Wednesday, November 28, 2012

1876 (?) Bustle Era Fancy Dress

From the seller:

Antique Victorian two piece silk and velvet bustle gown dating from c1890. The top is fully boned, measures 17” down the front and 20” at the back, 30” bust, 24” waist and 12” sleeves plus 10” frill at the cuff. Bustle skirt measures 38” down the front and 52” at the back with a 28” waist”, is lined with Hessian and cotton. The top has some splits on the back and the net lace cuffs have some holes. The silk on the skirt is shattered in places, (see pictures).

From Me:

During the centennial of the American Revelation, it was fairly common to see dresses based on the styles 100 year prior. The gowns of the 1870's reflected, sometimes, the robe a la polonaise to the point that there is period commentary on the subject. Because of the clear colonization of this gown and the way the darts are placed along the bodice, I'm going with 1876 as the date for this piece.


  1. How do you think the skirt in constructed? Is the floral fabric set-in panels or a foundation skirt? Apron front attached at waist to solid foundation skirt with multiple contrasting panels? I think this gown is lovely - the detailing is very unique.

    1. To me, the floral panels look set in over a linen or cotton foundation lining. The "apron" is another panel set in the front over the lining. So, you have an almost rectangular piece (gathered at the waist a bit) of cream silk down the front, two triangular-ish floral pieces on the side fronts, and the cream "bustle" part of the skirt taking up the back and back sides. Hopefully, that makes sense!