1770 Striped brocade dress

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1770 Striped brocade dress
Date 1765-1775
Category Women
Item Dress
Fabric Silk brocade
Decoration Fly braid
Wearer -
Maker -
Acc. no. HC.D-3.11-1 a,b

1765-1775 A dress in apricot striped silk brocade, with a floral trail.

The dress mounted by The School of Historical Dress for Patterns of Fashion 6.


The striped silk satin has a brocaded pattern of polychrome trailing flowers; the repeat is about 7" horizontally and about 9¼" vertically.

The sack dress, or robe à la française, has a matching petticoat. The body is closed in front with four horizontal sections, about 2¾" deep, which each have two hooks and eyes on the centre edges for fastening..

The body is lined with natural linen, and its centre back seam is open from 3½" below the neck, with eight pairs of worked eyelet holes for lacing, which would hold in the body of the dress to the wearer's back but allow the sack back panels to hang loose.

The edges are trimmed with a ruched band which is about 1" wide round the back neck, widening to 1¾" over the shoulders and about 5½" at the front hems. The edges of this are decorated with fly braid, which is a ⁵⁄₁₆" wide ivory gimp braid with little tassels of polychrome silk floss spaced along one edge. This braid also decorates the edges of the front horizontal sections.

The elbow length sleeves have cuffs of the silk, which widen from about 2" to about 6½" where they are shaped over the elbow; the top and bottom edges are gathered in under fly braid, and there is a line of gathering stitches round the centre of each cuff.

The petticoat is in the same fabric, the waist is pleated into a ⅝" wide linen tape, which extends each side into ties. The side seams are open each side for about 12½" down from the waist, allowing access to separate pockets underneath which would be tied round the waist.

A pattern of this dress can be found in Patterns of Fashion 6 published by The School of Historical Dress and available from their website.

Contemporary illustrations

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