True Dresden? An extraordinary mid 18th Century German sleeve ruffle
This remarkable piece is for the embroidery collector, not for an 18th Century dress. Why? Because it is for a single sleeve ruffle. However, this single sleeve ruffle is glorious in it's range of fillings and I think it just might originate from Dresden itself. Or Saxony, where a slighlty different design was produced.
It came to me with another Dresden piece [not ready to let that one go yet!], which is very similar; And both came with a small collection of exquisite embroideries from Germany. I am shortly to write a Blog about them, because they use stitches, clearly described in Heather Toomer's 'Embroidered with White' [see Links & Research for full reference - an absolute essential book for Dresden work], but that I haven't come upon before, despite examining many Dresden pieces. These are 18th Century applique work [used for this piece] and shadow work [shown in my Blog]. Each type of application creates a very similar end finish, but the methods are completely different. Fascinating.
This sleeve ruffle is really wide at 38", and shapely. I think it dates to the 1760's. At the deepest section, it measures 8" and it seems to be unfinished, as there are single motifs above the main border that do not go all across the piece. However, the sleeve ruffle is all but finished in construction, with a rolled upper edge, ready to attach to a linen band [not that you will want to!]
So as I said, the dense area's of the design are applique work, which makes for a deeper effect than the single layer muslin of the engageante. The fillings are amazingly varied, and the design is large. I looked for a pattern repeat and there is none - every section differs from the others.
In my opinion, a work of art.
Do read the forthcoming Blog where I will discuss the stitches.
The ruffle has been laid onto 20th Century blue acetate fabric and tacked in quite small tacking stitches. Although I completely understand why - the acetate dye would never bleed, and does not crease, so it keeps the piece lovely, flat & fresh, I do not like it and if I were to keep it, I would remove it as long as it can be stored in plenty of tissue to avoid folds in the muslin.
[Just a personal view!]
The colour of the muslin is very good, with an occasional light stain. Very fresh for age. There are a few nibbles here and there, and some repairs. Of these, only one actually touches the Dresden work.