1880 Printed cotton dress

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1880 Printed cotton dress
Date 1879-1882
Category Women
Item Dress
Fabric Cotton, printed
Decoration Lace, Buttons
Wearer -
Maker -
Acc. no. HC.D-4.10

1879-1882 A dress in brown cotton with a printed design

The dress mounted


The cotton sateen has a design printed in pink, ivory and light brown on a darker brown background; there are roses with trailing stems and foliage round a little building.

The princess line dress has vertical darts at the sides,14½" long, running down from the armhole seams, and horizontal darts at the waist from the outer of the two darts on each front running into the side dart. The top is mounted on pale fawn cotton twill which stops about 1½" above the base of the centre front opening.

The front opening is 20" long and is closed by 13 buttons and worked buttonholes; the buttons are copper with a raised floral design. The stand collar is ⅞" high with machine-made lace edging, 1" wide, slightly gathered round the top. The sleeves have machine-made lace edging, 1¼" wide and in a different design, pleated round the ends.

Each front is one piece with the side back panel and the lower edge curves down from the centre front seam, rising to the side back where it has three pleats into the seam with the back panel. The lower edge is trimmed with machine-made lace edging 1⅛" wide. Under this is a skirt which is sewn to the lower edge of the mounting fabric; it has three rows of pleated frills, 6" deep, which are top-stitched on ½" down from their top edges; they are edged in the same machine-made lace as the front panels and are held in position by ⅜" wide brown tape tacked along the backs. The top frill is nearly hidden at the front but visible at the sides where the the front panels curve up; the lowest frill nearly reaches the hem which has a 1¼" deep frill of thin pink cotton on the edge; this may have been added when the skirt was lengthened many years later by a band of pink rayon, 3" wide, inserted 4" above the hem.

The back panel has an inverted double box-pleat in the centre at the waist from where there is a seam up to the neck. It has three pleats into the seams at the side with the front panels, below the waist, and a further two pleats into the seams with the skirt; it is 14½" longer than the skirt and the extra length hangs in pouches down the back. There are remains of a panel of thin brown cotton which would have supported this and there are now three ½" wide white cotton tapes, 25½" long, sewn about 1½" apart at the waist and 6" apart at the top of the inserted band above the hem performing the same function. There are also two pairs of brown cotton tapes, ⅜" wide, sewn on the side seams 6" down from the waist and further 11" down, to pull in the fullness of the skirt at the back.

A watch pocket is inserted in the waist dart on the left.

Contemporary illustrations

Contemporary items

1879 Reception dress

1880s Corset