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.TEXTILES AND
COSTUME DESIGN



BY



EVELYN PETERS ELLSWORTH




SAN FRANCISCO

PAUL ELDER AND COMPANY

M CM XVII



Copyright, 1917, by
PAUL ELDEE AND COMPANY

SAN FRANCISCO




t/6



TO MY MOTHER



CONTENTS

PAGE

INTRODUCTION ix

HISTORY OF TEXTILES 3

LINEN AND WOOL 5

SILK 7

TAPESTRY 9

HISTORY OF COSTUME 12

EGYPTIAN 14

GRECIAN 15

ROMAN 17

MEROVINGIAN PERIOD 19

CARLOVINGIAN PERIOD 20

FEUDAL PERIOD 21

THE MIDDLE AGES 22

EARLY BOURBON MONARCHY 24

Louis XIV 25

REIGNS OF Louis XV AND Louis XVI 27

REVOLUTION 28

DIRECTOIRE 29

EMPIRE 30

RESTORATION 31

SECOND REPUBLIC 32

SECOND EMPIRE 32

THIRD REPUBLIC 33

1880-1900 AND SUMMARY 34

COSTUME DESIGN 37

LINE AND DRAPERY 38

[v]



CONTENTS

PAi

SILHOUETTE A

THE STOUT FIGURE A

THE SLENDER FIGURE A

ACCESSORIES A

THE HAT A

JEWELRY 5

MATERIALS 5

METHODS OF ADULTERATION 5

TESTS FOR ADULTERATION <. 5

COLOR 5

EXAMPLES OF USE OF COLOR FOR CERTAIN TYPES . 6

SUGGESTIONS ON THE USE OF COLOR 6

CONCLUSION 6

SUGGESTED OUTLINES OF COSTUME DESIGN .... 7

NUMBER I 7

NUMBER II 7

NUMBER III 7

BIBLIOGRAPHY 7'

REFERENCE BOOKS ON TEXTILES AND COSTUME

DESIGN 7\

READINGS TEXTILES 81

SPINNING AND CARDING 8<

WEAVING 81

COTTON 8

MAGAZINES &

WOOL AND WORSTED INDUSTRIES 8;

SILK 8;

FLAX, JUTE, HEMP, ET CETERA . . &

[vi]



ILLUSTRATIONS

Plate Facing Page

I. EXAMPLES OF EARLY EGYPTIAN COSTUMES . . 4

II. NEEDLEPOINT, VENETIAN, ABOUT 1600 .... 6

III. LATE GOTHIC TAPESTRY 12

IV. COSTUMES OF THE MIDDLE AGES 22

V. COSTUMES OF DIRECTOIRE PERIOD 28

VI. COSTUMES OF EMPIRE PERIOD 30

VII. BEAUTIFUL EXAMPLE OF LINE AND DRAPERY IN

GREEK SCULPTURE 40

VIII. STRUCTURAL LINES AND PROPORTION .... 42
IX. LINES WITHIN THE SILHOUETTE WHICH AC-
CENTUATE HEIGHT 46

X. MODERN HAIR-DRESSING FROM THE GREEK LINES 48



[VII]




Introduction

Design requires: study of propor-
tions of human figure and methods of improv-
ing existing proportions; a study of color in
its relation to types of complexion and figure and
material and of materials from point of view of suit-
ability to different types of individual and occasion;
it also includes designing of type dresses, hats,
wraps; discussion of dress, coiffure, foot-wear, et
cetera.

THE AIM :

1. To gain knowledge of the evolution of line and
color in the designs of clothes and, through study
of textiles and historic costume, their relation to
present-day clothes.

