Test your textile knowledge with the Selvedge Boxing Day Quiz. Good luck!
Answers are at the bottom of the post.
Image: Elizabeth and Jane Bennet | © Pride and Prejudice (1995)/BBC Productions
1.) What is the name of the style characterized by a waistline cut just under the bust ?
A) Empire Line
B) A line
Herdwick sheep are the hardy native breed of the Lake District and live on the highest of England’s mountains. Herdwick lambs are instilled with a life long knowledge of where on the fell they should be grazing, which is crucial, as a sheep which strays from Borrowdale to Eskdale could take the farmer a 100 mile round trip by road to collect it. Herdwicks have now become a Lake District icon, and thanks to the National Trust, the herdy's durable wool products now carry their own Herdwick wool trademark.
2.) What breed is Shawn the Sheep?
Before the Industrial Revolution, a weaver operating a loom from home could only produce a piece of cloth that was as wide as their outstretched arms. This was because they had to be able to throw the shuttle - carrying the weft through the warp - and catch it. Wider cloth required two people to throw the shuttle. That was until John Kay from Bury in Lancashire patented an automated shuttle that used a lever to throw the shuttle at a tremendous speed. The Flying Shuttle could be dangerous to use, but for factory owners, it produced such incredible results that there was soon a shortage of thread to weave with!
3.) Put these inventions in chronological order starting with the earliest.
A) Spinning Jenny
B) Flying Shuttle
C) Cotton Gin
D) Jacquard Loom
There is probably no other British cloth with as rich a fashion history as tweed, and Harris tweed is one of the most famous types — relished for its elegant and often extravagant designs. Harris Tweed can offer a variety and depth of colour unmatched by other fabrics because wool is able to take on a vast range of colour dyes. Add to this the possible juxtapositions of yarns while weaving and you have a potential palette of colours that has inspired designers and tailors for centuries. Now wonder then that Harris Tweed - with its Orb trademark - has acquired iconic fashion status.
4.) Which designer's logo was inspired by the Harris Tweed orb trademark?
A) Stella McCartney
B) Oswald Boateng
C) Vivienne Westwood
D) Zandra Rhodes
For over 170 years the Dutch company Vlisco have been creating original, high-quality textiles that have become part of the fashion landscape across Central and West Africa. In the 1840s the company began with the aim of printing inexpensive imitation wax-batik, hoping to access a vast market for sarongs and headscarves in the Dutch East Indies. But in the 1880s the first shipment of Vlisco fabrics set sail to Africa, and it was this shipment that marked the beginning of a new era — their distinctive fabrics became, and remain, hugely popular with African women.
5.) Wax print is unique in that it is sold as bolt of fabric to be made up be a dress maker. How much fabric is in a bolt?
A) 5 yards
B) 7 yards
C) 9 yards
D) 3 yards
First recorded in the 1580s, grosgrain silk ribbons—with their distinctive ribs—reached the height of fashion in the 18th century. They were very popular for millinery as the ribbed texture is self-supporting, allowing curls and loops to keep their shape. There is also a tradition of using grosgrain ribbon for medals, and it was used to create the tricolour cockades of the French revolution.
6.) Which town in France is famous for ribbon production?
A) St Etienne
The Yak is essential to the Mongolian nomadic life, providing milk products and meat, but most important is the yak’s coat; the long guard hairs from the ‘skirt’ are exceptionally strong when woven into ropes for securing the yurts, and fabric woven of the spun yarn makes wonderful waterproofing for durable mats and storage bags. With little lanolin, the yak down does not lose its weight when washed and can be spun to a fineness that rivals cashmere. The down is shed with the warmth of spring and can be felted or spun into yarn with a lustre that is better than wool.
7.) Which art form historically used yak hair to make beards and wigs?
A) Chinese opera
B) Kabuki theatre
C) Bharatanatyam dance
D) Indonesian gamelan
The vicuna's appearance is both elegant and comic, most remarkable though is their fluffy cinnamon-coloured coat which is much finer than cashmere. It’s because of this extraordinary coat that they were nearly hunted to extinction. Woven vicuna is extremely expensive. Scarves can sell for as much as $4,000, while an overcoat custom-made by a skilled tailor can cost $50,000 or more. These prices don’t seem to deter customers and Loro Piana, a major producer of vicuna goods, has invested in vast preserves in the Andes in order to ensure it has a constant supply of the coveted fleece.
8.) Vicuna fibre is traded on the international commodities market. Can you put theses fibres in price order starting with the least expensive?
Although Donegal tweed has evolved into a generic term to represent Irish tweeds, it was originally specific to County Donegal where the hand-weaving tradition has been passed from father to son throughout many generations. Thought to have been inspired by the beauty of Donegal's remote coastal location, its slightly rough texture is always scattered with flecks of colour like the yellow of gorse, the mauve of heather, and the white of the mountains that dominate the rural landscape.
9.) Who designed the distinctive blue and crimson Balmoral Tweed?
A) The Duchess of Devonshire
B) Prince Albert
C) Queen Victoria
D) Princess Charlotte
Chikankari is embroidery of great delicacy that appears like lace on diaphanous white cloth and is associated with the Indian city of Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh. A form of white on white embroidery, Chikankari is traditionally worked with unbelievably tiny stitches on the finest Indian cotton or muslin. The origins of the term chikan are disputed, although the word itself and possibly the stitching skills came from Persia, probably via Bengal where embroidery developed to embellish the locally produced muslin cloth. The embroidery took on different forms in different parts of India, although in its most developed and distinctive form is linked to Lucknow.
10.) Which actor wore chikan-work in the romcom The Next Best Thing?
A) Goldie Hawn
C) Shilpa Shetty
1.) A, Empire
2.) B, Suffolk
3.) B, Flying shuttle 1733 / A Spinning Jenny 1764 / C Cotton Gin 1793 / D Jacquard Loom 1804
4.) C, Vivienne Westwood
5.) C, 9 yards
6.) A, St Etienne
7.) A, Chinese opera
8.) C Merino / D Mohair / A Angora/ B Cashmere
9.) B, Prince Albert
10.) B, Madonna