1880 morning dress in rich raspberry-coloured soft wool.
It is very rare to find early woollen clothing due to the fact that so much fell prey to insects and moths. This dress has quite a few moth nibbles and small holes, and part of the ruched flounce and skirt at the hem has a big hole. Also, a lot of surviving woollen clothing
got shredded for the fibres, and recycled into a cheap, low-grade felt-like yarn called slurry, which was used for industrial purposes as well as cheap clothing.
The dress is really rather tiny, with a 26" bust (it is too tight upon the mannequin, who has a 28" bust), and would have fitted a woman who
was just under five feet tall. It is cut in the Princess
out from long shaped panels with no waist seam, and trimmed with the same material around the hem, a ruched puffed woollen band and then a double scalloped flounce. The bodice is lined with brown glazed cotton. The seam allowances inside are also scalloped with pinking shears like the hem to minimise fraying and prevent wool fluff getting all over your petticoat.
The dress hooks together down the front and is trimmed with yards of fine white machine lace which looks handmade, but there is a recurring flaw in the design that gives away the fact that it is machine made. There is a patch
to the side.
A rare and elegant example of an informal day dress, in a mouth-watering colour and rarely-surviving textile, from between the two Bustle Eras (1870-76 and 1884-1888)
(Milford- Cottam collection)