Wednesday, June 13, 2012

1870's Yellow and Gray Bustle Gown


From the seller:

Apologies for using a life model for this dress, but the images were taken before I had a mannequin. I must also apologise for the cobbled together foliage in the background, but my neighbour had bright blue sheets hanging out on his washing line that clashed immensely with the colours of the gown, so I covered the sheets with vegetation. I am selling this gown with a heavy heart, but I neither have the time nor the knowledge to restore it properly. It deserves to go to someone who has both and can restore it to its former glory.

This very rare three piece bustle gown is breathtakingly beautiful, frilly and complex in its construction. It is composed of a stunning trained skirt, a matching day bodice and a matching evening bodice (please see the last photos of fashion plates showing similar gowns from 1878 - this also shows the correct silhouette). It is very rare to have both bodices with the skirt. It was very common to have a day and evening bodice, but sadly the evening bodices were often separated from the day dress and were never reunited. So, it is a stroke of luck to have both with this skirt.
The gown is made of greenish grey and beige (sandy) coloured silk with machine-made? cream coloured (please note they are not white, but cream in colour!) lace trims, silk bows and a velvet bow. It is entirely lined with cream/beige coloured cotton.
The day bodice is adorned with two rows of knife-pleated ruffles on the front, around the neck, the hemline and on its cuffs. The long sleeves are constructed of lace and have very broad cuffs. The cuffs also have a lace ruffle attached to them. It closes with small fabric covered wooden buttons on the front.
The ball/evening bodice is made of the same grey silk with beige and light pink silk trim. The bodice has an over the shoulder cut and closes with grey silk covered wooden buttons on the front. Both bodices have an internal waist tie with which it was secured around the waist. Neither bodice is boned.
The beautiful skirt is made of the same grey and beige coloured silk and has a draped apron-style front, a bustle back with an amazing 21" long train and a very broad kife-pleated grey silk ruffle at the front hem and the same double grey and beige knife-pleated ruffles on the train as the day bodice. There are two large beige bows attached to the train. The skirt closes on the back with hooks and eyes on the back and has internal cotton ties with which the skirt would be pulled back into the correct bustle-back shape.
The dress is hand and machine sewn. The day bodice has been slightly altered. The two side seams where let out to enable a slightly larger fit. The white perspiration protection pads on the bodices are modern of course.

The dress is designed to be worn over a bustle. The dress is shown over a bustle frame that is not included in this sale, but bustles and bustle frames can often be found on Ebay.

The dress is probably a modern size UK 6-8 (EU 32-34, US 4-6) (all with a waist corset - see measurements) (but please check the measurements to be certain) and its measurements are as follows (measured when lying flat):

Length of day bodice: 24"

Bust: 17"-17.5" (ca. 34"-35" all around)

Waist: 13" (ca. 26" all around) (note this is a wasp waist, so a waist corset ought to be worn)

Width at shoulder: 14"

Length of sleeves: 22.5" (including the lace cuffs)

Length of evening bodice: 14.5" (including the shoulder straps)

Bust: 16-16.5" (ca. 32-33" all around)

Waist: 12" (ca. 24" all around) (a waist corset ought to be worn with this dress)

Width at shoulder: 13" (excluding the shoulder straps - space across the shoulders between the straps)

Length of skirt : 39" (front); 60" (back)

Width at waist: 12" (24" all around)

Width at hem: 58" (116 "all around - without the train, just the regular skirt hem)

The dress is in need of repair, but is structurally quite sound (particularly internally). The major problem are long tears (longer than shown in the photo - they had been pinned together at the time) on the beige silk of the apron front and sides (these can be pinned together and well hidden in the folds, as I have shown in the photos) and primitive repairs on the waistband of the skirt (see photo). Further the pleated trim is worn in places and is unravelling on the back of the neck on the day bodice and on the back of the skirt train (see photos). The lace trim on the front of the day bodice has small holes were a previous owner had pushed through the button, so that they show on the outside, I prefer them hidden underneath the lace (see photos). The silk on all the buttons of the day bodice is gone. The silk around the button holes on the day bodice is very worn (see photos). The hooks on the skirt are missing and a small bit (2") of the ruffle trim on the front of the bodice needs to be reattached (this is just loose).
The gown is in very clean condition, but I have to mention light underarm stains on the day bodice, an underarm stain under the left arm on the evening bodice, a water stain on the beige apron front of the skirt and soiling on the hem of the train on the skirt, where it would have dragged across the ground (see photos).

From Me:

It's a good thing I adore this dress because getting the photo up was a pin in the backside. Yes, photo. Not photos.

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