Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Regency/Romantic Era Peasant Dress

From the seller:

An interesting antique hand stitched French country day dress with apron front, dating from about 1820, although it could be earlier. Country dresses were often not high fashion, although this dress has the typical long Regency sleeves and nicely piped detail around the top of the sleeves. The fabric also is of a fine quality being a mixture of silk and wool, and drapes beautifully. So in style a country dress but with some good quality elements. It has the usual apron front with original ties, fastens down the front bodice, and has a deep linen lining to the hem. The bodice is partly lined with brown linen and a patterned fabric. The back skirt is prettily and tightly pleated into the waist. Another feature which lifts it out of the "country" look.

I believe this dress to have been slightly altered. Perhaps passed from mother to daughter, or between sisters. All done at the time the dress was being used though. There are two well worked inserts at the back of each shoulder. I cannot really see why this was done, or whether this was just the original structure of the dress (see photo).

Now to the colour. It was hard to catch the exact colour, owing to the slight sheen of the dress. Two photos show the dress in the true colour (the lovely sage green), but the others, owing to the bright light, have come out grey. Try to ignore this, and imagine the sage green of the "true colour" pictures of the dress.

Condition. When displayed on a mannequin this dress looks lovely. As with all apron fronted dresses it needs good display. The fabric is lovely, but there are various antique alterations here and there, clearly done at the time the dress was being used. There are a couple of marks, which tend to get lost in the folds - nothing too serious. The skirt is particularly lovely with a lot of material which falls well. The dress does need a cool iron. The fabric creases quite easily.

Measurements: Length approx. 138cm. Across waist approx. 26cm and across shoulders approx.40cm.

From Me:

It's not an apron front - that would mean it had a bib across the front that folded down. It looks like it might be a dog-legged closure however. What is interesting about this dress is the amount of times it's been altered. Look at the back to see how the sleeve moved forward - you can see a patch over the old armsyce placement. Then look at the neckline - it looks like it might have been a drawstring at one point in it's life that got stretched out and filled in. I think this dress might be as early at the 1790's but with a bunch of alterations done in the mid 1820's.

A Fabulous Asymmetrical Bustle Era Dress

From Simon:

Again, this is from around the mid 1880s, the second bustle period in full swing, and it came from the U.S. The fabric is some kind of wool mix ,with a very graphic velvet trim creating a wonderful diagonal down the length of the outfit.

Measurements, taken on the dummy, are bust 34.5, waist 24 and length from waist to hem 37.5. I think this must have belonged to a very petite woman, or a teenage girl maybe. I've included a comparison shot with another dress, she's a good few inches smaller height wise.

Condition is good, the bones are missing from the bodice - though i read that travelling ensembles sometimes didn't have them? She has a couple of small holes and a whopping big stain in the back of the bodice. The skirt is pretty creased - i've heard contradicting opinions on how to tackle this in antique clothing - if any of your readers can offer advice i'd be happy to hear it?

As ever, i'm amazed at the complex pattern cutting - i count thirty pleats in the over skirt! No built in support, just the usual ties and a waxy cotton lining.

Anyway, hope you like!

From Me:

Thank you once again for sumbiting a completely amazing outfit for all of us to see. I agree, 1880's.

as far as the crease, I'd be tempted to either leave it or flatten it between two heavy books and leave it for a couple of days.

Late 1930's Velvet Dress

From the seller:

Fantastic vintage dress made of luxurious might night blue velvet! This dress has an amazing neckline! Tons of little details make this dress so stylish! Zips up the side, full flowy skirt, tailoring! Rhinestone buttons up the front and a rhinestone belt (the clasp is broken, you must pin it to wear it, see pics). Great vintage condition!

Bust: up to 36"
Waist: 26"
Hip: full
Length: about 47"

From Me:

I think I've found the pattern for my Christmas dress this year... about 1939 based on the sleeves and the amount of fabric in that skirt.

