Purfylle: Victorian Cuffs

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Thursday, 25 September 2014

Victorian Cuffs

Victorian cuffs
Have you ever wondered what Victorian cuffs were really like? These men's and ladies cuffs are
an interesting study.

Victorian gentleman's cuff
Gentleman's' cuff - back.

I don't know if it was common practice for cuffs to come in sets of three so you would always have a spare, but my cuffs certainly did.  

Victorian gentleman's cuff and buttons Gentleman's cuffs - front.   The pressed pattern is quite visible in this photo. All three cuffs have the same two stripes pressed into them, evenly spaced from top and bottom.

It's not that clear in the photos however one cuff is whiter then the others. Perhaps it didn't see as much wear or perhaps it was cleaned.

Victorian gentleman's cuff button savers
The edges have been bound with self fabric bias strips. 

The buttons are held in place with these little thingamabobs which probably have a proper name but I can't think of it right now. You can see the stitching is tiny and done by machine.

Here's a close up on the button hole, its not stitched perfectly but you can see there are even tinier re-enforcing stitches around the buttonhole.

Detail of the pressed pattern on the reverse of the cuffs, you can see the bias binding stitching is not perfect. (us perfectionists like to know these things)

The ladies cuffs are constructed in a similar fashion however have some definite differences.

Lace at the corners for starters. The lace appears to have been hand stitched with precise little stitches.

Victorain ladies cuff with cutwork lace front
Ladies cuff - front.

The lace is machine stitched in place. You can see around the edges of the cuff where the fabric has been trimmed away after the purfylling (embellishing) has been completed.

How do you think that little cut got into the corner? Trimming the threads, trimming the excess fabric, or later by something else entirely? I guess we'll never know.

Victorain ladies cuff with cutwork lace back
Ladies cuff - back.

The ladies cuffs have the seams folded and stitched down without any bias binding.

The corners are neatly trimmed and the button holes simply cut through without edging.

Victorain ladies cuff with cutwork lace sets
The ladies cuffs also came in sets of three based on the two different lace patterns for these six cuffs.

All nine cuffs are surprisingly thin, fine and stiff. They appear to be made of linen, but I'm no expert. It seems to me there is a stiffening layer sandwiched between the outer-layers and all glued together so they behave as a single layer.

I don't think they would have been terribly comfortable, but I imagine they always looked great!




4 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing this amazing post. I have read about the cuffs but have never seen them. May I ask where you got them? BTW, I have a small collections of ladies' handkerchiefs.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I had never seen them before either, They were listed on ebay a few years ago. The listing said they were found in a closet of an old farm house in Michigan. I'd love to see your handkerchiefs.

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  2. I'm curious as to where you got these? Very interesting! :) Are you going to try to duplicate these?

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    1. They were a great ebay find, just sheer luck I think. When I can find the right linen I would love to dry to make replicas. I should get practising on that lace design I suppose.

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