[No: XXVII | By Viveka Hansen]

The research material for my publication The Textile History of Whitby 1700-1914, includes numerous observations of Victorian clothing which I have started to introduce a selection of in some earlier “Textile Thoughts”. Primary aims with these short texts are to focus on one or two preserved garments containing some particularly interesting details  – discussed and displayed in close-up images. This woollen dolman originating from the 1870s is such an example, demonstrating a practical use for the up-to-date fashion of the time together with great skill in design, hand stitching and machine worked features. 

Close-up image of the grey woollen dolman with its intricate patterned embroidery in tone with the fabric. The stitching with its orientally inspired leaf pattern is machine-made while the garment over all is completed with both hand and machine stitching. The hood is finished of with this beautiful silk tassel, centered in the image. (Whitby Museum, Costume Collection, the garment was not numbered at the time of research) Photo: The IK Foundation & Company, London.

Close-up image of the grey woollen dolman with its intricate patterned embroidery in tone with the fabric. The stitching with its Eastern inspired leaf pattern is machine-made while the garment over all is completed with both hand and machine stitching. The hood is finished of with this beautiful silk tassel, centered in the image. (Whitby Museum, Costume Collection, the garment was not numbered at the time of research) Photo: The IK Foundation, London.

To be compared with the shape and size of this contemporary dolman, published in Harpers’s Bazaar November 1871 (Courtesy of: New York Public Library Digital Gallery Website).

To be compared with the shape and size of this contemporary dolman, published in Harpers’s Bazaar November 1871 (Courtesy of: New York Public Library Digital Gallery Website).

This variety of outerwear was known as a dolman, or a so-called half cape designed to rest on the bustle and often made from weighty and expensive material. Capes/mantles of this type sometimes also had added fur details, though none is included in the Whitby collection. The dolman for the Western tailored wardrobe also often displays Eastern inspiration in shaping and design, fringed borders, embellishing braiding, embroidery details and tassels – which are clearly visible characteristics for both the discussed grey woollen dolman and the accompanying fashion illustration dated 1871.

The garment is altogether professionally made including features as; parts of the back lined with a dark grey silk fabric, while this close-up image showing the decorative silk braids harmonising with the machine embroidery to a high fashionable standard. (Whitby Museum, Costume Collection [additional photo for preview]) Photo: The IK Foundation & Company, London.

The garment is altogether professionally made including features as; parts of the back lined with a dark grey silk fabric, while this close-up image showing the decorative silk braids harmonising with the machine embroidery to a high fashionable standard. (Whitby Museum, Costume Collection) Photo: The IK Foundation, London.

This final detail of the 1870s dolman – from the inside – displaying how the garment was fastened with hooks and eyes by the neck, together with the mantle makers long tacking stitching still intact! (Whitby Museum, Costume Collection [additional photo for preview]) Photo: The IK Foundation & Company, London.

This final detail of the 1870s dolman – from the inside – displaying how the garment was fastened with hooks and eyes by the neck, together with the mantle makers long tacking stitching still intact! (Whitby Museum, Costume Collection) Photo: The IK Foundation, London.

To be continued…

[Research material and extract (Chapter 5) from the forthcoming book ‘The Textile History of Whitby 1700-1914’, see “NEWS(the book will include a complete list of notes).] PUBLISHED JUNE 15TH, 2015.

PLEASE REFERENCE AS FOLLOWS:

  • Hansen, Viveka, ‘Study of an 1870s Woollen Dolman’, TEXTILIS (August 22, 2014); http://textilis.net/ (Accessed: Day/Month/Year)