2. To consider the use of appropriate and becom-
ing materials and styles.

3. To adapt current styles to individual appear-
ance.

4. Logically to analyze details, their use and abuse.

5. To understand the proper value of accessories
and of color.

6. To correlate Costume Design with all the arts.
Ruskin has written: "Good taste is essentially a

moral quality. Taste is not only a part and an index
of morality. It is morality. The first, last and closest

[IX]



' i *>'**! < < //, ' Introduction

trial question to any living creature is, ' What do you
like?' The entire object of education is to make
people not merely DO the right things, but ENJOY the
right things. What we like determines what we are."

If personality is the visible expression of char-
acter, if it distinguishes the individual, and if it is
the sum of his vitality and mentality, then there is no
doubt that our clothes are seriously to be considered.
They reflect our character, as well as our social status
and the customs of our times. The old proverb, "Tell
me your friends and I will tell you what you are, 9 '
may be changed to, "Tell me how you dress and I
will tell you what you are." It is possible to live
above one's apparel, but dress is of the greatest im-
portance, and its elegance depends upon two funda-
mental principles: the search for greater simplicity,
and the search for detail and personality.

Not only has costume a psychological effect upon
the wearer, but for personal charm it means as much
as the speaking voice or a pleasing manner. One's
dress attracts or repels at all times. The whole prob-
lem seems to be to subordinate it to the wearer and
have unity of the whole in mass, line, and color, so
that dress reveals one's best characteristics and one
may expect the remark, (< What a charming person!"
instead of, "What a lovely gown!"

Good taste, or a fine sense of the fitness of things,
may be attained by observation and study and by
surrounding oneself with worthy and beautiful
things. Good taste is subtle and requires imagination
as well as observation. Its absence results in such

[x]



Introduction

incongruities as the wearing of ermine in the daytime
with any heterogeneous type or texture of cloth.

Indeed, ermine is a striking example of a misused
accessory in a costume. It is fascinating, because it
conjures up visions of royal personages, Jcnights and
ladies. The laws of the Middle Ages (Edward HI)
required that it be worn only by nobles, and to-day
in Europe ermine is worn on state robes; the rank
and position of the wearer is in many cases indicated
by its presence or absence and the disposition of the
black spots, and when worn in crowns or coronets it
is a recognition of heraldry. Therefore, at all times it
should be reserved for state occasions or worn for-
mally with certain royally textured and dignified
clothes and fabrics, just as velvets and satins are
reserved for formal gowns and not for kitchen or
garden work, just as large velvet hats are not worn
in the morning with workaday clothes or short skirts,
and just as royally plumed, large velvet hats are
suited only to formal afternoon or evening gowns of
velvet or satin. Much might be written upon this
subject of good taste and imagination in the wearing
of clothes.

One of the best New York designers of costume,
speaking of suitability, said that when she designed
a gown for a certain celebrity she invited her to be
her week-end guest, and breakfasted, lunched, and
dined her for three days, in order to study her per-
sonality. Monday she returned with her to the shop
and draped the fabrics upon her. The costume was
designed for that particular person. Later the manu-

[XI]



Introduction

facturers of ready-made clothing copied the gown,
which was wholly unsuited to any other kind of
person. In spite of this, it was hideously displayed in
shop windows and worn by all types of people.

Taste may be developed by a continuous effort to
choose among lines, forms, and masses, fine and less
fine, and it is certain that with logical thought and
observation any one may be a good designer of what-
ever he may really want to possess. It is not necessary
to be an artist for one to choose a sketch from a mag-
azine or book and change the lines to suit one's own
requirements and type of figure. But although de-
signing in this way may seem a simple process, it
involves consideration of textiles, historic costume,
and costume design. In the succeeding pages these
subjects will be briefly discussed, in the hope that the
reader will want to experiment and search further.



[xn



TEXTILES AND COSTUME DESIGN



HISTORY OF TEXTILES

THE ancient and most primitive arts were in-
spired by nature and were developed through
the natural resources of the countries and the
primitive tools and materials. The inspiration to
create and design sprang from the people's simple
needs and necessities; hence the first known arts
were pure and original and there were no foreign
influences to help them.

