I realize after looking at this photo that I should have taken the time to try and do a better job of showing just how lovely this late 1940s or early 1950s blouse is. I’m hoping the details will show the special-ness of it.
Every so often the question will arise on vintage clothing chat board, “What makes a garment museum quality or museum worthy?” There’s no easy answer to the question, and it depends on the museum and the collection housed within. For example, the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art might turn up its nose at a rather plain mid-nineteenth century dress made and worn by a woman in Kansas, but that same dress might be an important part of a museum that interprets the history of that state.
When it comes to adding something to my own collection, I have several things to think about. “Museum quality” isn’t one of them, but “collection worthiness” is. An item has to not just fit into my theme of sports and travel wear, it must fill a spot that is currently empty, or it has to be a better example of something I already own.
Blouses from the post WWII era are quite common, and I already have a few, including a navy one in rayon, so unless one is pretty special I’m not going to be interested.
I love the under-the-sea theme of the embroidery with the seaweed and seahorses. But notice also the quality of the embroidery. This is tambour, which is done with a hook. There is also a machine which can produce a good tambour facsimile, and I’m not enough of an embroidery person to be able to tell the difference. I’m guessing it is machine work because it is just so tiny. I can’t imagine it being done by hand, but expert embroiderers are magicians. All I can say is that the work is beautifully done, and the back is neat and lovely as well.
This is the arm opening, and you can see the tambour that is applied to the band that secures it. Also note the button, which is starburst-cut mother-of-pearl.
I sort of wish the blouse were actually this color, but this is just my camera playing tricks again. The blouse is navy. But I included this shot because I wanted to make sure the row of tucks would be noticed. You probably can’t tell, but they are actually stitched by hand.
This blouse was meant to be tucked into a skirt or slacks, and to help keep it looking neat, there is a series of eight tucks (in addition to these decorative ones) all around the waist.
The label reads “Tache, Paris, 6 R. de Castiglione. The Rue de Castiglione is a shopping street that connects the Place Vendôme to the Tuileries Gardens. It’s a nice area of the city. Unfortunately, I have found nothing at all about Tache. I assume it was a store that sold pricey goods. Today, it appears as if there is a spa located in the space, which is across the street from a Weston Hotel.
As would be expected on a garment of this quality, there is a mixture of machine stitching and hand finishing. The hem is hand stitched, as are the bindings at the neck and arms. The machine-stitched side and shoulder seams are finished with a hand overcast stitch.
I also consider condition when deciding on a purchase. I can deal with a bit of less-than-perfect-ness, especially if the garment is really good. Rarity also is considered. I’d want a 1960s sportswear piece to be almost perfect, but I’m willing to be a little less picky when it comes to a piece from the 1910s. In this case, the condition is very good, with one light spot and a tiny repaired hole. There are also some seams that have come loose. Those I’ll fix with basting.
This was an item I spotted on Instagram, from Ballyhoo Vintage Clothing. Sellers, if you are not on Instagram, you might be missing opportunities to sell your stuff.