1863-1869 Aqua Silk Gown


Light green silk satin gown with two bodices, trimmed with darker green velvet, ivory satin and small white glass beads; day bodice (c) has replacement polyester chiffon filler closed by drawstring above square neckline; drop shoulder 2-piece coat style sleeves with piped armscyes; 6 dark green velvet covered buttons and hand-worked buttonhole front closure

Hand-stitched evening bodice (a) has a wide rounded neckline edged in lace with a narrow drawstring running through it. Light green silk velvet narrow ribbon and gathered silk net over silk bobbinet fill the space between bodice proper and lace edging. Top of bodice proper also has a drawstring. Gathered silk net also covers short drop shoulder sleeves with piped armscyes. Light green velvet bands with white beads decorate top of bodice with gathered silk net. Five satin covered buttons and hand-worked buttonholes form front closure with hook inside bodice waistband (corresponding loop missing). Inside of bodice is underlined in off-white silk and has 9 short sections of baleen boning covered with silk ribbon at center back, side seams, side backs, side fronts and princess front seams. Off-white linen reinforces left inside front (behind buttons) with another section of boning covered with twill tape. Bodice bottom is corded and seams are hand-overcast. A twill tape waist tape with hook and loop closure is attached. Eleven hooks were later added to bodice inside bottom to attach bodice to top of skirt.

Full bell shaped skirt with flat front and back fullness controlled by large deep pleats is gathered onto narrow waistband. Skirt is trimmed with two bands of darker green velvet with white beads and white satin ribbons crisscrossing between them. Tapes stitched to inside skirt back seams also control fullness to back.






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


Traphagen School of Fashion Collection, acquired from Mrs. Stowell, NY

Design Elements

Two-Piece Tailored Sleeve, Hourglass Silhouette

Fiber/Fabric Information

Main dress fabric is a silk satin
The lining of the bodice and bodice sleeves is silk
It is constructed with a cotton sewing thread
The sheer material at the neckline is a synthetic fiber, it replaced an early silk chiffon during conservation.




Blue green


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Silk Fiber
Silk Fiber
Silk Fiber
Silk Fiber
Cotton Fiber
Synthetic Fiber
Synthetic Fiber
Synthetic Fiber




“1863-1869 Aqua Silk Gown,” Fashion2Fiber, accessed May 27, 2024,