My new obsession: Costume Provençal

A few months back, I asked on my Facebook page if any of you had references about the traditional costume worn in Provence. When I was a little girl, my mom brought back half a dozen dolls dressed in various traditional regional costumes of France. The Provençal costume wasn’t part of the bunch, but through researching 18th century costuming and 18th-century fabrics, mainly the indienne cotton fabrics, I came across the traditional costume worn in Provence, which made a rich use of these indiennes. My interest was piqued.

I didn’t get many replies to my call for references, but that didn’t mean I was going to give up. As we prepared for our vacation in Sisteron (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence), I was hoping to visit a couple of museums on traditional costumes while we’re there, but they were both closed the week that we were there! Talk about an unfortunate coincidence…

So I turned to books and my research lead me to a list of interesting references. And without further ado, I present to you my new collection of books about the traditional Provençal costume, the traditional technique of quilting and the traditional fabrics – all in one post! I won’t do a book review for them today, but that’s something that I want to do as I work on this costume provençal project.

I’m taking my time reading and absorbing the content. I definitely want to make a quilted petticoat and perhaps quilted jumps. I might start with a machine version with the intricate design made with my embroidery module, just to practice achieving the visual representation I’m after.  Good quality, historically-suitable fabrics are expensive. I bought some fabrics at a shop near our vacation rental, but I know they are too modern. However, they’ll be good enough to practice on.

And while our vacation in Haute-Provence didn’t bring the museum visits I had hoped for, I must share my brocante finds as they are linked to the traditional costume.

I first bought this antique shift and this antique pair of bloomers thinking they were simply this – antiques. Upon flipping through the pages of my first book “Le Costume Populaire Provençal”, I discovered that what I bought were a traditional chemise and a traditional pantalon. Score! That means I don’t need to make these, I have the real thing! I went back to the brocante and found another shift and another pair of bloomers (not pictured) that I brought home with me. I’m delighted with these finds and I can’t help but wonder: who owned them? Who made them? How old are they? Were they worn for special occasions?

I know a lot of you follow me because of my Assassin’s Creed cosplays, Élise de la Serre in particular obviously, but I’m sorry to say most of my upcoming projects are in the historical sphere of costuming. I hope you’ll stick around regardless 🙂