Thursday, August 13, 2015
1880's Bustle Dress Monotone
From the seller:
Lovely 2 Piece Victorian Bustle Walking Dress with Train in the Military Style
I estimate this dress is from the early 1880s based on similar dress styles I found online. So, that would make this dress about 135 years old.
Lovely dress in silver silk faille and gun metal gray silk. The top is very long and has 23 hook and eye closures on the right side that start below the hips and go all the way up to the back of the shoulder. Two hooks are missing (I have replacements that I will include when shipped). All the eyes are intact. There is a separate panel inside the top that closes over the bust with four hook and eye closures. There are some small holes in the garment here and there and it has some stains. Most notable under the arms and one on the left stomache area. These can be seen in the photos.
This gown was beautifully constructed and features many design details that I really don't know what the proper terminology is to describe them. I think it will be if I ask you to take a look at the front of the garment and notice how the buttons over the gun metal gray silk panels march from the shoulders down to just below the hemline (one button is missing). The buttons are covered in the silver silk faille. At the hemline, take a look at the wonderful "scalloped" edging that runs all the way around the hemline. There are multiple deep pleats towards the lower section. There is a section on the front that has some small holes in it that I've included a photo of and there is a photo of the split silk seam under the arm. The top appears to be constructed of 12 panels and then three additional panels that create the folds near the hemline. The back is gathered and ruched beginning at the neckline in two separate sections. The bustle has buttons marching along on either side and there are is a gun metal gray silk detail on either side with additional buttons (one button is missing). On the left hip is what I can only describe as a small pocket that is covered in the gun metal gray silk with a button. The neckline is pleated in gun metal gray silk that matches the pleating on the bottom if the matching skirt. I'm unlcear if that side of the neck has separated from the seam or if it was made that way due to the hook and eye closures that run underneath it. It does not look damaged. There are a number of small holes near the lower half/bottom of the gown. None are large, but there is one vertical split above the second pleat on the left in the back. This top is constructed of three layers of fabrics.
The skirt is pretty straight forward. It has the gun metal gray silk pleating along the hemline and three ties inside to attach to the wire cage/bustle. Where the button hole is, the fabric has split to the end. It's constructed with a different type of material for the most part and the silver silk faille is used in the areas that can be seen when the dress is worn. Very clever. I imagine this was an expensive dress to make and they cut corners by using the other material.
The most damage to this lovely set is the gun metal gray silk arms on the top. There are a few places where the silk has separated from the arm seam and a split here or there. The silk is flaking in places including the seams and wrists and at the hemline of the skirt. The wrists have wide cuffs with the same "Scallop" as used at the hemline, although they go in a different direction and close with two silver silk buttons. The arms appear to be more fitted. My dress form does not have arms, so I couldn't exend them out for you to see.
This set does appear to be fairly sturdy and could be worn. It really needs someone who can clean it properly and repair the areas that need it.
This dress is by no means new or in what I consider excellent condition. I have done my best to describe the major areas that are not perfect, but please do not bid on this if you are expecting a perfect authentic Victorian bustle dress. I am honest to a fault and will not mislead you in order to try and get more money for it. I see many lisitings with Victorian garments listed as "excellent" and then when you read the descripton, there are many issues with it, or you are disappointed when you receive it. I consider excellent to be one or maybe two small issues, any more than that and it is not in excellent condition. If you would like a perfect Victorian bustle dress set, I have another listed as Buy it Now that is in practically brand new condition and very beautiful. Please check that one out and feel free to make me an offer for it. However, if you want a fun gown to wear around, display, study, etc., this is a great option. This gown has lived in an old trunk for about 135 years. The person I bought it from also sold me what I assume to be the woman's wedding gown and an embroidered silk dress that looks like late teens to flapper style. Those two are in close to mint condition and I'll get them up soon if you'd like to take a look. I just think this particular gown was much loved and worn quite a bit.
Please feel free to message me any questions prior to bidding. I'm more than happy to answer and try to as quickly as possible. However, if you message me just prior to the auction closing, I may not be able to get back to you before it ends. I do try, but I am not always on the computer and it seems like I've been getting alot of questions lately towards very end of my auctions.
FRONT LENGTH: 44'
BACK LENGTH: 55"
ARM OPENING: 16"
SLEEVE LENGTH: 16"
FRONT LENGTH: 40"
BACK LENGTH: 53"
Probably about 1884/1885. The early 1880's was still Natural Form.