Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I dunna think it means what you think it means..

From the seller:
A part dress in sea-foam palest blue watered silk and dating from about 1820.Missing are the sleeves and two panels of the back skirt. I believe this terrible act was carried out a long time ago - possibly in Victorian times, when there would have been little respect for a gown from an earlier era.

The actual silk fabric is beautiful - a soft pastel watered silk in a romantic shade. The crowning glory is the bodice. This has the most beautiful decoration, and is worked in minute stitches. It fastens at the back with later black hooks and eyes.

I don't know whether this part-dress could be reconstructed using similar silk. It would mean adding a back gathered skirt, and of course sleeves. Alternatively, it would be ideal for documentation or study, or the bodice could be detached, and the lovely watered silk re-used.

Of course on a hanger it is not evident that the back is missing, but of course there is still the missing sleeves.......

The silk is in good strong condition. There is a slight shadow of a mark on the skirt - just on the surface. This does not show through to the reverse of the silk.

So there it is - a one-time beautiful dress, ruined by some thoughtless Victorian lady! I'm sure there is someone out there who could do something with it!

So just to reiterate - the back skirt is missing, the sleeves are missing, but it has a wonderful bodice beautifully worked.

Length: 50". Across front high waist 14"

From Me:

Let's examine the dress:

1. Machine stitching
2. Moire fabric - most common in the late 19th C through the 20th C
3. Looks unfinished

My *guess* is that the fabric is synthetic adding on to everything else. I think this dress is probably from the 1960s at it's oldest. It's not from the 1820's and I think it's probably something someone made for the Jane Austen festival more than anything else.

I wanted to include it, however, just to show that you really need to look at the garment itself and not rely on what the seller is telling you. There are some awesome sellers out there of antique clothing. However, there are also a lot of people who just went through Grandma's attic and figure they can sell the old clothing online to make a few extra bucks. It's not bad - we all do it- but as buyers, we need to make sure that what we see is what we are getting, and not what the seller says it is.

1 comment:

  1. I see exactly what the seller is describing. The meticulous backstitching of that period might *look* like machine sewing, but without the dress in one hand and a magnifying glass in the other, I wouldn't risk judging one way or the other.