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Bed or dressing jacket

Bed or dressing jacket

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1740-1780 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Linen, hand-woven and hand-sewn

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This finely pleated and expertly ironed sleeve belongs to a lady’s dressing jacket. Such a garment was particularly necessary when dressing the hair in order to keep the hair powder from contact with clothing. The jacket reaches to the hips and has three-quarter length sleeves, with fine cambric cuffs. A ruffle runs down each edge of the front of the jacket.

To set the fine pleating of the sleeve it had to be held taut at both ends while ironing. Once the length-wise pleats were set, the sleeve was folded cross-wise and ironed again. Eighteenth-century laundresses required great skill to execute this kind of finishing, heating their irons on a stove to the temperature just hot enough to smooth, but not scorch, the linen.

Physical description

Woman's white linen bed or dressing jacket. Hip-length and flaring slightly from under the arm. With a round neck and opens all down the centre front. The sleeves are short wrist length, set in straight, with a gore beneath, gathered and pleated. There is a finer quality frill around the neck, and down the sides as far as the waist and frills around the cuff.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


1740-1780 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Linen, hand-woven and hand-sewn

Descriptive line

Woman's linen bed or dressing jacket, Great Britain, 1740-80

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Hart, Avril and Susan North, Historical Fashion in Detail: The 17th and 18th Centuries, London: V&A Publications, 1998, p.52




Hand weaving; Hand sewing


Women's clothes; Textiles

Production Type



Textiles and Fashion Collection

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