As the arts of past ages changed from period to
period, the arts of nations and peoples expressed
themselves through temperament and spirit in forms,
lines, ornaments, and colorings. Through all the cen-
turies, however, the immutable laws of composition
and proportion remained in spite of changing styles
and revolutions. The progress and development of
all the arts; of architecture, painting, design, tex-
tiles, and costumes, may easily be traced from the
earliest Egyptian, Babylonian, and Assyrian coun-
tries through Greece and Southern Italy, through
Asia Minor to Bagdad and Byzantium, to the Mogul
courts, to Italy, France, and England.

All primitive as well as Egyptian designs and or-
namentations were simple in construction ; they were
representative and decorative, and geometrically ar-
ranged with only a few lines. The Egyptians used
color conventionally, and though their paintings

[3]



TEXTILES AND COSTUME DESIGN

were in flat tints they still conveyed clearly the ob-
jects they desired to represent. Eed, blue, or yellow,
with black or white, gave distinction and clearness
to their color designs. The lotus, papyrus, and palm
branches growing on the banks of the Nile, and the
well-known asp and beetle, were the main motifs.
Feathers of rare birds were depicted in the designs,
with distinctness and motion. The flowers which the
Egyptians used in their festivals to decorate the cap-
itals of their pillars were taken perhaps from the
full-blown lotus flowers or the rushes or reeds used
to bind stalks at top and bottom of their primitive
houses, or perhaps their tent poles lashed to a point
at the top. In their tents the fibers used for the covers
were often plaited and woven, a custom which prob-
ably inspired them to carry out the idea of the
squared painted design for their temple ceilings.

It is not known definitely when the textile industry
originated. It is certain, however, that it is older
than architecture, that fabrics preceded paintings,
and that "when the first inhabitants of the earth
took refuge in caves or under interlaced boughs, they
were clothed in coarse cloths or skins, and that when
the first hut was built, they were comparatively well
dressed." It may have been that primitive man by
watching the birds build their nests conceived the
idea of weaving, and that skins were embroidered
with colored stones, stitches of grasses, or colored
leaves. Thus, perhaps, embroidery was known before
weaving.

At a really prehistoric date, man learned to weave

[4]







PLATE I. Examples of Early Egyptian Costumes



HISTOKY OF TEXTILES

textiles from flax, hemp, broom, leaves, strands of
plants, grasses, fibrous coatings, intestines of ani-
mals, sheep's wool, goat's hair, from silver and gold
wire, and even from gold leaf. In the colder regions,
after the process of weaving or fulling had been dis-
covered, goat's hair and sheep's wool were used
principally. A fish bone or a thorn was employed to
sew the garments together. In the warm countries,
greater attention was given to the weaving of linen,
silk, and cotton fabrics.

LINEN AND WOOL

Linen perhaps was the first textile to be manufac-
tured. It was made by the Indians and Egyptians as
early as 2800 B. C. In fact, it is hard to determine
whether textiles had their origin in Egypt or in the
Orient. The tombs of Egypt of 2800 B. C. illustrate
weavers at work. The Japanese understood the weav-
ing of linen, gold, silver, and silk into rare papers,
while the Europeans were still writing on pieces of
bark; and as civilization spread from East to West,
the ways of spinning and weaving were passed on
to Europe, to Italy and Spain, to France, then to
Germany, and finally to England.

It was from India that the knowledge of block
printing came to Europe. By sea it came direct to
France from one of her colonies. By land it came
through Persia, Asia Minor, and the Levant. Speci-
mens of early stuffs colored in this way are obtained
from ancient cemeteries in Upper Egypt. There are

[5]



TEXTILES AND COSTUME DESIGN

pictures of similar textiles to be found on the walls
of the Temple of Beni Hassan, built 2100 B. C., and
Egyptian and Syrian monuments of 2400 B. C. show
wall pictures of the manufacture of rugs and fabrics.
Also, pictures of looms indicate that drawn-work and
nettings were of prehistoric origin.

