Monday, October 15, 2012

1910 Aqua dress

The skirt is very uniquely cut.  the skirt is on the straight of grain where it connects to the back piece (at the center back seam from the left, and at the side back in the right.  It is cut in the shape of a parallelogram with curved edges.  the upper edge is gathered and set into the waistband.  This puts the center front on the bias and creates beautiful draping on the skirt. 

There is a square cut out at the top right of the skirt and the edges are sewn together to create a peplum that fits smoothly into the skirt.  The top edge of the skirt is sewn into the waistband to the center back to accentuate the peplum. 

The side back of the skirt is wrapped around where the front piece is sewn in the center back and sweeps up to the side front. The draped panel is connected to the main part of the dress with a tie made of the aqua fabric, and the corner is weighted to hold it in place.  The skirt is not connected in the back;  rather, the pieces work together to create a wrapped look.  In the center back, there is a strip of china silk to give an additional 5” of coverage.  It is connected to the wrapped piece with a swing tack, and the whole skirt is hammed with a 3” piece of silk satin bias cut fabric. 

The skirt is set on a grosgrain bias tape.  The under bodice, made of china silk  and 2 layers of net, is connected to the top.  The under bodice is flat across the top, and has a piping detail with the strings still intact to tighten the bodice around the chest.   Straps made of net and a piece of cotton twill tape for support are attached to the under bodice.  

The over bodice is made of the same aqua fabric as the skirt, and has been hand stitched on top of the bodice.  Across the back, the bodice creates a smooth line across the back 2” below where the other bodice falls, and swoops up under the arms to the shoulders.  The front of the bodice falls into a surplice top that is snapped in place.   in the back, there is also a flat panel that connects at the shoulders and the covers the majority of the back of the bodice (except when viewing from the side.)  The back piece has a fabric belt set on it to control the fullness against the waist.  On the back left side there is a bow made of net along with a velvet flower. 

The dress also has sleeves that are set into the shoulders.  they are open across the sleeve cap, and are full underneath the arm. 

The bodice has hand sewn tucks in several places, which seams to indicate that the bodice was draped and fitted on the wearer. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

1930s Yellow Day Dress

       This yellow dress is a very typical style for a daytime dress during the mid 1930s.  The bright yellow silk dress has a white, green and black pattern printed onto the fabric--all components of the dress are made of this fabric.  

       The front panel is cut on the bias with a side panel set into a diagonal seam that extends from the side seam at the waist up to where the cape sleeves begin.  The side piece fits smoothly under the arms and up into a shoulder seam.  

        The dress has a v-neck, with a stitched down collar detail and simple bow detail at the bottom.  Both the neckline and the armscye are finished off with a folded piece of bias to give it interest. The cape sleeves are set into the flat collar detail.  The edge of the sleeves are scalloped, and are finished with a small, tight zig zag. 

       The back of the dress comes up to about 1” below the nape, and has the same v-shaped detail that is found in the center front.   All the detail lines on the bodice are seamed and topstitched to give them stability.  there are belt loops set into the side seams, but no belt has been found.  There are no closures

      The skirt is cut on the straight of grain and arcs up from the side seam to the center front.  The measurement at the side seam is 19” and at the center front is 26”. The hemline is finished with a rolled shirt tail hem.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

1950s Evening Dress

Detail of Bodice

Detail of trim

 This dress is a beautiful example of 1950s construction and styling.  The bodice is made of a layer of pink taffeta lining and a layer of net that move independently from one another.  The taffeta layer has band of  gathered nylon gauze set into the neckline and pressed into small knife pleats.

The independent nylon layer floats free from the taffeta under layer and mimics the sweetheart neckline.  The top layer of nylon has a scrolling Rococo pattern created by gray dupioni edged by cording flat lined to another layer of nylon for strength. 

Vertical and horizontal bust darts shape both pieces, each layer has a separate zipper set into the left side.  The upper edge is finished with a piece of taffeta bias, and the dress has spaghetti straps made of nylon gauze.  There is one line of boning in each side seams.

