Saturday, November 21, 2009

1830's a' la Martha Stewart.....

Was Martha around in the 1830's? She well could have been ;) This monochromatic color scheme in taupes was an early- mid 19th century favorite, and here, it is easy to see why. Martha would adore these little gowns~ simple, and oh so very elegant.

Above right is a little boys jacket, c1838, middle 1820 white mull frilled Mother's Nursing gown, and to the left, a gorgeous c1832-5 girls long sleeve summer dress, of which I will be sharing with you today.

The first thing to catch one's eye is the beautiful white embroidery that accents the wrap front style of the bodice. This dress would have been made up just like Mamma's~ following the fashion trends nearly exact. At a time when roller and block printed cottons were all the rage, the fact that this has been made up from a solid color cotton would have one thinking it was of lesser quality and belonging to a lower class....but with the addition of the superbly wrought embroidery so expertly placed, this little dress is of the highest taste and quality~ a Mother with money, and a refined, yet elegant taste, commissioned it for her precious little girl. Of coarse it helps also knowing the provenance, that our little dress was worn by one of Capt. Rufus Lincoln's little girls in Wareham, Massachusetts.

But having money was not an excuse for frivolity and waste~ this dress has been made up of so many little pieces fit perfectly together, I wonder if it was made up from the extras of one of her Mother's gowns. All hand stitched, the bodice is made of a linen base, with only the outwardly showing pieces in the fashion fabric~ the embroidered front is pieced of 3 smaller pieces, and stitched onto the lining.

It was just as important to look good going, as it was coming, and much design was put into the back of the bodice. The piped and tabbed waist band was a really common feature of the 1820's & 1830's, and if I remember right, nearly all the gowns I have here of this era, have a piped waistband that ends in a tab.

The embroidery is expertly done, I think too perfect for it to be a sample of the little girl's own work, but I could be wrong. What a beautiful tribute and perfect way to show off the works of thine own hands.... than to have them made up into a pretty dress

This is a close view of the center band of embroidery on the skirting

The long gigot sleeves are amazing, as I find all of them to be~ marvels of engineering! But we can see again, the unique piecing, to take advantage of every scrap of fabric, as these sleeves really did requite a lot of fabric. It was easy, to have just as much fabric in the sleeves of a gown, as in the skirting. This view is actually the back of the sleeve, see the 2 horizontal seams there?

Flipping same sleeve over, there is a horizontal seam again, then a strange triangular piece, and an augmented rectangle....very good use of fabric~ I bet there wasn't an inch of waste when this was finished.

The 1830's is one of, if not my most favorite era in early fashion~ the lines and silhouettes are so feminine~ see how the little boys jacket mirrors the same seam lines as the girl's? Beautiful. I will share him with you in a another post~ so much going on there you wont believe it!

And a precious side view. For the weight of the fabric, I would say most definitely this was a summer dress~ cold New England winters and drafty homes would have made this impractical to wear in the winter months

Thought you would enjoy this~ a current picture of the Rufus Lincoln estate in Wareham Ma. Minus the window air conditioning units of coarse, this is much how it would have looked when our precious was squirting about the grounds, perhaps playing with a favorite dollye right there in the yard. Things that dreams are made of, don't you think?


Vande Historic Costuming said...

Thank you for sharing the photos (and the construction details of the sleeve)
They are just so beautiful!
I love the 1830's too - but a friend of mine calls it the adorkable era - because it is quite adorable (in a dorky kind of way)

Dixie Sargent Redmond said...

Beautiful dress, Rachael. Could you hop on over to my blog and help with dating Edyth's dear brown dress?

Rachael Kinnison said...

Thankyou for stopping in and taking the time to write Vande! You did a wonderful job on your daughters QE Dress, by the way!

YEs Dixie~ Ill be right on over~ you must have just posted it!
xoxoxo rachael

Suzanne said...

The embroidery is beautiful, that must have been a very talented young lady! And I LOVE that house! Thanks for sharing this Rachael.