Monday, December 19, 2011

1870's Maternity Gown

From the seller:

This gown dates to the late Victorian 19th century and is two piece in its construction, fashioned of a cotton and a wool or linen blend. The bottom of the jacket is cut in full flowing form, this may have had a third piece which would have been worn beneath. The collar is unfinished around the edge and is trimmed in off white chemical lace, backed in buckram, and trace points of silk reveal that it was once fully backed in silk but the silk is now absent. The bottom edge of the jacket is stitched in rows, backed in silk in the stitch detail. The cuffs are large flaring trumpet bells that fall longer at the outer arm, the skirt is pleated vertically down with its bottom trimmed in the matching stitching, the rear flows in a full flowing long train. There are five thumbprints of fray holes, a dozen or so small pinhead fray holes scattered through the gown, hard to note, the gown is fully strong and wearable if so desired. The bodice measures 44 inches around the chest with the rear length measuring 16 inches, front falls 3 inches longer, skirt measures 23 inches around the waist, if worn on the last hook , could measure 25 inches around the waist, 40 inches in front length and 55 inches in its rear training length.


From Me:

My *guess* is this is a 1870's (maybe 1860's?) maternity gown.  It's hard to tell the way it's on the dress form. 


  1. It's draped very poorly on the mannequin, but I'm wondering about the date. The sailor-like collar, the longer-in-front loose jacket, the tapered skirt, the vertical pleats... Am I crazy for thinking turn of the century ? (and not that sure about maternity)

  2. @Rachel - I keep going back and forth on the date. I do agree it could be 1860s, but the closest fashion plate I found is from 1874!

    @Green Martha - I thought it was turn of the Century at first, as well. However, the drape of the skirt and the sleeves indicate the 1860s/1870s.

    I've done some more research and have come across some similar styled visiting outfits (ie, images with similar collars)

    The red cape has a large black beaded collar.

    The lady with her back towards us also has a collar, although pointed in this case. The overall shape is consistent with the dress above.

    The closest to what we see above is on the red outfit. This plate is from 1874

  3. I'd like to find some pictures of a similar collar in front to back it up. I'm really not sure about the date... It's so hard to tell from just a few pictures *sigh*
    BTW, I forgot to put it in my first comment : THANK YOU so much for the tremendous work you put into this site ! Wow ! *thumbs more than up*

  4. @Green Martha: Aww! Thanks! I started this on Tumblr simply to keep track of extant gowns I saw on auction sites after realizing what a great documentation resource those could be.

    I have found some more examples that are similar to the collar above.

    Another back view, but helpful

    Not quite what I'm looking for but the square piece in the back in interesting enough to add.

    Possible side view on the left

    Front view of a similar collar on the right

    slightly earlier, but similar styled garments

    None are quite exact, but the collar style may have also been pinned down originally to look like a lace blouse beneath the jacket/coat garment. (The silk may have been sewn to hold the collar down, giving the effect of ruffles around an opening)