Friday, December 28, 2012

Update on the 1826 Dress Post

 I wanted to show how small the bodice was.   My hand is laid across the bodice from neckline to the point in the front.

 Close up of the armscye and smocking.

 I took this picture upside down, whoops!   This is the waist area and skirt.

 Inside of the bodice.

 This is the very front inside of the bodice.  I think the one bone you see there was added later for stability. 

 Apparently, the Schenectady Museum previously owned this dress.  Good to know when I open my own museum 20 or so years from now...

 I was trying to get a close up of the stiches.  They are very small but hard to see due to the coloring being exactly the same as the lining.

 Inside of skirt, bodice, waistline.

You can see the previous post on this dress here: MINE! 1826 Cotton Print Dress

The pin marks in the last picture are interesting.  Notice they are in a grid like pattern.  It is due to the print - or rather the dye used to create the print.   The florals on the inside of the dress - ie, where the facing fabric was turned in on the lining- are a brilliant blue and soft golden brown.  It's actually a lovely print on the inside.  However, the sun and probably poor lighting caused the dye to react to the cotton fabric on the outside and eat away at the cotton fibers leaving the small holes scattered where the light hit it most - one side is far more affected that the other making me think this is due to the way it was displayed in the museum.
 Once I get the desktop up and running, I'll see about recreating this fabric up on Spoonflower if there is any interest.   I know 1820's is a bit late for most re-enactments but at least the Civil War people could say they just took apart Grandma's favorite dress or something like that.   


  1. Do you really think this shape and style is 1820s? How long is the gown in total? To me it looks like a late 30s dress but since the bodice is so small more like a dress for a little girl. I am very torn on this and have not ever seen sleeve details like that for an 1820s style gown. -Brain hurt-

    1. I know, I thought it was 1830's to me until I got it and it's clearly 1820's. Here's some fashion plates and fellow extant to help guide your brain back to the 1820's: <-1828 <-late 1820's <-late 1820s <-1825 <-late 1820's <-satire piece depicting late 1820's that show a pointed waistline <-1826 <-1826

      Although the 1830's are known for the sleeves of ridiculousness, it started in the 1820's. When I hold the dress up to my shoulders, the hem is only an inch or so off the floor - making the entire thing probably for a perfectly normal 5'6" woman to wear - give or take an inch. The raised waistline puts it earlier. I actually found a few fashion plates that look exactly like this from the 1825-1826 range but I'm at work where they block blogspot images (not the text or replying, just the images. I have no idea why) as well as images on various other sites at random.

      Hope that helps!

    2. You are AWESOME in case no one has told you lately. The one thing that was throwing me wasn't the big sleeves, it was how they were made with the smocking around the top but I am always happy to be enlightened otherwise!

  2. Am I a terrible person for finding all the little holes eaten away by the ink charming? It's chemistry! And makes me wonder how things made today will age...

    1. Plastic lasts forever - unfortunately, so does spandex. ;-p

      As for chemistry, based on this:

      I think the blue dye is logwood. :-)

  3. Lucky girl! And even luckier dress. It's a beautiful piece. The dye reaction is so cool! How much, if any remodeling do you think this dress has had? (other than the boning you mentioned earlier)

    1. There doesn't appear to be much remolding. The upper sleeve smocking may have been added later - but about 5 to 10 years later so by the original owner. All the interior stitching looks original and the hem facing is original. What I truly love is that the dye was so beautiful originally and how it has reacted over time.