Archive for the ‘Antique Gowns’ Category

I love the print on this dress! Again, I never would have guessed it was authentic to the period. Click on the photos to zoom in. Here’s the photos:

Romantic Rose

Romantic. There’s piping at the armholes.

Another shot without the flash.

Bodice Shot. Horizontal tight gathering over an inch under the neckline.

Another shot of the bodice. There is a wide waist band.


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I’ve got so much to post, I don’t know where to start. I’m working on a gown for Karen Millyard, plus I have all of my old Regency ballgown photos. But here are some shots of a 1810s gown and cape at the ROM.

I have to admit, the pattern of this dress is not my style. But the sleeves and silhouette are great!

It looks like the bodice is separate from the skirt. There’s a possibility that the cape is attached to the bodice, so that it makes a coat. I think I’ll need to visit the gown again and get a closer look. But, my guess is that this outfit consists of a dress and a caped jacket, the front of the jacket closing in buttons, with the cape part closing with a hook at the neck. Must revisit to clarify.

Click on the photos to zoom in.

Front portion of Regency outfit. I love the lines!

Close up shot of the sleeves, and of the zig-zag fabric. Honestly, if I hadn’t seen the gown, I never would have thought they would have used such a fabric in the Regency era!

Close up of the bodice.

Gown back.

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I have a ROM membership, so I visit often. I ventured to the fourth floor for their Riotous Color exhibit, and took some photos of their 19th century gowns for the world to see and study. Since this is all so image rich, I will post each gown individually.

The ROM describes this patterned silk dress as being semi-formal. I would guess they came to that conclusion for the following reasons:

1. It’s made out of silk, which is a formal fabric.

2. It’s not decorated heavily, which would suggest that it is not a super formal dress.

3. It is long-sleeved. Many of the ballgowns of the period were short sleeved.

4. It has a train, which would suggest that it is formal. However, in the first half of the decade, almost all dresses had trains, regardless of their formality and purpose. There were many complaints made during the day about how women of all classes would be gathering up their long, dirties trains. But throwing the train over one’s elbow allowed a woman an opportunity to show off her legs.

5. I am no expert on printed fabrics, but I am guessing that a printed silk would be expensive. Dyes on silk do like to run, and a multi-colored wood-blocked print would probably be pretty difficult. Yet, the long sleeves and lack of decoration suggest the gown is not meant for very formal wear.

I would guess that a printed-silk, trained gown would be worn at home by a relatively affluent woman.

Here’s the photos:

GOWN 1800-1805

1805 print gown

The gown is made of printed silk with a straight front. Long sleeves that cover the wrists, straight line across the neckline. The female figure is columnar, yet active. The architecture of the gown does not create the body, unlike the previous era. This is a reflection of the chaotic social mobility of the era.

Side shot 1805 gown

Pleated, high waisted back with train. Straight front. Very typical of early Empire. The train becomes an extension of the neck, the whole thing culminating in a head crowned in soft curls.

1805 gown back

Closer shot of the back. The back of the bodice falls on the body as though the neckline were bell-shaped, though of course it’s not cut like that. This nice effect broadens the shoulders and emphasizes the curve of the neck.

1805 gown silk pattern

Close up of the pattern on the silk. It was printed with wood blocks. Amazing how they did that stuff!

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