Because, August (or Aôut). The Salem Maritime Festival is nearly upon us, so there’s a flurry of bonnet and accessory and other making happening chez Calash as there usually is in summer. It’s one of my favorite things to do, and this year I was asked if the millinery setup could be more of a demonstration.
That’s a kind of relief, actually, as it allows me to bring bonnets from multiple years in a variety of levels of completion, which allows me the luxury of talking about evolving styles and a variety of construction methods. Whether or not I’ll manage a drawn bonnet is still up in the air; it’s a lot of hand sewing for someone with carpal tunnel.*
Because any trip to Salem affords me the opportunity to join the mercantile class, I like to take the opportunity to make something new and non-working class when I go up there. This year, I was taken with the canezou. What’s a milliner to do, but stay as up-to-date as possible? What the heck is a canezou?
Well….roughly, from the French and English costume history books, the canezou is a short, Spencer-like garment, often in white, lightweight cotton, worn over another garment. The canezou seen here clearly has sleeves, and the plate is dated 1811, giving the lie to the wikipedia’s assertion that it’s circa 1835. (The later evolutions have become more scarf or fichu-like, but are again worn over other gowns- though apparently it enjoys a brief time as the cambric blouse worn with a riding habit. And then there’s another definition, by another fashion historian, in which the canezou is described as being like a man’s shirt.
Well, that’s all cleared up then….
With this information in hand, and the fashion plate before me, I perused the contents of the Strategic Fabric Reserve, and lit upon those popular Ikea curtains which have appeared here before as a gown and as a petticoat and now as a canezou.
I modified a Spencer pattern for the base lining of white cotton, and then draped, stroke gathered, and stitched the curtain fabric to form the floofy bodice. The lace on the cap sleeves is reclaimed from a late 19th century negligee lurking in Drunk Tailor’s collection of usable old fabrics, while the lace at the bottom was reclaimed from an antique petticoat before I picked it up in Sturbridge, MA a few years ago.
To complete this, a bodiced petticoat with an embroidered hem (machine embroidered, of fabric I may have picked up from a remnant table in Pawtucket, RI), a pair of trimmed shoes, a necklace (here of sapphire blue stones, unless I can teach myself hand-knotting by Friday), and a bonnet of blue and white check silk that arrived just in time from India. Five new items in two or three weeks: the price of fashion is slightly mad.
*Hand-sewing everything has, at last, caught up with me. I find soaking my hands in cold water helpful, as well as sleeping in those super attractive hand braces. Imma need some surgery, but for now, braces, Aspercreme, and ice water must do.