I wanted to present something nice and cozy for those of you in cold climates for this week’s Rate the Dress. Turns out the dress I chose is cotton, not wool, so it’s not quite as warm as I’d planned, though it certainly covers everything. Instead, it’s rather seasonal for us here in New Zealand, and you’ll see why shortly!
Last Week: a wedding dress in soft green from 1850
A very nice, if not completely ecstatic, reaction to last weeks dress. Many of you felt the wrapped thread buttons weren’t quite the right shade – but excused that on the likelihood the dress fabric had faded, and once matched them better. You weren’t quite so ready to excuse the sleeve trim, which you found oddly unfinished in comparison to the crisp pleating of the dress.
The Total: 8.4 out of 10
A rating to please everyone, but not to make people cry from the sheer beauty of the dress as it came down the aisle!
This week: an 1880s dress with embroidered cherries.
This early 1880s dress, in ivory cotton with embroidered cherries, is quite interesting.
It’s unusually severe in its shape and trim, with no ornamentation but the deep pleated hem, and the bands of wool embroidery.
The colour, simplicity of the dress, overall aesthetic and single patch pocket on the right hip suggest that this was a day dress for wearing around the home.
It might have been worn with a collar, but the curators state that there is no evidence that it ever had any other trim.
The extremely fitted shape of the dress is achieved through a centre front seam and double princess darts up the front, and double princess seams up the back. The dress opens up the back with 13 large mother-of-pearl buttons, preserving the unbroken lines of the front.
The dress is made from the most interesting fabric: a heavy moss crepe weave which the John Bright collection identifies as cotton. It’s appears to be very similar to what we would now call barkcloth.
The embroidery is done in wool, in shades of red, orange, green and rust. We’ve looked at other ca 1880 dresses decorated with vining embroidery motifs, like this one, on navy satin, and this one by Vignon. It was clearly a popular decorative idea at the time.
While the overall theme of the trim is the same, this week’s dress is striking in a number of ways. The use of white fabric. The simplicity of the embroidery, with large, rustic stitches. The severity of the cut.
What do you think? Do you like this quirky take on natural-form era fashion?
Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10
A reminder about rating — feel free to be critical if you don’t like a thing, but make sure that your comments aren’t actually insulting to those who do like a garment. Phrase criticism as your opinion, rather than a flat fact. Our different tastes are what make Rate the Dress so interesting. It’s no fun when a comment implies that anyone who doesn’t agree with it, or who would wear a garment, is totally lacking in taste.
As usual, nothing more complicated than a .5. I also hugely appreciate it if you only do one rating, and set it on a line at the very end of your comment.