls tied with a black ribbon, a jack-bodice with matching skirt, pleated sleeves, and dropped shoulder.

Mieris Frans, Duet, 1658


At this point I’m done with the foundation layer of linen and boning, and ready to start patterning the top silk layer!

‘Uit de mode’ – Fashion exhibition Centraal Museum Utrecht

This year it was a 100 years ago that the first fashion curator was appointed in the Centraal museum in Utrecht, and in honor of that they held a fashion exhibition called ‘uit de mode’.

It was organized in themes: the maker, wearer, restorer and visionary. It also spanned the whole time-line of their collection, often drawing parallels between their historical and modern collections.

I only took pictures of the historical pieces, as those were my main interest in coming to the exhibition. I’ve got all images on my facebook page and pinterest. In this post, a couple of my favorite items!

One of the first items on display was this 18th century cotton toile de jouy petticoat. With lovely pleating up top (flatter towards the front), and a cord running along the hem to protect it from wear.


This 1830’s dress was one of the first buys a 100 years ago. With gorgeous lace along the edges.


One of the show pieces, 1760 robe a la francaise with gorgeous embroidery. I also liked how the robings ran all the way down to the hem.


An Edwardian cotton and lace gown. With all the small lovely details and pin-tucks you see so often in this style. This one is definitely on my wish-list to recreate one day. Made of swiss dotted cotton and two types of lace the material part at least would be doable. (Now for time…)


Another show piece, a 1886 Worth gown. Very unusual pleating on the top skirt, lovely rose fabric for the underskirt and a spectacular train.


Cotton regency. This fabric was super-sheer, and in remarkable condition. I also quite liked how the sleeves were actually pleated and attached on top!

1805-1810 gown of white batist. Collection page: http://centraalmuseum.nl/ontdekken/object/?img_only=1#o:4247


Another regency piece, and another showstopper. A lavender court train of moire silk with pearl embroidery. Probably never worn, and it might have belonged to Hortense de Beauharnais.


This ensemble isn’t quite as spectacular as the train, but I still really loved it. The fabric especially was gorgeous and shiny, and the lace was really the perfect touch. Another one for the wish-list…


To continue with beautiful fabric, this dress also had some stunning silk. I also really love the bodice and the neckline in particular.


To finish, two 18th century ensembles. This one is a caraco I’d seen before on a depot visit, and it was really nice to see it displayed. Shown on top of a stunning red quilted petticoat.


The other chintz/quilted ensemble. A chintz robe a l’anglaise on top of a light blue silk quilted petticoat. Again, gorgeous fabric and details, and I loved the pleating on the dress.

Life & plans

It’s been a bit quiet here on the blog, mostly because I’ve barely sewed the last month. The main reason is that I was very busy finishing my PhD dissertation, which was due end of august. I made the deadline (yay!), submitted the draft and now only have administrative stuff to do. That firstly means time for a holiday, but I’ve also been planning some new sewing projects. I’ll have some more time before I start a new job, and some new costume events coming up, so that means plans are being made!

The first plan is a new era for me, late 17th century! There’s a new-years ball in Gent in the opera, and after thinking about going for a couple of years that’s now definite. The dress code for this year is 1660-1715, so I’m going to make something new.

I’ve been eyeing some golden silk, so maybe something like this:


I really love the pearls with the black bows on this dress.

Although if I find some (affordable) silk satin something like this might also still be in the running. I do really like the ‘open’ front.

Princess Mary Henrietta (1631–1660), Princess Royal, Princess of Orange by Gerrit van Honthorst National Trust – Ashdown HouseAtelier Nostalgia | Nostalgic musings, on historical clothing, traditional costume, fantasy, photography and history.


Another big project I’ve been thinking about is a 1880’s wool winter dress. Ever since I got my Victorian winter boots I’ve been eyeing wool and braid dresses. Plus: there’s a winter event in December I could wear it to.

Things might change, but this is the idea I have so far. Burgundy wool, black faux fur and loads of braiding (because why make it easy).

Winter bustle


These two are the bigger plans, but I also have some other things going on.

Firstly, I’ve started on a pair of 18th century stays. No plans for a dress yet, but I figured I’d start on the underwear so that once I have an event for it, I’d have a foundation to build on.

