When you think about mid-18th century ladies‘ clothing, what immediately comes to mind is silks in pastels and bright colors. There‘s one piece of clothing that appears in a variety of portraits and advertisements and is dark. We‘re talking about a black apron.

Some samples can be found here:

Thomas and Elizabeth Sandby, c.1760

Mrs. Bentley, c.1775

and the probably most famous:

Archduchess Maria Christina of Austria, c.1765

Such a black apron was considered workwear, in the case of black silk taffeta we‘re talking about the workwear of noble women whose „work“ consisted of needlework for pleasure, painting or gardening.

Still, a black silk apron is very helpful for the professional needleworker as well. The dark background is kind on the eyes when working with light colored or sheer fabrics. The taffeta makes it easy to brush away all those snippets of thread and keeps the dress itself clean. We‘re definitely talking a must-have for a milliner as Madame Juliette. I modeled mine on the archduchess as I didn‘t manage to find any portraits closer to home.

A quick and dirty snapshot. There will be better pictures, promise.