Chintz

This post has been a while in the making! I’ve been wanting to write a terminology post about chintz for a while, but I wanted to do it right and include a bit of the history, how it was used and how it was made. That made it a bit longer than I’d originally envisioned, so be ready for a rather extensive overview! (If you don’t like those, feel free to just look at the pictures, chintz is very pretty!)

Chintz is a name referring to cotton fabric or paper with flower patterns. In this post, I’ll give some information on the historical fabric. It’s one of my favorite patterns, it’s often used in historical (mainly 18th century) dress and in Dutch folk costume. I’ll try go give a brief overview of the history of chintz, it’s characteristics, patterns and how it’s used in fashion. My focus will be on chintz in the Netherlands and traded by the East-Indian Trading company, but I’ll also try to give some more global information.

A short definition

Lets start with a brief section on the term ‘Chintz’ I’m using. In Dutch, we call this fabric ‘Sits’, and it refers to the glazed cotton painted and/or printed with flowered patterns, originally coming from India. This post is about what the Dutch would call ‘sits’. The translation in English is the term ‘chintz’. In time the English term chintz has evolved and become the name of many different types of flower patterns as well as the original patterns. It’s also sometimes used for basic plain cotton. I’ll focus on the Dutch meaning for ‘sits’ or chintz in this post. Most of those chintzes are 17th or 18th century, maybe early 19th century. All later chintz fabrics are based on these historical patterns. They were originally Indian, but when chintz gained popularity it was also produced in Europe. I’ll start off with some images, to clarify what I’m talking about.

 

This is Indian chintz:

BK-BR-328b

Part of a kids blanket, quilted, ca. 1725 – ca. 1750. Made in India. Collection Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

 

Stylized flower patterns. The most typical version is of blue and red flowers on a pale background. There are different colors as well though. This is also Indian chintz:

BK-1971-118b

Detail of Palempore of chintz with tree pattern , ca. 1725 – ca. 1750, India. Collection Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

 

These two examples are typical for the type of floral patterns. The chintz below is much more ‘European looking’, but still also made in India (very probably for the European market though). As you can see, it has a much later date, indicating how the chintz became more ‘European’ and evolved with fashion.

Chintz, ca. 1775, India. Collection Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

Chintz, ca. 1775, India. Collection Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

 

The following image is of a pattern also often named chintz (in English, it wouldn’t be ‘sits’ in Dutch), but which is much more modern than Indian chintzes. To my eye, it’s also much more English, and there’s generally a lot more roses and pink in these more modern fabrics. This is not what this post’ll be about. A good indication if a chintz is Indian or Indian-inspired is to look at colors. Original chintz was mostly white, blue and red. The reason for this is that the white cotton was dyed with natural dyes, which were mostly red and blue, with some yellow. All other colors were a mix of those. Greens and purples you see, although they are rare. Orange and pink are almost nonexistant. Another cue is the flower style, original chintz flowers were very stylized and almost ‘flat’. They became a little less stylized as time went on, but nothing as life-like as the image below.

Modern ‘Chintz’. This is not what I’ll be talking about.

 

The rise & fall in western Europe

Chintz was brought to the Netherlands by the VOC, the East-Indian Trading company. They started around 1600, but chintz didn’t really start to play a role in Europe until about 1675. It initially gained popularity as an interior fabric, later also as dress fabric.  Chintz was imported most notably from Bengalen, Ceylon, Coromandel and Suratte, the latter two being the most important. Some chintz was probably also traded into the Netherlands via England. Indian chintz was copied from the very start, but especially in the beginning these copies weren’t very good. The Indians had a way of binding the color to the cotton to make the fabrics keep their color after washing, and they hand-painted the fabrics. Early European copies didn’t keep their color well, and were block-printed instead of painted. Nevertheless, many companies started making imitations of chintz, and started trying to copy the process to keep the colors, getting more successful as they went.

Two sleeves, displaying a quality difference. Left is early 17th century chintz with a much finer pattern than the right, made around 1800. Fries museum

 

The copying happened in different European countries, but not all of them were happy with this popularity. In 1681, France banned both importing cotton and printing it to protect their silk industry. England followed in 1700 with a ban on importing chintz, and in 1721 a ban on printing cotton, again to protect it’s own linen, wool & silk industries. The English did keep trading in chintz, however, and still made printed cotton for export. Given the bans in England and France, it’s not surprising that cotton printing flourished in the Netherlands from that time.

This started changing around 1750, when the economy in the Netherlands started to fail. The bans in France were lifted in 1759, giving rise to a flourishing cotton print industry. One of the most well-known chintz factories, Oberkampf, was located near Versailles in Jouy-en-Josas. This town still gives it’s name to the famous toile-de-jouy fabrics.

Cotton printed fabric. This sample was made by Oberkampf around 1800. These type of fabrics are still known as toile-de-jouy, after it’s original place of creation. V&A. (We wouldn’t call this chintz though, because it lacks the stylized flower patterns)

Chintz fabric by Oberkampf, 1770–75, MET museum

 

England held on to the bans a little longer, lifting them in 1774, finally allowing printing pure cotton fabrics. New printing techniques meant they also caught up to the Netherlands quite quickly, where innovation stayed behind.

English made chintz, early 19th century. V&A

 

The chintz trading and factories disappear almost entirely in the Netherlands between 1785 and 1815. Archives show 80 chintz-shops in Amsterdam in 1742, 117 shops in 1767, but sharply falling numbers between 1771 and 1776, even more companies fail in the 1780’s. The VOC officially ceased to exist in 1800, after almost a century of decline and growing debt. Changing fashions eventually meant the end of the chintz fabrics. Even though printed cotton was there to stay, the Indian(inspired) flower fabrics went away. Several regional Dutch costumes held on to chintz a lot longer though, some surviving until today.

Interiors

A lot of chintz was not used for clothing, but for home decorations. Curtains, wall hangings and chair coverings are all seen, but bedspreads and blankets seem most popular of all. It seems that using chintz in your interior caught on a little earlier than in clothing.

Schloss Hoff, in Austria, built in 1725

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor ollhouse of Petronella Dunois

Dollhouse of Petronella Dunois, ca. 1676. Rijksmuseum. The red room has chintz walls

 

Clothing

Chintz was also often used in clothing. All existing chintz clothing is from the 18th century, when it reached it’s peak in popularity. It was already worn in the 17th century though, as shown by the girl portrait below. This is one of the earliest depictions of chintz being worn.

Emanuel de Witte - Portrait of a Family in an Interior - WGA25820.jpg

Emanuel de Witte, 1678

 

Despite it’s popularity, chintz never really was used much by the upper class for their best clothes. These fashions were very much influenced by the French court (even in the Netherlands), and employed very rich fabrics. Silks most commonly, often embroidered with silver & gold thread. Nevertheless, chintz was worn by the upper classes. Initially, you mostly see it used in ‘undress’. These were clothes worn at home, for non-official occasions or items such as dressing gowns. So it were the type of clothes not many see, but also the ones for less official occasions. This probably also explains why you don’t see many portraits of high-class women wearing chintz, they owned it (records of property show this quite clearly), but didn’t wear it for such a formal thing as having your portrait painted.

What we in Dutch call a ‘Japonese gown’. A dressing gown for a man, strongly influenced by Japanese kimonos. At this point in time (early 18th century), the Dutch were the only ones allowed to trade with Japan. Fries museum

 photo BK-14656b_zpsgcdleajb.jpg

A rare example of a chintz Francaise, many more skirts and jackets exist than gowns, Francaises are even rarer. This was probably an (upper) middle class gown. An upper class woman would’ve been more likely to use silk. Rijksmuseum, ca 1780

 

As chintz gained popularity in the highest classes, the higher middle class followed, as did the lower middle class. The lowest classes didn’t own much chintz. For the middle class, chintz would’ve been much more valuable and you therefore do see it on prints/paintings of middle class women. There wasn’t much difference between city and country wear in this.

