This fabric really caught my eye at the 'Undressed - a brief history of underwear' exhibition at the V and A (see previous post).
It was so contemporary and could have been woven now, it was a delightful pale grey colour. It was making up this bustle:
(Image copyright of the v and a museum) (1)
I was particularly interested as I suspected it was made from crinoline. Crinoline was a fabric woven in Norwich (2) and contained horsehair. (The word comes from the French 'crin' for horsehair. ) On reading the label, I found it was woven crinoline, described on the label as a mixture of linen and horsehair. The label also indicates that bustles of this type were worn from about 1869-1880 and by 1890 these were no longer worn. My initial thought was that the fashion didn't last long, but then on reflection I realised how bizarre that thought was. Catwalk shows try and establish a 'trend' for one season now, so 11 years would be along time for a trend!
This is even more interesting to me as I have cousins whose family owned mills in Norwich and Wymondham that wove crinoline. Between us we are trying to find out more about this type of weaving and the mills involved.
(1) More about this bustle. If you haven't been to the V and A and are interested in Fashion then a visit to the V and A is a must and also a look at their 'new' textile area at Clothworkers Centre. More about this one can be found in their online collection.
(2) Morris Thelma in 'Made in Norwich' 700 years of Textile Heritage notes that Crinoline was a fabric with a cotton warp, crossed with horsehair ( the weft- my addition!) used for stiffening, especially crinoline skirts. It was known to be made by E.F. HIndes (1850s) and Bollingbroke & Jones (1883-7 ) p 85