Christmas Came Early…. Adding To The Collection

Christmas came a bit early for us this year- yesterday we received a number of original garments from several auctions and right now, we’re in the process of sorting through them. Below is just a small glimpse of the treasures we received; when we get everything sorted out, we’ll be posting more. 🙂

This is a bodice that we date to circa 1878-1880. The bodice is relatively narrow with an inset pseudo vest that closes with hooks and eyes. The outside bodice closed with laces and each edge is bones, just beyond the eyelets. The boning is roughly 1/2 inch across and we believe that the boning is thin baleen.

Upon closer examination, the bodice is constructed from what appears to be an ivory silk brocade covered by a thin lace net that appears to have yellowed over the years.

Below is an interior view of the bodice, it’s lines with in a light yellow cotton (it doesn’t appear to have been white that’s yellowed) and the seam finish is very precise.

Overall, this is a very interesting study piece. It’s condition is fairly good although the silk fashion fabric has shattered in a number of places, especially where it’s not directly supported by the lining. This will make an interesting addition to our study collection.

Trending For The Late 1870s- A Look At The Princess Line Dress

As many of you might have figured out already, we at Lily Absinthe have a love for the Mid-Bustle period and we’re always returning to it for commentary. Don’t get us wrong, we love all the styles of the late 19th and early 20th centuries but the silhouette of the Mid-Bustle period of the late 1870s continues to draw our attention. Maybe it’s the upright sculpted lines or perhaps the various fabrics and colors, it’s hard to say. And then, there’s the subset of the princess line style, the focus of today’s post- executed correctly, it’s an aesthetic joy to behold. So without further adieu, here we are… Enjoy!


Today we return to the Mid-Bustle Era to take a look at some interesting examples of the princess line style. With its long horizontal lines and lack of a waist seam, the princess line style was especially suited for the “natural form” aesthetic, especially with its low train and lack of a bustle. First up is this example from circa 1876:

Dinner Dress c. 1876

Dinner Dress, c. 1876; Metropolitan Museum of Art (1975.227.3)

Here’s a close-up of the bodice:

Dinner Dress c. 1876

Dinner Dress c. 1876

Side Profile

Dinner Dress c. 1876

Rear View

And here’s a view of the upper hem:

Dinner Dress c. 1876

Close-up of hem.

Here we see knife pleating combined with bow attached to what appears to be beaded cables. It’s hard to determine just what exactly the bow are made of. Above the upper hem line, we also catch a glimpse of the silk brocade fashion fabric. Here’s a close-up of the fashion fabric which appears to be a silk brocade composed of a combination of French blue and gold:

Dinner Dress c. 1876

Close-up of fashion fabric.

Overall, it’s an incredible dress with a luminescent color combination and very clean princess lines. Next, for a little contrast, we have this example from circa 1876-1880 (although the original auction site had this labeled at 1874, we believe that date is too early):

Side Profile

Rear View

In terms of silhouette, this example is somewhat less “sculpted” (although this may be due to poor staging) and features a more conventional two-color combination of a dark teal silk velvet combined with a light mint green/celedon silk and incorporating lace trim on the front and lower hem to frame the velvet. The low train is typical of the Mid-Bustle style, characterized by a low demi-train. Below is a close-up of the train:

The train is fairly standard with one row of knife pleating running along the hem accented by a strip of teal piping running along the tip. Below are some views of the skirt:

Finally, here are some views of the bodice:

Although the colors are faded and the velvet has worn down, it’s still an interesting color combination. Based on the use of a two-color scheme for the fabric, we would be inclined to date this a bit towards 1876-1877. We hope you have enjoyed this little excursion in the princess line style of the Mid-Bustle Era and we’ll be featuring more in future posts. 🙂

Welcome To No. 11!

At the risk of being somewhat repetitious, here are some more pictures from the recent historic home tour that we participated in during our last visit to Tombstone. While it’s hectic getting ready for the tour, it’s still very rewarding because it gives us an opportunity to make the house festive for the holidays while also giving us a good excuse to dress up. Also, it gives us an opportunity to socialize with dear friends…

Karin Arlene Tombstone Historic House Tour 2018

Good times…unfortunately, Angus just wouldn’t pose…

So enjoy!


Saturday started early for us as we made then final touches at No. 11 and then got ourselves dressed. The Tombstone Historic Home Tour officially started at 9 am but we didn’t see our first visitor until about 9:40 so we wound up with a little more time to get things ready (which was a very good thing). No. 11 was originally built in 1905 when the entire block on Safford Street was built up. Previously during the 1880s and 90s, our block had been undeveloped, lying on the outskirts of town and the entire area had been taken up by a holding corral for the local slaughterhouse. Sadly enough, the only link our house has with Tombstone history in that it sits over the Mountain Maid Mine (or at least the claim) which the Earps unsuccessfully attempted to develop in 1881. That said, on with the tour…. 🙂

Karin Tombstone Home Tour 2018 Angus

Welcome to No. 11! Unfortunately, Angus was a bit distracted…

Below are a few pictures from the event, starting with the main room decked out for Christmas:

Tombstone Home Tour 2018

Karin Tombstone Home Tour 2018

And then the parlor:

Karin Tombstone Home Tour 2018

Karin and Angus- Of course, Angus was a key part of the tour… 🙂

Adam Tombstone Home Tour 2018

Here I am showing off one of our latest wedding gown designs.

And here’s the original bedroom- it’s a bit small by today’s standards but it’s comfortable for us. 🙂

Adam Tombstone Home Tour 2018

And here I am showing off an original c. 1900 Worth wedding gown, complete with shoes.

Below are some more views of the Worth wedding gown:

It was a busy day for us and we had a lot of fun meeting people and talking about our house and the early history of Tombstone. We look forward to doing this again in 2019.

Just In From Maison Worth…

Worth Bodice c. 1900

Recently, we acquired for our collection a circa early 1880s bodice from an evening gown that was made by Maison Worth. Constructed of an ivory/mushroom-colored cut silk velvet, we believe that this bodice dates from the early 1880s and it’s in fairly good condition even though the piping and trim were removed from the edges somewhere along the line. Unfortunately, we have only the bodice but it must have been an elegant dress back in the day. Here are a few pictures:

Worth Bodice c. 1900

Front View

Worth Bodice c. 1900

Rear View

Essentially, the bodice laced up in the front and it has tiny, hand-stitched eyelets. We can’t imagine the time it would take having to sew those in by hand… 🙂 Here’s some views of one of the sleeves:

The sleeves are three-quarter in length and what’s interesting is that they’re shaped at the elbow so that they’re set at an angle. It’s hard to make out but when you handle them in person, it’s very obvious. And now for some interior views:

Worth Bodice c. 1900

20181204_183347.jpg

As with all of Worth’s gowns, the construction and seam finishes are first rate and with this bodice, each of the seams are also boned, probably with thin baleen. Overall, this is a fascinating example and it’s going to provide us with many hours of study. 🙂