1920's Black Silk Slippers

From the seller:

This is a wonderful pair civil war era slippers most likely for dancing. They are made of black silk with a row of tiny pink rosettes with green silk leaves across the top of the toe. The opening has a ruffle all around. There are 20 - 21 inch ties for lacing at the back. They are not lined except for the inner sole which is lined in quilt fashion of a beige silk. The bottom soles are of a thin tan leather.They measure 9 1/4 inches long and 2 3/8 across at widest. I wear size 8 1/2 and I can get my feet in, they would be better for 7 1/2. They are in excellent condition for such delicately made slippers.

From Me:

First, what sort of.....individual even begins to think that it's okay to try on a pair of antique silk slippers? And then to jam your too big foot into them? Yeah, no.

Second, something bothered me about these being labeled 1860's the second I saw them. It's hard to tell what kind of last the soles have but the insides are very much machine quilted. That seemed odd for dancing slippers to me. It wasn't until I attempted to look for other extant examples or patterns for such a thing in period magazines that I realized what was bothering me. Most 1860's slippers have square toes. The few that don't, like this pair from the Met:


Still have squared off insides to the shoe (the upper part of the fabric that crosses the toes is a straight edge on the MET pair. On the black silk extant ones, the fabric across the toes comes in at an angle - more similar to later Japanese and Chinese styles which greatly influenced early 20th Century fashion.) The fabric across the toes also sits higher up on the foot.

That's when I started to look at the later fashions. On this page about halfway down, you'll see a collection of extant items to include a pink pair of slippers very similar to the black silk ones here. These items are from the 1920's. There is also this pretty yellow slipper from the 1920's and this pink pair. After looking through a lot of extant slippers and magazines, I'm pretty sure these are 1920's house slippers and not 1860's dancing slippers.

Mid 19th Century Ladies' Nightcap

From the seller::

I buy vintage linens at local estate auctions to pass them along to you. Recently I've found several antique women's hats.

This is a bonnet-style women's hat from pre-1900. It has a crown of pink silk fabric that is woven with a diamond pattern and a contrasting band of dark burgundy velvet. The dark velvet band goes around the neck edge and the face edge, providing a wide brim-type band. This velvet brim has two points, one on each side of the face at temple-height; these points each have a large button covered in the pink silk. The brim is edged with a 0.5" ruffle of the pink silk all around the back edge, and the rest of the crown is gathered to form a puffed top. The inside is lined with the pink silk and finished with a circle in the back. There are long side ties of the same pink silk attached at each side, to tie under the chin.

measurements: about 8.25" around neck edge; about 2.5" width of the velvet brim; about 19" around face edge; about 5.5" width of side from brim seam to back; about 4" width of ties; 23.5" length of ties.

As to condition, it is a bit fragile. The velvet is in good condition, but the silk has begun to deteriorate. There is an area in the back of the crown with unraveling, as shown in the last photo. The ribbons are also quite worn, shown in the second-to-last photo. Even with this damage, this is an amazing survival, that such a delicate and pretty bonnet has come down to us. It will be wonderful for historical displays or costume collections.

I am storing this in my smoke-free home, but I do have a cat who sheds copiously, so be aware if you have allergies. Please contact me for more information or photos. I am happy to combine items to save on shipping, so check my other listings too. Thanks for looking!

From Me:

I bought this one. :-)

I mainly got it because it confused the heck out of me and I wanted a closer look. Was it one of those super crazy Regency hats or was it something far more modern, ie, 1930's? Turns out, it looks to be neither - it's most likely from the 1860's.

Inside the velvet brim, there is a line of white machine stitching. The rest of the cap is handsewn. The fabric is clearly old when you see it up close. Based solely on the color combo, I thought it might be 1890's. Well, that, and the silk has polka dots. However, the cut and style of this nightcap is very similar to various ones in fashion magazines from the 1860's. Although those are normally either netted or out of lawn, there are some claims of nightcaps out of silk at the same time.

There is the one above from Godey's magazine. v.86-87 1873. However there is also this one from 1861 which looks more like the extant cap.

The lines of this one - down to the odd triangular cut right at the ear and the width of the ribbon- are very similar the pink silk nightcap. However, since the cut of a nightcap didn't change much for a couple of generations, it could easily be later than the 1860's.
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