Girl from Sneek (city in Friesland) in her wedding clothes. Tragically, she died in childbirth age 16.

 

Although we see a lot of chintz dressing gowns for men in the higher circles, it seems that for daily wear chintz was by far most commonly worn by women. Baby clothes are very common at the moment in museums, probably also because little fabric was needed, so jackets and skirts could easily be re-made into baby clothes when necessary. Because you could wash chintz well without it fading, it was very suitable.

Baby Jacket, probably re-made from a skirt.

 

By far more jackets exist nowadays than full gowns. Skirts of chintz have also survived a lot. You do see a bit more skirts, dresses and capes with the richer classes than with the middle class, where jackets are more common (Again, we know this from inventory lists). Probably because jackets require less fabric. You also often see border patterns on skirts, indicating that fabric was specifically made for skirts.

rok:

Chintz skirt

Chintz jacket on white fond, Dutch, 1810-1820. From www.rijksmuseum.nl #Friesland #Hindeloopen:

Jacket. Fries Museum

 

Aside from gowns, jackets & skirts, you also see chintz in powder capes, or as lining of sun hats.

Cape, tot iets over heup, boord en geschulpte kraag katoen sits zwart/bruin; beschilderd bloem + takje veelkleurig; voerin: wol bruin/groen; garnering: lint zijde lichtbruin:

Short chintz cape. ModeMuseum Provincie Antwerpen

zonhoed:

The lining of a sun hat, the top would be straw. This particular shape was worn over a huge lace cap in the  province of Friesland.

 

Records show that chintz was worn throughout the Netherlands, but you do see it most often in the Northwest, around the coast. This makes sense, as they are either closer to Amsterdam (the founding city of the VOC), or have their own trading ports. This is also why a lot of existent chintz is in museums in these regions.

Activiteiten sitsen - Activiteiten - Te zien en te doen - Fries Museum:

Chintz jacket & skirt in the Fries Museum, in the north of the country

 

Regional costume

When chintz started to go out of fashion, it was also in these regions in the north-west that it was kept most. During the 18th century, we know that specific regional clothing was worn in certain areas. This could be either only be a specific form of headdress, or influence more items. Chintz survived in several regional costumes much longer than it did in regular fashion. Most well known is the Frisian town of Hindeloopen, which had grown wealthy from trade. The Hindeloopen costume was worn daily by women until the 2nd half of the 19th century, but has been kept alive by an active community. The society of Aald Hielpen still wear their costume for special occasions and events. The most well-known item of the Hindeloopen costume is the Wentke, a long coat of chintz worn by the women.

Titel:Sitsen Hindeloper bruidswentke, vrouwenjas, motieven op witte grond, contouren rood  Vervaardiger: onbekend  Soort object:wentke; borstrok; jas  Vervaardigingsdatum: 1750 - 1774  Vervaardiging plaats:India  Afmeting: hoogte: 135.5 cm, hoogte: 129.0 cm, breedte: 39.0 cm, wijdte: 56.0 cm, wijdte: 192.0 cm, sits  Materiaal:katoen, linnen  Techniek: sits:

Hindelooper bridal costume.

Coat (Wentke) #Friesland #Hindeloopen:

Back of a Wentke. Red patterns were most common, blue was worn for mourning.

 

Indian chintz survives up to today in the costume of Bunschoten-Spakenburg, which is still worn daily by a group of women. They wear an item called a ‘kraplap’ over the shoulders, made of heavily starched cotton. It can be made in all types of patterns, but the most valued are the ones from original Indian chintz. Because the kraplap has grown in size over the centuries, the original kraplappen don’t have enough fabric. If you’re lucky enough to find 2 of the same fabric, they are very carefully pieced together. These are the most valuable of kraplapen, and very coveted.

Handbeschilderde kraplap, Spakenburg

 

Process

Chintz is a cotton fabric, with the colors being applied after weaving (as opposed to brocade for instance, where the pattern is woven in with the cloth). How exactly the colors were applied depends on location and time. Below a rough overview, as I’m not a chemist, nor an expert on dying. Be aware that the exact substances used could differ.

Original Indian chintz was mostly hand painted, sometimes block printed with smaller wooden blocks. This chintz had a very specific process to apply the different colors. Base colors were blue, red and yellow. Green and purple exist in chintzes as well, but would always be made by applying blue/yellow and blue/red on top of each other. The very special thing about Indian chintz was that it held its colors really well. This was due to the dying process used, some which weren’t discovered yet in Europe when chintz was first imported.

The first step (after bleaching and preparing the cotton) were the black outlines. These were painted directly on the fabric. After the black, the red would be applied. The red dye wouldn’t actually be applied to the fabric though. Instead, everything which would have to turn red was treated with mordant, a chemical substance which would later bind the color to the fabric. If there would be a ‘white’ area within the red, this would first be treated with wax before the mordant was applied. After applying the mordant (once or twice for lighter or brighter red), the cloth is dried and washed and rinsed. The mordant has now set, and only then the whole cloth is put into a dye bath, where only the parts treated with mordant will change color. After dying, the whole cloth can be bleached a bit again, because the white might’ve changed a bit to yellow. The next step would be to apply the blue, painting with indigo. For indigo, everything which does not need to be blue would be covered in wax. The wax-covered cloth would then in its entirety be put into the indigo dye. After dying, the cloth would be boiled to remove the wax again. After the blue, some fabrics would be treated with red again for brighter colors. Lastly, the yellow would be painted on, on top of the blue where you’d want green. This yellow tends to be a bit less well washable than the blue and red though.

In Europe, most chintzes were printed instead of hand painted, with large printing blocks. To be able to use the mordants with blocks, it had to be thickened as opposed to the very thin mordant used for painting. Another difference was that in Europe, some techniques existed enabling the printers to directly dye blue with the indigo, without having to use the wax method. For yellow, Europeans mostly used a mordant again, as opposed to the direct dye used in India.

These fabrics below were made when an interest in chintz began to rise again in the early 20th century and show the process. Collection of the V&A

Chintz process samplesChintz process samplesChintz process samplesChintz process samplesChintz process samplesChintz process samplesChintz process samples

 

As a final step, most chintz was glazed by applying pressure to the cloth. Many of the reproductions I’ve seen of chintz miss this glaze, but it is very apparent on most originals! That shine to the fabric is also one of the things which gives it it’s luxurious appearance.

 

More pictures: If you want to see more examples of chintz clothing, like the red chintz gown below, I’ve got a pinterest board on chintz here.

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:

Red chintz Anglaise, Museum Rotterdam

 

Sources

My main source for all of the above information is the book ‘Sits, oost-west relaties in Textiel’ (‘Chintz, east-west relations in textile’, see reference below). This is also my only source, which is not very good practice when it comes to research. I’ve found it to be the only Dutch book about chintz to exist at the moment of writing. In English literature there’re a couple more books, but not many. (I’m making a wish-list!) I personally suspected more to be available when I went looking, especially because chintz is still quite well known in the Netherlands due to it’s importance in regional costume. All books on regional costume seem to refer to this one source. Having said this, the book was written by scholars, and is based for the most part on primary sources. This means that the information comes from inventories of the V.O.C., from inventories of 17th and 18th century shops and homes, from letters and from 18th century books (for instance on fabric-printing). The list of sources used in the book is extensive, and each chapter was researched and written by another author. Given all of this, I trust this source enough to use it as my only reference. As it’s never been re-printed and only available second-hand, nor has been translated to English, I felt free to share the information and images. Good news though; a new publication has recently come out! With a new exhibition on chintz, a new book has been written. I’ll definitely write a post once I’ve visited the exhibit.

