working woman getting dressed in the 18th century
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Film Prop Quilt

Getting Dressed in the 18th century

Every film has a backstory. Here’s the story behind our film prop quilt.

Getting Dressed in the 18th century

In September 2017 Crows Eye Productions released Getting Dressed in the 18th Century. It was a short film commissioned by the Lady Lever Art Gallery and National Museum of Liverpool showing a Lady in the 18th century getting dressed. It went viral immediately and now has well over 10 million views! The popularity of this film nudged Pauline and Nic into making more.

The people behind the film

Pauline is a lover of period costume and dressmaker extraordinaire while Nic has a genius for photography and film. Together they collaborate to make films about getting dressed in other centuries. After the wildly popular film showing a wealthy Lady getting dressed in the 18th century, Nic and Pauline decided to do a follow up film showing the dressing of an 18th century working woman.

The attic bedroom film set

Making the film prop quilt

The film was going to be set in an attic room and we were asked to help dress the set by recreating an 18th century quilt. Martha pieced the quilt using 18th century reproduction fabrics and a simple quilt pattern typical for the time between 1700 and 1800.

Historical inspiration

Emily quilted it during our November Juki Club Retreat. The quilting pattern came from historical illustrations of 18th century quilted petticoats that were popular during the period. The intricate and skillful quilting is in striking contrast to the simple pieced top.

Emily's quilting pattern inspired by 18th century petticoats
Emily’s quilting pattern inspired by 18th century petticoats

Many poor seamstresses were exquisite stitchers. As such, they could transform a basic functional item, like a quilt, into a work of art.

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.

William Morris

Poor people using basic fabrics and scraps could create things that were useful AND beautiful. This folk art theme was immortalized in the Arts and Crafts movement 100 years later.

quilting detail with the Juki TL QVP Mini straight stitch
quilting detail with the Juki TL QVP Mini straight stitch

It was fun to make something quickly that looked so old and fit beautifully in the 18th century setting. Having the right tools makes all the difference. The film prop quilt was pieced on the Juki DX7 and quilted on a Machine Quilter frame using the Juki TL QVP Mini straight stitch sewing machine.

The finished film prop quilt

Emily just took the quilt off the frame

Here’s the quilt with Emily showing front and back with the light really showing off the quilting. The stripy back of the quilt below is equally lovely.

Pauline and Nic have gone on to create many more fascinating films that show getting dressed in other times. You can view them here on the Crows Eye Production You Tube channel.

Pauline dressing Liv Free
Pauline dressing model/actress Liv Free

This working woman version of Getting Dressed in the 18th Century has nearly 9 Million views! All the photos and video footage are captured and edited by Nic @loven.n of Crows Eye Productions.

working woman getting dressed in the 18th century
Stunning shot of Liv Free in the film set

The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.

William Morris, 1834 – 1896

Here are a few more stills from the film shoot.

Finally, a little fun fact for the finish. If you watch Getting Dressed in the 18th Century – working woman on YouTube you can hear me, Martha Milne, doing the narration. I’m originally from Baltimore and have lived in the UK for 30 years. English people recognise my American accent. And, strange but true, Americans, who make up a large part of the YouTube audience, think that my accent sounds English. Go figure.

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