Ok, so I know that I was going to start posting TBT posts on past dresses of mine...but something happened yesterday that I have to share with you! As costumers, I think you will appreciate the excitement that is coursing through my veins at present.
Since I started veering away from my almost strict adherence to only making NFE to 1820s dresses last year, (had to make 1863 dresses for the 150th anniversary of the Idaho Territory), I have been oogling the enormous kashmir paisley shawls of the early Victorian Era. The colors, the intricate designs, the lovely black part in the middle of the shawl (why is that there?) and the fringe-y bits at the ends. I pinned pins to my 1860s boards and even went so far as to search for them on eBay and Etsy. Holy Monkey those babies are expensive! Well, of course, they are oooooold and probably not many survived. Right? I was totally ok with not ever owning one. I have other accessories that I can use with my early Victorian wardrobe anyways.
Then yesterday happened. I had some time to kill in between having a lunch date with my husband and picking the boys up from school. Where do I go when I want to spend time in lust, drool over things that are old, and bemoan the fact that I am not a millionaire? That's right. Antique World Mall. It truly is a place of wonder and awe to me. Just to be with things that are from another time delights my heart to no end. I was running out of booths to peruse when my eye caught a little slip of fabric peeking out of a large wicker washing basket. I took a step closer as my brain started to recognize what my eyes were telling it it was seeing. Could it be? No.... I live in Idaho...not on the East Coast where fabulous things like this reside for corn sakes! I gingerly grasped the edge of the cloth and slowly and carefuly started to disentangle it from the quilts and blankets that were piled atop it. As more and more of the cloth came to light, my heart started to flutter and my eyes dialated (this happens a lot in antiques and fabric stores, just in case you haven't noticed...). I caught the whole bundle up in my hands, purse, phone, and beanie babies forgotten on the floor. I moved to where I could spread its HUGE length out fully on the floor and began to open the whole glorious mess up.
I was literally BUZZING with excitement, wanting to laugh and giggle and burst with joy at my discovery!! One of the owners of the mall came by and helped me to spread out the shawl. He looked at it and said, "Huh. Well, that's neat." My eyebrows raised to my hair line and I studdered...."Yes. Yes it it." Thinking to myself, "Don't you know WHAT this is???!!!"
Then....I looked at the price tag thinking to myself, well at least I got to hold it and drool on it. Hope the person who buys it doesn't mind the water damage.
Imagine if you will, a warm 2 liter bottle of Coke that someone has inserted a Mentos into, replaced the cap and shaken up for all their might. Now imagine all that energy is trying to escape.
That was me at that moment!!!!
OH MY GIDDY AUNT!!!!!!
On the price tag was written....."Vintage fabric remnant $18.00"
Have you ever tried to keep from bursting out with great braying guffaws and crazed laughter? Well, I must say that I was exceedingly proud of myself. I made it to my car, shawl carefully in hand before the crazed, lunacidal maniacatic laughing began in earnest. I think I made myself light headed from sheer giddiness.
I came home and as is my style, totally geeked out on Victorian Kashmir Paisley Shawls. I have made a new Pinterest board you can see here. I also did a bit of research and will be sharing that with you below.
I not only found some fabulous images of extant shawls, I also have found some beautiful paintings of ladies wearing these shawls! Laaaaaaaa!!!!!
"In Memorium" by Alfred Stevens, 1861. Source
I LOVE this painting as it shows both my beloved mourning dresses, but also the shawl being worn by one of the ladies in mourning!! A match made in my costuming heaven!
Fanny Holman Hunt painted by William Holman Hunt Art Blog
Wholesale Scarves has a very well written history on the Kashmir shawl craze that swept the fashion world from the early Regency Era to the mid Victorian Era.
Another delightful painting by Alfred Stevens, "Will You Go Out With Me Fido?"
Now here is my beauty!!! It measures a whopping 60" x 129". It is colossal and so fun! There are a few slits in it where the shawl has slit. Someone in the past carefully mended it and this morning I mended the rest. I wish the colors would translate better than what I have here...
I tried to spread it out in my bedroom, but it was just too big.
On the family room floor...it's longer than the huge rug!! I find the segrated "box" looking things at the ends interesting. Need to research what those were for. Just some pretty way to finish the ends?
The colors of this shawl are so very interesting. When you look at them up close and personal, they are really not that pretty, almost, dare I say, ugly. But taken as a whole, the colors working with the design, are a true thing of beauty!
The black silk at the center has some spots that are getting a bit thread bare. This will be used as a costuming accessory very carefully and not very often.
Close up of the weave. So very small!
Back side of the shawl....I wish I knew about the lady that owned this shawl! In my imagination, it was brought back to the states by a loving husband to his beautiful wife. He had been on a business trip to England and this caught his eye while he passed the window of a dry goods shop. With his wife in mind, he purchased this and knew it would look lovely with the sapphire blue silk dress he also purchased for her. Yes, I am that sickly romantic minded....Don't judge.
Here is some more history on the Kashmir Paisley Shawl:
Well, that is it for my excitment!! I do believe my new shawl will pair nicely with the 1840s wool mourning dress I have in the planning stage! I sooooooooo cannot wait to get that dress done so I can play dress up!!
Be blessed my friends!
*Now back to our regularly scheduled TBT*