According to Susan Wildmuth, “Chatelaine is French for “mistress of the castle.” For years people have associated this decorative and useful waist-hung item with medieval times, but it’s an honest case of mistaken identity. Grandmother to the chatelaine, collectors called these early waist-hung items, with long chains holding keys to myriad places where precious items like spices, tea, and food stuffs were stored, by its proper name, equipage. The term chatelaine, in association with waist-hung items, did not come into use until the early 1800s during the late Regency period. Similar to equipage, a chatelaine was traditionally worn draped over or attached by a clip to a belt on the wearer’s waist, its long chains dangling about halfway down the length of her skirt. More than just a fashion accessory, its purpose was to organize useful household objects in an accessible fashion and was often given as a wedding present by a husband to his new bride.” To make this period reproduction of a Chatalaine, you will need 3 1/2 yards of 1 1/2″ wide ribbon, a needle, thread and scissors, a clip (such as a garter clip or keyring clip if you will have a loop on your outfit for it to fasten to) for attaching the ribbon to your gown and a selection of small sewing or household necessities, such as scissors, a needle case and a pin cusion. Many of these items can be made or bought in the notions section of a craft or department store. (more…)
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