The main layers are already sewn together (green linen outer layer), but this is me planning out the boning channels. I’m also planning on some decorative stitching on these. (the black swirlies)



Additionally, I’ve been thinking on making an 1880’s corset. I don’t necessarily need a new one, by 1870’s one would do for the winter dress, but I’d like trying out some new things. Particularly shaping me towards the pattern a bit more, instead of the other way around. In other words: padding. I’ve got most of the materials I’d need in stock, so it won’t cost much extra. It’d be one layer of black coutil with red contrasting boning channels, german whalebone bones and flossing.

I saw this corset in person last week, and really liked the contrast panels for the cording, so I might try to incorporate that as well.

Fripperies and Fobs Corset ca. 1860-90 From the NORDISKA MUSEET


I’ve also got fabric for two vintage dresses. One 1940’s black with flowers, and one 1950’s plaid. Especially the first one has been planned for a while, so I’d like to get started on these as well.

This is the pattern for the plaid dress, I’ve got a grey-black one with a small blue stripe to make it.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor SIMPLICITY - 8251


So these are the plans for the coming months! I’ll see how far I get, although I have a break between jobs I also have a tendency to plan a little too much. The coming weeks I’ll be on holiday, and after that I’ll get started!

Winter bustles (and new shoes!)

I know, it’s the middle of July, and where I am it’s the middle of summer. Despite that, I’m doing a post with pictures of winter bustle dresses. The main reason is that I got new shoes! American Duchess was having a sale, and I couldn’t resist, and I got the Victoria carriage boots. They’re black winter boots with bows in the front, and I really love them. It’s quite difficult to find proper warm winter boots that look good underneath a skirt, so I splurged, and suspect I’ll wear them quite a bit out of costume as well!

They’re so pretty!


Of course, having Victorian winter boots got me dreaming about wool and fur bustle dresses. So now I want to make one. I have a lot of fabric for other planned projects though, so who knows if and when that’ll happen, but until then, inspiration pictures!

Let’s start with some early bustle beauties.

La Saison 1874

Les Modes Parisiennes 1872

Les Modes Parisiennes 1874

Le Moniteur de la Mode 1874

La Gazette Rose 1873

The Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine


There are also some beautiful examples from the 1880’s.

La Mode Francaise 1887

Le Salon de la Mode 1886

Der Bazar 1883

dessin original : ANONYME VERS 1870 N°9

1880s winter ensembles


Aside from these colored plates, I also found some black-white examples. I particularly love all the braiding on the first one.

early 1880s winter ensemble

1883 Winter

Written on border: "Jan. 1883" Printed on border: "No. 8." "Cloth and fur, either brown or grey. The under-skirt is edged with plaiting, and the over one is turetted. The readingote has a shoulder cap[e] and cuffs trimmed with fur. The waistband is fastened with a smoke[d] pearl buckle. Pattern of redingote, 3s. 1d."


Chintz in the Fries museum – How chintz was worn

My second post about the exhibition ‘Sits – katoen in bloei’ (Chintz – cotton in bloom) in the Fries Museum! My first post was about color and patterns, and before that I wrote this post, which has more terminology and history about the fabric.

In this post I’ll try to go into the specific chintz garments which were on display. What garments were made of chintz; how where they worn and in what context.

Also: all my pictures of the exhibition are now online on my pinterest board and facebook page, so to see everything you can go there! I took too many images for even two blog posts. For this post; click on the image for the full view.

Chintz on chintz

Most jackets and skirt combinations in the exhibition were made of 2 different chintz fabrics. A while back I posted a promotion image for the exhibition on Facebook with such a combination, and it sparked a question from some people. Were (chintz) print-on-print combinations really a thing?

This is the skirt from the promotion image, here worn with another chintz jacket.


Now I know that Dutch 18th century clothing, especially middle class (/small town/countryside), was quite colorful. There are a number of prints which show combinations of chintz with striped skirts, and ton-sur-ton skirts like this, this or this (same-color pattern & ground), and checkered or patterned aprons, checkered kerchiefs or with chintz sunhats. So different prints together is definitely seen. However, I couldn’t find any clear examples paintings showing a chintz skirt combined with a chintz jacket. This print might be. But then again, either jacket or skirt might also be silk, or a simpler European cotton or linen print, it’s difficult to see. The only example I could find which clearly shows chintz on chintz is  a doll. But given that the petticoat and skirt were often inter-changeable in the 18th century depending on the fancy of the wearer, this might be an example of skirts being mixed up. All in all, I wouldn’t take that as enough evidence that it was commonly done.

