Friday, April 08, 2011

18th Century Muffs

Ah...muffs. What an elegant accessory! I can't imagine why they fell out of style. Especially the very clever 19th century muffs that had hidden pockets inside. Apparently 18th century muffs did not commonly have pockets. Fur and feathers seem to be most commonly depicted in 18th century fashion plates. The period examples I have found, however, are not dominated by fur/feathers (though the MET has one in its collection). Maybe they were just considered more fashionable/desirable but were more expensive? Anyone know? Here's a 1770's French fashion plate from Galleries des Modes et Costumes Francais showing what appears to be a fur muff:

The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston has several muffs in its collection, including some very pretty silk muffs. The one below features gorgeous silk satin and a portrait medallion. Portrait medallions seem to have been pretty popular decorations for muffs, but since I don't want to mess around with printing out an image with my printer on silk, I decided to forgo this option.

I really liked this example as well. It features some gorgeous detail work, including fly fringe. Having learned how to make fly fringe during the last class I took with Burnley & Trowbridge, I can tell you that's a big time investment! I think I managed about 6 inches of fringe after four hours of labor.
I have Emma from the Mantua Maker's shop to thank for helping choose this amazing color combination. I had already decided to go with green silk for my muff because I thought it would go nicely with my pink Robe Francaise. When I couldn't decide on how to trim the muff, Emma steered me towards the gorgeous peach silk ribbon. One of the great things about the muff is that it's essentially a pillow cover. I made a linen tube and filled it with wool batting for the inside. The silk cover slides on and off the pillow, so I can make as many silk covers as I want! That's nice since it seems like I'm always new gown in completely different colors.Here's the finished product! Doesn't it make you think of candy? A salt water taffy, or maybe French Macaroons? I definitely fell victim to the color palate from Sophia Coppola's "Marie Antoinette," but who cares?!Here are all the lovely muffs that were made during the Burnley & Trowbridge workshop.


Mom said...

Your color combination is beautiful! I want to make a muff to use in winter for now (not a costume.) I think it is a very practical idea. I think most women wore them on a ribbon around their necks, so you could still use your hands if you needed them.

Time Traveling in Costume said...

I took the CW muff class during the Costume Symposium last month, and it was a lot of fun. Your's came out beautiful! Learning fly fringe in on my list.

Costume Diva said...

The thing about fly fringe is you have to really like tying knots. Because that's mostly what you do to make fly fringe. :)

Time Traveling in Costume said...

I saw Janea making it one day and thought that would be nice hand work to carry around with me to do when I needed it. But not when I needed it for a project. I'd be too impatient. :D