Monday, August 24, 2015
1890's Brown Wrapper Dress
From the seller:
1860's Maternity Gown of Cotton Print: This gown will fit a bust up to 40 and a waist up to 35. It is longer in the front to compensate for a woman in her later months. It is made of a cotton print. The fabric has wear throughout, with some splitting of fabric. You can see the wear and tear at the shoulders. The neckband needs repair. See photos. The lower front seam has been reinforced with netting to stabilize it. It has been torn. See photo. There are other places that have been backed with netting. The hooks and eyes down the front are almost all missing and there are small holes where some of them were originally sewn. I have included a vintage collar to use for display because it hides the front damage to the upper yoke. The cotton is fragile most likely from the components of the dye. With all its problems it still makes a nice display piece. It would also make a great pattern. It would not be wearable.
I'm not sure why the seller believes this to be from the 1860's other than to use that as a keyword for searches. It doesn't look longer in the front at all to me - I actually see a train in the back. The back of the dress provides part of the clue to it's actual decade - that pleat detail that swooshes at the back waist is common in the 1890's and really continues well into the Edwardian era. You see it all the time in the gored skirts of the later era. The puffiness of the sleeves (notice how it narrows slightly towards the wrist?) and the lack of slope in the shoulder is also a clue. And while I have no doubt many pregnant women did wear these wrappers, to say it's for maternity would be like saying babydoll tops today are only for maternity.
Historikal Modiste has already done an excellent write up on the Mother Hubbard dresses - complete with pictures from the 1890's and articles from magazines of that era. It's the specific term for this style of wrapper.