Saturday, October 10, 2015

Mid 1860's Bronze Dress

From the seller:

A stunning 1860’s bronze and tangerine stripe silk dress that has recently been de-accessioned from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The exquisite fabric has a changeable quality from light to dark bronze depending on the light reflection. There is no fading. The wide tangerine stripe has a black floral lace like pattern. The armscyes and waist are piped. The bodice is lined with cotton and has a front hook and eye closure. The skirt is fully lined with buckram. The dress is in very good and sturdy condition. There are a few pencil tip size holes on the back of the bodice and mild underarm discoloration mostly to the inside lining. Bust 34 Waist 26 Skirt length 38 Width at hemline 144.

From Me:

This dress makes me happy. Not because it's any particular style or anything like that - but because I can tell the seamstress that made this one did some of the crazy nonsense I still do when I'm sewing. Who needs a hoopskirt when you have ten yards of buckram on hand? Everything must close in the front! And we aren't even going to get into the whole piecing in the skirt...or the bodice. Or anything.

So why does it look all crazy? Because it's not 1860's. Well, it is, but it isn't. And I really shouldn't type anything after watching Doctor Who....

What it looked like when the Met still owned it. Yeah, I have no idea what happened to the black fringe either. Anyway - it was original 1840's (look at those shoulders!) that was remade in the 1860's. ...and that probably explains the buckram because in the early 1840's, they still hadn't completely figured out the whole "how do I make my skirts balloon out without standing over a vent?" thing. Not that they had central air either....

Yeah, shouldn't type after watching Doctor Who...


  1. I love the fabric! And I've done the chevron-front bodice thing, too. It was a fun challenge.

    1840s remade in the 1860s explains the slightly odd places. Overall, I love this whole dress.

    1. It's a very neat dress for a lot of reasons. But yeah, this is something we see over and over - an older style dress being cut up to mimic the new fashion as closely as possible in the 1860's. It would be neat to see that being done at Civil War re-enactments - someone making an 1840's and then carefully taking it apart to be made into 1860's.