Even though I still think it’s very pretty


So, in the end, I decided to ask the fashion curator of the Fries museum, and of this exhibition. She gave a presentation about the exhibition at the meeting of the Dutch costume society, and I approached her afterwards. Her answer: it was probably not common to wear a chintz skirt with a different chintz jacket. Mostly, chintz jackets would’ve been worn on top of the same chintz fabric skirt, or on top of a silk or wool skirt. Many chintz skirts would’ve been worn as underskirt (which you could still see when lifting the skirts a bit), however, she had also seen chintz skirt which were clearly meant as top skirt. In this case, if not worn with a same-chintz jacket, they would’ve probably been worn with a solid color jacket. This is not saying that you’d absolutely never would see a chintz jacket on a chintz petticoat, but it probably wasn’t the common way of wearing it. Similarly, the ‘onderst’ worn to fill in the neckline (see a section below for more info) was often made of chintz. With a chintz jacket, however, a solid (white) onderst was most likely worn, the chintz ondersts being worn with solid color jackets.

Girl’s combination of skirt and jacket.


In the case of this exhibition, she choose to display the chintz skirts and jackets together, as this was an exhibition specifically about chintz, and those are the items you want on display. Something I completely understand, as there’s only so much space, and you want to show as much as possible without cluttering. The only exception was this lovely combination of a chintz jacket with a corded quilted silk petticoat.



Oost-indisch bont

The apron in the image above is interesting. It is made of what we’d call ‘oost-indisch bont’ in Dutch, which would roughly translate to ‘east-indian motley’. It is a cotton fabric originally from India, and just as chintz, it was taken to the Netherlands by the east-indian trading company (hence the name). It was used mostly for aprons and kerchiefs, and just like chintz, it stuck around in many traditional costumes in the Netherlands. It’s funny how I’d now consider it a very typically Dutch fabric, while it actually came from Asia.

Another example of oost-indisch bont, here in apron and kerchief.




I mentioned the ‘onderst’ before. This was the name given in Friesland, in most of the Netherlands we’d call this a ‘kraplap’, or ‘kroplap’, in Zeeland they’d say ‘beuk’, and I’ve heard ‘halsje’ in Noord-Holland. It’s an interesting garment because it doesn’t seem to have an international equivalent, at least in the 18th century. It’s very like a partlet, or a chemisette. But the term ‘partlet’ I’ve only ever heard for the 16th and early 17th century, and chemisette is a typically 19th century term. I believe that the 16th century partlet stuck around in the Netherlands well into the 17th, and eventually the 18th century. The image below shows a girl in ‘undress'(full dress would have a jacket on top) clearly wearing a partlet, this painting is from ca. 1665, so quite ‘late’ for a partlet.

Reynier Hals, Woman with Needlework, ca. 1665. Frans Hals Museum #franshalsmuseum #haarlem #art

It’s very difficult to still find images of the 18th century equivalent though, which might have several reasons. There’s not as many paintings of lower classes in the Netherlands in this century, and this item was most likely worn primarily in the countryside and smaller towns. Another reason is that it was generally covered by one or even two kerchiefs, which make it nearly invisible in the paintings and prints which do exist. However, we know for sure that they were worn, because there are many existent examples, and they show up in doll’s clothes and inventory lists frequently. The 18th century onderst was typically made with a front and back rectangle, sewn together at the shoulder seams and a ‘hole’ for the head (I’ve never seen any with a slit in front). It was attached by putting tapes from the front through loops in the back. Many would’ve been white, with or without lace (see the pictures of jackets at the beginning of this post), but there are also many chintz examples. They had a whole wall filled with them at the exhibition. Click for the full-size version and to read the text below.

Kraplappen, or 'onderst' as called in Friesland. Worn as a partlet or chemisette, this was a typical clothing item for Dutch women in smaller cities or on the countryside.


Sun hats

There was also a display of a number of different sunhats on display. These hats are made of straw, but have a chintz lining which extends around to the top to form a border (I think +- 10cm wide? Couldn’t see the top on these). They’re made of the most beautiful fabrics.

Loved this one. Look at the bird and the insects!


