1890 Plum velvet dress

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1890 Plum velvet dress
Date 1889-1892
Category Women
Item Dress
Fabric Silk twill, Velvet, woven pattern
Decoration Lace, Buttons
Wearer The Honourable Edith Boscawen
Maker Sarah Berry
Acc. no. HC.D-7.78-3 a,b

1891 A dress in dusty plum voided uncut silk velvet on satin ground.

The dress mounted

Description

The bodice and skirt are separate.

The fabric has a pattern of exotic flowers in two heights of uncut velvet on a satin ground; the design measures 7¼" by 6⅛".The skirt front panel and sleeves are in a matching silk twill.

The bodice and sleeves are mounted on ivory cotton with a woven moiré pattern; the skirt is lined with book muslin in the back, and the front panel has no lining but a panel of stiffened self-check patterned white cotton, 12½" deep inside the hem..

There are bones on the darts, seams and the left front edge of the bodice.

The bodice is fastened at the front with 11 ball buttons with a whorl pattern, and two flat twill covered buttons at the waist under the silk twill round the lower edge; the top button is under the silk twill round the neck edge, and there are 13 buttonholes.

A bias piece of the matching silk twill, with three pleats, goes round the neck edge, which is V shaped at the front and back. This also goes round the lower front edge, attached to the bodice from the seam on the right, mitred at the centre front to form a V, and the loose half fastened at the left side with three hooks and worked bars.

The inside waistband is 1¼" wide, but half of it is a modern replacement with a hook and eye; it is sewn to the centre back seam and to the seams each side of that.

The elbow length sleeves are in the matching silk twill, with pleated bias cut bands round the ends, and a pleated frill of machine-made lace edging, 1½" wide, on the ends. The sleeve heads are gathered into the armhole seams.

The velvet of the skirt is open at the front over a panel of matching silk twill, with three frills on hem, 3" deep. It has a 1¼" wide waistband, and deep cartridge pleats each side of the centre back opening, over 1¼" on the left and 2" on the right. There are two hooks and eyes plus one more 1¾" along.

There are two sets of pairs of tape ties inside back skirt, to pull the fullness together; they are 9" down from the waist and 12" further down.

Contemporary illustrations

History

The dress was made for the Honourable Edith Maria Boscawen (1851-1906), a daughter of the 6th Viscount Falmouth, by her Lady's maid, Sarah Berry, who was born into a Yorkshire farming family in 1868.

Edith Boscawen gave it to Sarah when she left service to marry Archibald Keech, a coachman, in 1901.

It was acquired from Mrs Dorothy Slark, Sarah Berry's daughter.

Contemporary items

1890s Nightdress

1893 Wine silk dress