Thursday, October 20, 2011

1870's Bustle Dress

From the seller:

Here is a gorgeous historical formal silk ladies' evening gown, circa late 1860's to mid 1870's. It is a lovely light pink silk with a silvery 2 tone gray damask, and a lot of stunning alençon lace which makes up the sheer sleeves and is along the front of the skirt.

This is a wonderful piece, and I would reccommend it for display, like a shadow box, or in a showcase for decoration, or to restore. It is not really in any condition to be worn. As with most clothing of this time period, there is quite a bit of wear to the fabric. It is silk, inside and out. The lining is better intact than the extertior. The silk and the damask fabric are both very volitile at this point, and there are a lot of splits where it has become brittle with age. Even so, it makes an absolutely breathtaking display piece! The seamstress who made this piece was very good, because the seams are sturdy and pretty well intact, and the detailing is wonderfully intricate! The lace is in fantastic condition! It is just gorgeous. I imagine that it was probably a lighter ivory, and has turned to more of a candle light or cream colored ivory with age. The boning in the bodice is intact and skillfully placed, making the bodice BEAUTIFULLY tailored.  The closures are hook-and-eye type closures, and they look as though they may have been moved so that the dress could be a couple of inches smaller or larger in either direction. The bust is approximately 32-34" The skirt is adjustable as well, and has the same sort of closures, and goes from about a 24 inch waist to a 28 inch waist. The skirt has the wonderful box pleats typical of this era, and has graceful, flowing gathers in the silk on either side of the focal damask panel in the center of the front, giving the fabric a very fluid appearance. The beautiful lace graces either side of the damask.

From Me:

I'd put this around the late 1870's, early 1880's. It looks like someone was about to alter it and decided not to. It most likely originally had some sort of matching sleeves and maybe a skirt drape in the back as well. Although the silk is shattering, the lines of the dress are still visible making it an interesting case for study.


  1. I've been enjoying your wonderful blog very much and followed you here from All the Pretty Dresses (I pick you up on my LJs via a syndication feed.)
    I very much appreciate all the time and effort you've put in to searching out and displaying all the lovely clothes. Thank you so much.

    I'd also like to give you some feedback on the new layout based on my viewing experience via the feed. A nice, simple layout like you have here is much more successful that more complex and fancy because the more complex and fancy web displays get the more chance there is for things to go peculiar.
    I'd also like to put in in a vote for slightly larger images and for keeping the image proportions true over keeping the images all the same size while distorting the lovely gowns images.


  2. @elegant_dress Thank you! The reason the proportions are wonky sometimes is actually a slightly complicated one. It boils down to that I can't see the photos when they are first uploaded at work but I can see that they've been uploaded. I *might* be able to get around the firewall they have at work regarding this (I can access blogger but I can't see photos at blogspot. However, all the photos are uploaded to picasa, which I can see.) but it might mean getting rid of the larger photo being shown when you click on the photo. We'll see. I hope to be able to fix that.

    Thank you so much for your feedback. It really does help. I want this to be a place for people to come not only for the pretties but also for research.