Thursday, November 6, 2008

Dictionary of Fashion

Have you watched the new tv reality series, Stylista, yet? If not, that's OK. It's a show based on a group of people trying to win a job at Elle magazine. Along with the usual behaviors associated with reality series, this one provided an interesting tidbit: during one of the challenges all of the participants were given a dictionary. Not any old dictionary -- but a FASHION DICTIONARY! I had no idea such a thing existed. So I hopped on Amazon, looked it up and decided to order the The Fairchild Dictionary of Fashion!

It arrived yesterday and it is FILLED with lots of fantastic information. Naturally the first word I looked up was crochet:

Crochet: (kro-shay') 1. Fabric made from a continuous series of loops of yarn made with a single hooked needle. Originally developed in the 16th c. as an inexpensive method of creating a lacelike fabric. Modern textile machinery can create fabrics that have the appearance of crochet.
2. Adjective used to describe apparel made by crocheting.
3. Term used from 14th to 17th c. for a hook or fastener, e.g., a hook attached at woman's waist for suspending a pomander, or a fastener on a shoe.

The first thing from that definition that popped out at me is that it states crochet dates back to the 1600s -- not the 1700s as most other resources note. (Personally, my jury is still out on this one. I'm still trying to find information on my mummy ...)

The second thing I noticed was "modern textile machinery can create the appearance of crochet" ... which means they have of yet to invent a machine that CAN crochet. Just because it has the appearance of crochet doesn't mean it is crochet! So this means crochet remains a fiber art form that MUST be made entirely by hand!

The third was a great explanation on why I keep seeing button fasteners on eBay listed as crochet hooks. Really, crochet hooks and button fasteners are not the same thing. To be sure, I looked up pomander. Pomanders were balls of fragrant herbs and/or flowers worn at the waist from the 1500s to nearly the 1700s. OK, good to know.

After checking out crochet I decided to flip through the book and pick a word at random; I landed on "godet."(pronounced "go-day') It's the name of the inserts I used in designing the pink & white skirt for my daughter! Way cool. I can see this book will become a very valuable addition to my reference book collection. :)

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