1832 Grey silk taffeta dress

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1832 Grey silk taffeta dress
Date 1830-1836
Category Women
Item Dress
Fabric Silk taffeta
Decoration -
Wearer -
Maker -
Acc. no. HC.D-12.77

1830-1836 Grey silk taffeta dress

The dress mounted


The bodice is lined with natural linen, the sleeves with white glazed cotton, and the skirt with light brown glazed cotton.

There are eight hooks and worked loops down the centre back bodice opening.

The self waistband is 1" wide and backed on white cotton chevron tape. Each side of the centre back there are two white cotton tapes, ¼" wide, sewn on the inside edge; they join 9¼" along, and one continues singly for 10". A ¾" long buttonhole in the waistband is 1½" in from the edge on the right-hand side. The tapes on the left would be threaded through from underneath to go round the waist and tie to the other tapes in the front; these would be concealed under a belt which is now missing. (A black button has been sewn, much later, 1" along from the waist on the left-hand side tapes.) Tapes and a buttonhole in the waistband at the back were a form of fastening quite often found on dresses of this period.

Narrow double piping goes round the neck edge and the sleeve ends.

The sleeve heads are pleated into the piped armhole seams and the pleats are held down by double bias strip, ⁵⁄₁₆" wide; this section is 1¾" at widest point in the centre where the strip forms a slight point. The sleeves narrow dramatically below the elbow. This style of sleeve, very gathered at the shoulder and narrowing into the wrist, was known as a 'Gigot' or 'Leg of mutton' sleeve; it developed during the 1820s and was disappearing by the end of the 1830s as the fullness lessened and moved down the arm towards the elbow. It would probably have had some kind of support inside holding it out, such as down-filled puffs, frills of buckram, puffs of starched cotton, or wires encased in layers of cotton.

The skirt has 14 double pleats into the waistband, and is cartridge pleated for 2" each side of centre back opening.

Contemporary accessories

Whitework canezou

The dress was probably worn with some kind of whitework fill-ln at the neck; this might have a low neckline with only a little embroidery showing above the edge of the dress, or be something more substantial going up to the neck with a whitework collar, a pelerine collar, or a canezou covering most of the bodice. The collars were often very elaborate, with frills and embroidery over two or three layers, and spreading wide over the ballooning sleeves.

Contemporary illustrations

Contemporary items

1820s Black scarf

1830s Sleeve supports

1835 Turnover shawl

1830s Waistcoat