Monday, March 30, 2015

Romantic Era Bonnet

From the seller:

An adorable child’s 1870-1880 brown silk faille and brown velvet bonnet. The bonnet is lined with white silk and has brown silk faille chin ties. It is in very good condition. There is some ling soiling on the inside lining. There is some very minor wear to the velvet and one chin tie needs to be re-stitched.

From Me:

I have no idea why the seller believes this is a bustle era bonnet. The puffy top like that is typically only seen in the Romantic era, like this cotton bonnet. The puffy top was to accommodate the rather elaborate hairstyles of the time.

Lovely 1890's Yellow Bodice

From the seller:

A beautiful 1890’s yellow silk bodice that has recently been de-accessioned from a museum collection. The bodice has an attached over vest that is made of light yellow silk chiffon. The chiffon fabric has a small white flower print. The bodice has a high neck collar made of yellow velvet. The under bust area and waist are trimmed with yellow velvet. The center back has long yellow velvet streamers. The bodice is partly lined with yellow silk and has a front hook and eye closure. It is in very good condition. There is no underarm discoloration. There is some light soiling on the high neck collar, a tiny split in the silk chiffon fabric and some minor fraying on the silk lining. Bust 32 Waist 24. Antique clothing is for display/collecting and should not be worn.

From Me:

This is so perfect for an Easter bodice! Lots of little details in this one - but very much from the mid 1890's.

Early 20th Century Split Skirt

From the seller:

This is a riding skirt, the wide "gaucho" style pants hidden by a buttoned panel in front. It also fastens at the sides with hooks and eyes. The pleat at the center back also helps to disguise the pants, though they're not covered by a panel in back.
It's unlined, fabric is a rich brown and beige heathered suiting wool with a smooth, not wooly, finish. Color is much nicer than the pictures show.

It measures 27" around at the waist, it's 43 1/4" long.

Very good overall, with some holes visible when the fabric is held to the light, the busy pattern camouflages most of them. There is a quarter-sized patch inside near the top of the waist, this shows through to the outside as a small repair, also camouflaged by the busy pattern. There is a handprint-sized area of surface wear, with some minor color loss. C.1915.

From Me:

Because of the full paneled front, I think these are earlier (Edwardian) than the previous pair I've posted. The previous pair are part of my own collection.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Late 18th Century Men's Waistcoat

From the seller:

A early gentleman' silk waistcoat with Beauvais embroidery.

Item Measurements:

Item condition:

In mainly good strong condition, there is one 2" tear at side of vest..otherwise age related spots.spots on inner lining..All items we list need to be cleaned.

From Me:

No measurements, unfortunately, with this one. It's similar in overall shape to this once at LACMA. The collar, the length, and the straight bottom edge are all very similar. This waistcoat is most likely from the earlier part of the 1790's.

Late 18th Century/Early 19th Century Men's Fringed Silk Waistcoat

From the seller:

Circa late 1700-early 1800, a man's cream silk waistcoat with embroidery. Colors and embroidery are very nice with fine floral and leaf sprays.

Item Measurements:

22" down the front..10 1/2" across front silk panel on each side.

Item condition:

In mainly good strong condition,but there are scattered breaks in the silk,buttons have some silk but embroidery has wear.All items we list need to be cleaned.

From Me:

My guess is late 1790's based on the cut and the embroidery detail (Scarlet Pimpernel anyone?).

An earlier style waistcoat with fringed silk

Another earlier styled fringed silk waistcoat

Overall, the fringed silk is pretty rare. I'm surprised to see this one up on ebay.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

1820's Sheer White Dress

From the seller:
This dress is an absolutely amazing find! I purchased it along with other fabulous antique clothing and linens at an estate sale.

This dress is completely handmade and hand-embroidered with bands of handmade lace on the bodice and a wide hand embroidered border on the hem. It is in nearly mint condition. Based on the style, I would place it in the 1820s-1830s.

It is created out of an ultra sheer cotton lawn which was popular at this time. What a change from the heavily boned, restrictive gowns worn right before the turn of the century.

I don't know what was worn under this gown since it is so sheer, but I believe they had undergarments that puffed out the sleeves. Of course they wore corsets and petticoats. I pictured this with stuffing in the sleeves to show how they should look and a petticoat to fluff out the skirt but neither are included in the sale.

