Tuesday, June 7, 2016

On Fichus

Model for Gay Event's Fichu???
During the last few weeks, I managed to create two adorable little outfits for Petite Chiffonette and her new friend (whom I'll introduce very soon).  Two weeks ago my camera broke, and my husband set to the task of researching, locating and purchasing a new one for me.  Which, with all hope, arrives today.  Then I'll have to learn how to use it.  When I do, we'll enjoy a journal posting dedicated to Chiffonette!

While creating the two tiny costumes, I decided I wanted to make Petite Chiffonette a coordinating fichu so her dress would be a bit different from her new friend's.  So I conducted some research on fichus. 

One of the first searches I did was in "Fichu Images".  In the first moments of viewing the photos, my jaw dropped.  One of them, an antique illustration, was Gay Event's "collar".  I couldn't believe my eyes!  Bows down the front, bows on the tips of the shoulders, lots of lace.  Okay, so yes, I do note that the antique illustration is not exactly the same as Miss Event's, as the bows apparently drop down the "back", but if you make a comparison, they are almost identical in concept.  Did Laura Bannon view this same image when she drew Gay Event's "collar"?  Its a wonderful mystery!  Not only this, but the images of the fichus were described as scarves, shawls, and collars.

Apparently was there no one true identifying characteristic other than something draped over a dress at the bodice.  So I looked up "fichu" on Wikipedia, and this was what I found.   "A fichu is a large, square kerchief worn by women to fill in the low neckline of a bodice. It originated in the United Kingdom in the 18th century and remained popular there and in France through the 19th with many variations as well as in the United States. The fichu was generally of linen fabric and was folded diagonally into a triangle and tied, pinned, or tucked into the bodice in front."  I would almost describe it myself, in some cases, as a removable collar.

I was so dazzled by this information (I know, silly), that I knew I had to share it with you.  All of the confusion over what exactly was I looking at, and making, from the illustration, suddenly cane to light.  It encouraged me to continue to pay very close attention when bringing to life an illustration in as exacting a way as possible in the future.  Even if I don't know the name of what I am creating, perhaps sometime in the future, the design of couture will reveal itself. 

Below are a few examples of fichu designs I found during my quest.  There is no right or wrong way to design and make one.  As long as it serves its purpose of decoration (and modesty depending on the era you're designing for), its a beautiful addition to a costume.

Currently I'm embroidering on a rectangle of wool that will become the skirt of Gay Event's Riding Habit.  For the "girl that doesn't embroider", I sure am doing a lot of it these days!

Miss E. Mouse

1 comment:

  1. That's a wonderful discovery! It makes so much sense that those fancy lace overlays would be fichus and therefore detachable. I don't know why I never realized that before! It solves some construction problems I was thinking about for some future projects I am thinking of. I love the detail you have captured!