The 3 layer skirt is cut in a 3/4 circle.  The under layer is made of the pink taffeta hemmed with  a 3” wide piece of horsehair to give the skirt body.  The two other layers are purple nylon gauze with a slight rolled hem.  the middle layer is 1” longer than both the lining and the outer layer.  The outer layer has scrolling dupioni pattern with cording that matches the bodice. 

Skirt detail

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Post Edwardian Striped Bodice

The bodice is built with a false jacket detail popular during this time period.  The center front of the bodice has a gentle v-neck accented with a  black band of trim.  The striped fabric falls gracefully from the ribbon to a gathered detail at waistline, and the center front is accented by velvet covered buttons.  

The bodice is built onto a 2” wide petersham ribbon.  There is an attached belt of striped fabric with black velvet ribbon to finish off the top. The belt is missing a piece, which makes the photographs seem unfinished.  

The closures are hidden under a placket on the front left side of the body that extends up to the shoulder.  The bodice is lined with netting to give it more body without bulk.

The 3/4 length sleeves are set into the armscye with piping, are only slightly gathered at the cap, and have a detail of piping and buttons that run down the top of the sleeve to the hem.  There are 3 pintucks on the inside of the arm to shape the sleeves.  the cuff of the sleeve has a folded, gathered ruffle of striped fabric, a band of black velvet ribbon and a gathered band of scalloped edged needlepoint lace.

Late Edwardian Lace Blouse

The bodice is made entirely of lace set into a striped pattern:  wavy embroidered lines on net, a crocheted open pattern, and a needlepoint floral pattern.  The shape of bodice is very basic with minimal shaping--no darts or princess seams--and minimal gathering in the center front.  The bodice has a piece of lace that is set to give it the look of a faux blouse front.  Below the false blouse front there are two pintucks that open 4” down.  Additionally, there are two pintucks that extend from the shoulder seam to the bottom of the sleeve. 

The bodice closes up the center back with white shell buttons and a hidden button placket.  The bodice is lined on the inside with sheer, soft china silk that has significant damage. 

The sleeve are 3/4 length and a mix of the wavy striped and the crocheted open pattern, with a band of the needlepoint floral lace at the bottom. Two rows of 1/2” net have been box pleated around the bottom of the sleeve. 

There is a ruffled neck piece that appears to have been added on to the garment.  it is made of machine lace with a zig-zagged edge and polka dots embroidered onto the net.  it is set just below the crochet lace stand collar and extends to the back.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

1910 Gold Silk Dress

Lovely floor length gold silk crepe dress, with a slightly higher than natural waist. It sports a higher square neckline, and just a hint of a pigeon front. The outer sleeves are cut in the kimono style, as a part of the bodice, and notched on the outside. The under sleeves are separate from the bodice, more fitted, and covered in 1” tucks. 
Both collar and sleeves are decorated with a beautiful hand made lace. The lace crosses the outer part of the bodice, and lines the split front of the dress, as well as creating a V-shape on the back of the bodice. Inside the lace V, the front of the bodice is covered in tucks similar to the under sleeves. 
Closures on this dress are a little confusing. The bodice lining fastens down the center front with hooks and eyes, but the outer dress fabric does not fasten here at all, because it is partially sewn to the lining, and simply hangs closed. The rest of the dress fastens with hooks and eyes starting at the point of the lace V in front and proceeding down along the lace line on the left side of the dress. The closures are well hidden in the fabric.
The fabric of this dress is very delicate and lightweight. It is amazing how wonderful it has held up in storage. The lace is in less perfect condition unfortunately. Time and moisture have caused it to become yellowed and stained.
This garment is probably from 
very close to the year 1910, given that it shows some of the sleeve characteristics of a year or two earlier, but a silhouette that is similar to dresses made a year or two later.
Bust: 41"
Waist: 33"
Hips: 60"
Neck to Waist Front/Back: 13/11.5"
Armscye to Armscye Front/Back: 17/16.5"
Skirt Length: 41

Blog Post By Kelsey Oliver :) My final post

Friday, April 13, 2012

1950s Wedding Gown

This dress is easily my favorite piece in our collection. Its a wedding gown from the 1950s made from a heavy synthetic fabric, netting, and lace. The skirt of this garment is full and floor length,  with an underskirt  made of the heavier synthetic fabric and slightly narrower than each successive layer of netting. There are three layers of netting in all, and the outer most has a finished edge. The skirt ends in back in a long full net train.