The book:

Sits, Oost-West relaties in Textiel

By the Rijksdienst Beeldende Kunst (National service Visual arts) , the Hague, together with the Rijksmuseum voor Volkskunde (State museum of Anthropology), Nationaal Openlucht Museum Arnhem (Open air museum), Groninger Museum, and the Gemeentemuseum the Hague.

On the occasion of the exhibition ‘Sits, Oost-west Relaties in Textiel’.

Published in 1987, no reprints

Authors:

Christian Jorg – V.O.C. in India

Frits Scholten – A journey of chintz in 1701-1702

Judith H. Hofenk de Graaff – The technique of chintz and cotton printing

Ebeltje Hartkamp-Jonxis – Chintz and cotton printing, trade and make in the Netherlands

Frits Scholten – The interior ‘in the Indian manner’

Mary C. de Jong – Chintz and the printed neglige clothing of the higher orders

Hanneke van Zuthem – Farmers and Citizens in cotton

Ebeltje Hartkamp-J0nxis –  Motives on chintz and printed cotton

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Oorijzers – ‘Ear-irons’ – Part 2

Time for part 2! In my first post about oorijzers I shared the history, what the original oorijzers were and looked liked, as well as one example of how they continued to exist to the early 20th century. The oorijzer is currently best known for its part in various regional costumes in the Netherlands. So for this post, an attempted overview of how and where the oorijzer evolved from the 16th/17th century practical object to the many variations we have today. Prepare for a lot of pictures!

Regional costume

To start this post, a little map of places I’ll be discussing!

netherlands-303419_960_720_zpsjgliynel (506x600)

The regions best known for their oorijzers in traditional costume are Friesland (a province in the very north) and Zeeland (a province in the very south). It stuck around in several other places as well though, surviving in the traditional costume of towns like Urk and Staphorst. These towns have their own traditional costume worn very locally. Staphorst sees women wearing traditional clothing on a daily base up to today. The oorijzer evolved in different ways in different places, so you can usually tell which oorijzer comes from which place and which period. I’ll be discussing the most well-known of traditional costumes with oorijzers. Just as a quick disclaimer, these aren’t the only places with an oorijzer in the past of their traditional costume, just the ones most familiar (to me) and well known.

Let’s start with the costume from the Zaanstreek. This is a region above Amsterdam and the traditional costume died out in the early 20th century. It had it’s own typical headwear, which stayed nearly the same during the 18th and 19th centuries. The rest of the clothing largely kept following regular fashion.

This is a 19th century image of the 18th century costume

Zaanstreek, ca. 1790. Visitetoilet. kunstenaar:   Duyvetter, Jan 1948 #NoordHolland #Zaanstreek

Source: Het geheugen van Nederland. Drawing by Duyvetter

The oorijzer  was gold, quite a bit wider than the 17th century version and has large golden plates to the sides. Its worn fairly straight across the back of the head and is not so much a practical thing as a piece of jewelry.

An oorijzer from 1834. You can see the gorgeous filligree on the plates.

 

And a picture from the costume group the ‘Zaanse Kaper’, this is a reproduction of the 18th century costume. She’s also wearing a ‘voorhoofdsnaald’ (the thing across her forhead), two ‘zijnaalden’ (the two ‘needle’ things at the top, you can only see one) and pins behind the plates of the oorijzer. These pin the cap to the oorijzer.

Source: Zaanse Kaper

 

Another village which managed to keep it’s traditional costume despite nearness to a big city is Scheveningen. Now technically a part of the Hague, it used to be a fishing village. The costume has nearly died out, being worn only by a handful of elderly ladies today. There are several groups (from museums or choirs) which keep the knowledge about the clothing alive.

In Scheveningen the oorijzer today is silver with golden knobs. It has a distinctive shape and is used very much to give the cap it’s shape.The golden knobs are worn very close together high on the head.

In the 18th century the oorijzer was mostly silver with golden knobs, which were sometimes decorated with golden ‘bells’, jewels which would hang from the knobs. In the 19th century, some golden oorijzers also existed along side the silver ones. The knobs also took various shapes, settling on the round ones similar to the modern ones at the end of the century.

This is an image from 1850 depicting the costume around that time, also showing the ‘bells’ hanging from the oorijzer in the center top. These also disappeared later in the century. You can see the different types of knobs, as well as the swooping shape the oorijzer has in the back.

Scheveningse visventsters bij hondenkar Aquarel gemaakt voor plaat XLII van: Nederlandsche kleederdragten, naar de natuur geteekend = costumes des Pays-Bas, dessinés d'après nature / door Valentijn Bing en [Jan] Braet von Ueberfeldt. - Amsterdam : [s.n.], 1857. #ZuidHolland #Scheveningen

Image by Bing & Braet, Source: Het geheugen van Nederland

In the current costume, the oorijzer has become longer in the back, giving shape to the cap. The knobs are no longer at the sides of the head but nearly meet at the top and are a distinctive round shape. The pins are put through the knobs to keep the cap in place. (I always have to think of knitting needles sticking through a little ball of wool when I see them)

A lovely picture from the 1950’s showing the shape of the oorijzer and cap. The oorijzer sticks out in the back so keeping the cap in place.

 

An oorijzer from Scheveningen made in 1919

 

Next up is the town of Huizen. This used to be fishing town, before the Afsluitdijk (dike) made the inland sea of the Netherlands into a lake, and before the province of Flevoland was ‘created’.

This is an image of the costume around 1850, showing a simple cap on top of a silver oorijzer with small pins through the knobs.

Man en vrouw in Huizer dracht, 1854 Tekening met voorstelling van een vrouw en man staande voor de huisdeur in Huizer dracht. Naast de man een houten emmer en melkkan, links onder gesigneerd: B.v. Ueberfeldt 1854.  Aquarel gemaakt voor plaat I van: Nederlandsche kleederdragten, naar de natuur geteekend = costumes des Pays-Bas, dessinés d'après nature / door Valentijn Bing en [Jan] Braet von Ueberfeldt. - Amsterdam : [s.n.], 1857. #NoordHolland #Huizen #oorijzermuts

Image by Bing & Braet, Source: Het geheugen van Nederland

The clothing in Huizen followed regular fashion and eventually became all black between 1870 and 1920, probably also due to religious influences. From 1870 on the cap also went through a great change, becoming the main point of interest, mostly due to its size. The oorijzer seems to have stayed relatively similar, changing slightly to accommodate the new style of cap. Two different types of large caps were worn, the ‘isabee’ for daily wear without oorijzer, and the oorijzermuts (oorijzer cap) for Sundays and special occasions. The cap with oorijzer was also a lot more difficult to put on, nearly impossible to do alone.

The cap is put in place with the pins, attaching to the oorijzer. This eventually creates a type of ‘loop’ in the fabric as shown in the next image of the final cap.

Demonstratie van het opzetten van de oorijzermuts. Over de ondermuts en het oorijzer wordt de oorijzermuts opgezet. Met gouden spelden wordt de oorijzermuts aan het oorijzer vastgespeld. Eerst steekt men twee keer door de kantstrook, vervolgens door een gaatje in het oorijzer en tenslotte wordt de punt van de speld door de kantstrook van de muts weggestoken. 1945 #NoordHolland #Huizen #oorijzermuts

Vrouw uit Huizen in zondagse dracht. Ze draagt de oorijzermuts, die met hulp van een tweede persoon is opgezet. 1945 #NoordHolland #Huizen #oorijzermuts

And an image of the oorijzer only. You can clearly see the knobs with holes to put the pins through.

 

Another fishing town where the oorijzer survived is Urk. Urk used to be an island, before the province of Flevoland was basically created around it in the 1930s and 40s. It still very much retains its island culture today. The traditional costume has all but died out, but is sometimes worn for special occasions.

