Can’t find a fabric!

Take a look at this portrait of Ada Lovelace:

Artist, I get that you were being artistic with your watercolors, but ugh a dress isn’t that many colors.

ada commentary


A dramatic interpretation of what the artist painted

(Shower thought – with the purples and black lace, I almost wonder if this was a half-mourning dress? Except gold was definitely not a mourning color, and I can’t find any deaths in her family at the right time to make this a half-mourning dress. But I think I’ll search out a biography to confirm…)

I got swatches from Renaissance Fabrics of all their purple taffetas:



Purple Ice

(Another side note – I am a huge fan of Renaissance fabrics. The customer service is so so good. These are fantastic quality taffetas; no slubs at all. I highly recommend this store!)

Thought the hyndrangea would be the one, but it’s a bit dull in real life. Would not look great with gold.

The lavender is also kinda meh, too gray-ish depending on the light. Would also be rather frightful with gold.

I didn’t think I would like the purple ice, but I actually like it best of the three. The shot silk is good – I think that’s the closest I can get to the million colors in the portrait. It’s also not bad with gold.

But, I’m still not in love with it. Something like a purple and red or purple and pink shot silk might be better, but of course I can only find that in dupionis, and not taffeta.

I actually love the colors in this striped silk:

Purple Mini stripes

And even though the portrait isn’t striped, having 2 colors is evocative of the bazillion portrait colors. Problem is, I can’t find any evidence for tiny striped silk in the 1830s. Plaids galore, and a few wide stripes, but no narrow stripes.

Anyone know of another good source for taffeta, or evidence for tiny striped silk in 1830s?

This entry was posted in 1830s, Ada Lovelace dress. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Can’t find a fabric!

  1. Nessa says:

    Ohh, so many pretty fabrics. And have you thought about using a changeable taffeta? They have been around, in silk form, since about the 18th century iirc. Perhaps you could look into that option, too, while you are researching. 😉 And I’m so excited to see how this lovely dress will turn out! 🙂

  2. Katie Lovely says:

    Have you tried They ship from India and it can take a little while, but their stuff is nice quality. Also, Burnley & Trowbridge or Wm. Booth, Draper may have something…I know they’ve had shot/changeables in the past.

    • avantgarbe says:

      I’ll check that out! I hadn’t bought from them before so was leery about the quality, but hey recommendation! They’ve also got the cotton organdy which I wanted for the petticoats for this dress…

  3. Pingback: Dress Fabric Research | Avant Garbe

  4. Pingback: Re-kickstarting Ada Lovelace | Avant Garbe

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