Pattern As Memento - the Case of the 19thc Dress Diary

Strasdin, Kate ORCID logoORCID: (2018) Pattern As Memento - the Case of the 19thc Dress Diary. British Association of Victorian Studies, NA. ISSN NA (Unpublished)

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Abstract / Summary

Memorialising lives through the ‘album-ising’ of paper scraps, photographic montages and collages is a well documented female Victorian hobby, but in 2016 I was given a very special example by an elderly friend – an album of dress scraps compiled by one woman from the 1830s to the 1870s. Albums relating to dress are scarce and under-researched. Barbara Johnson’s album of 18th century fabrics is perhaps the best known in the genre, memorialising the wardrobe of one woman but few others survive and those that do have been rarely documented.

Early research has revealed not only the owner of the album but some of the circumstances of her life. It records the life through dress of Anne Sykes, her family and friends recorded through the inclusion of dress fabrics from dozens of those in her social circle. Each swatch is cut into the same shape and each page has been organised into a distinct sartorial pattern. Other patterns emerge through analysis of its pages – the patterns of consumption of this community of women in the North of England recorded within its pages, patterns of fashionable fabrics dispelling myths about provincial access to prevailing styles and the pattern of writing the details of each hexagonal piece of fabric so carefully pasted into the book.

This paper will consider the memorialisation of these lives through dress fragments, what this pattern of album creation represented and the multi-disciplinary potential of fragmentary material culture.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Fashion & Textiles > Fashion > Fashion Design
Depositing User: Kate Strasdin
Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2019 13:26
Last Modified: 11 Nov 2022 16:24


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