Saturday, 23 May 2009

Curling Ostrich Feathers

I've been collecting different instructions on how to curl ostrich feathers. Here below they are presented as quotes:

"You can use a modern curling iron, plug it in, set it on low, when the iron is ready, place the feather in the iron (much like you would on hair), and slowly pull the feather through, when you pull it through you can control the amount of curl you want. Do not leave the feather in the iron very long it will burn or you will get a U curve curl. You can bend most any feather this way, just use common sense when doing it."

"The curling iron is excellent! If you steam the feather a little first, the results are even better.
If you're looking to curl the spine of the feather more than just a little, you can do it by first attaching wire (millinery wire is best), then steaming the heck out of the feather, then while it's all nice and flexible, bend the wire to your preferred shape and place it somewhere safe to dry. If the curl is really extreme, several treatments may be needed, and you may need to support the new shape during the drying process (depending on how heavy your wiring is).
To attach the wire to the feather, the suggested method is to use thread -- the thread loops around the feather and the wire, holding them tightly together and is then knotted. Move about half an inch up the feather, create another loop around both, and knot. And so on.
It's strongly suggested that you curl the spine before curling the fronds, as all of the steal usually makes the frond curls fall out.

Links to other information/sources on the web:
Buying ostrich feathers in Australia

Fichu: A Regency Shawl

"Fanny, William must not forget my shawl if he goes to the East Indies; and I shall give him a commission for anything else that is worth having.....I wish he may go to the East Indies, that I may have my shawl." "
Austen, Jane: Mansfield Park

"The Empress had more than two hundred white muslin dresses. This was only a fraction of her extensive wardrobe. She changed clothes four and five times a day. It is not remarkable, then, that she owned several hundred dresses, 558 pairs of white silk stockings, 520 pairs of shoes (she never wore a pair but once), 500 lace trimmed chemises, 252 hats, and 400 shawls. She spent 3,000 francs a year for rouge and thousands more for perfumes, but she had only two flannel petticoats and two pairs of drawers!"
"Dressing the Part", Fairfax Proudfit Walkup; 1938 F.S. Crofts & Co. (page 255)
Instructions to make a fichu:

Links to images:

Maurice Quentin de Latour, French, 1704-1788
_Portrait of Madame Anne-Jeanne Cassanéa de
Mondonville, née Boucon (1708-1780)_, c. 1752
Possibly the exact same collar, reused by the artist.

Reynolds, Joshua (English, 1723-1792)
_Portrait of Suzanna Beckford_, 1756
Lace appears to be "blonde" in three or four
layers. Probably a narrowish edging attached to
a sheer fabric; compare the engageantes.

Spencer, Gervase
_Portrait of Miss Manners_, 1760
Multi-layer falling collar similar to that of
Suzanna Beckford but even larger.

Copley, John Singleton (American, 1738-1815)
_Hannah Loring_, 1763
Very narrow, multi-layer frill of lace or muslin or gauze.

Copley, John Singleton
_Mrs. Daniel Hubbard (Mary Greene)_, c. 1764
Virtually identical to collar of Hannah Loring
except for ribbon used to tie collar.

Maurice Quentin de La Tour
_Marie Sallé_, 1740,_Calouste_Gulbenkian).jpg
More of a steinkirk.

Regency Fashion Exhibition, Australia

An exhibition of antique regency garments will be on show during the Jane Austen Festival of Australia (JAFA) in April 2010.
Watch the JAFA blog for more information.

An exhibition of antique victorian garments will be on show during the Victorian-Era Festival, 2-5 October 2009 in Canberra, Australia. See the website for more information.

Apologies for quiet-time on blog

Dear All
Our apologies for lack of communication through our blog. Life has been very busy organising dances, festivals and the family - our 15-year old son is in hospital undergoing brain surgery at the moment.
As time allows I'll be adding more to this blog.

Night Clothes

Regency Night-Dress (1)
This garment is worn at night instead of the day shift in the cooler months. It features:
  • long sleeves with narrow trimmed cuffs
  • slit in the front fastened with three buttons equally spaced.
  • buttonholes are lengthways on the narrow hem.
  • trimmed collar that is either turned down or standing like a fichu
  • shoulder pieces
If the night-dress is figure-hugging, wear a muslin fichu made of "a square of four quarters of middling-quality muslin, which you fold like a shawl".
In summer a nightcap without strings is worn, in winter a trimmed serre-tête is worn underneath a cap with strings.
In hot weather the day shift might be worn with a muslin fichu that is replaced by a night jacket.

1. Grimble, Frances, The Lady's Stratagem, pg 183-4.