1855-1865, Silk Striped Dress


Piped round jewel neck bodice with center front opening to waist with 15 hook and eye closures. Two darts on each side of front bodice from waistline seam and extending in V-shaped toward bust of garment-boning missing from 3 darts. Bottom of bodice bound in self fabric binding. Center front of bodice extends 1" below waist in slight curve but is no longer visible from outside due to current construction.

Back bodice features back shoulder seams and side back seams from waist to armscye plus two curved princess seams emanating from 7/8" from center back at waistline seam to same point of side back seams at armscye; seams top-stitched. Right bodice front is pieced at side seam; patch repairs under arms. Bodice underlined in cotton twill fabric. Waistline seam is piped.

Dropped set in long pagoda/bell sleeves (armhole seam also piped) with triangular shaped inset extending from above outside elbow down to sleeve hem. Two rows of brown 2.5" silk fringe trims sleeves -- one row at sleeve hem edge; one row outlining seam of triangular shaped inset. One inch diameter braided (non-functioning) button with tassel used as trim on each sleeve at top point of triangular inset. Sleeve underlined in tan polished cotton and self-faced.

Very full floor length skirt with small, fine pleats--sloppy cartridge pleats--to control fullness. Six panels 21" selvage to selvage. Inside waist excess fabric shows evidence of alterations and use for repair. Four inch long center front placket opening in skirt. Pocket of bodice lining material (tan cotton) in skirt side front seam. Skirt unlined; hem faced with 8" wide polished tan cotton. Edge of hem finished with purple wool or hair braid.

Garment entirely hand sewn.






Additional fiber images and information available at the CAMEO Materials Database at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.

Design Elements

Pagoda Sleeves, Hourglass Silhouette

Fiber/Fabric Information





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Silk Fiber
Silk Fiber
Silk Fiber
Silk Fiber
Silk Fiber
Silk Fiber
Silk Fiber
Silk Fiber
Silk Fiber
Silk Fiber



“1855-1865, Silk Striped Dress,” Fashion2Fiber, accessed December 1, 2020,

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