I couldn’t find any information on the 18th century costume, but this image shows the clothing ca. 1850. The oorijzer is silver with silver knobs, little pins stuck through. The knobs are worn on the cheeks.

Aquarel gemaakt voor plaat XXXIX van: Nederlandsche kleederdragten, naar de natuur geteekend = costumes des Pays-Bas, dessinés d'après nature / door Valentijn Bing en [Jan] Braet von Ueberfeldt. - Amsterdam : [s.n.], 1857. #Urk

By Bing & Braet, Source: Het Geheugen van Nederland

Around 1900 the costume reached its current state, the changes mostly being in the clothing. The cap changed little, the version today being a under-cap, a white cap with yellow lace at the front, pinned to the oorijzer and if the lady is married a black over-cap on the back. The red bands disappeared. The white cap and oorijzer would’ve been pinned together first and then put on. These pictures are from the early 20th century, showing the oorijzer beneath the cap. The little round balls are the tops of the pins which pin the cap to the oorijzer.

 

Jonge vrouw van het eiland Urk.

 

The oorijzer, this one made in the late 19th century. It’s very narrow in the front, which shows that it’s meant to press into the cheeks.

 

Staphorst-Rouwveen is a town which even today is known very much for its wearers of traditional costume. It has got the highest number of women still wearing the traditional clothes on a daily basis of the whole country, a couple of hundred today. The youngest is in her 40s though, and most wearers are over 60, so also in Staphorst traditional costume is dying out.

Again, I couln’t find any images from the 18th century costume. The image below is  from ca. 1850 showing the headwear including oorijzer inthe top left corner. The oorijzer is silver, still quite narrow and has small golden ‘curls’ at the ends. It’s worn quite low, both in the neck and on the cheeks.

Vrouwen in de dracht van Overijssel Aquarel gemaakt voor plaat XXVI van: Nederlandsche kleederdragten, naar de natuur geteekend = costumes des Pays-Bas, dessinés d'après nature / door Valentijn Bing en [Jan] Braet von Ueberfeldt. - Amsterdam : [s.n.], 1857. Linksboven een vrouw uit Staphorst. Middenboven en rechts: Schokland. Onder: twee vrouwen uit Giethoorn. #Schokland #Overijssel #KopOverijssel #Staphorst

Excerpt from Bing & Breat. Source

From the 1850s costume, it changed quite a bit until around 1900. After that, small changes kept happening up to at least the 1970s. As the flow of ‘new’ wearers stops, the same usually happens to the changes in fashion.

Staphorst today actually sees two examples of the oorijzer. There’s a girl version, which isn’t worn daily anymore today. The other version is for adult women. Aside from the headwear with the oorijzer, another cap exists. That one is a small decorated cap of fabric and usually the daily wear today. The oorijzer is reserved for special occasions.

The ‘girl-oorijzer’ has the same basic shape as the one for adults, and is made fully of silver. It has very basic knobs at the ends.

The girl-oorijzer, this one was made in 1909.

 

For ‘neat’ wear (opknapdracht) the oorijzer was worn on top of the black under-cap, but without a lace cap on top. For church and special occasions, the lace ‘toefmuts’ was worn on top. The oorijzer changed from being worn low in the neck, going up over the ears and back down, to being worn almost on top of the head, going over the ears and ending low on the cheeks.

A picture of a girl in opknapdracht, picture from the 1940’s.

 

The oorijzer for adult women is similar in shape to the girls. The knobs at the ends are different, and are replaced by golden curls. In the 1850s image you can already see small curls, but these grow bigger.

This oorijzer was made in 1954.

Zilveren oorijzer met gouden krullen en gouden stiften uit Staphorst, gedragen door vrouw of meisje van gegoede komaf. Gouden stiften en klinknagels waren slechts voorbehouden aan enkele welgestelde families. Oorijzer is vervaardigd in 1954 door F.G.A. Drost te Staphorst. Hij gebruikte tijdens eerste decennia van werkzame periode meesterteken van moeder, A.J. Drost-Keus. Haar meesterteken was aangepaste meesterteken van haar in WWII omgekomen man A.O. Drost. #Overijssel #Staphorst

 

A picture of a woman wearing the oorijzer in opknapdracht in the 1940’s.

 

And a picture taken in the 1990’s, of three women who still wear these clothes on a daily base. From left to right they’re dressed in regular, light mourning and mourning clothes, all fit for church.

 

Friesland

Friesland is a province in the north of the Netherlands, but (more so than most others) has a large ‘national’ Frisian identity. They have a flag, and their own official language. In some specific places a specific costume was worn, such as in the town of Hindeloopen or on the islands at the north. In most of the province though, traditional costume mostly took shape through the headwear while the rest of the clothing followed fashion. Friesland is one of the most interesting regions when it comes to the oorijzer. That’s because it had quite a large number of wealthy farmers, that wealth allowing the oorijzer to grow to epic proportions.

In the 18th century Frisian headwear was most commonly the ‘German cap’. I’m not sure of it’s exact origins, but it grew to be quite large. The oorijzer beneath however, was still quite modest. It’s already often made of silver or gold plated.

An 18th century Frisian costume with the German cap and oorijzer.

 

Titel:Trouwkostuum, gestreepte changeantzijde met gebrocheerd bloempatroon, afgezet met franje  Vervaardiger: onbekend  Soort object:trouwkostuum; rok; jak  Vervaardigingsdatum: 1782  Afmeting:hoogte: 75.0 cm  Materiaal: zijde, linnen:

Source: Fries museum

 

An early 18th century gilded oorijzer from Friesland.

Source: Fries museum

 

At the beginning of the 19th century the cap changes quite drastically, and this marks the beginning of a growth in the oorijzer. The band becomes bigger, the knobs growing as well and becoming more ornate.

The headwear at the turn of the 19th century was named a ‘Floddermuts’. This one is for mourning, as it’s plain. The ‘regular’ one would be made of lace.

 

Around this time, the oorijzer starts to grow. This is a gilded copper one from ca. 1800. You see that the knobs at the end grow with the band. Because the front shows best through the cap, the front starts growing first.

Source: Fries museum

 

In time the cap becomes shorter again in the back. Up to around 1850, the oorijzer keeps growing. Along with the base, the knobs at the end grow out to large ornate ornaments. Instead of a practical accessory which keeps the cap to the head, the oorijzer starts to have a more public function. Because it shows quite well beneath the sheer lace caps, your neighbors can see your oorijzer. Being made of silver or gold, a large oorijzer is expensive, a sign of wealth. And of course, it won’t do if your neighbor has one larger than you. With the growing wealth among Frisian farmers, the oorijzer grows to almost be a helmet of gold. Silver was, of course also still worn in less rich families.

The shorter cap. This is what the early Floddermuts evolved to between 1820 and 1880.

Source: Fries museum

 

A gilded copper oorijzer from around 1840. The fronts become larger, and the knobs start to become wider and even more ornate.

Source: Fries museum

 

A golden oorijzer from 1873. This is about as large as the oorijzers got. This one obviously  belonged to a wealthy lady.

Source: Fries museum

 

If you were not quite as rich, you could still have a large golden oorijzer, but the back would be unconnected, needing less metal. This one is gilded brass.

 

Silver versions also existed. It would be common as well to own both silver and gold, with the gold being for Sundays and special occasions and silver for daily wear. In this one from 1879 you can again see the narrow back.

Source: Fries museum

The Frisian costume (i.e. the cap) disappear after 1880/1890. Quite a strong national identity exists though, so a form of the costume (the ca. 1840 version) keeps being worn at events. Nowadays you can still see it being worn in dance groups, costume groups or in the traditional coach races (with Frisian horses). Nearly all of the jewelry, including the oorijzers, are antiques and even today worth quite a lot. (After all, you’re wearing a helmet of gold).