The Egyptians used wool, hemp, or flax for these
early woven stuffs. In 400 A. D. were woven Egyp-
tian and Eoman tapestries. In 600 A. D. northern
Egypt and Sicily were manufacturing silks. The
Greeks were unacquainted with cotton until it came
from India, and not until the time of Alexander the
Great was it known in Europe.

Besides linen mummy cloths, woven a thousand
years before Christ, there were also those made of
woolen stuffs. Furthermore, cloth of gold tissue, of
which we read in the Bible, was being made before
the time of Moses. It was crudely wrought by pound-
ing or flattening the gold into linen or cotton cloths
by means of wooden mallets ; and because the Egyp-
tians, unlike the Orientals, did not know of gold wire,
they used the softest gold leaf in the making of these
wonderful mummy cloths.

Rugs were first woven by the Assyrians, but if the
Babylonians and Egyptians had not discovered and
appreciated the art, and if, later, the Greeks and
Eomans had not softened the walls and floors of their
sumptuous palaces with these textiles, it is doubtful
whether we should now know of the Oriental rug.
Pliny speaks of the superior skill of the Assyrians in
the weaving and in the color blending of rugs ; Homer

[6]



H

5^ H

* s
3 3 T

10 ^



I- I



2 o- H-

lii




HISTOEY OF TEXTILES

and Herodotus tell of the weavers of the far East;
and the Bible refers many times to the rug and its
uses. The Persian rug of to-day is a later example of
rug weaving and, with its myriads of deftly tied
knots, bears testimony to unhurried and careful work-
manship. The Oriental rug was first made for reli-
gious purposes, and later to take the place of wall
decorations. The designs and patterns, therefore,
were symbolic to the possessor and a constant re-
minder of his religion.

In Europe the weaving of wool reached its per-
fection, during the tenth century, in Flanders. In
1066 the Angles and Saxons were weaving wool, and
the manufacture became .extensive in 1331, in the
reign of Edward III. Toward her colonies, however,
England maintained a policy intended to repress any
manufacture of woolen goods and all known textiles,
although a report of Alexander Hamilton in 1791
mentions a mill for the manufacture of cloths and
cassimeres in operation at Hartford, Connecticut.

SILK

Silk, after linen, was the next industry of the tex-
tile trade to be developed. Five thousand years ago
it was being made in southern China, and it was only
a hundred years later that the secret of its making
was spreading across to the East and finally to Eu-
rope. Aristotle speaks of silk as being brought over
from China through India to a small commercial
colony in Asia Minor, and there is also the old story

[7]



TEXTILES AND COSTUME DESIGN

of the Greek monks who returned from China car-
rying a goodly number of silkworms hidden in their
stays. Although the Bible seldom mentions silk, and
then as being rare and costly, when Solomon's temple
was built, the altar cloths and the priests ' robes were
woven of strands of silk and set with precious stones.
It is known that silk was woven in Constantinople,
Corinth, and Thebes 1000 B. C^ and the Orient was
famous for its fabric creations as late as 1400 A. D.
Then European weavers began to copy Asiatic weav^"
ings and designs. In the fifth century Constantinople,
then known as Byzantium, was celebrated as the
eastern seat of European silk cultivation. Incident-
ally, it is interesting to note that in 900 A. D. the
history of lace began.

Silk, then, was commonly woven in China, but not
until 500 A. D., in the time of Justinian, was it woven
in Europe. It is recorded, 800 A. D., that the daughter
of Charlemagne was taught to weave silk, and in
1000 A. D. that Koger Guiscard started a silk fac-
tory at Palermo, employing Theban and Corinthian
weavers, and Palermo became the greatest silk man-
ufacturing city in the world. Just after this time many
Italian towns: Florence, Venice, Genoa, and Milan,
began manufacturing silk, and many Saracen and
Greek silk weavers started weaving in the German
Netherlands and Great Britain.