The bodice of the gown is fitted, with darts on either side and in front, and is also made of a heavier fabric overlaid with netting. The lace at the neck comes down into a deep V in front but covers enough to remain modest. The necklinemakes a kind of scalloped shallow V, and comes almost off the shoulder, but not quite. The look is very 50s. There are also Vs in the lace at each sleeve, and matching lace at the slightly lowered waist. 
This lace is made with a mesh base covered in embroidery and cutwork. It's scalloped on one side and pointed on the other. 
The short fitted sleeves are made entirely of gathered mesh, overlain with lace.  In back, a long row of mesh covered buttons fastens the back of the dress to below the waist.
This garment is fairly simple in design and construction, but it beautifully captures the essence of the 1950s. And it's in very good shape, especially considering its white and made mostly of netting. The fabric shows slight yellowing all over making it a light cream color, but other than that shows no damage.

Bust: 34"

Waist: 25"

Hips: 60"

Neck to Waist Front/Back: 10.5"/11"

Armscye to Armscye Front/Back: 17"/19"

Skirt Length: 38" (Not Including Train)

Blog Post By Kelsey Oliver :)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

1910 Cotton Frock

Another cream colored, one-piece dress from the very early 1910s made of a cotton batiste. Yellowing over time has probably caused the color of this dress, likely once white. White was the most popular color for ladies dresses in this decade. 
This dress has fitted 3/4 length kimono style sleeves, which means that the sleeves and bodice are cut out of the same piece of fabric, not sewn together. Fitted sleeves appeared in 1910, as did the kimono style. The higher neckline of this garment is another good indicator that it was worn early in the decade, before necklines made their dramatic drop, around 1914. The looser fit of this garment would also put it very early in the decade, likely no later than 1911, as this is the year narrow tube-like skirts became the norm. 
Decorations include off center bodice ruffles,  pintucks on the bodice and skirt (1/4 apart on bodice and upper skirt, 1/2 apart on lower skirt) and large horizontal tucks to look like trim at the hem; there are 4 rows. The front decoration is made of a machine made diamond ground lace, which is also used at the waist line and along the skirt and sleeve cuffs. The ruffles are a net trimmed with machine made lace.
The only fastenings on this dress are the buttons up the back; the dress fastens from the neck to bellow the waist. Buttoning up the back was another convention that began around 1910.
Overall this dress is in good shape, and the fabric is holding up well, but there are a few stains on the shoulders, front and hem of the garment on top of the fact that the whole piece is slightly discolored.
Bust: 35.5"
Waist: 30"
Hips: 50"
Neck to Waist Front and Back: 11.5/11.5"
Armscye to Armscye Front and Back: 24/16.5"
Skirt Length: 34.5"

Blog Post By Kelsey Oliver

Friday, March 2, 2012

Late 1910s Purple Silk Frock

This lovely piece is a silk frock dating to approximately 1918, as indicated by the waist height, use of snaps, neck and collar style, darker fabric, and tiered skirt. The under-layer of the dress has a square neck and is overlapped with several semi-sheer layers of fabric in a v-shape. Square neck lines were common after 1914 and the small sailor collar seen on the back of this dress became a fashion around 1911, persisting throughout the war. 
The sleeves are sheer, long (indicating day wear), and decorated with tassels, the same as those on the outer-skirt and hanging end of the sash. The panels of decoration seen on the front and back of the bodice and the

