July 29, 2017
On our second day in England, we took a train to Bath to see some sites and visit the Fashion Museum there. The Romans built the first "baths" here in 74 AD, and the town of Bath grew up around them. Eventually, by the late 1700s, Bath became a fashionable place to come for the healing waters and to be "seen". It is still a quaint and beautiful town with great shops and cultural sites.
We headed first to the Fashion Museum. I've heard about this museum for a while - always touted as a "must-see". And, it really was a gem! Located in the Assembly Rooms (the place to be in 19th century England), the museum is well set up, small, and beautiful.
Two exhibitions were on display at the museum when we were there: A History of Fashion in 100 Objects and Lace in Fashion. They were well curated and simply impressive. The 3 children we had with us enjoyed the museum as well. The exhibitions kept them interested and there were some fun activities (great dress up and some fashion plates to color).
I found a few garments of interest to Folkwear in the 100 Objects exhibit - either because they were garments that Folkwear has patterns for or because some the details of the garments relate to a Folkwear pattern. There were also a few garments that I was inspired to learn more about, as possible future Folkwear patterns.
A quilted skirt from the mid-1700s. Skirt were quilted, just like our 206 Quilted Prairie Skirt, to provide more warmth for the garment. Quilting provides interest and beauty to the garment while being practical. I had not realized that quilted skirts had been around for a while!
A frock coat from the 1790s. This fine English wool coat is well-cut and handsome. These coats became popular about this time because of its simplicity, which mirrored the popular "back to nature" philosophy of the time. Some critics derided this fashion because originally a "frock" was a working man's dress, but these had become popular in the upper classes. Folkwear has a pattern for a frock coat (263 Countryside Frock Coat) but is cut differently than this one.
Traveling suit from the 1910s, specifically, right around the time of WWI. This would not have been called a suit at the time, since men wore suits and this was obviously for women. Also, remarkable is the fact that this was the first dress/skirt that was shortened to above the ankle - so became an important (and slightly shocking) garment. Folkwear's 508 Traveling Suit is very similar to this one.
A Chinese influenced Beach Pyjamas. These beach pyjamas are made of silk and include Chinese embroidery. Beach Pyjamas were some of the first pants that women wore, and helped usher in their popularity. You could make a set like these with our 252 Beach Pyjamas.
I also loved the Lace in Fashion exhibit, as I admire lace, the history of it, how it is made, its beauty, and how it can be used. I usually don't have the confidence to use lace in most of my sewing, but I am now inspired to try more.
This is one garment in the Lace exhibit that related to Folkwear patterns - this cocoon coat had lace overlaid on the upper/collar part of the coat and at the lower sleeves. It was a beautiful coat and a unique way to use lace in this garment. Our 503 Poiret Cocoon Coat is very similar.
I am only posting this gown above because I literally fell in love with it. The lace overlay, the colors, the cut, the metallic gems on the sides, the design - I loved it all. This was my personal favorite, and my heart aches a little when I think of it (see, I really did fall in love with it).
After visiting this wonderful little museum, we headed toward the Roman Bath, but we stopped by a trim store that caught our eye with its colorful window display. VV Rouleaux was the most interesting and prettiest trim shop I've ever seen. I bought some braided buttons and some leather fringe trim, but I could have spent lots more time (and money) there! They have a shop online as well, which I will definitely be returning to.
Finally, on our way back to the train station, we stopped at a tiny little quilt and sewing store where I found a beautiful striped cotton fabric, so bought a few meters (for what project, I don't know yet).
So, all in all, our fashionable trip to Bath was quite a success. I hope to get back again!