bit_ter_swe_et (bit_ter_swe_et) wrote in egl,

The journey of the muff through the history of fashion

The muff or the handwarmer (štuclík or rukávník in Czech, der Muff in German, le manchon in French) was warming up the delicate hands of ladies as far back as in the 16th century. Men soon acknowledged the advantages of this accessory and put it in their wardrobes in the 17th and 18th century. Men used to wear their handwarmers tied to their waists, which looks really awkward on the period paintings to be honest. Women´s muffs hanged on a cord round their necks or it was not tied anywhere at all and was placed simply on hands. The muff came out of fashion in the 19th century and after a short revival in 1940s and 1950s it is rare to find it in wardrobes in these days. Although the muff is a very practical little helper, only mothers with prams use its modified version on the daily basis.

Originally muffs made of fur were worn. Among the favourite furs belonged sable fur, ermine fur, otter fur and more. The shape of the muffs also evolved, there were small “kegs” but also big muffs reaching to the ground. Later the muffs sewed from fabrics were introduced. This new fashion of fabric muffs was received with displeasure by furriers because they were losing income. There is a story from this period about a furrier who tried to compromise the fashion of the muffs made of fabric. The furrier gifted one of these muffs to the executioner. The executioner´s profession used to be beneficial, but loathed. By doing this the fabric muffs really became unfashionable.

But not everyone could afford to waste money on luxurious things. Clothes used to be resewed and recoloured out of frugality to hide the fact that it was a recycled fabric. Women could afford to have a muff when their fur coat was worn off. Only then they could create smaller fur accessories, for example a muff. Crafty ladies who mastered the art of bobbin lacemaking or embroidery could display their elaborate works on their muffs.

If I managed to catch your attention with my recount of the journey of the muff through the history of fashion and you desire to have your own, you can create one. Click here to get the pattern and instructions.

This article also appeared in new magazine Comely Antonie written by the Czech lolita community, available also in English!
Tags: tutorial: sewing

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