Tuesday, 21 September 2010
My calculations suggest that the fabric is probably from the first part of the twentieth century (partly based on the fact that it's a narrow width, rather than the current standard 110 or 140cm wide), and it's none the worse for wear. For some reason I had thought that Viyella was an American brand (possibly because I associate it with shirt-waister dresses worn by midwest farmers' wives), but I couldn't be more wrong: the brand was founded in Nottinghamshire, in the suprisingly early year of 1894. The fabric's soft warmth definitely belongs to a pre-central heating era - according to Wikipedia it is 55% merino wool and 45% cotton, and I imagine that a Viyella shirt was a particularly welcome layer on a cold day. As you can see from the label, Viyella guarantee against shrinkage - a world away from today's 'Dry Clean Only' fashion.
I've earmarked the fabric for a dress (have an idea in my head which I need to translate onto paper). Just need to summon up the courage to cut into a piece of British textile history.