It was not until 1174, at the time of the Second
Crusade, that the cultivation of the silkworm was
started in Italy and France. Moreover, two centuries
elapsed before any real development was made in

[8]



HISTOBY OF TEXTILES

silk manufacture there, although at the present time
Europe produces one hundred and fifty million pounds
ofcocoons annually, and Italy and France carries the
largest proportion of that amount. These countries
of Europe have always been the homes of the finest
weavers of silk, velvet, lace, and tapestry.

TAPESTRY

The weaving of tapestry was known early in civi-
lization, dating back to the Egyptian period. Perhaps
it was borrowed from the Orientals. In Europe it was
first practiced toward the end of the twelfth century
in Flanders, where it flourished in the rich and pros-
perous town of Arras (whence the name of " arras "
applied to tapestry). Flemish weavers began to man-
ufacture wool tapestries at Arras, Lille, and Brus-
sels in 1477. In Europe, tapestries were first made
in the monasteries and were used merely for covering
church walls, altars, and seats. In France, tapestry
manufacture began in 1466 at Lyons. Later factories
were established by the kings for this manufacture.
The Gobelin factory, for instance, was started in
1539 by Francis I, and here artists, such as Eafael,
made designs for the tapestries. In 1619 this factory
became the royal property of France.

In the twelfth century, the weaving of church vest-
ments was an important industry, although the
Germans were far behind in other kinds of weaving,
Cologne was famous for her ecclesiastical textiles
known as Orphrey Web. With this exception, Ger-

[9]



TEXTILES AND COSTUME DESIGN

man designs were heavier and their cloths coarser
than those of the French.

In 1480 needlepoint lace work began in Italy. In
1500 Italy manufactured cloths of silk, satin, damask,
and plain and cut velvets. In 1500 England tried, but
failed, to manufacture satins, damasks, velvets, and
cloth of gold.

In 1690 the Beauvais tapestry works were estab-
lished in France; and in 1750^. D. silk weaving was
begun in England, and large amounts of Chinese and
Indian silks were used there. Not until 1800 did Aus-
tria begin silk manufacture.

In 1531 Cortez brought silk to Mexico, whence it
finally came to the United States, where its produc-
tion was slow at first. In 1619 it was cultivated in
Virginia and it thrived moderately until 1666, when
it proved a complete failure. In 1732 it was raised in
Georgia, but here, too, it was a failure. In 1736 South
Carolina started the industry, and it was fairly well
established when the Eevolution came to disturb all
industry. It was not until 1829 that a mill, which was
to flourish and endure, was established at Mansfield,
Connecticut. Despite this tardiness, however, silk
cultivation is now a permanent and ever growing in-
dustry in the United States, as is the manufacture of
cotton and linen cloths.

Thus from all these countries, American textile
manufacturing has developed into a more or less
modified and almost always ugly type of machine-
made fabrics. The good color and simple designs of
the homespun clothes, counterpanes, and samplers of

[10]



HISTORY OF TEXTILES

our grandmothers of colonial times, are most excel-
lent hand- wrought examples of the American textile ;
and to-day perhaps the best textile weavings are
dyed, designed, copied, and woven by individual
weavers, arts and crafts societies, and by certain in-
terior decorating shops of New York, which have
imported French weavers, and their dyes, their looms,
and methods. Pamphlets of the chemical properties
of dyes and cloths and tests for textiles, may be ob-
tained upon request from the Home Economics de-
partments of American colleges and universities.

It is certain that the demand for better American
textiles will force the manufacturers and dye makers
to produce more worthy designs, fabrics, and dyes.



