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 :)


  1. Beautiful dress. Belongs on Downton Abbey. Thanks for sharing

  2. I love this blog, thanks for all the work you do to share such amazing images. This beautiful dress still on display at the entrance of the Fresno State theater, I saw it last night while I attended the closing night of "Frozen" (where my son Austin Yarbrough played Ralph)