Thursday, January 30, 2014

Natural Form Fancy Dress

From the seller:

For your consideration today, we have a stunning antique Victorian ball gown bustle dress. It is not displayed properly on my mannequin, I did not want to fool with it too much, due to the weight and fragile nature of the fabric. The bodice is black and looks like a satin type of fabric. It has a hook and eye closure in the front, and is longer in the front and back than the sides. Along the hooks is lovely hand embroidery in green, burgundy, yellow and metallic gold. The sleeves are three quarter, and have larger matching embroidery at the cuff, with lace at the end. The bodice has stays and is fully lined. There are long beaded dangles around the hem, with some steel beads and metallic cording. The skirt weighs over 5 pounds!!! The front of the skirt is yellow silk, and the center panel has lovely hand embroidered designs, and yellow bow type of decoration around the hem where the yellow shows. The sides of the embroidered section have two yellow panels that connect to the black part of the dress. The black part is scalloped all along the sides, and around the hem, with lace showing beyond the scallop. It has the same wonderful embroidery in two sections. I ran out of picture room, but the embroidery is all done by hand and is just fabulous!!! The black section would gather at the top and puff out in layers, but you can't tell in the pictures. The skirt is fully lined. I can just imagine what a fabulous gown this must have been in it's day!!! As beautiful as it is, it has many condition issues and is not wearable. The bodice has many missing pieces of the dangles at the hem, the yellow fabric along the hook area has splitting and fraying, and the yellow lining has many splits and holes. The black fabric on the bodice is in good condition. The skirt has the most damage. The yellow fabric is in poor condition. The two side panels near the waist are torn, splitting and fragile and weak. The front panel with the embroidery is pretty good, but the panels on the side have splits and tears, one pretty long tear near the bottom above the bow section. There is wear and tears at the embroidery along the scalloped sides and some splits and tears in other places. I believe most of this was due to the weight of this piece. So this piece has many many flaws, but what a great example of the grandeur of the era. Please keep in mind that these items have been in storage and may have odors. I keep all of these old clothes in bags with Downy fabric softener sheets to keep them fresh. I think that this would fit a small to medium, but I have provided the following measurements with the pieces laid flat:



SHOULDER TO HEM--17" sides 22" front






From Me:

This is probably right around that 1879/1880 cusp. And I have named this dress "Lillipad". I hope that Lilly found her frog prince!


  1. What a gorgeous example of fancy dress! Swoon!!! Drool! (but not on the fabric :)

    Lillipad is the perfect name for it.

    1. ...I kinda want a stuffed toy frog somewhere in the picture... Maybe she wore a frog shaped comb in her hair?

    2. Or a frog-shaped reticule/handbag? Or a frog on a lily pond shaped hat?