 

Zeeland

Zeeland is the province in the very south-west of the Netherlands, and mostly consists of islands. It’s probably partly due to this island culture that Zeeland evolved to have a rich variety of traditional costume.

The variation in dress in Zeeland existed mostly in the headwear. Small variations also exist in dress, though mainly in the upper-body. For the oorijzer though, the 17th century version evolved into two basic variations worn throughout the province.

In the 18th century, the oorijzer remained largely the same. It was silver and thin, but did develop round/rectangular golden pieces at the ends. These are all images from the 18th century fashion in Zeeland. You can see the small golden oorijzers, the round balls are probably the pins sticking through.

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Source: Het geheugen van Nederland. Left to right Zuid-Beveland, Zuid Beveland & Walcheren

 

And a late 18th century / early 19th century (pre 1814) oorijzer. You can see the small golden plates at the ends. It still has the same shape as the 17th century oorijzer, and hasn’t really become wider.

 

Before we continue, another map, this time of Zeeland. Most of the names I’ll be throwing around are the islands. Walcheren and Zuid-Beveland are two regions on the same island. Arnemuiden and Axel are specific towns. I’ll also be considering costume from just north of Zeeland, the light blue island at the top of this map. These are the islands of Zuid-Holland. Another province, but the oorijzer existed there as well and is most similar to that of Zeeland.

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In the first half of the 19th century, the oorijzer starts evolving in two different ways. In most of Zeeland, the knobs turn into golden curls. In Zuid-Beveland, however, they stay plates and become larger. Most back parts of oorijzers are silver, though brass is also seen. The decorative knobs are generally gold, but also sometimes gilded brass.

Oorijzers from Zuid-Beveland. 1864, 1886 & 1964. The first one is rather unusual, being made of filligree. Most oorijzers would be more similar to the other two, with plain golden plates. Through time, you see the plates growing in size.  This reflects the growth in wealth during the late 19th and 20th centuries.

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Although the oorijzer in the rest of Zeeland and islands of Zuid-Holland all developed into spiraled curls, you do see some slight regional differences. In Walcheren and Axel, you get spirals which are even in size. As well as with the plates, you do also see them growing slightly over time, although they keep the 4 tiers.

Oorijzers from Walcheren (ca. 1800-1825), Axel (1899) & Walcheren (1920)

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An interesting case is the town of Arnemuiden. At some point the back part of the oorijzer disappears, leaving only the curls. This happens exclusively in the town of Arnemuiden. These ‘curls’, as they’re called (this term is also often used for the whole oorijzer by the way), are pinned to the bonnet. You see here that all practical function of the oorijzer has gone, leaving only the decorative part.

A pair of curls made in 1909.

 

In Noord-Beveland, Schouwen-Duiveland and Tholen you get spirals with 4 tiers, but decreasing in size. The process of growth is similar to the other regions. The twisted spiral seen in the oorijzer of Tholen was typical for this island.

Oorijzers from Schouwen (1856) Noord-Beveland (1872-1904) & Tholen (1954)

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In the islands of Zuid-Holland, you also see spirals decreasing in size as they go upwards. Unlike the spirals from Zeeland, however, these are not limited to 4 tiers. Over time, they get more and more spirals.

Oorijzers from the islands of Zuid Holland, (1879, 1898, 1900-1910 worn in Heenvliet)

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These following images all show the oorijzers as worn with the different costumes in Zeeland and the islands of Zuid-Holland, throughout time. Most of these images will show the costume and cap as worn on Sundays, this being the most elaborate version. The most recent images for each costume are also roughly where the changes stopped. This is different per region, depending on how long the costume was still worn. The only one being worn daily today is the one of Arnemuiden.

Zuid-Beveland. On the left is a print ca. 1850. Next to this you see the 2 different ways the cap evolved. Top row is protestant, first image ca. 1905, second one is ca. 1940. The catholic cap is in basis the same, but folded and pleated differently to get a different shape. The first image is ca. 1900, the second one ca. 1950. You can see how the oorijzer was worn much higher on the head than before in the catholic version.

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Walcheren. On the left the costume ca. 1850.  Top right is an image from what I’d guess to be early 20th century. The girls on either side are wearing the ‘girls-cap’, with the long back. The cap in the center is the one generally worn by adult woman. Lower right shows pitures from the 1950’s. Left the adult cap, right the girl cap.

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Arnemuiden. Left the costume ca. 1850. In the middle a girl ca. 1890. On the right the cap ca. 1930. This was roughly the size the cap stayed afterwards.

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Axel. To the left an image depicting Zeeuws-Vlaandren ca. 1850. Top middle is a woman from Axel ca. 1880, bottom middle girls ca. 1905. The right image was taken in 1950.

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Noord-Beveland. Left ca. 1850. Top right is ca. 1900, bottom right 1950’s.

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Tholen. The Bing & Braet series doesn’t cover Tholen, so on the left a print from 1874. On the right a woman in the 1950’s.

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Schouwen-Duiveland. Ca. 1850 on the left, ca. 1910 on the right. The hair was typical for Schouwen and worn slightly different in Duiveland.

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Islands of Zuid-Holland. The left image depicts the costume from Goeree Overflakkee, Voorne, Beijerland and IJsselmonde ca. 1850. In the middle a girl from Voorne ca. 1880, the right image was taken ca. 1910.

Goeree Overflakkee Voorne Beijerland en IJsselmonde_zpszfecr9ov (600x262)

 

This post turned out slightly longer than anticipated, but I wanted to be complete, so I hope it wasn’t too long. This concludes the post. Below some sources, by far most information and images were taken from the website ‘Het Geheugen van Nederland’, which has a large image archive about Dutch traditional costume. This includes wonderful information from about the objects, from the museums they belong to.

 

Sources:

Het Geheugen van Nederland

Fries Museum

De Scheveningse Klederdracht, Koolbergen 1990

Historische Kring Huizen

Oorijzers – ‘Ear-irons’ – Part 1

Oorijzers are a type of metal headgear which have been worn in the Netherlands for a very long time. Literally translated the name means ‘ear-iron’, but I don’t think there’s an official English word for them, so I’ll keep using the Dutch term. I wanted to just write one post about oorijzers, but it became a bit long, so this is part 1 of 2! In this article I’ll give a little background on the history of the oorijzer and one example of it’s continued use throughout history. The next article will be about the oorijzer in various traditional Dutch costumes!

Just a quick disclaimer: I’m writing this article as an interested layman, I’m not a scholar on this subject by any means. My information comes from museums and books, and I’ll try to give an overview of sources at the bottom. I’m also writing this more as knowledgeable on Dutch traditional costume than on 16th and 17th century dress, to give an idea of my perspective.

But back to the topic on hand! What is an oorijzer? The basic description would be ‘a piece of metal  worn on the head underneath a cap’. That’s a very bare description, mostly because the function, appearance and material of the oorijzer all changed throughout time and place. Below you see a collage of different existent oorijzers ranging from 16th to 20th century, all worn in different parts of the Netherlands (source for all images: Het Geheugen van Nederland ).

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Origin

In origin, the oorijzer was a simple wire often made of brass. It was worn around the head and meant to keep the cap (which was worn on top) in place. It was a very utilitarian object, of which the largest part was not seen. The tips could be a little decorated with wire or small knobs, because these would stick out a little in the front. The rest of the wire was narrow and undecorated. Below is a brass oorijzer with copper wire around the tips found in Amsterdam, believed to be made in the 16th century. This is a good example of the style and shape of oorijzers around this time.

This type of oorijzer was worn throughout the entire country as a part of regular fashions of the time. These would’ve gone out of fashion for the elite around 1650. The lower classes would keep wearing them for a little longer. After 1700, you see oorijzers mostly in regional and local wear.

