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Conversational Threads

Moder version of an antique fabric

KrisP | Posted in Fabric and Trim on


I’m new to this group but have been reading Threads for about as long as it has existed.  My particular sewing interests lie with recreating (attempting to create, anyway) historic and archaeological clothing, and with minimizing fabric waste and seams. 

My question is: does anyone know of a vendor of very sheer linen or silk gauze such as was used during the 15th and 16th centuries for veils, partlets, sleeves, etc?


  1. Megh | | #1

    Delectable Mountain Cloth in Brattleboro, Vermont has a wonderful selection of silks and linens.  The owner is very helpful.  The Boston Globe newspaper has labeled her collection "sumptuous".

    telephone 802 257 4456

    fax 802 254 6525


    Happy shopping!

  2. user-67263 | | #2

    I use a fine silk organza for this - see the other message board for where to buy - there was a recently discussion about it. In the UK you can get incredibly fine organza which works really well.

  3. solosmocker | | #3

    Martha Pullen Company has fine cotton netting, a lovely drapable fabric. It is quite pricey. Google Marthapullen.com and you should have no problem getting into her catalogue.

  4. ixs | | #4

    I collect antique clothing, as old as I can afford; but what's a partlet? Never heard the word before.

    1. KrisP | | #5

      Partlet was a more or less common item of women's clothing over much of Europe from the end of the 15th century through the early 18th, filling the neckline - as a modern dickey does.  As an undergarment it may have been either tied or stitched under the arm; as an outer garment it may have been tied or stiched, or may have been pinned to the bodice.

      Some had collars; others did not.  Maybe they had sleeves, sometimes.  Fabrics varied from heavy velvets to sheer silks.  Decoration ran the gamut from plain through embroidered to lace.

      Leonardo's Ginevra de Benci wears a sheer one.  Bronzino shows some hightly decorated ones.  Beuckelaer and Aertsen show plain ones in Flanders.

      1. ixs | | #6

        Is this off the track? Sorry.Thanks for the info; I haven't read that much back that far, although I am interested, historically, in how the common woman lived. "Bronzino shows some hightly decorated ones. Beuckelaer and Aertsen show plain ones in Flanders." Sorry for my ignorance, but are these artists that used the garment in their paintings? Thanks again.I am very curious as to how the big, spreading, Elizabethan collars (as in Elizabeth I?) were made and laundered/worn. Any knowledge? I heard Helen Mirren talk on NPR about her costumes and how she liked wearing them for her part in a current production where she played Elizabeth I. Forgot when it was/is on---uh oh, I think HBO, and I don't get that. Love historical clothing.....

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