Block printed chintz skirt
A skirt or petticoat made from smooth cotton calico and lined throughout with a soft and coarsely woven cotton. The overall floral pattern is hand block printed and dyed using madder and indigo dyes with simple yet effective use of colour shading and layering to give a variety of colour tones using just a few dyes. The flower forms include recognisable depictions of carnations along with more stylised smaller flowers in mauve, blue and pink.
Indian printed and painted cottons, or chintz, became popular in Europe from the early 17thC and the demand for such fabrics was so overwhelming that it led to many European imitations of the original Indian chintzes. The Indian chintzes were produced by hand and required a high level of expertise in both printing and dyeing to create and it was a long time before European manufacturers were able to properly imitate the colours and level of detail shown in the Indian versions.
The top 30cm on each of the side seams of this skirt have been left open to allow for adjustments in size and to create openings that would allow access to separate pockets worn underneath the skirt if needed. The waist would have originally had a binding of tape neatening the top edges where the pleats have been stitched and these tapes would have extended out at each side allowing the front and back panels of the skirt to be tied around the waist when worn.