A visit to the Fashion Museum in Bath

Dresses in the Bath Fashion MuseumWhen we were in the UK we paid a visit to Bath. While we were there of course I had to see the world-class collection at the Fashion Museum. I must have spent a couple of hours wandering through the museum and ogling at everything from dresses, mens clothes, gloves, fans, belts, jewellery, shoes, buckles and bows!

Gloves in the Bath Fashion MuseumOf course I was interested in how garments were embellished and embroidered and spent a good part of the day enjoying the intricate and skilful work and fine crafting that went into making many of the garments.

There are almost 100,000 objects in the the Fashion Museum’s collection, so when it comes to selecting 100 prime pieces that can tell the story of fashion they do it well. The History of Fashion in 100 Objects celebrates fashion from the 1600s to today and boy did I enjoy it!

1610 waistcoat in the Bath Fashion MuseumThis 1610 waistcoat is embroidered in silk but for a lady in Shakespeare’s England it was considered informal attire!

Fans in the Bath Fashion MuseumOne aspect I really enjoyed is that descriptions are not just information about the garment shown, but social history was also included so you could contextualise the piece. For instance this display of fans and other items pointed out that in the 1800’s ivory was used for bags, fans, umbrellas and parasols. Today however many countries abide by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Fauna. There is still an illegal trade in ivory but conventions such as this has helped to reduce the use.

Booties 1800 in the Bath Fashion MuseumThere was quite a bit of information on techniques too. For instanace these babies booties from the 1800’s were quilted.

Chiffon Gown in the Bath Fashion MuseumI also enjoyed the Royal fashion section and loved the Queen Alexandra’s gowns, she had excellent taste and obviously loved fashion. This embroidered and beaded mauve silk chiffon dress, from 1911 really captured my heart.

The collection is displayed in low light, to protect the fabrics. This meant photography is difficult particularly since I was using my phone to take these photos. Hopefully my images are not too dull. If you visit the Fashion Museum website you can see more photographed professionally

Also, in my research into the Fashion Museum in Bath I dug up a few videos which I think readers will enjoy. Both are only a few minutes long. Make a cuppa and enjoy them!

The first, A Day in the Life of the Fashion Museum and Assembly Rooms give you a sense of the place and is a behind the scenes view of life at the Fashion Museum.

Here is a tour of the Fashion Museum with Manager Rosemary Harden.


holding my book in front of quiltHave you seen my book?

My book The Visual Guide to Crazy Quilting Design: Simple Stitches, Stunning Results  shares practical methods about how to design and make a crazy quilt. I teach you how to balance colour, texture and pattern, in order direct the viewers eye around a crazy quilted project. I show you how to build decorative seam treatments in interesting and creative ways using a handful of stitches. My book is profusely illustrated as my aim is to be both practical and inspiring.

TAST Stitch 72

The stitch I propose for TAST Stitch 72 is known as Basque Stitch which is also known as twisted daisy border stitch. It is a sort of twisted chain stitch worked in line or circle a bit like a buttonhole stitch. You will find a tutorial for Basque Stitch here.

TAST Stitch 72 Traditional Spanish embroidered costume 1Basque stitch is known by that name because it is found on old embroideries from the Basque area of northern Spain.  Not that Basque stitch is confined to the one area, as you will also find it used on embroidery from Portugal and southern France.

As regular readers know in second half of 2016 I walked the Camino de Santiago across Spain. The route we walked passed through Basque country. One of the treasures of my camino was to encounter a local fiesta purely by chance. This fiesta was a local event, not something put on for tourists or bus tours as bus tours did not go through this village. This crowd had just tumbled out of the church and everyone was so busy talking to each other they did not notice us walking by.

Traditional Spanish embroidered costumeWhat I noticed is that many of the women of all ages still wore traditional costume and much of it was still done by hand. I could see that this was changing as some of the women had purchased machine embroidered or Chinese embroidered shawls but there were still traditional hand embroidered pieces also to be seen. This gave the fiesta a feeling of lived culture rather than a cultural display because of tourists. Anyway I thought I would share these photos taken by Jerry of The Fogwatch so that readers could see how in parts of the world embroidery is still very much alive and costumes such as these are worn on special day.

Ok back to TAST Stitch 72! Basque stitch creates a line of twisted loops which looks good on a curved line. Once you get the hang of the rhythm it is fun. I hope you enjoy learning it. As usual the tutorial for  Basque stitch can be found here.

TAST2012logoHow to join in on the Take a Stitch Tuesday challenge TAST Stitch 72

All stitchers a free to join the challenge and all levels of skill are welcome. If you are new to hand embroidery the challenge is to learn the stitch. If you are an experienced embroiderer push these stitches in creative manner and share with beginners so they can see what can be done with a little imagination.

Where to share

Stitch a sample, photograph it, put in online on your blog, or share it on Facebook, Instagram etc or where ever you hang out online, and leave a comment on the Basque Stitch page with a link so people can come and see what you have done.

Feel free to join the  TAST facebook group and leave your photo there.  For Flickr people the group is Take a Stitch Tuesday. Hashtags are #TASTembroidery and #PintangleTAST on places like Instagram etc.

If you need more information the challenge guidelines are on the TAST FAQ page.

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