Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Half Mourning (?) Late Edwardian Dress

From the seller:

This is an antique Victorian or Edwardian gray silk or silky material, can't say for sure, dress with embroidery and piping trim being offered as is because of a lot of damage. It has a lace neck insert and standup collar with wire stays. It closes at the back and waist with hooks and eyes. There is a panel on each side sewn down in the front and another down the back center that go about 2/3 the way down. The top and sleeves are lined. There is a nice embroidered design at the front center. I can't tell for sure if the embroidery and piping are gray or a light lavender as seen in the photos. The sleeves also have that nice piping design. The measurements are 17" flat across the shoulders, 18" flat under the arms, a 27" waist, 44" hips and is 50" long with an 80" hem circumference. The sleeves are 20" long with just under an 8" opening. Condition is as is with a lot of holes mostly on the skirt as shown, holes in the sleeves, some scattered on the top at the right back and a couple on the front right side just above the waist. Otherwise the top without the sleeves is pretty good. A great style of dress for study or perhaps just for the fabric. Please look at the pictures carefully with the mouse for conditions and details, note the measurements for fit and ask questions.

From Me:

The reason I think this is a half mourning dress is because, other than the embroidery, it's terribly plain, and the color of gray and lavender. The white lace insert could have been added later or just have been part of the less strict rules towards the end of the Edwardian era.

I'm also curious if it was overdyed as gray which would explain why the embroidery looked gray to the photographer but lavender in the photo.

1909 Fashion Photograph
1908 Fashion Plate

A rather big jump in fashion happened between 1908 and 1909. The skirt got thinner, the train on the skirt died completely, the sleeves got thinner - the overall look went from being voluminous to a column in just a few short months.

The sleeves on this extant dress look more like the sleeves on the 1908 fashion plate (just without the lace!) whereas the skirt looks more like the 1909 photograph but for daywear. So, a couple of possibilities:
1) this was an earlier styled dress that she redyed gray for mourning and re-designed the skirt but left the bodice and sleeves alone because of the embroidery.
2) It was fashion transition and she liked the fuller sleeves.

Either is completely possible - maybe even a bit of both.

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