Newsletter No. 2-07 (Feb. 2007)   Page 2 of 5 / Sidan 2 av 5. [back to page 1] Arcive/Arkiv: [1] [2]


This newsletter is written in order to spread experiences within the topic of historic textiles and reconstructions. Our ambition is to amuse you and stimulate interest in the 18th Century. Durán Textiles, who is mainly working with museum collections and Royal Castles, was founded in 2002 by CEO and production manager Laila Durán, with co-worker artist Torkel Henriksson who is doing the artworks and preparing the designs for production. Our production is done mostly in India supervised by Duran Textiles inspectors. 
- The articles are mainly written by Laila Durán but we also have help from colleagues and specialists from several museums and universities.  In the future this newsletter will be distributed four times a year and is free of charge. We hope you will enjoy our stories and offers and help us to spread the letter to friends and colleagues. Contact:

Detta nyhetsbrev skrivs för att sprida erfarenheter inom ämnet rekonstruktioner av historiska textiler och 1700-talet. Ambitionen är att roa och stimulera intresset. Durán Textiles har varit verksamt sedan 2002 och arbetar med projekt för Kungliga Slott och museisamlingar i hela Skandinavien. Laila Durán är VD och projektledare, Torkel Henriksson arbetar med originalen och alla förlagor för tryck och väv. På plats i Indien, där de flesta av tygerna produceras, finns Durán Textiles egna inspektörer.
- Artiklarna skrivs huvudsakligen av Laila Durán men vi får även hjälp av kollegor och specialister från olika muséer och universitet.  Nyhetsbrevet kommer i fortsättningen att komma ut fyra gånger per år och är helt kostnadsfritt. Vi hoppas ni ska uppskatta våra artiklar och erbjudanden och även sprida informationen vidare till Era vänner. Kontakt:



A gentleman’s costume from 1750 reconstructed

The original for the woven silk Viola was woven in Stockholm in the 1750-ties. For the presentation of the first collection from Durán Textiles AB in August 2004, I decided to make a replica of a man’s costume from the mid 18th century, to show what the fabric looked like when made up as a historic garment.

A fashionable man’s clothing about 1750 comprised of coat, waistcoat and breeches made in the same fabric. A costume, in the collection of Nordiska Museet, Stockholm was chosen as a model. The cutting diagram from a similar suit in the National museum of Copenhagen was used, and altered to my measures.
For this suit 7 meters of the Viola silk (on 140 cm width) was needed. Also, ca 1,20 meter of stiff linen for interfacing, 2,50 meters of hand woven linen on 60 cm width for the back of the waistcoat and the lining of the breeches, 5 meters of white silk taffeta on 140 cm width for lining of coat and waistcoat, simple cotton for pocket pouches, silk and linen thread for sewing, and wooden button forms was used. The straight seams of the garments were machined together, but all mounting and visible seams were made by hand. Stitching techniques documented from preserved garments were used. They are also described in the French encyclopaedia on crafts: L’Art de l’habillement. More than 200 working hours was spent to finish the coat, waistcoat and breeches.

The knee breeches, (culottes in French brackor in Swedish) show a characteristic cut of the seat with extra length and width of the back pieces. The breeches fit tightly at the thighs and the ease necessary for sitting is placed in the rear, where the extra material gives a baggy back, which looks strange for a modern eye. The back of the breeches were, however, never shown as it was covered by the skirts of the waistcoat and coat. The breeches have a high waistband with lacings in centre back, where the size could be adjusted. In front the waistband is buttoned and the breeches are closed centre front, with buttons on a placket with buttonholes. The breeches with fall front (culottes à la bavaroise) was not common in Sweden before 1770. At the knees the breeches are closed with buttons and a metal buckle. The buckle is buttoned to a little flap and could be moved or interchanged between different breeches. The breeches are lined with a Hungarian hand woven linen. The waistband has a stiff linen interlining. There is one pocket with welt opening in the waistband for a watch. In the front piece there are also pockets with pouches, closed by a button on the waistband.

The waistcoat is sleeveless and reaches mid-thigh. This is opposed to waistcoats from the early 18th century, which are knee-length and have long tight sleeves. The front parts only are lined with taffeta. The back is made of hand woven linen and have a at lacing centre back to adjust the width. This did not show, as a properly dressed gentleman never whent outside without a coat. The waistcoat has pockets at the waistline in front and a small standing collar that shows in the neckline under the coat.

The coat, Justaucorps in French, livrock in Swedish, displays a curved front edge, long skirts with deep pleats in the sides, a centre back vent and long sleeves with cuffs. In the early 18th century the front edge was straighter, the skirts were wider with more pleats, and the sleeves had bigger cuffs. This coat has an elegant rococo shape, accentuated by the drawn back shoulder seams and the side pleats folded backwards. The coat is slightly padded with wool to give the chest a rounded shape, filling up the cavity under the collar bones. Big pocket flaps cover the pocket slashes. On the pocket flaps, as also on the sleeve cuffs, the buttons and button holes are purely decorative. The Silk Viola is quite stiff, but in the front edge there is a interlining of heavy linen, to give the front edge shape, and support buttons and buttonholes. The buttons are made by covering wooden forms with the same silk as the suit. The gathered fabric at the back of the button is used to sew the buttons the garments. Buttonholes are made with tightly spaced buttonhole stitch over a bundle of silk threads that give the buttonhole shape and volume. They are elongated, and form the only decoration on coat and waistcoat. The buttonholes are worked in the silk and the interlining, before the lining was put in place. This custom is documented from several 18th century men’s clothes. The reason for this could be that different persons made buttonholes and linings in the tailor’s workshop. Another explanation is that with this mounting it was easy to take the lining of the garment if it was worn out or was interchanged to something warmer for winter. Only a few buttonholes over the belly are cut open enough for the buttons. In these places the lining is slashed and whipstitched from the inside. The lining is sewn to the garments using slanting stitches that goes through the main fabric and create a stitching on the right side that fix the edge. In French these stitches are called: le point à rabattre sous la main. The coat has no collar, only a small facing supports the neckline.

The suit is worn with a shirt with ruffles at the chest and at the wrists. Around the neck is a “stock” collar of pleated linen, closed with a buckle in the back. This shirt is made of linen lawn, but it was often decorated with precious laces for the ruffles. Many times the shirt was long enough to be tucked in between the legs substituting underpants. Linen or woollen drawers (French caleçons) resembling the knee breeches, but without buttons, are, however, preserved in collections, mentioned in texts and depicted in art. Stockings in silk, cotton or wool, and shoes with buckles – that were sometimes made to mach the knee-buckles - covered the legs and the feet. In the mid 18th century a wig was worn by all gentlemen, but the hat was sometimes carried under the arm.

During the later part of the 18th century the coat was made with a more curved front edge, the width of the skirts were reduced to a few shallow pleats and the cuffs were cut straight and narrow. The waistcoat was made shorter and shorter, the breeches were cut more fitted with a fall front and high waistband. After the French revolution the long trousers substituted the knee breeches and the coat lost its long tails. The garments have changed in shape during the centuries, but the 18th century suit is the predecessor of our modern three piece suit.

Text Martin Ciszuk

Kläder för tid och evighet, Lena Rangström
Modelejon, ed. Lena Rangström
Moden i 1700-årene, Ellen Andersen
L’Art de l’habillement, Diderot & d’Alembert
Costume close-up, Linda Baumgarten



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