Friday, December 7, 2012

Recreation or 1840's Dress?

From the seller:

Cutie pie 1840's work dress or wrapper. The dress dates to the 1840's because of the sleeves, which are called close sleeves and cut on the bias. The cap sleeves are called mancherons and are trimmed at the bottom with self fabric. The fabric is strong and fresh and mostly looks like it was made yesterday. The color is vibrant with only a few lighter areas; a couple on the sleeves and some on the skirt. The buttons are covered with self fabric. They seem to be wood disks covered with fabric perhaps? There is one missing. The sleeves, bodice, and hem of the skirt are lined with unbleached muslin. The maker was very thrifty and very clever. There are several piecings in the bodice and waistband but you really have to look to find them - she matched so well. Picture 4 shows some piecing at the back, picture 7 shows some piecing in the front. There are two ties at the center back waistband. I do not know the purpose. There is also a buttonhole on the back right side. I can only guess that perhaps the ties and buttonhole may have made the dress adjustable somehow? You can see the arrangement in pictures 2 and 8. The neck and armholes are piped, which was usual. The bust is 34", waist 28", and the length of the dress from back neck to hem is 52" - note that the back neck is lower than the top of the spine. The skirt is cartridge pleated all the way around. The whole dress is completely hand stitched. The bodice construction is a tight fitted lining over which is stitched outside fabric that is gathered into the waistband front and back. If you have any questions, please ask. Thanks so much for looking!!

From Me:

Based on the lining and the condition of the dress, I really think this is a marvelous re-creation.


  1. I keep looking at this, and honestly, I think it could be real. The lining method is atypical, yes. But because *everything* else is spot-on accurate, IMHO that actually argues for it being original. The piping is handsewn, the back seams are topstitched with tiny machine stitches, and even the buttons are made right! The differences in the lining (and, for example, the slightly unusual fabric choice) are significant departures from the accepted reproduction methods. I find it easier to believe that an 1840s seamstress had her own construction methods, than that a 20th-century sewer went to such lengths in some areas, only to do the lining in an atypical way. Also, the fabric is something that I would not immediately choose for an indistinguishable-from-original reproduction. It's unusual enough that I can believe it to be original.

    1. I know plenty of seamstresses who will do any old thin for the lining but make the outside as exact as can be (myself included!) simple because no one will see the lining. ;-) My Regency apron dress is all hand sewn, using wool check, a muslin lining...and a nylon ribbon in the lining because I didn't want to waste money on a silk ribbon that was only going to be 8" or 9". Which reminds me...I still need to hem that stupid thing...

    2. Granted, though that wasn't my point.