Clothworkers’ Centre

The Clothworkers’ Centre for the Study and Conservation of Textiles and Fashion is located at Blythe House, at Olympia in West London. The aim of the Clothworkers’ Centre is to provide the best possible access to the Museum’s outstanding collection of textiles and fashion in a relaxed and peaceful environment.

Here we will share our discoveries, star objects, news and miscellaneous goings-on.

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Unusual Samplers and Inspiring Knitwear: February Appointments at Clothworkers’

Tutors and students from Nottingham Trent University at the Clothworkers' Centre

This month I’ve been gathering feedback from some of our visitors, to gain a deeper understanding of what people get out of their appointments at the Clothworkers’ Centre. As a student working on dress and feminism in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century culture and literature I was thrilled to learn that I could select and see […]

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Delphos Appointments

Black pleated silk Delphos dress mounted on a mannequin.

The V&A owns nine Delphos gowns, all of which are currently in storage at the Clothworkers’ Centre. We have a range of shapes and colours, including apricot, white, black, and black with gold fleur-de-lis. These dresses are really popular with our visitors, and I’m not surprised about this. They’re timelessly elegant, I think. Although Delphos […]

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The Twelve Days of Christmas at Clothworkers’: The Musicians

Panel hanging of embroidered linen with wools. With a linen ground embroidered in wool in shades of light brown in outline, chain, stem and satin stitches and French knots. With a design within a narrow floral border of four female figures and a winged boy playing musical instruments among trees and birds.

It’s time of the full rendition of “The Twelve Days of Christmas”! On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me, Twelve drummers drumming, Eleven pipers piping, Ten Lords a-leaping, Nine Ladies dancing, Eight maids a-milking, Seven swans a-swimming, Six geese a-laying, Five gold rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two […]

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The Twelve Days of Christmas at Clothworkers’: Pelisse with Piping

Pelisse coat and cape collar of brown silk taffeta

We’ve got all the way to the eleventh gift given in “The Twelve Days of Christmas”: “Eleven pipers piping.” I’ve chosen to represent this present with the pelisse and cape collar pictured below, which are generously trimmed with piping. That’s a lot of Ps! Piping, in this context, is a strip of fabric folded to […]

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The Twelve Days of Christmas at Clothworkers’: Lord John Jacket

Nehru style jacket, characterised by the stand collar and long line cut. This jacket is made from a synthetic woven brocade fabric, with a yellow ground and floral motif in blue, pink and green. The jacket buttons from neck to waist with four self-covered buttons.

According to “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me, Ten Lords a-leaping, Nine Ladies dancing, Eight maids a-milking, Seven swans a-swimming, Six geese a-laying, Five gold rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree. The jacket […]

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The Twelve Days of Christmas at Clothworkers’: Fabrics with Milkmaids and Maypole Dancers

Four figures dancing around a Maypole design

In this blog I’ll be discussing two pieces of fabric in storage at the Clothworkers’ Centre. The first, which features cows and milkmaids, evokes the gift given on the eighth day of Christmas in the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas”: “Eight maids a-milking.” The second object calls to mind the ninth present given in […]

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The Twelve Days of Christmas at Clothworkers’: Seven Swimming Costumes

Women's bathing costume with skirt in navy wool

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love sent to me, Seven swans a-swimming, Six geese a-laying, Five gold rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree.—“The Twelve Days of Christmas” I’ve decided to do something slightly different for this post. I’ll be using seven […]

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The Twelve Days of Christmas at Clothworkers’: Fabergé Egg Style Bag

Fabergé egg style bag with purse, mirror, and comb

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me, Six geese a-laying, Five gold rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree.—“The Twelve Days of Christmas” This blog’s going to focus on an object connected to the laying aspect of the gift given […]

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The Twelve Days of Christmas at Clothworkers’: Saint Laurent Dress with Gold-Coloured Rings

Gold-coloured rings on dress T.122:1-2009

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me, Five gold rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree.—“The Twelve Days of Christmas” In this post I’ll be discussing this 1970s evening dress designed by Yves Saint Laurent which features not five, but […]

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The Twelve Days of Christmas at Clothworkers’: Calling (?) Bird Chintz

Furnishing fabric depicting a bird-of-paradise

I’ve chosen this striking piece of printed cotton to represent the gifts given on the fourth day of Christmas, according to “The Twelve Days of Christmas”: On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree. The […]

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