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Dress
about 1880-1890
Clothing Maker:Made by A. Barnes , American
Bodice: Machine-stitched and hand-stitched silk and cotton, with brass hooks and eyes, silk cord with metal tips, and boning (probably baleen). Skirt: Machine-stitched and hand-stitched silk and cotton, with brass hooks and eyes.
Bodice (bodice length x width across shoulders): 19 x 11 1/2in. (48.3 x 29.2cm) Skirt (hem circumference x center back length): 120in. (304.8cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. E. F. Waterman
Description: Woman's dress of pale pink silk twill overlaid with pink voile, consisting of a bodice (.a) and a skirt (.b). The bodice has a low, round neckline and a pointed waist at center front and back. Sheer, pale pink voile is ruched around the neckline and draped down the center front in a V-shape; it covers the bodice entirely, except for the sleeves. The voile is gathered across the neckline in back and is pulled together at the center back waist, creating a V-effect. The bottom of the bodice is edged with voile gathered in a band. The sleeves are three-quarter-length, tightly fitted, and edged at the opening with ruched voile. The bodice closes at center front, fastening with opposing hooks and eyes; the neckline adjusts with a drawstring tipped with metal, which also ties at center front. The closely fitted bodice, which is made with ten pattern pieces, is unlined, except for the sleeves, which are lined with plain, white cotton. Dress shields are mounted in the armholes. The seam allowances are notched and bound with silk tape. Boning is laid over all seams, except for the side seams, which have old needleholes indicating that they have been taken in slightly to adjust the fit. A cream-colored silk grosgrain ribbon petersham encircles the waist. The skirt is completely overlaid with the pink voile, tacked here and there to create a draped effect. The skirt is smooth across the front and deeply cartridge-pleated at center back, where it closes with large brass hooks and eyes. The voile at center back is closely gathered and stitched to a separate narrow band, which hooks over the main skirt closure. The bottom of the skirt has a 2 3/4-inch-deep pleated ruffle. The lining is stiff, loosely-woven cotton, flounced around the bottom with a double, knife-pleated ruffle edged with three-inch-wide machine-made lace. There are cotton tape ties mounted inside the back of the skirt to keep the fullness pulled to the back.
Historical Notes: According to the donor, this dress was worn by her grandmother, Mary Abbe Smith Woodward (Mrs. P. Henry Woodward) (1842-1940). She had it made to wear to a ball held in honor of the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) in Boston in 1860.
Object Number: 1984.54.1a,b
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