There are a few random brown spots which I have not tried to remove, so I'm not sure whether they are permanent or not. There is a small one on the bust area, another at the back near the buttonholes, a darker one inside one of the cuffs and a few on the skirt. All in all they do not detract from its beauty and could probably be removed by an expert in antique textile conservation.

I can't find any tears or holes although the fabric is slightly pulled at a few of the seamlines. It looks as though a half inch section of the lace insert right in the middle of the bodice has also pulled away from the edging, but it, like the other miniscule flaws, are not terribly noticeable and in my opinion do not detract from the beauty of this piece.

I am trying to portray this garment as accurately as possible. If the pictures aren't clear enough for you, please post your questions and I will try to answer them.

The wide embroidery embellishing the hem was done on a separate piece of fabric and then sewn onto the hem, giving it a bit more body since the fabric is doubled.

I don't have a mannequin small enough to show how this would have fit, but the dress has a portrait neckline which would have come right to the tip of the shoulder. The tightly pleated cap of the sleeve fell just off the shoulder then ballooning out into the huge gigot or leg of mutton sleeve that came into fashion around the mid 1820s.

There are small round covered buttons on the back and the cuff with handsewn buttonholes.

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 and her embroidery was so meticulous she didn't cause any pulls in the delicate fabric. I hope she was well-paid, although this could have been sewn by the owner. Perhaps for a special occasion like her wedding.

Believe it or not, this dress could actually be worn--not to any crazy mosh pit--rather to a civilized tea party--which is probably where it was worn in its time,but the wearer would have to be pretty small.

The band which fell right under the bust measures 26 inches, the bust would accommodate 34" because of the gathering and the length from the underarm to the floor is 43 inches.

I feel honored to have been able to touch and inspect this historic gown 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:


The dress on the back left side has a lot of very similar elements to this extant one - down to the sawtooth hem edging.

1920's Beaded Dress

From Karen:

Here is another 1920s dress from my collection. As you can see it is in very poor shape but at one time was a very beautiful dress. This is the condition I received it in. The sequins and beads are intact front and back. There are no signs of side closure so I suspect this slipped on over the head, over a slip. This dress would have been spectacular, back in the day. Nearly impossible to take measurements of this one as the shoulder, neck and arm openings have completely disintegrated. This dress is very heavy for its size.

From Me:

...Am I the only one that really wants Harley Quinn to wear something like this when she's introduced on Gotham?

Edwardian Evening Bodice

From Karen:
I have attached photos of a bodice I believe to be Victorian. It has white lace all around the neckline. The lace looks like little cartwheels. The bodice hooks up asymmetrically along one side of the front. Within there is another system of hooks and eyes and then a third set centre front along boned channels. These hooks and eyes are attached so that they are opposite all the way down (a hook and and eye, then an eye and a hook). There are twenty-one bones inside the bodice. There is lace attached chevron-style all around and lace on the sleeves. The back is very slightly pointed but the front has a more pronounced point. It measures 17 inches across the bust (flat) and 12.5 inches centre front.
Some of the silk has started to shatter.

From Me:

It's most likely an Edwardian evening bodice. The hook and eye closure with the false front like this is very typical in Edwardian fashions. The use of trim is also very typical for the Turn of the Century. The v-neck in the back also points to this being Edwardian.

Black Shirtwaist

From Karen:

I have attached photos of a black silk blouse, Edwardian? It has a cotton placket with three buttons and two hooks and eyes hidden under a false button front. The button front is unusually shaped and has nine buttons in groups of three. There is tiny pintucking down the front of the blouse, from the yoke. There are three rows of pintucking on either side of the button front. The collar is printed with a blue and grey diamond pattern. There are four rows of pintucking on the sleeves and at the back of the blouse there is also four rows of pintucking. There is a small peplum at the back and it, too, is pintucked. There are four rows of stitching all along the bottom of the blouse, from 2.5 to 5 inches from the bottom, indicating some trim was removed or some pintucks removed to lengthen. The bust is 21 inches, measured flat; the length from shoulder to hem is about 20 inches. There is a label stitched to the cotton placket at the lower edge of the blouse, National Cloak & Suit Co. New York (Gold print). This was once a beautiful suit blouse. The shoulders are shattered.

From Me:

My guess is about 1915 given the collar and the button placement. It might be a bit earlier, but it's a Teen's Era garment. I love seeing one that is not white! Although they were sold in multiple colors, most of the extant ones seem to be white.