[in



HISTORY OF COSTUME

' I ^HIS chapter describes the costume of the Egyp-
tians, Greeks, and Eomans, and briefly sketches
the development of costume in France. No ref-
erences are made to historical events of the Egyp-
tians, Greeks, and Eomans, because the costumes
changed so little that such reference would scarcely
be a help in placing period styles. In the description
of the costumes of the French, however, from the
Merovingians up to the present time, a brief outline
is given, since frequently a costume is placed by
calling it Empire, Eevolution, Louis XVI, or Di-
rectoire.

The important points to remember in the different
costumes are:

1. Silhouette, i. e., bustle, hoop.

2. Texture, i. e., satin, taffeta.

3. Details, i. e., accessories.

The books used in reference are :

FEEDEEICK HOTTENEOTH, Le Costume.

JOHN BEAT, All About Dress.

CHALLEMEL, History of Fashion in France.

M. JULES QUICHEEAT, Histoire du Costume en
France.

PAUL LACEOIX, Manners, Customs and Dress Dur-
ing the Middle Ages.

[12]



I



WH

11



r




HISTORY OF COSTUME

Guide to Egyptian Collection in the British Mu-
seum.

Guide to the Greek and Roman Collection in the
British Museum.

FLINDERS PETRIE, Arts and Crafts of Ancient
Egypt.

PAQTJET FRERES, Costumes.

In his longing for adornment, primitive man, first
decorated his body with the stains of berries and
leaves, painting designs much like those on the tat-
tooed man of to-day. In his need for protection, he
first covered his body with leaves with the fig leaf
of popular tradition and then with knotted grasses
and with skins. But it was not long before he dis-
covered that these materials which he had been using
in their natural state could be made more durable and
convenient by a process of intercrossing or weaving.
His first real garment, then, was the loin cloth made
of coarse fibrous stuff or linen. Above it was added
a girdle or belt, to which was suspended the tail of
some animal a trophy of the chase, or later an imi-
tation made of leather. This custom still prevails
among African people.

In the northern and colder countries a close-fitting
leather jacket was evolved, since, from the custom of
throwing over the shoulder the skins of animals killed
in the hunt, the protective value of such a garment
was discovered. In the southern countries a loose
flowing dress of cotton or linen prevailed. In all coun-
tries the evolution of costume has been the same in

[13]



TEXTILES AND COSTUME DESIGN

essential respects, from the wearing of leaves, through
various stages to the present time. The modifications
have been brought about by the fundamental influ-
ences of climate and of the national, geographic, and
social characteristics of the people.

EGYPTIAN

Our first fashion plates are to be found on the
ancient walls and tombs of Egypt. They show that
costume developed from the loin cloth into a sort of
skirt, which varied in length and folds, and then into
a sort of triangular kilt which projected in a peak
just above the knees. Later both men and women
wore over this skirt a loose flowing garment reaching
from the neck to the feet. The material at first was
a coarse linen stuff, but in the luxurious period of
the eighteenth and nineteenth dynasties the upper
classes were wearing linen of the finest texture. Their
apparel was very voluminous; the outer skirt was
looped, girdled, and draped. This, in fact, was the
beginning of draperies, panels, ornamented aprons,
and girdles.

The burning winds of Egypt made the use of un-
guents an absolute necessity. Strong-scented woods
and herbs were pounded and mixed with oils and
rubbed into the body, while scents were, just as at
the present time, in great demand. The cone, or large
head-covering worn by men and women, very fre-
quently contained a ball saturated with oil or pomade
which slowly ran into the hair and spread over the

[14]



HISTORY OF COSTUME

head and shoulders, causing a pleasing sensation to
the wearer. Sometimes, also, the cone had a lotus
flower or lily attached to it. In fact, the lotus flower,
lily, asp, and such symbols were habitually used for
costume ornamentation, in soft primitive colors
which might well be adopted in the present day. Men
and women often decorated their bodies with tattoo
markings, which betokened their religious or tribal
order.

Both men and women wore heavy full wigs, al-
though the women often plaited their hair. Eings,
anklets, bracelets, armlets, necklaces, and earrings
were worn. The precious stones used in the jewelry


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