Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Regency/Romantic Era Peasant Dress

From the seller:

An interesting antique hand stitched French country day dress with apron front, dating from about 1820, although it could be earlier. Country dresses were often not high fashion, although this dress has the typical long Regency sleeves and nicely piped detail around the top of the sleeves. The fabric also is of a fine quality being a mixture of silk and wool, and drapes beautifully. So in style a country dress but with some good quality elements. It has the usual apron front with original ties, fastens down the front bodice, and has a deep linen lining to the hem. The bodice is partly lined with brown linen and a patterned fabric. The back skirt is prettily and tightly pleated into the waist. Another feature which lifts it out of the "country" look.

I believe this dress to have been slightly altered. Perhaps passed from mother to daughter, or between sisters. All done at the time the dress was being used though. There are two well worked inserts at the back of each shoulder. I cannot really see why this was done, or whether this was just the original structure of the dress (see photo).

Now to the colour. It was hard to catch the exact colour, owing to the slight sheen of the dress. Two photos show the dress in the true colour (the lovely sage green), but the others, owing to the bright light, have come out grey. Try to ignore this, and imagine the sage green of the "true colour" pictures of the dress.

Condition. When displayed on a mannequin this dress looks lovely. As with all apron fronted dresses it needs good display. The fabric is lovely, but there are various antique alterations here and there, clearly done at the time the dress was being used. There are a couple of marks, which tend to get lost in the folds - nothing too serious. The skirt is particularly lovely with a lot of material which falls well. The dress does need a cool iron. The fabric creases quite easily.

Measurements: Length approx. 138cm. Across waist approx. 26cm and across shoulders approx.40cm.

From Me:

It's not an apron front - that would mean it had a bib across the front that folded down. It looks like it might be a dog-legged closure however. What is interesting about this dress is the amount of times it's been altered. Look at the back to see how the sleeve moved forward - you can see a patch over the old armsyce placement. Then look at the neckline - it looks like it might have been a drawstring at one point in it's life that got stretched out and filled in. I think this dress might be as early at the 1790's but with a bunch of alterations done in the mid 1820's.


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