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I believe I can find inspiration anywhere . . . but, vintage textiles and garments are one of my favorite sources of inspiration.  Perhaps it’s my love of Jane Austen novels, which conjure up fantasies of Mr. Darcy and Mr. Knightley . . . or even my current fascination with Downton Abbey.  Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to spend time at museums in their archives or behind the scenes at their exhibits taking a close look at some truly amazing garments.

There’s nothing quite like seeing the garments and textiles in person, especially when I can look underneath and see how the garment was assembled.  Unfortunately, museums are not something one can get to on a day-to-day basis.  That’s why I thought sharing a few of my favorite websites for vintage textiles might be of interest to others.  There are quite a few . . . but, what I love about these three are the images available for many of the garments that show the outfit from different angles . . . and even details of the craftsmanship in the construction and embellishments.  I can easily indulge myself by wandering through the pages dreaming of what it must have been like to waltz in a Victorian ballroom while wearing a Worth ballgown . . . until I come to my senses and realize how grateful I am for not having to don a corset and wear layer upon layer of under garments.

I hope you enjoy some of the tidbits below as examples of what you can find at each of the three websites.  If you know of others, please let me know . . . I’m always interested in inspiration wherever I can find it!

Vintage Textile – http://vintagetextile.com/

This is probably my all-time favorite website for vintage textiles.  It’s frequently updated and the garments are organized into different categories.  I usually go directly to the Victorian and Edwardian categories.  I can easily peruse the garments and their descriptions . . . but, by clicking on the image, I am treated to a multitude of images of the garment showing me different angles and marvelous close-up images . . . and a write-up of it’s history.  Some garments even have a lengthy provenance outlining the garment’s history . . . and even historical significance in some cases.  Below are a few garments you can find there now.

Mittens from 1837

Gown from 1876

Tea gown from 1912

A stunning Worth ballgown

1930's wool coat

Adrienne Landau 1920's evening coat


The Frock – http://thefrock.com/

In addition to gorgeous vintage garments, The Frock also has some garments from celebrity wardrobes such as Mae West, Sophia Loren, Lucille Ball, and more.

Edwardian silk chiffon cocoon coat

30's era gown


The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Collection – http://www.metmuseum.org/collections/search-the-collections?ft=costume&noqs=true

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a costume collection with over 45,000 pieces available for review from the comfort of your computer.  The above link is for the place on their website where you can enter your search criteria.  I entered a few terms and here’s what I got:

  • House of Balenciaga – 9,431 results
  • House of Chanel – 9,359 results
  • Charles Fredrick Worth -13,953 results
  • Hand woven – 19, 440 results

Worth gown

Balenciaga Spanish jacket


Comments on: "These are a few of my favorite things: #5 – Vintage Textiles" (2)

  1. Oh Lordy, I love vintage textiles. When my husband wants to go to the Indianapolis Museum of Art, he goes to study the masters with a sketchbook – I go to the textile department with a hankie to catch the drools.

    • I know how you feel . . . I was nearly escorted from the Metropolitan Museum of Art when I repeatedly set off the alarm because I kept trying to get a closer look at the back of a Worth ballgown. Thank goodness, security took me at my word that I was only enthusiastic and didn’t post any danger to the dress.

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