Going To The Originals

As part of the design process, we often utilize original garments. One example is this sweet 1870s day dress in our collection that I used as the basis for three dresses that I designed for a film (in three different colors, no less!). The dress itself is American-made, with no maker’s label, and is constructed primarily from silk. The dress is in amazingly good condition considering its age and there are no signs of shattering, a problem common in 19th Century silk dresses.

Below are some pictures of the original dress:

1870s Day Dress

Front View

As mentioned above, the dress is constructed from silk and the color scheme is two-toned with the overskirt a dark gray trimmed along the hem in a lighter shade. The bodice also utilizes the same two colors, in this case the trunk is the same shade of dark gray and the sleeves light gray. It’s interesting that the lighting gives green undertone to both shades of gray and it could be argued that the light gray is really a celedon or seafoam color. Below is a close-up of the rear bodice:

1870s Day Dress

Back of the Bodice

Here’s the bodice back- I love that sweet bustle-like swallow-tail! 🙂 The rear bow that’s “missing,” I temporarily removed to study and pattern; I’ll put it back later. The seaming is gorgeous on this piece with all the perimeter seams being piped. Below are some close-ups of the details:

1870s Day Dress

Skirt Interior

Here’s a view of the silk-striped foundation skirt with the hem folded back to reveal facings of a quality glazed cotton and brush braid. I wonder if this was a wedding/special occasion dress, because there’s no sign of wear except for some crazing in the facings. This dress is one of the centerpieces in our collection and it’s been an inspiration for many of our designs and we expect it to continue as an inspiration.

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