Although the earliest examples of oorijzers are twisted wire, at some point you also start seeing plated (I’m not sure if this is the correct technical term for how they’re made, sorry!) examples with little loops attached. The one below is from the last quarter of the 17th century, made of gilded brass. This one might’ve been for a wealthier woman, given the gilding and decoration of the knobs. It might have been worn with an early version of regional clothing as well, given the date.

Oorijzer, vermoedelijk laatste kwart 16de eeuw

The oorijzer would be made such that it would grip the head, preventing the cap from sliding off. The cap could be pinned to the ear iron. Because it was a bit tight (otherwise the grip wouldn’t work), you often see the knobs or ends making indentations of the cheeks of wearers.

Although few oorijzers from the 16th and 17th centuries have survived (being the practical accessories they were), they were worn widely. Luckily for us, the 17th century is a great era for the Dutch painters. Even though most of the upper class stopped wearing them at some point during the century, lower class portraits were also done. This means a fair number of paintings have survived which show women wearing oorijzers. Below a small selection.

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Top left to right: “Vrouw aan de maaltijd” Gabriël Metsu ca. 1661, ca. 1664 – “Portrait of Catharina Hooghsaet (1607-1685)”  Rembrandt, 1657 – “Studie van een oude vrouw in een witte dop” Rembrandt  – “Woman eating”  Gabriël Metsu 1664-1666. Bottom left to right:  “Meisje maakt kant”  Caspar Netscher – “Portrait of a Lady” Frans Pourbus the Elder 1580 – “Portrait Of A Young Woman” Frans Hals 1655,1660 – “Portrait of a woman” Frans Hals 1640

 

In the 18th century the oorijzer disappears from regular fashions. In some regional costumes the oorijzer disappears (if it ever existed at all, sources pre 1700 being scarce). In others though, it is kept on and starts to transform. The 18th century is the base of most of the regional traditional costume we see today, it’s when the differences start becoming larger. The same is true for the oorijzer, which becomes different for different regions.

Burgerweeshuis

One very interesting place where the oorijzer is kept is the Burgerweeshuis in Amsterdam, the main orphanage in Amsterdam. Founded in the 16th century, the orphanage was quite well known and located in the same place up to 1954. The uniform for the girls was very distinctive, with dresses which were black on one side and red on the other, worn with white caps including oorijzers. After the oorijzer goes out of fashion in the 17th century the orphans keep wearing it and it serves as a part of their dowry when they leave. Throughout time it grows a bit from the 17th century version, becoming wider. The oorijzers worn in the Burgerweeshuis are eventually made of silver, making it one of the most valuable possessions the orphans were likely to have. The costume, including oorijzers was worn up to 1919 when they stopped wearing the uniform. This is an example of a costume which is not as much regional but institutional, but which therefore stays nearly the same for centuries. I couldn’t find any pictures of the uniform before late 19th century, so these images below best reflect the uniform as worn in the last years.

Below is a print of the costume made in 1914 after a doll (date unknown, but I’d guess late 19th/early 20th century) which clearly shows the silver oorijzer beneath the cap. At this point, it has become wider than the original 17th century oorijzer and the little knobs are high on the head.

 

Some existent examples. The pins would’ve been put through the knobs at the top

The painter Nicolaas de Waay painted a good number of paintings of girls of the Burgerweeshuis in the early 20th century. This is one of his portraits, again clearly showing the oorijzers beneath the caps.

Currently, most Dutch people know the oorijzer purely from their use in various traditional Dutch costumes. In Part 2 of this topic I’ll attempt to give an overview of how the oorijzer evolved in different regional wear, and how they’re still worn today!

Sources:

Het Geheugen van Nederland

Amsterdam Museum – Burgerweeshuis

Wikipedia page Burgerweeshuis

Veluwe

This spring, I went to a market of the ‘Nederlandse Kostuumvereniging’, or the Dutch Costume Society. They’re an organization which brings together lovers, wearers and collectors of both traditional and historical costume. They organize a market every year, and this was the first I attended. There were loads of beautiful things, and I ended up buying an almost complete traditional costume from the Veluwe, an area in the mid-east of the country. The pieces were sold by a museum, so I suspect they have too much and were getting rid of those pieces not in perfect condition. Even so, they were beautiful, and so cheap that I couldn’t resist. I now almost have the complete costume as well, so it can (sort-of) stay together.

The costume is quite dark, being all black with a white collar and cap. It consists of an underskirt (which I don’t have), a skirt, an apron, a jacket, a collar, a black under-cap and lace over-cap. The costume I have is for heavy mourning, which shows only in the fact that the cap is not made of lace, but stiffened cotton and that the collar cannot be of ‘open’ lace (so no holes, but embroidery is allowed). Traditionally, a necklace of coral would also be worn with costumes like this.

The whole ensemble.

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It all started with the jacket, which I saw and loved and fitted perfectly.

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It’s probably from the earlier half of the 20th century, and all the details are lovely. The lace is a little broken at the sleeve, but I can fix that.

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The apron is pleated at the front and decorated with more lace at the waist and hem.

 

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The skirt needs a little fixing at the hem, but nothing too much. (And this was the only skirt they had which fit me)

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The under-cap is plain black and was meant to protect the lace cap from wear and hide the hair under.

 

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The cap I own is of very thin white cotton. It has an upper and lower part, the upper part being plain. The lower part is pleated in soft pleats and stiffened to keep its shape. Around the front there’s a metal wire with more cotton pleated very tightly on top.

 

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In light mourning, a similar cap would be worn, but with the lower part unstiffened. Out of mourning, lace was used. A regular cap:

resolve

 

 

The costume is not worn on a daily base anymore, but there’s some women who still wear it to church and special occasions.

Despite it being so black, I really love it, especially the jacket is lovely with all it’s intricate details.

One lovely lady from the area who still wears it occasionally:

Inspiration – Macedonian folk dress

The month of May was a slow one sewing wise for me. For very good reasons, because I was travelling 3 out of 4 weeks for both work and holiday. I hope to get back to sewing soon, but for now I wanted to share shome holiday photos. These pictures were taken in the Museum of Macedonia, Skopje, in their costume department (yes, photography was allowed). They’re not all of great quality (low light + glass casing is not a good combination), and although I tried to keep track of the signs I don’t know exactly which costume is from which region or for which occasion. Despite all this, I hope to give some idea of the wonderful costumes and embroidery. The amount of detail in these costumes is truly astonishing. By far the most are costumes for special occasions and weddings. Especially the bridal costumes can by very eleborate and heavy. I made a selection of my favorites, which was very difficult, so if you don’t like loads of pictures, this might be the time to stop scrolling. To see a full-scale (huge) version, just click on the picture.

1

What I love most about this costume is the embroidery, the little buttons and the pavti (the metal belt thing). I actually bought earrings with these little antique buttons.

 

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One of the more elaborate headdresses. Clearly only for special occasions! (This is a bridal costume). And I love the socks.

 

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More lovely embrodery, with a traditional pattern on the sleeves. The little thing in the bottom corner is bridal jewellry and worn on the head. (you can see it if you look closely).

 

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This costumes was one of my favourites, mostly because of the coat. It has a lot of pleats in the side-backs, and gorgeous gold braid embroidery patterns. Also, look at those pockets and sleeve cuffs!

 

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More colorful! I tried to count the nr. of layers she’s wearing, but failed… There’s an underdress for sure, and a vest, but there seem to be 2 more layers. My best guess is that its 1. chemisette, 2 underdress, 3 inset of vest and 4 vest. But if anyone has more info…

 

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Love this headdress. The chains and little coins, and all the embroidery and tuffs on the veil…

 

 

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And yet another lovely headdress. You’d need to be careful not to get it into your eyes though!

