Random Thoughts to Ponder

January 31, 2010

“A knowledge of Drawing and Painting is of great advantage, by its immediate bearing on the aim of this Art; although many persons who have scarcely any acquaintance with either, are extremely clever with their needle. But in this case the exception proves the rule.’–Maxims for Memory from The Ladies’ Self Instructor in Millinery & Mantua Making, Embroidery and Applique (1853)

Check out the websites for the Embroiderer’s Guild of America (http://www.egausa.org) and the American Needlepoint Guild (http://www.needlepoint.org) to find color and design correspondence courses.


In my “Random Thoughts” posts I have shared some delightful information from a book called The Ladies Self Instructor in Millinery & Mantua Making, Embroidery & Applique. This DIY guide was first published in 1853 by Leary & Getz of Philadelphia, PA. As the title states, among its’ many gems of needlework wisdom is a chapter on mantua making…a term synonymous with dress making. As a matter of fact, the terms are used interchangeable in this book.

For the record a mantua is a loosely draped-style gown. According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art Timeline of Art History, it was thought this style displayed the silk designs to their best advantage since the fabric was draped rather than cut. The dress was believed to have been named after Mantua, Italy; a major producer of expensive silks. (Another school of thought suggests the garment’s name was derived from manteau, the French word for coat.) No offense Mr. Shakespeare, but a dress by any other name…

Note: The photograph of the mantua is courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.