Friday, November 18, 2011

Earlier Dress remade in the late 1860's

From the seller:

This is one of those discoveries that happen once a decade or so, and I was lucky enough to be the caretaker of this incredible gown for about 10 years. Now it's my turn to share!

It is a striking shade of robin's egg blue, with delicate ivory lace trim, self ruffles, sharp bodice points and masses of fabric in the skirt!

I have many, many pictures of this dress, so if you are interested in more, just let me know. 3 pix will never do it justice.

It is quietly elegant, with refined and restrained decorations. The bodice has a simple tan polished cotton lining, the ruffles are actually 1 piece of fabric, and the shell buttons are restrained and demure.

The lower part of the sleeve is lined in white silk, with a scant 1" pleated ruffle just inside the sleeve end.

The skirt, I believe, has been reworked at the waist, probably to alter the style from large bustle to smaller, so there are huge stacked pleats across the back. And here is the story: I think it was a late 1860s elliptical hoop dress that was remade for the changing style of the 1870's. No woman would waste fabric then by cutting it out, so it was simply pleated at the back, as a small and simple bustle. I think it could be easily returned to its original shape by taking out the pleats and repositioning the waist of the skirt! What a fun project!

It is lined in a wonderful blue polished cotton, with a dust band at the hem.

Much is machine stitched (hence the earliest possible date of late 1860s), some hand stitched, with no problems anywhere except the underarms, which have perspiration damage, in spite of cotton pads filled with a dried herb, possibly lavender.

It is museum quality, and deserves to be safely put on display, for many to enjoy!

Please email with any questions or for more photos.

From Me:

This was probably a late 1850's/early 1860's dress that was remade in the late 1860's/early 1870's based on the sleeve shape and the waistline.

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