Light green finely corded silk trimmed with leaf green silk stripes. Bodice lined with white silk. Low V neckline back and front. Front fastening to waist with buttons. Band of leaf green silk in pleats round neckline with deep V back and front, concealing top two buttons. Very short, leaf green puffed sleeves. Skirt pleated with frills and piped. Back in light green with train.
In the 1870's women's dresses were often decorated with an array of pleats, fringing and ruched fabric. These trimmings could be made of ribbon or pleated flounces of the self fabric of the dress or of boldly contrasting materials and colours. If lace was applied, it was often as a thin edging. Widely available from the 1860's, the domestic sewing machine enabled decoration to be created cheaply and quickly. Instead of reducing the amount of time spent constructing a garment, these early sewing machines seem to have been used to create extra trimmings, layers and stitches. Although initially the upper classes favoured the trims and frills, as the sewing machine enabled the middle and labouring classes to buy reasonably priced fashionable clothes, the fashionable elite turned away from excessive trimmings which many viewed as vulgar. The selection of images shown are typical examples of ruching, fringing and pleating from dresses in the 1870's.
Length (max): 177.8cm
© Manchester Art Gallery