Tuesday, March 24, 2015

1820's Sheer White Dress

From the seller:
This dress is an absolutely amazing find! I purchased it along with other fabulous antique clothing and linens at an estate sale.

This dress is completely handmade and hand-embroidered with bands of handmade lace on the bodice and a wide hand embroidered border on the hem. It is in nearly mint condition. Based on the style, I would place it in the 1820s-1830s.

It is created out of an ultra sheer cotton lawn which was popular at this time. What a change from the heavily boned, restrictive gowns worn right before the turn of the century.

I don't know what was worn under this gown since it is so sheer, but I believe they had undergarments that puffed out the sleeves. Of course they wore corsets and petticoats. I pictured this with stuffing in the sleeves to show how they should look and a petticoat to fluff out the skirt but neither are included in the sale.

There are a few random brown spots which I have not tried to remove, so I'm not sure whether they are permanent or not. There is a small one on the bust area, another at the back near the buttonholes, a darker one inside one of the cuffs and a few on the skirt. All in all they do not detract from its beauty and could probably be removed by an expert in antique textile conservation.

I can't find any tears or holes although the fabric is slightly pulled at a few of the seamlines. It looks as though a half inch section of the lace insert right in the middle of the bodice has also pulled away from the edging, but it, like the other miniscule flaws, are not terribly noticeable and in my opinion do not detract from the beauty of this piece.

I am trying to portray this garment as accurately as possible. If the pictures aren't clear enough for you, please post your questions and I will try to answer them.

The wide embroidery embellishing the hem was done on a separate piece of fabric and then sewn onto the hem, giving it a bit more body since the fabric is doubled.

I don't have a mannequin small enough to show how this would have fit, but the dress has a portrait neckline which would have come right to the tip of the shoulder. The tightly pleated cap of the sleeve fell just off the shoulder then ballooning out into the huge gigot or leg of mutton sleeve that came into fashion around the mid 1820s.

There are small round covered buttons on the back and the cuff with handsewn buttonholes.

I custom make wedding gowns so I've done plenty of delicate, tedious sewing, but I bow down to the talents of this seamstress. Some of these stitches are only 1/16" long and her embroidery was so meticulous she didn't cause any pulls in the delicate fabric. I hope she was well-paid, although this could have been sewn by the owner. Perhaps for a special occasion like her wedding.

Believe it or not, this dress could actually be worn--not to any crazy mosh pit--rather to a civilized tea party--which is probably where it was worn in its time,but the wearer would have to be pretty small.

The band which fell right under the bust measures 26 inches, the bust would accommodate 34" because of the gathering and the length from the underarm to the floor is 43 inches.

I feel honored to have been able to touch and inspect this historic gown and if it weren't for taxes and horses, I'd proudly display it in my antique home. This truly belongs in a museum or in the collection of someone who adores antique clothing as much as I do.

From Me:


The dress on the back left side has a lot of very similar elements to this extant one - down to the sawtooth hem edging.

1920's Beaded Dress

From Karen:

Here is another 1920s dress from my collection. As you can see it is in very poor shape but at one time was a very beautiful dress. This is the condition I received it in. The sequins and beads are intact front and back. There are no signs of side closure so I suspect this slipped on over the head, over a slip. This dress would have been spectacular, back in the day. Nearly impossible to take measurements of this one as the shoulder, neck and arm openings have completely disintegrated. This dress is very heavy for its size.

From Me:

...Am I the only one that really wants Harley Quinn to wear something like this when she's introduced on Gotham?

Edwardian Evening Bodice

From Karen:
I have attached photos of a bodice I believe to be Victorian. It has white lace all around the neckline. The lace looks like little cartwheels. The bodice hooks up asymmetrically along one side of the front. Within there is another system of hooks and eyes and then a third set centre front along boned channels. These hooks and eyes are attached so that they are opposite all the way down (a hook and and eye, then an eye and a hook). There are twenty-one bones inside the bodice. There is lace attached chevron-style all around and lace on the sleeves. The back is very slightly pointed but the front has a more pronounced point. It measures 17 inches across the bust (flat) and 12.5 inches centre front.
Some of the silk has started to shatter.

From Me:

It's most likely an Edwardian evening bodice. The hook and eye closure with the false front like this is very typical in Edwardian fashions. The use of trim is also very typical for the Turn of the Century. The v-neck in the back also points to this being Edwardian.

Black Shirtwaist

From Karen:

I have attached photos of a black silk blouse, Edwardian? It has a cotton placket with three buttons and two hooks and eyes hidden under a false button front. The button front is unusually shaped and has nine buttons in groups of three. There is tiny pintucking down the front of the blouse, from the yoke. There are three rows of pintucking on either side of the button front. The collar is printed with a blue and grey diamond pattern. There are four rows of pintucking on the sleeves and at the back of the blouse there is also four rows of pintucking. There is a small peplum at the back and it, too, is pintucked. There are four rows of stitching all along the bottom of the blouse, from 2.5 to 5 inches from the bottom, indicating some trim was removed or some pintucks removed to lengthen. The bust is 21 inches, measured flat; the length from shoulder to hem is about 20 inches. There is a label stitched to the cotton placket at the lower edge of the blouse, National Cloak & Suit Co. New York (Gold print). This was once a beautiful suit blouse. The shoulders are shattered.

From Me:

My guess is about 1915 given the collar and the button placement. It might be a bit earlier, but it's a Teen's Era garment. I love seeing one that is not white! Although they were sold in multiple colors, most of the extant ones seem to be white.

Friday, March 20, 2015

1920's Black Dress

From Karen:
I have attached photos of a 1920s knee-length black Rayon dress. There are no openings, it is a pullover. The collar has pleated, pinked trim all around. The sleeves have a small cuff which used to have snap openings. Only one snap remains. The dropped waist is beautifully ruched, ending in three layers of pleated, pinked trim applied to the skirt on the front only. The back has a small belt attached at the side seams. The measurements are 19 bust and waist, measured flat. This is a fun dress. There are no labels but it is beautifully made. It does have a few small holes in the fabric

From Me:

I have a similar one from a few years earlier. These are neat in person because we have such similar dresses today - almost 100 years later!

1920's Lace Dress

From Karen:

I have attached pictures of a 1920's Robe de Style party dress. It is cream silk with cream lace and silk roses, velvet and silk leaves cascading down the front. It has ten snaps and two hooks/loops at the side. The dropped waist is piped and the skirt gathered to the piped waist. The bodice is lace and silk. I have stabilized the bodice lace with sheer netting and invisible thread. The bust is 17 (flat), waist is 16 (flat). There are small, attached panniers under the skirt to hold it out. I have tried to photograph them as best I could. The lace flounce on the skirt is 16 inches deep. This really is a lovely dress.

From Me:

Thank you so much Karen for sharing photos of your collection!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Men's 18th Century Iridescent Coat

From the seller:

The color is in french : "gorge de pigeon".
I don't know the color in english. It's pink or green, it depend of the light.
Lining : silk and linen

Silk outside and inside : perfect
Buttons : All present and intact

From Me:

From Dames a La Mode, 1780's