Saturday, July 14, 2007



Picture a beautiful garden, full of colourful hollyhocks, roses, and bluebells, and other tiny flowers, a tree forms a canopy over a garden seat. On it is seated a petite lady. She wears a full crinoline skirt with multiple rows of frills, the pink bodice tight to emphasize her tiny waist, and a wide brim pink bonnet under which hang her golden blonde ringlets. She holds a parasol as a proper young lady should to protect her flawless, pale skin.
Or maybe she is walking along the stone-paved garden path that leads through an archway of roses. She carries a basket laden with the colourful bounty of flowers freshly picked from the garden.
These peaceful, picturesque scenes or those similar, have been captured in many ways.

(The crinoline, developed from the French words - crin (horsehair) and lin (linen) was a linen cloth woven with horsehair. This cloth, made into a petticoat, was worn in several layers to add fullness to the ladies skirt, the original crinoline. The name continued in use for the hoopskirt frame introduced later in the 1850's.)

Vintage needlework books hold patterns for working doilies, cushions, pajama bags, laundry bags, duchess sets, tea tray mats....... all sorts of gifts and sewing accessories to make using the crinoline lady image. Very often there were free transfers offered to the keen embroiderer. The crinoline lady was always a popular choice and for the collector today, an abundance of treasures are to be found in op/thrift shops, flea markets, antique shops and fairs.

Of the vintage needlework books, perhaps the most attractive are the Good Needlework Gift Books and their magazines "Good Needlework".

Left and right, is the free dainty sachet all ready to embroider, which was offered with the Good Needlework Magazine - December 1932.

In the same issue was offered the transfer seen below.

Below, some patterns look very much alike. Compare this with the dainty sachet above.

Below is a needlecard. Printed in USA.

Below is my collection of crinoline lady bells as well as a mending set.

Vintage Good Needlework Gift Books.

A selection of doilies, guest towel and handkerchief, and tins.

Vintage Good Needlework Magazines.

This is an excellent book, Thrift to Fantasy by Rosemary McLeod, covering home textile crafts of the 1930's - 1950's. Well worth seeking out - a great read and lots of pictures, especially doilies.

Further reading - Crinolines and Bustles

Nothing to Wear

Blog - Yarnstorm shares her views of the crinoline lady.


catsmum said...

Could you bring a couple of the Good Needleworks up with you on Thursday ?

crazyhaberdasher said...

Will do!

She'sSewPretty said...

What a beautiful collection! I love those old crinoline embroideries. I have a few towels I'll have to show some time. I need to get them out.

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

I love your Crinoline Lady collection and have recently created a Crinoline Lady paper doll of my own. Do you by chance remember a type of crinoline skirt we made for dolls, that was created by joining rounds of fabric or a foam like fabric together?