The spine – once leather-bound and gilded, now torn for a quarter of its length – has ‘1775′ inked onto it in an old-fashioned hand. Inside the front cover a much more recent pencilled addition reads ‘February onward only. Lacks some of the plates. £5′.
Shoe and waistcoat patterns from the 1775 Lady’s Magazine. © Penny Gore
I can’t remember where I bought this sorry-looking copy of the Lady’s Magazine, but I would have grabbed hold of it instantly thanks to the discovery of several folded sheets of embroidery patterns nestling towards the back of the volume, survivors of the binder’s knife. That must be at least 20 years ago: the book has accompanied me through two house-moves and, while not exactly forgotten, has sat largely unnoticed on its shelf ever since. Sheer chance led me to Jennie, to the Lady’s Magazine project, and to the Stitch-Off, and finally (about time too, you may say), those patterns have not only seen the light of day, but are being brought vividly, beautifully back to life by stitchers from all over the world.
Happy though I was to share the patterns, I wasn’t going to be one of those stitchers, I reassured myself. …read more