[My Chamber of Textile Thoughts. No: XX | By Viveka Hansen]

Proficiency in making a complete dress, or a skirt and its related bodice, required a trained hand with an understanding of the many factors essential in creating a well-fitting garment. Correct measurements, and if possible multiple fittings during the sewing of the garment, were also vital whether the work was done by professional dressmakers or tailors or simply by a woman sewing at home. This “Textile Thought” includes a closer look of a well preserved silk brocade dress from the early 1870s.

The close-up view of the upper part of this dress shows curtain-like decorations characteristic of the period, here in the form of twisted silk tassels fastened to machine-embroidered lace. The bodice and the skirt that goes with it are mainly machine-made with minor hand-sewn details. Silk brocade dress, early 1870s. (Owner: Whitby Museum, Costume Collection, 2006/42.17). Photo: The IK Foundation & Company, London.

The upper part of this dress shows curtain-like decorations characteristic of the period, here in the form of twisted silk tassels fastened to machine-embroidered lace. The bodice and the skirt that goes with it are mainly machine-made with minor hand-sewn details. Silk brocade dress, early 1870s. (Owner: Whitby Museum, Costume Collection, 2006/42.17). Photo: The IK Foundation, London.

A second close-up view of this very exclusive garment that had to be worn with a bustle to achieve its intended appearance, depicting the bodice which was reinforced with sewn-in whalebones to shape the upper body to the fashion of the period. Silk brocade dress, early 1870s. (Owner: Whitby Museum, Costume Collection, 2006/42.17). Photo: The IK Foundation & Company, London.

A second close-up view of this very exclusive garment that had to be worn with a bustle to achieve its intended appearance, depicting the bodice which was reinforced with sewn-in whale bones/baleen or steel boning to shape the upper body to the fashion of the period. Silk brocade dress, early 1870s. (Owner: Whitby Museum, Costume Collection, 2006/42.17). Photo: The IK Foundation, London.

The usual hooks and eyes for holding the bodice together have been replaced by thread buttons and corresponding buttonholes on this beautiful silk brocade dress from the early 1870s. (Owner: Whitby Museum, Costume Collection, 2006/42.17). Photo: The IK Foundation & Company, London

The usual hooks and eyes for holding the bodice together have been replaced by thread buttons and corresponding buttonholes on this beautiful silk brocade dress from the early 1870s. (Owner: Whitby Museum, Costume Collection, 2006/42.17). Photo: The IK Foundation, London.

Contemporary (1870s-80s) depiction of ladies wearing skirts supported by bustles, viewing the shop windows at Greensmith & Thackwray in Scarborough. The business was founded in 1845 and lasted up to the late 1980s and for a period – during the 1870s – the establishment also had a branch in Whitby, only for a few years judging by the advertisement in the local Whitby Gazette. (Print on paper bag from Greensmith & Thackwray). Photo: Viveka Hansen.

Contemporary (1870s-80s) depiction of ladies wearing skirts supported by bustles, viewing the shop windows at Greensmith & Thackwray in Scarborough. The business was founded in 1845 and lasted up to the late 1980s and for a period – during the 1870s – the establishment also had a branch in Whitby, only for a few years judging by the advertisement in the local Whitby Gazette. (Print on paper bag – Greensmith & Thackwray). Photo: Viveka Hansen.

To be continued with more extracts … [Research material and extracts (Chapters 3 & 5) from the forthcoming book ‘The Textile History of Whitby 1700-1914’, seeNEWS]. PUBLISHED JUNE 15TH, 2015.

PLEASE REFERENCE AS FOLLOWS:

  • Hansen, Viveka, ‘Silk Brocade Dress – early 1870s’, TEXTILIS (April 2, 2014); http://textilis.net/ (Accessed: Day/Month/Year)