I was just gifted another lovely antique dress, and I honestly have no idea what the exact date of it could be. Best guess is 1880-1910.
The dress has no accompanying information, other than "the Ashville, MA Historic Society didn't want this," and I'm more than delighted to have it! Again, thank you Suzi!
The silk lining on the front of the jacket is in shreds, but I believe I can stabilize it without too much difficulty. The top of the skirt is another matter. I hesitate to even consider touching it, it's in such bad condition. The bottom of the skirt is in perfect condition; unless you count a bit of drag-dirt as damage & some busted pick-up ties.
(skirt is a stock petticoat that just matched in color, not part of the original outfit!)
This is the front piece, it closes with 5 hooks & eyes at the back of the neck & then fastens on to the front by hooks & loops at the sides. One side of the bottom front has been either taken out or torn out. The original folds are still easily visible.
The embroidery is really quite striking & very Art Nouveau.
It is in excellent condition, no picks, no runs, no damage of any kind. The satin is in excellent condition.
The right sleeve does have a couple blow-out places along the elbow, but otherwise both sleeves are in excellent condition, including the underarm areas, both inside & out (amazing, really).
The entire garment is machine sewn, with a few hand-finished areas, like hooks & eyes.
I believe that the silk was treated with some metallic solution to make it heavier, which was a common practice in the late 1800's & early 1900's, but that makes the silk very, very fragile.
I have very little experience with restoration, and so I'm not going to be diving into this project with any kind of urgency. It's lasted this long, it can wait a few more years until I can either pay a professional or gain the skill necessary to save whatever can be saved. (Yes, it came in a garbage bag - much as all good "finds" do).
Ultimately, I will be making a pattern based off of this outfit, but for now it will get packed away in a nice, acid free box with tissue paper to help protect it.
Here it is just pinned on, but you can get the general idea of what the whole outfit looks like.