Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Romantic Era Children's Dress

From the seller:

This is a wonderfully sweet little baby dress from around the civil war era in cotton calico. The dress measures 21" from the shoulder to the hem. The calico fabric colors are a muted red, blue and mustard. The colors do not look to be faded. The shoulders have two puffy balloon type areas each. The dress is well made mostly by hand. The hand sewing is so tiny and delicate. The bodice is lined in muslin and stained, but not the front of the dress bodice. The arms, shoulders and waist are layered and are done excellently. There is even a tiny cording around each. The skirt is nice and full with a 2" hem line. The backside has no buttons, hooks or holes so it must have been pinned closed in those days. The dress has no odors, tears or holes and a few small rust? spots not really detracting from the beautiful calico floral and stripe patterns. The dress is not weak or fragile. Thanks for looking.

From Me:

The styling suggests a much earlier date. The waistline is too high for the American Civil War (kids dresses looked different from adults at that point but the waistline would have come to the natural waistline). The sleeves are done in an eleborate style that is most commonly seen in the 1820's and 1830's. Because of the crazy print, I'm thinking 1830's for this one.

Although the sleeves to this one are different the waistline, bodice, and even the skirt pleating are similar.

1850's Bodice with Detachable Sleeves and Colorful Print

From the seller:

his bodice with detachable sleeves is an absolutely amazing find! I purchased it along with other fabulous antique clothing and linens at an estate sale.

The bodice and sleeves are completely handmade. Unfortunately, the skirt is missing.
Back in the day, people lived by the "waste not, want not" philosophy. Fabric was hard to come by; expensive and scarce if purchased, and amazingly labor intensive to fabricate oneself. Therefore, every shred was used and reused.

Gowns that were no longer in style were redesigned. If they were outgrown, they were altered or used for other clothes or quilts. I fear that is what happened to the skirt of this outfit.

Since the wearer of this dress was an incredibly dainty little morsel of femininity, I am showing it on one of my child mannequins. It has the classic design popular in the 1850s and 1860s: sweatheart neckline coming to the point of the shoulders with short sleeves, a basque waistline with a very narrow, deep V in front.

The bodice is lined in cotton, but I'm not sure whether the outer fabric is also cotton or a silk blend. The printing is bright, crisp and clean and the fabric itself is in MINT, PRISTINE condition.

It has hook and eye closures in the back and a dainty little rolled flower design at the back waist. It's fascinating that the long, detachable sleeves were kept safely packed away with the bodice; another example of the philosphy of the time.

Few women had the luxury of a lavish wardrobe and if she were lucky enough to have a special occasion dress, having the option of adding long sleeves made it even more wearable. In the 19th century, "respectable" women did not bare their arms during the day or for non-formal occasions. These sleeves allowed her to wear this special dress during the day for receiving visitors or for going to church.

I custom make wedding gowns so I've done plenty of delicate, tedious sewing, but I bow down to the talents of this seamstress. Some of these stitches are only 1/16" long--not to mention all the tiny, impecabbly done piping that outlines the seams, armholes, waist, and neckline. Whoever created this dress was a highly skilled seamstress.

The condition of the fabric is so pristine, believe it or not, this bodice could actually be worn,but the wearer would have to be about 4'10" tall with a bust measurement of about 32" and a waist of 21".

I feel honored to have been able to touch and inspect this historic garment and if it weren't for taxes and horses, I'd proudly display it in my antique home. This truly belongs in a museum or in the collection of someone who adores antique clothing as much as I do.

From Me:

First, I adore this print for some reason.
Second, it's from the 1850's. The pointed front and the slope of the shoulders are indications of the earlier date. Also, there was a point in the 1850's where the slight V in the front neckline was popular.