 

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Ignoring the fact that I’m getting repetitive, love the headwear. It’s a type of crown, with again a beautifully embroidered veil.

 

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More embroidery on this one, I love the gold/red/white scheme.

 

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Another lovely crown. The little coins under the neck are a perfect example of how traditional costume is not ‘thought up’ by someone, but evolved. (Because who would think of this? 😉 ).

 

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I really like the vest on this. It’s a bit difficult to see because of all the layers, but it’s a very unique colorcombination of pink and gold.

 

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I think this one holds the record for the most coins, it must be very heavy.

 

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A slightly different, darker costume.

 

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Orange and fringes for this one. The embroidery is, again, beautiful.

 

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I think this was my favourite costume (hence the many photos). The skirt is slightly shorter than most, and wider. The apron was of velvet, which looks very luxurious along all the linnen and wool. There seem to be at least 2 decorated vests, and a crown.

 

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I believe this was the most extreme headdress, again obviously meant for a bride. To balance this thing must’ve been a challenge!

 

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Another darker colorscheme. I really love the head-chain and roses on this one.

 

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This was another favourite. This one has a slightly shorter and wider skirt, with colorfull embroidery on the jacket and apron. Also, she has leg-warmers! The jacket has half-sleeves which are open at the front and then meet again at the cuffs.

 

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The sleeves on this costume are spectacular, the very inricate gold braid in different patterns. You can barely see the ground colors.

18th century Zaanstad costume

This is another post about the drawings by Jan Duyvetter of Dutch traditional costume, made in the early ’50’s. The previous post showed an 18th century Frisian lady and her clothes, in this post an image from the same time period, but a different region. The drawing is of a lady from Zaanstad, a place right above Amsterdam, most known for the ‘Zaanse Schans’ with it’s mills and characteristic houses. The costume in this area disappeared in the late 19th century, but by then was already much different from the image below.

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The general sihouette of this lady is similar to that of the 18th century Frisian costume, which makes sense because it followed the fashions of that time. A conical bodice, and a skirt worn over wide panniers. The panniers are slightly wider in this lady, which might have something to do with the fact that this location was closer to the big city and therefore to modern fashion. This area was also a rather rich one, and this is a costume worn for visiting.

The lady is wearing a ton-sur-ton skirt, with a hint of colorfull petticoat peeping out underneath. Over this, she wears a wide checkered red apron, with what looks like a decorated ribbon at the waist. The jacket is long and had 3/4 trimmed sleeves. She wears a fichu at the neck and trimmed mittens. Her headgear is, again, very typical for this area. She is wearing several pieces of jewelry with the cap. The piece on the forehead is called a ‘voorhoofdsnaald’. The other pieces to the side are ‘ear irons’ and extend to below the lace cap. On top of the lace cap, she wears a cloth which was known as a ‘kaper’.

The rest of the post shows existing garments as worn with this costume in the 18th century. The real-life counterparts of the image.

'Kaper' of blue silk. Worn over the lace cap.

‘Kaper’ of blue silk. Worn over the lace cap.

 

Lace cap.

Lace cap.

Ear-iron. Worn under the lace cap. These are from the 19th century, but still similar to those worn in the drawing.

Ear-iron. Worn under the lace cap. These are from the 19th century, but still similar to those worn in the drawing.

Cap pins. Worn just behind the decorative part of the ear irons, they were pinned through the cap. Again, these are 19th century in make.

Cap pins. Worn just behind the decorative part of the ear irons, they were pinned through the cap. Again, these are 19th century in make.

'Zijnaalden'. These were worn as jewelry by pinning them into the cap, so they lay across the forehead. One was worn at a time. These are early 19th century in make.

‘Zijnaalden’. These were worn as jewelry by pinning them into the cap, so they lay across the forehead. One was worn at a time. These are early 19th century in make.

Fichu

Fichu

Jacket. These were made out of several fashionable colors and prints, mostly out of glazed cotton.

Jacket. These were made out of several fashionable colors and prints, mostly out of glazed cotton.

Knitted silk mittens

Knitted silk mittens

Petticoat. Many were made out of chintz fabric. There are also some examples of solid color quilted petticoats.

Petticoat. Many were made out of chintz fabric. There are also some examples of solid color quilted petticoats.

Skirt. These were also made out of different colored and patterned fabrics. This is a ton-sur-ton as in the image, but are also extent solid or chintz skirts.

Skirt. These were also made out of different colored and patterned fabrics. This is a ton-sur-ton as in the image, but are also extent solid or chintz skirts.

Apron. The top was gathered over the tie string.

Apron. The top was gathered over the tie string.

18th century Frisian costume

In the early 1950’s, the Dutch open-air museum acquired a large collection of traditional costumes from all over the country. In many places these costumes were quickly disappearing and a previous collection had been largely lost due to the war. Most of the collection is rarely brought out today, it remains in storage. A real shame, because there are so many lovely items there, but the museum chooses to have no permanent exhibition. At the same time, between 1948 and 1952, artist Jan Duyvetter made a series of about 140 colored drawings of traditional costume in the Netherlands for the same open-air museum. This series consists of many different eras. Most of it is of ‘current’ costumes, so the 1940’s. Some are of the 1910’s, some of the 1860’s, etc. There are also a couple of drawings of the 18th century, and even one based on paintings of a 1600 lady. These prints are truly lovely, and I especially love the older ones. This is one of my favorites:

 

This costume was from the north of the country, from Friesland, around 1780. The general silhouette is clearly taken from the daily fashions of the time. A conical shaped torso, and a wide skirt with even what seems like small panniers to give the characteristic 18th century hipline. The jacket and skirt are also seen in many areas at this time, plain and flowered fabrics. The checkered apron is not something I believe is common in many other areas. In traditional costumes, an apron is almost always included, even in clothes worn on sundays and to church. The checkered cloth around her shoulders is also found often in traditional costume, red being worn when out of mourning. The large sun-hat she is holding can be seen in fashion as well, although the shape is typical. The chintz fabric was very popular at that time, but even more so in the Netherlands than some other countries. The most noticable part of the costume is, of course, her headdress. This type is called a ‘German cap’, and made out of lace. Underneath, a metal (gold or brass usually) ‘ear iron’ is worn. Taken all together, it’s a very striking costume.

What I really like, is that out of the collection of existent garments of the open air museum, one could dress a dummy in almost exactly the clothes as seen in the drawing. So although this is not a photograph, it is strongly based on existing garments (and paintings of the time). In the remainder of this post, I have collected some images of these garments (the collection is largely photographed and online at http://www.hetgeheugenvannederland.nl ). These garments are, as far as I could tell it, what the lady in the drawing is wearing, excluding underwear, because I can’t see from the drawing to make sure. (although a shift, corset, at least one petticoat and corset/bunroll seem certain)

So from top to bottom:

 

Headdress, ‘German Cap’

 

Ear-iron

 

Hat

 

Necklace

 

Fichu

 

Zondoek

 

Jacket, as worn in Friesland

 

Jacket from the ‘Zaanstreek’ (not Frisian), but the fabric is very similar to the one in the drawing, so I wanted to include it.

 

Mittens

 

Apron

 

Skirt

 

Stockings

 

http://geheugenvannederland.nl/?/nl/items/NOMA01:HM33/&p=21&i=10&t=718&st=Friesland&sc=subject%20all%20%22Friesland%22%20AND%20%28isPartOf%20any%20%22NOMA01%22%20%29/

Shoes

 

Traditional costume – Northern-Limburg

A couple of weeks ago I was in a lace museum, where they also had an exhibition on the traditional costume of the north of Limburg. It’s a costume which is generally under-represented in the literature. Recently, one local collector wrote a book about this costume, saving his knowledge gathered over the years.

