Saturday, January 16, 2016

My Great Grandmother's Blouse

Some years ago I was redecorating my bedroom, doing it in "red work," which is an embroidery style from the 1880's - 1920's. Only red thread is used for the embroidery. For my accent color, I chose a light green. It was during this time I had made a visit to my Aunt Liz's house. While there, I spotted a light green blouse hanging decoratively on a cabinet. I asked her to tell me about it and she said that it was her grandmother's blouse, and then she offered it to me. Of course, I accepted it! And then she went on to find the memorial card that was distributed at her funeral. My great grandmother was born in the mid 1800's, so to still have this handmade article of clothing she made was an honor for me.

Elizabeth Jane Austin
Born March 1, 1847
Died November 16, 1914

Notice how tiny the waist is. Due to this, Aunt Liz and I determined she must have made it in her late teens or early 20's. This means the blouse has withstood since the Civil War!

The fabric is a cotton, and she lined the front and the back with a fabric of white/gold print. She threaded orange string into the cuffs to form the ruffles. All of it is hand-sewn – button holes and all. Oh, and the buttons don't match. There are little, age holes in the back of the blouse, but none in the front or on the sleeves.

To the right of her blouse (stuffed with paper) is a photo of her and her memorial card. I really treasure these items. Not long after I got the blouse, I found this unique hanger at an antique store.

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