Although the heather dress above (I guess you'd call that heather. It's not gray. It's not lavender.) shows a lot more ruffles that are on this bodice, it does show the point in the front, the v-neckline, and the same slope in the shoulders. It's from 1856.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Late 18th C (?) Men's Waistcoat

From the seller:

Antique 1700's Mens Waistcoat EMBROIDERY Vest Satin Duck Cloth Colonial 3705
Embroidered buttons; 2 flap pockets

tambour embroidery

satin front; back is a medium to heavy weight duck cloth type with stamped: VC

Length 26"; Armpit to armpit 17"


museum deaccession

From Me:

I love this because OMG! Embroidery in a style even I can do? Chain stitch? Woohoo!!!!! However, I'm sort of curious, if this *might* be one of those REALLY good reproductions from the late Victorian era instead. For now, I'm siding with 1780's but I'm honestly not 100% sure.

Early 1870's Cream Colored Gown

From the seller:
A magnificent 1871 candlelight satin wedding gown that has recently been de-accessioned from a museum collection. The cataloging tag is stitched inside the bodice. The bodice has a square cut neckline and short puffed sleeves. The neckline and sleeves are trimmed with lace. The bodice is lined with cotton and has a front button closure. The bodice has a center back peplum and the armscyes are piped. The skirt has a very long back train. The hemline is encircled with two wide bands of satin. The hemline was also trimmed with illusion netting as there are small remnants remaining. The gown is in very good condition. There is very light underarm discoloration, mostly to the inside lining, a pea size surface only hole on one shoulder and a couple of tiny splits at the top of the sleeves. There are two 7 inch very light colored water marks on the skirt hemline and some loose stitching on the satin bands on the skirt. See photo. Antique clothing is for display and should not be worn. Bust 32 Waist 24 Front skirt length 42 Back length 69 Width at hemline 180.

From Me:

It looks like some pieces have gone missing over the years for this dress.

The purple dress in the fashion plate above had similar sleeves to the extant dress.  Notice the fashion plate shows an extra layer of lace.   It's odd to see a dress from this era (late 1860's/early 1870's) without a whole lot of decoration.  My guess is the overskirt got lost over the years.

Natural Form Era Red Velvet Coat

From the seller:

A rich 1870’s dark red plush velvet bustled coat. The coat has dolman styled sleeves and is full length. It has a front hook and eye closure and is lined with a floral printed silk. The velvet fabric is in excellent condition. There is no discoloration just shadows created by the camera flash. There is wear and some splitting to the silk fabric on the neckline, shoulders and front opening. The coat is being displayed over a bustle cage that is not included. Shoulders 14 Bust 30 Waist 30 Length from shoulder to hem 55. Antique clothing is for display and should not be worn.

From Me:

This is one of those cases where I love the lining fabric more than the actual outfit fabric.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

1860's Moire Dress

From the seller:


Amazing dress dates to the 1860's (I believe due to the drop shoulder) during the Victorian Era. It is made of brown silk moire with a tan cotton sateen lining. Bodice has center front hook and eye closures with four pieces of short boning in the front waist, and bell sleeves that are lined in a deep brown silk. Full skirt has snaps at waist and a narrow band of dark brown velvet at the hem. Fully lined.

CONDITION: I would consider this garment to be in very good condition, even though some repairs need to be made. These repairs include seam separation at the center back skirt entire seam, the left shoulder seam, and approximately 10" in right side skirt. Additionally there are extremely faint underarm stains along with a small area of wear to the velvet trim at the hem where the cording is exposed. At this area at the hem, there is also a 1/2" tear perpendicular to the hem.
FABRIC CONTENT: Silk Moire with Cotton Lining
COLOR: Brown
MEASUREMENTS: Please compare the measurements listed below to a garment that fits you well. These measurements were taken with the garment lying flat, and when appropriate, doubled to calculate the circumference.
Bust: 38"
Waist: 30"
Hips: Open
Across Shoulders: 19.5"
Sleeve Length: 19.5"
Center Back Length: 55"

From Me:

It's really hard to tell with the way this dress is displayed, but I think this is from about 1866 - putting it after the American Civil War. The waist looks high and the pleating of the skirt to the back makes it later rather than earlier in the 1860's. I believe this was one of those lavender dyes that has now faded to brown (very common over time) which would make this a good candidate for a half mourning dress.