Sunday, April 17, 2016

A whole new level of froth! Bustle Era Sheer Gown

From the seller:

This auction is for an original lady's 3 piece ensemble from the High Victorian period. It is comprised of a bodice with over-skirt and under-skirt skirt made of cloud-like organdy. The organdy is ruched within an inch of its life, it took me three hours to un-wad the frills. The bodice fastens with hooks and eyes under a button placket. The placket is made of organdy fashioned into saw-teeth set with lilac silk covered-buttons. It is edged with a frill of organdy. The trim down the back mimics the front. The basque extends over the top skirt. It is horizontally ruched tablier fashion. The back is heavily gathered and is pleated into the front at the sides, creating a pouf effect. The back extends to a brush sweep at the hem. The underskirt is a slightly denser weave and has retained its color better. It is gored, flat at the front and heavily gathered at the back. It's volume creates a wonderful base for the over-skirt and bodice to float on. The ensemble comes with an old note which reads: "Part of Mother's Wedding Dress 1872". The date is dead on, so I assume the note is accurate. This is a fantastic dress and a great period example , these magical floating confections were so fashionable for about 30 years in the Victorian period and so few remain. This one can be easily handled with care and is highly suitable for display, as well as patterning and study. Please note, the fan and corset cover shown are not included.

Condition: Overall yellowing with some smallish spots of discoloration on the lower right front of the bodice, one button has wear to the silk. the underskirt has some wear to the front hem. Please see photos and ask questions.

Measurements are: The bodice bust measures about 38 inches, its waist measures about 28 inches. The under-skirt front length is about 42 inches and back length is about 53 inches. The over-skirt is lightly shorter.

From Me:

The measurements, without a corset, correspond to a modern size 8. With a corset, you are probably looking at a lady of about a size 12. Pretty cool!

This originally went over a presumably lavender under dress.

1872 Fashion Plate


  1. Drool, drool! From a safe distance. ;-)

    I've been in a gauzy mood lately. Love the sheer dresses!

    1. Ya know, I just saw some curtains in the thrift store that would work for this....;-) It is a fun dress - I think the underdress would have had sleeves, making the entire lavendar with sheer over it really stand out. The bodice is cut too high for a ball gown bodice.