The costume of the north of Limburg dissapeared from daily life in the beginning of the 20th century. It’s most characteristic part is, without doubt, the headwear. The rest of the costume mostly followed current fashions, but there are a couple characteristics worth mentioning.

The headwear worn by ladies is called a ‘toer’. The toer consists of a lace cap and a wreath of silk flowers. The lace cap is worn on the head over a black under-cap, so the lace can be seen properly even on light hair. Some photos of traditional caps:

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Lace under-cap

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Detail of the pleating in the front

 

On top of this cap, the flowers are worn. These silk flowers are mounted on a wide ‘headband’, and has ruffled lace at the bottom. It has two large ‘ribbon’ like pieces hanging down.

 

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Complete toer.

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Complete tour. Detail of the lace undercap and the tule and silk flowers on top.

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From the back. Here you can also see the lace ribbons hanging down.

 

For mourning, a different cap was worn as lace was not allowed. For this reason, the under-cap was made of fabric and the flowers replaced by black crepe-like fabric.

 

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Under-cap for mourning. No lace

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Detail of the pleating.

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Complete mourning toer

 

These headpieces were made by the ‘toer’ maker. This was (usually) a woman who would make and clean the toer. This consisted making the cap, ruffling and starching the lace and making the flower band. The ruffling and starching was done with metal bars, shown in the photos below.

 

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Tools of the tour-maker

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A ‘plooiplankje’, or pleating board for the making of the under-cap

 

This lady would also clean the toer, because it needed to be completely taken apart to do this. Ladies would wear their toer daily, and it would cost as much as at leas a month’s wages at the time. A new toer was worn on sundays. Once it had been washed, it was usually worn during the week. These pieces were very valuable, and were often passed on from mother to daugther.

The rest of the clothing during the last period the toer was worn, was mostly black. A black skirt, black blouse and for outer wear a ‘pelerine’ was worn. This was a typical cape of the time, about hip-length and with a small collar. These were made of different materials, but often wool or silk, and beautifully decorated with methods such as lace, soutache or embroidery.

Another typical part of the costume from Limburg were the red/brown shawls. These were worn in the period before the costume became completely black, around the middle of the 19th century. They were cashmir shawls, originally made popular in the early 19th century by the French empress (and wife of Napoleon) Josephine. The story is that Josephine spend so much on clothing, that her husband forbid her to buy any more shawls. Instead, she used them as bed-spreads and made pillow-cushions out of them, as these were not clothing. Josephine was a trend-setter, and many women followed her example with these shawls. In Limburg, they became incorporated into the traditional wear and therefore stayed in fashion quite a bit longer than in modern fashion circles. The smaller shawls were worn as shawls, but when a girl married, a very large one was pleated around the shoulders with pins to form a cape and this would be her ‘bruidsdoek’, or ‘weddingshawl’.

 

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Wedding shawl. It was pinned in place this way (being a rectangle in shape originally)

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Wedding shawl. It was pinned in place this way (being a rectangle in shape originally)

Traditional Costume – Marken

I already wrote a post about the costume traditionally worn on the island of Marken a while back. My dance group has a large collection of traditional costumes for performances, and Marken is included in this collection. I have to wear this costume in a while, so I already took it home and had the opportunity to show the different layers a costume is composed of. Every aspect of such a costume was important, and when the whole thing is worn together it can be difficult to still see the separate garments. I photographed all pieces on my dress-form, just to give an idea of the amazing amount of detail which went into the clothing!

 

The firs piece of clothing is a shirt, which is usually called the ‘Mouwen’, which means ‘sleeves’. This is because only the sleeves will actually show when the whole costume is worn. This is also why the main part of the shirt is made out of a different (cheaper) fabric. Nobody would see it, so why bother? The sleeves are made of a white/red striped fabric, as well as a small piece over the shoulder because this will also show. The sleeves are somewhere between long and 3/4 length and have a small split at the end.

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Next up is the under-skirt. This skirt is made of a very specific striped fabric, with orange, blue, green, white and yellow stripes. The same fabric is used in the over-skirts in the town of Volendam. The skirt is made of wool and the fabric is pleated onto the waist-band. It reaches to about mid-kalf. There’s also a slit with the pocket in this skirt. The pocket should be placed so that the pocket-slit of the over skirt falls in the same place (on these photo’s I put the under-skirt on wrong, sorry).

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Next is the bodice, (which can also be worn under the underskirt) which is a lightly-boned underbust type of corset. It’s not meant to be laced tight, but just for decoration and a bit of support. I suspect that it’s a left-over of Victorian clothing in this costume,  although I’m not entirely sure. The bodice is made of black wool and embroiderd with flowers (can be tulips as in this one, but also roses for instance). Colors can also vary, with orange being worn mostly on queens/kings-day, and darker (blue, purple) colors being used for mourning. The bodices are (of course) completely hand-embroidered and they lace in the front.

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After this comes the over-skirt. Again made of wool, black this time with the hem and pocket bound with red. The skirt has cartridge-pleats at the sides and back and lies flat in the front, where it also closes. (an apron will cover the gap). The pleats extend quite far down, which gives a lovely effect.

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Over the bodice, a jacket is worn. The front is of red wool, the back made of silk varying from blue to brown/green colors. It closes with hooks in the front. Over this jacket, a piece of fabric is pinned, called the ‘beuk’. It’s usually a bright, flowered fabric and is just pinned on with safety pins.

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An apron is worn which coveres the gap in the front of the skirts. It’s made of blue cotton with a red checkered top. There’s a bit of lace separating the fabrics (look at those little ducks!). The fabric of the apron is kept tightly folded so that there’s a square pattern of folds in the fabric. So no, I didn’t forget to iron it, it’s supposed to look like this.

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Finally, a ribbon is attached with hooks to the apron and wrapped around the waist. The end is attatched with a safety pin.

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The head-piece consists of multiple caps of both lace and flowered fabric (the same as the beuk in this case).

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And a picture of the whole costume put together!

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Traditional costume – Staphorst

The Dutch town of Staphorst is probably known best for its religious population and its folk costume. It has some of the youngest and most people still wearing folk costume daily, with around 500 women still wearing it in 2008.

The costume is known best for what is called ‘stipwerk’, or ‘dot-work’. Parts of the costume are made out of black fabric decorated by patterns of different coloured dots. The main variations in costume are of mourning/regular and sunday/workday, with special costumes for children.

Three women from Staphorst in their Sunday church clothes, the left most is out of mourning, the middle one in light mourning and the right most in heavy mourning.

 

The back, here you can see the pleated shawls.

 

Mourning is expressed with the colours, as in most Dutch costume red is for out of mourning, blue and purple for light mourning and black for heavy mourning. The daily wear differs mostly with regards to the headwear, women wear simple dotted caps on work days.

A photo from the sixties of the daily wear out of mourning.

 

The typical dotted patterns were often made by the women themselves, and created with the heads of nails and fabric paint. You’d need to stay out of the rain, because they’re not very water resistant!

 

Typical fabric, this one would be for out of mourning.

 

Mourning fabric

 

A work in progress. You can see he’s holding a cork with a nail in it to make the dots.

 

Of course, large patterns could also be made with these blocks.

 

The costume exists of black stockings and shoes, an under-skirt, a dark blue pleated skirt of sturdy fabric (black for heavy mourning), a black shirt, a black apron with a border at the top (flowers or checkered), a ‘kraplap’, a pleated shawl and the headwear.

 

An under-skirt, worn as a petticoat.

A Sunday-skirt. The front is made out of different fabric, which didn’t matter because the apron would cover it.

Apron

Black shirt

Kraplap, worn over the shirt. This one is for light mourning.

Kraplap for out of mourning

This would be pleated in a specific way and worn as a shawl (Mourning)

Out of mourning, the shawl was red.