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Published: 02 May 2020

By Andy Ross

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Drizzling and Parfilage

Last week's Article of the Week was a piece of silver threadwork. A kind reader sent in an intriguing link which explains what it might actually be!

Thanks to Ms You-Know-Who-You-Are for an email requiring a Google search for "Drizzling and Parfilage", a somewhat bizzare but rather wonderful hobby has emerged. Back in the 18th Century, parfileuses - the term to decribe participants - would engage in picking the expensive gold and silver threads from their old clothes and costume. These would then be reused, and the craze took off. Spreading from France it emerged in England, spread by refugees from the French Revolution, and to Europe. This hobby was not done in secret but rather took place in company, suggesting that it was not a shameful practice but one to be celebrated. One can imagine the delight with which a parfileuse could show off her prowess (and wealth) in unpicking threads and then reshowing them in future garments! Fabulous!