Monday, March 15, 2010

Mystery Skirt...

I have a very 'gifted' sister...
She has  the uncommon ability to take a picture of antique handwork that is really hard and make a pattern from it.  And she is sharing that skill with our town's museum...right now she is working on reproducing some amazing pieces of knit and shuttle tatting. As she was going through some of the unidentified things in the 'back room', she came across these, and knowing my...quirky taste in clothes, wanted to show them to me. She described them as, "Not culottes, but like that, but a riding skirt...sort of."
Well I ask you-how could I resist seeing them?!

Before I show them to you please let me tell you what I learned about them going in to see them.

They were made to be worn in the First - Peach Day Parade in 1907. There were 12 women in the Civic Improvement Club who were each riding white horses and wore white shirts and black silk hats with these "coulottes".  They are hand made (though a treadle sewing machine may have been used-no electricity was involved- rendering them handmade).
The fabric is a Medium weight canvas type faberic. 

So here is the 'Mystery Skirt"...

Front; opened up.

Front; closed as they may have been when worn;

Back; (pulled to show they are pants) 

After looking at them I was amazed at how beautiful they would look while being worn walking, standing, or riding a horse. If you didn't know that they were split like pants you would have had no idea they were anything other than a long skirt.

I was inthralled!! Totally captivated and charmed!

And I want some!

 I also knew that the only way you would be able to "take a pattern" would be to take them apart and that is totally out of the question. I told my sister and the museum director I would find out exactly what they were and how to make them...if I could.

So I went home and started to 'google'. By the end of the night I could tell you that they were not;
Coulottes, Western riding skirt's, Traditional wrap skirts or pants.

Frustrated I went to bed, and went back to looking before breakfast the next morning. I finally got desparate and googled; 'Victorian wrap pants skirts sewing tutorial' (or some such crazy thing) and hit enter.
A long list of stuff came up and I started checking, not really expecting to find what I was looking for...opened the 'Vouge Folkwear pattern' site  and start skimming it...And all of the sudden there they were!!! A pattern!
So to be sure I next googled the name given and found histories and photos and...Ta-Da pictures!!

Picture found on a google search of Hakama pant pictures

They are "Hakama Pants' worn during the Japanese Edo era from 1615-1868 by Samauri Worriors.

The ones used in the parade were modified to be "modest' and cover the women's sides and lengthened in the back to better resemble the skirt's of the day...but the mystery was solved...
or was it?!
It opened me up to many more questions...

Smile and remember;
We're fools whether we dance or not. So we might as well dance.

p.s. sister has been invited to come reproduce antique and lost art's handwork in a neighboring town's museum :)

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