An 1883-1884 Reception Dress/Ballgown Ensemble

Ensemble dresses have always been interesting to us and today we feature one that was made by a one Alice Mason1Although Alice Mason is long gone as a concern, a quick look-up of the address on GoogleMaps reveals that it was located a block east of Saville Row. It’s clear that this was concern with an upper class clientele. in London and dated c. 1883-1884 from the Metropolitan Museum of Art that features both reception dress and ballgown bodices; the skirt is common for both but the bodices differ. First is the reception bodice:

Evening Dress Ensemble- Evening Bodice, c. 1883-1884; Metropolitan Museum of Art (C.I.54.5.1a–e)

The overall fashion fabric is a light pink/champagne silk satin with the skirt trimmed with vertical lace panels on the sides and front. Both bodices are also constructed from the same silk satin and are trimmed with ivory/champagne lace (most likely it’s yellowed a bit from age). The skirt sides are trimmed with long and wide strips of the same silk satin fashion fabric, finished with a simple demi train and some bustling towards the rear skirt top. The reception bodice features three-quarter sleeves with a square neckline lined with lace; wide lace strips matching the ones on the skirt form a “V” on the front, framing a ruched upper bodice front.  And here we see the ballgown bodice:

With The Ballgown Style Bodice

As characteristic with ballgown bodices, there’s no sleeves and shoulders are minimal, trimmed with lace. The fashion fabric on the bodice front has been shaped so as to give the effect of cross-swagging that creates a large “X” on the bodice front. The neckline is “V” shaped and also trimmed with more lace. Both bodices are high-waisted so as to facilitate the bustled/trained upper skirt. Below are some side profile views with the reception bodice:

Side View- Evening Bodice

Note the side bows and peplum on the rear of the bodice.

Three Quarter Rear View- Evening Bodice

Rear View- Evening Bodice

Here’s a rear view with the ballgown bodice. Note that the ballgown bodice back lacks any peplum and just curves down ending in a sharp point. Both rear views of the skirt give a good view of the train which is free of any sort of adornment or decoration.

Rear View- Ballgown Style Bodice

Below is a close-up view of one of the sleeves on the reception bodice:

Close-Up Reception Bodice Sleeve

And finally, a close-up of the reception bodice front:

Close-Up Reception Bodice Front

And finally, the shoes that were worn with the dress:

This ensemble is a relatively simple but elegant and practical ensemble that would have been useful for a wide variety of formal events and it reveals a practical side to fashion that one doesn’t normally associate with this period. Stay tuned for more as we delve further into 1880s fashion. 🙂


Using Up Old Fabrics- This Week A Liberty Cotton Print!

Will this be a dress by Sunday? I fell in love with this at Liberty of London and carried the bolt with me on the fabric floor and bought it all. Two years later, it’s getting used! 🙂

 



Raspberry Stripe Cotton Batiste Fabric!

We still have a large supply of the Raspberry Stripe Cotton Batiste fabric available for immediate shipment and just in time for Summer! 🙂 Sold by the yard at $5 per yard. To order, please contact us at info@lilyabsinthe.com.


We have secured an additional supply of the Raspberry Stripe Cotton Batiste fabric that so many you have been looking for! The stripe is woven (see detail where I pulled the threads) and it burns to a grey ash (see detail) stripes run parallel to the selvage. It’s 55″ wide with a soft hand and begs to be your next project…it reminds me of gowns worn in French Impressionist paintings! Sold by the yard at $5 per yard. To order, please contact us at info@lilyabsinthe.com.



Visions of Yellow- Yellow Stripe Cotton Batiste Fabric!

Sweet and sheer 100% cotton batiste in a soft daffodil yellow and white stripe, going fast there’s twenty yards left. There’s still this pretty textile for your next summer gown. $5 a yard, 60″ wide…no more after this, I bought all there was! For more information, email us at info@lilyabsinthe.com or check out our Facebook Page.

 



Back In Stock- Raspberry Stripe Cotton Batiste Fabric!!!


We have secured an additional supply of the Raspberry Stripe Cotton Batiste fabric that so many you have been looking for! The stripe is woven (see detail where I pulled the threads) and it burns to a grey ash (see detail) stripes run parallel to the selvage. It’s 55″ wide with a soft hand and begs to be your next project…it reminds me of gowns worn in French Impressionist paintings! Sold by the yard at $5 per yard. To order, please contact us at info@lilyabsinthe.com.