Thursday, October 13, 2011

Black late Victorian Mourning Dress

From the seller:

Victorian Era Silk Dress       

This is a Victorian Era silk dress that dates to probably sometime in the 1870s to early 1880s.  The dress consists of 2 pieces, a bodice and matching skirt.  The dress is made of black silk fabric that has a pinstripe pattern.
The bodice – the bodice has metal stays and closes in the front with hook and eye closures.  The neckline, the front of the bodice and the ends of the sleeves are trimmed in black lace.  The bodice is lined with brown polished cotton fabric.
The skirt – the skirt is very full and has a ruffle at the bottom of it.  The waistband has a hook and eye closure.  The waistline also has knife pleating the back (see photo). There is an underskirt or lining which is made of brown polished cotton fabric.  The very bottom of this underskirt or lining has black velvet trim on one side. 
The bodice:  lying flat and measuring from armpit to armpit the measurement is 16 inches.  The length of the bodice in the front is 19 inches and is 17 inches long in the back.  The sleeves measure 23 inches long (this measurement is to the end of the lace on the sleeve).
The skirt:  the skirt measures about 37 inches at the waistline and is about 41 inches long.
Condition:  the overall condition of both pieces is good.  The bodice has some underarm stains and some tears in the silk fabric at the underarm area.  The black lace is quite beautiful and appears to be in very good condition.  The rest of the bodice appears to be in very good shape, with the exception of the underarm area.
The silk fabric of the skirt has some scattered tiny holes and does show some signs of wear, especially at the bottom of the skirt.  The fabric at the waistline is fragile.  The size of the waistline is sort of odd for this time period.  I do not know if this waistline has been altered, as it does not appear to have been to me.  I wondered if perhaps the waistline is this size to accommodate a bustle or pregnancy. 
Overall it is a nice Victorian dress that would display quite well.  There are no large holes or tears or bad stains that I can see.  The only large condition issue to me is the underarm area, especially on the silk fabric side.  This should be able to be stabilized.

From Me: 

I think this a half mourning gown from the 1890's.   Although I'm sure it's from the 1890's, it's the half mourning part I'm not sure on.   It's actually in decent shape considering many silk gowns from this era are shattered.   

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