Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Beautiful Blue Late 1860's Dress


From the seller:
This one piece ball gown has a flat front, a high waist, dropped shoulder and a straight, elongated and 20" long trained back (please see the last photos of fashion plates showing similar gowns from 1868/1869 - this also shows the correct silhouette). The gown does not yet have a bustle, but the back part sits on a crinoline that extends backwards.
The gown is made of electric blue coloured silk with matching coloured applied rows of pinked (scalloped edged) silk frills to the neckline, the short sleeves and the hemline of the skirt part.
The short bodice part has a squarish neckline and short sleeves. The bodice is fully boned on the front, as was fashionable at the time, and lined with white/cream coloured cotton. The dress closes on the front with hooks and eyes. The arm/shoulder seams are piped.
The skirt part has a very long train and is lined with the same cotton. The front right has the obligatory deep internal pocket hidden in its folds.
The dress is almost entirely hand sewn (only the long seams on the skirt are machined).

The dress is designed to be worn over a elongated crinoline with a broad embroidered silk or lace sash (see the fashion plates below). The dress is shown over a crinoline that is not included in this sale, but crinolines, bustles and bustle frames can often be found on Ebay.
The dress is probably belonged to a younger lady (but please bear in mind Victorian ladies were smaller in stature) and is a modern size UK 4-6 (EU 30-34, US 2-4) (I wear a size UK 6 and this does just fit me, but one needs very slender arms and shoulders for this dress) (but please check the measurements to be certain) and its measurements are as follows (measured when lying flat):

Length of dress: 52" front; 72" back

Length of bodice part: 13"

Bust: 16" (ca. 32" all around)

Waist: 12.5" (ca. 25"all around)

Width at shoulder: 16.5" (please note this gown still has the dropped shoulders that were fashionable in the 1860s)

Length of sleeves: 4.5"

Length of skirt part: 39" (front); 59" (back)

Width at hem: 76" (152" all around)

The dress is offered for repair, study and/or display. The biggest problem are areas on the top of the sleeves/shoulders and on the train mid-way where the silk is shattered and has holes (see photos). There is also a small hole further up on the back of the skirt near the waist and a repair beside one seam (see photos). One hole is located on the front of skirt, where it developed as a result of an organic stain (visible on the lower left side in the first photo). The silk has considerably faded on the top of the sleeves/shoulders (it has obviously been displayed previously - hence the fading). I think that a large part of the single row of pleated frill attached to the skirt hem is missing on the back (on most of the train in fact) (see photos). Some of the frill is also loose and needs to be re-attached (I pinned it for the photos - see last dress photo). The edge of the skirt hem is somewhat worn from dragging across the ground, as is to be expected.
Otherwise, the dress is structurally sound with the lining in near perfect condition.
The gown is in clean condition.
Please note that I would advise against the wearing of this dress. It is offered for display only. It just is too precious to be worn - a rare survivor.

From me:

Everything the seller said. :-) Oh, and my computer really is way too slow. It took 20 minutes just to post this!

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