These sunhats are a little different in shape than the better known round straw bergere hats. These ones might even be larger (although I haven’t seen a bergere in person, so estimating based on portraits), but the main difference is that the hole head is at the back. This creates a large shape only in front of the head. This shape has everything to do with the lace head dresses popular in Friesland in the 18th century. The lace caps started modest, but as fashion does, changed to rather extreme proportions. These caps are called a ‘Duitse muts’ nowadays, and they had one gorgeous example on display. This was my first time seeing one in person!

Look at all that lace!


The cap is worn on top of an under cap and an oorijzer, which would’ve helped keeping the cap in place on the head. The front is kept up by a wire running through the lace around the edge. The exhibition also had a little booklet showing a woman wearing both a cap like this and a chintz sunhat. The only thing which isn’t depicted correctly are the ribbons hanging loose. In real life, you have to hold on to those ribbons continuously because otherwise the hat would fall forwards. Although the wire in the cap is strong enough to keep up the lace, it wouldn’t be able to support the full straw hat!




The exhibition also had a large number of items from Hindeloopen, a town which nowadays is known for the chintz in it’s traditional costume. Although not worn daily since the 19th century, the town still keeps the costume alive. The chintz parts are the jackets, which is either long, called ‘wentke’, or short, called ‘kassakijntje (from cassaquin I believe).

For mourning. I love how you can see the faint outlines where the wax was folded and the indigo seeped through in this fabric.


The kassakijntjes were a little harder to photograph as they were further away on a wall, but here are three lovely examples. The construction seems the same as for the wentke, just shorter.



To finish off, another wentke, this time for out of mourning. It should be noted that this costume contains many other bits and pieces to form a full outfit. These items would never be worn with ‘regular’ 18th century fashion.

I love the top-stitching on all of these. All wentkes I saw had it, and it’s so neatly done.


Chintz in the 19th century

Chintz as fabric for clothing is very much an 18th century thing. However, it keeps very well, and as fabric was expensive, re-use was extremely common. Especially for the middle and lower classes, this meant that just because something was a bit old fashioned, didn’t mean it wouldn’t be worn anymore. We therefore also see jackets with a high waistline, worn in the early 19th century, in reused chintz.

This jacket below belonged to a lady on her marriage, and accounts show she had two other identically cut jackets. The other two were of fine muslin, this one is remade from a chintz skirt. This probably would’ve been more of a working jacket as the fabric was more old fashioned. But also more practical than the fine, thin cottons so popular at the time.


Another great example of re-use is the early 19th century girl’s jacket below. It is made of 76 different pieces of chintz fabric. Talk about piecing!


Unusual jackets

The two ensembles I started off this post with both had gorgeous chintz jackets. Because both are a bit unusual I wanted to show them in more detail.

The green jacket has a very interesting front closure of zig-zags, leaving little dimond cut-outs to show off the stomacher underneath. The zig-zags close with hooks and eyes center front.


I’d seen the green jacket in pictures before I went tot he exhibition, and it was one of the things I was most looking forward to seeing. It was stunning in person, but I think my favorite jacket was actually the other one I showed before, this red one. The color is so stunning in person. We know that this jacket was worn in the province of Noord-Holland.


This jacket is a bit unusual in several ways. Firstly, it laces in the front instead of closing with hooks and eyes. Practically all fancy jackets in this museum close with hooks and eyes. Front-lacing jackets exist, but these were all worn as under-jackets or for very informal occasions. This red jacket, however, is too fancy for that, it was almost certainly worn as a top jacket.

The other unusual thing is the neckline, 18th century necklines are generally square, this one is almost v-shaped. Additionally, it has a collar-like shape around the neckline. I’d never seen this before, and I commented on this during my talk to the curator of the exhibition. She confirmed it was unusual, but also referred to a portrait of a girl in a blue chintz jacket which also shows a collar like shape. I’d seen this portrait before but hadn’t noticed the collar, but it’s definitely there! It’s pointed instead of round, but it also shows a neckline in a (shallower) v. I’m taking this to mean that these type of collars weren’t unheard of, and I personally think the style is very pretty. If anyone’s ever seen any other examples of this style I’d love to see!

A final thing I noticed about this jacket are little white thread loops on the collar. The curator didn’t know for sure what these were for either. One possible explanation might be to tie a kerchief of fichu in place? As before, if anyone has any idea of their purpose I’d love to know!