I'm excited to finally share details of my recent antique dress haul! This 4 dress rescue included a RARE GEM- an antique Victorian or Edwardian silk dress. All were languishing on a rack of vintage clothing at the back of an antique mall, the silk dress clinging for life on the end of a wire hanger. It’s a miracle it didn’t end up on the floor beneath the rack where the silk would probably have been damaged beyond repair.
Once I got them home, I began to do research to date them all. ! I love Victorian & Edwardian clothing but have only vague ideas of their precise ages- like fashion in the 21st century, styles changed often and the various nuances of each change are a study for fashion textile historians, not pickers like myself. I’m guessing the antique silk gown’s what I call a ‘cusper’ because it’s ‘on the cusp’ or straddling the end of the Victorian & beginning of the Edwardian eras- the 1890s to 1910s. I think it’s Edwardian because of the bodice shape & details, the inset band at the waist and the length of the skirt with the tucks at the hem. It could be earlier (late 1890s) but certainly not post WW1. Of course I could be wrong- be nice if you must call me out as wrong, lol! I LOVE to learn about the antique & vintage clothing I sell :-)
The gorgeous cream gown was sewn by machine, from a lightweight floral print jacquard weave silk. The neck, bodice front opening and cuffs are finished with very fine machine made lace edging. The bodice is shirred at the front shoulders. There are 3 tiny buttons at either side of the front band just beneath the gathers and the bodice is open in front to the waistband with no sign of fasteners (button, snap or hook). I think it must be a dressing gown meant to be worn only at home. There was probably a a slip or camisole to wear beneath the gown… but maybe not! I paired it with another piece from the haul but the fabric and era is wrong so I’m not including it with the dress.
The antique dress in remarkably good condition for its age. Of course there’s the requisite mystery spot on the skirt- dark brown like rust or ?? on the front & a faint ‘ghost stain’ on the backside that it acquired during the century of being stored folded.
The antique dress in remarkably good condition for its age. Of course there’s the requisite mystery spot on the skirt- dark brown like rust or ?? on the front & a faint ‘ghost stain’ on the backside that it acquired during the century of being stored folded. I cautiously touched moist cotton swab to the stain and no brown transferred so it will need special care.It's not a perfect mend but it isn’t intended to be pretty OR invisible. The patch can be removed later for a proper mend.
These pix were taken on my modern GAP size 4 mannequin. The dress fits her pretty well but is loose at the waist. Since the waist fastens with hook & eye closure (I think they’re modern) the fasteners can easily be moved. Once it’s listed I’ll take measurements with the dress laying flat. This dress could possibly be worn BUT it would be best as a display piece or added to a museum collection where it can be properly cared for and stored in a way to make it last another 100 years!