 hanging tassels are hand-embroidered silk,
and the embroidery is done with a metallic thread. (Left)
On this garment the waist falls slightly lower than the natural waist, and the hem of the garment is uneven and slightly shorter than full length. The sheer outer layer of the skirt is split on both sides. The wider skirt, shorter hem,  and lower waist indicate that this dress was manufactured nearer to the end of the decade. Though delicate and beautiful, this dress sports minimal frills and lace, another indication that it was made near the start of, or during US involvement in WWI.The closures on this garment are very complicated. The sleeves snap at the wrist (snaps appeared after 1915) and the skirt hooks to the bodice in front with hooks and eyes. A sash hooks on the left side over top of everything.
Not too complicated, until; you get to the bodice, which closes in a series of overlapping layers, all with strategically placed and hard-to-find hooks and eyes. Underneath all of this is a sheer lining which hooks down the center front and a solid heavy woven waist band which also hooks in the center front. Surprisingly all of these closures are still intact.The garment is in quite good shape considering the delicate fabric it is made of, and it weight and age.
The metallic embroidery makes it very heavy and prone to tearing. There are a few evident tears, notably on the front bodice panel, but the dress is remarkably well intact. Some of the sheer lining is also torn, and the hem is  slightly discolored, probably from light exposure.
Bust: 43.5"
Waist: 32.5"
Neck to Waist Front/Back:10.5/14.5"
Armscye to Armscye Front/Back: 23/20"
Skirt Length: 33.5"
My favorite feature on this garment is the tag inside the waistband which reads "The Wonder Fresno, Cal" A little piece of local history.

Blog Post by Kelsey Oliver :)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Grey-Blue Silk Dress c. 1915

Another beautiful garment from the deep recesses of our storage. This is a full length silk dress, sewn all together as one piece. It has a narrow skirt, decorated with false,  fabric covered buttons from waist to almost hem down the center front. The skirt gathers into the center front seam, near the hem, causing it to gather inwards in the front, which in turn causes the drape you see. The skirt ends up being slightly shorter in front than in back. 
The dress also has a waist band which wraps around and attaches in back with small bow. The pigeon front bodice gathers in a V into the front of this waistband. A lace modesty guard in the deep V neck has been torn with time, but you can still see what purpose it once served. The rest of the lace on this garment is different from that seen in the modesty guard. On the six inch hip panels and lace collar we see a  cutwork bobbin lace (Honiton?). The modesty guard conversely is a machine made filet lace. The sleeves sport a different machine made lace. 
These sleeves, 3/4' in length, with a full outer sleeve decorated with buttons, and an gathered-in under sleeve made of lace with main fabric trim, are a good indicator of what this dress would have been worn for. 
It was probably a simple dinner dress, or a very nice day dress, as an evening gown would have had no sleeves, and a much deeper V-neck. This sleeve length and gown style indicate the garment dates to about 1914/15. 
The garment closes mostly with hooks and eyes, at the left shoulder and down the center back. It has a lining which also closes with hooks and eyes. The buttons are solely for decoration.

Some Measurements:
Bust: 40"
Waist: 24.5"
Hip: 38"
Neck to Waist Front/Back: 9.5/12.5"
Armscye to Armscye Front/Back: 24/16.5"
Skirt Length: 37"

The garment is still all in one piece, but not in excellent repair. There are several small tears and stains, the fabric is discolored, and the lace on the bodice is very worn and dingy.  It is, however, still an excellent representation of the fashions of the mid 1910s.

Blog Post by Kelsey Oliver :)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Early 1910s Day Dress

This garment is a cotton and lace day dress, probably from about 1912 or 1913, certainly pre-WWI. It sports the characteristic narrow skirt of the period, with a knee-length wider skirt over top. The light color also dates it to earlier in the period, but the fitted sleeves and shorter sleeves date it a little closer to the start of the war. 
The waistline is high, only a couple of inches below the bust, another common occurrence in early 1910 fashions. The stiff waistband looks like it might have been altered at some point in the 
dress's history, most likely recently, because of some residual hot pink thread. The square neckline of this garment is another good indicator that this garment dates to around 1910. 

       It intrigued me to see that this entire garment is made out of a machine-made net/mesh, overlaid with a Carrickmacross cutwork lace and embroidery, including the small ruffles at the neck, sleeves, and hems of both skirts. Its very very see-through. Fastening wise, the dress fastens closes with a series of hooks and eyes up the back, on both layers of the skirt and on the bodice. 
Over all the garment is in pretty good shape, with only a few small tears and stains.

Some Measurements:

Bust: 36.5"

Waist: 27"

Hip: 30.5"

Neck to Waist Front/back: 9.5/8.5"

Armscye to Armscye front/Back: 19.5/15.5"
Skirt Length Under/Outer: 40/23"  

Blog Post By Kelsey Oliver :)