What type of textile is this?
A Victorian-style high-neck blouse.
Was it produced for a specific use?
Typical shirting fabric, but it is quite sheer so perhaps meant for women’s blouses.
What material(s) is it comprised of?
Ivory, fine cotton jacquard stripe shirt fabric, semi transparent
What are its dimensions?
It’s a women’s size 10.
What year (or date range) was it made?
Where was it made (geographical location)?
The blouse was made in Carno, Wales.
Was the textile handmade or mass-produced?
The cloth is mass-produced but some elements of the garment are handsewn, for example, the inside of the neck band. The buttons were stitched on by hand; you can tell as they have been applied with little cross stitches. Looking inside the garment, it seems as though much of it has been sewn on a domestic sewing machine rather than an industrial one.
Can the textile be attributed to a specific designer, craftsperson or artist or a company that produced the item?
It’s a Laura Ashley piece—probably a sample.
How did you come to own this particular textile?
I designed for Laura Ashley during the 1990s when I was in my late 20s/early 30s. I bought it at a company sample sale.
How would you describe the status of this textile in your lived environment (i.e. do you wear it, store it, display it, use it, etc.)?
I used to wear it when I was young, but I liked to dress it down. I would wear it un-ironed, open, undone, loose with a trouser suit. The "breaking" of that typical Victorian look, shifting it from something almost Puritanical to something sensual, created a new kind of femininity for me at the time. It’s been in storage for years. Looking at it now, it reminds me of that period of my life. I do feel compelled to wear it again.
Do you recall what drew you to this textile initially?
I am strangely drawn to ruffled shirts!
What further information (if any) would you feel important to add about this textile, either in relation to your interview or more generally?
What did/do/would people think, seeing a woman of color in a Victorian-style high neck shirt?