Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



Published in Textiles and Politics: Textile Society of America 13th Biennial Symposium Proceedings, Washington, DC, September 18- September 22, 2012.


Copyright 2012 by the author(s).


Beginning of the 16th century sultans costumes' fabrics were created at the special workshops within the body of the palace by court masters (ehl-i hiref). The designs for the fabrics used for court apparel were created by court designers known as hassa nakkaşları, and the fabrics for court apparel were woven by the court weavers known as hassa dokumacıları. A plan showing a weavers' workshop which is kept today in the Topkapı Palace Archive is to be attributed to the court weavers. Because the palace workshops were unable to meet the demand, orders were also given to workshops in Istanbul and Bursa. Fabric was also ordered from the renowned weaving centers of the West in Italy, like Venice, Genoa and Florence. The western culture had started to influence Ottoman art in 17th century and its influence massively increased in 19th century. Initially, westernization entered into military dress, subsequently had its reflections in the men's fashion and then in women's fashion and children's fashion. The tailors' journals are the most important documents that give evidence to women's fashion transforming into a Western style and emergence of one-piece dresses and two-piece dresses with a skirt and a jacket. These journals are particularly outstanding because they represent the orders of court ladies taken by tailors, fabric varieties, and women's fashion of the time, "harem" women and their lives. In its collection, the Victoria & Albert Museum has a fabric sample notebook that once belonged to a Greek merchant. This book contains fifty samples of Savai and Selimiye fabrics sold in Istanbul between the years 1790-1820. By using the cost journals of tailors at Topkapi Palace achieve and fabric sample notebook at V&A Museum and visual material, this paper will try to introduce selected examples of fabrics prepared in the workshops during 18th -19thcenturies.