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Day dress ensemble

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1870 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silk, silk fringe, satin ribbon, chenille, embroidered, lined with glazed linen, metal

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Miss R. Wilson

  • Museum number:

    T.152 to B-1966

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

By 1870 the circumference of the skirt had reduced considerably from its proportions in the mid-1860s. Fullness remained at the back, where it was swathed over a bustle and tied with tapes on the inside to allow the skirt to drape in a becoming fashion. This ensemble illustrates the decorations, especially fringing and applied ruffles, that were popular at the time. The unfitted jacket and fairly loose-fitting skirt suggest that the ensemble might have been worn by an older woman.

Physical description

Ensemble consisting of a jacket, bodice and skirt of golden brown silk trimmed with matching silk fringe and satin ribbon.

The jacket is short, hip-length and loose in front. It is cut with a filled back and a straight front. It is longer at the back and is semi-fitted with a central vent. It has a round neck trimmed with ribbons and fringe and fastens with covered, embroidered buttons. The sleeves are long and fairly wide, flaring at the wrist. The fringe and satin ribbon is stitched around the edges and to form a small yoke at the neck. A satin bow holds the fullness at the wrist. It is unlined.

The bodice is loose, waist-length, fastens in the front, and is worn inside the waistband of the matching skirt. The bodice has a round high neck. It is lined with glazed linen and held in position with tapes at the waist. The sleeves are a short wrist-length with a trimming of ruching and fringe for the cuffs. It fastens with small round self-covered buttons, re-embroidered in chenille down the centre front. The front is trimmed with bands of gauged self-material and the panels are edged with a gathered length of darker satin ribbon and fringe. Machine-stitched and hand finished.

The skirt is gored, has a full straight front, is fitted to the hips with darts and is tightly gathered at the back. The front panel, from hip to ground, is entirely trimmed with rows of flounces in self-material edged with satin ribbon, and alternating with gathered bands of satin ribbon. Two similar flounces and rows of ribbon run all round the hem. The front panel is trimmed at each side with mock sash ends. The dress fastens at the centre back waist with hooks and eyes. It is unlined but faced back with matching silk. On each of the three seams at the back of the skirt are stitched small black metal rings for a gathering cord, a portion of which still remains. Inside are tapes and loops to adjust the length and drape. There are two rings spaced down each side seam and three down the centre back. There is a pocket on the right side of the front and a watch pocket at the waist.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


ca. 1870 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Silk, silk fringe, satin ribbon, chenille, embroidered, lined with glazed linen, metal

Object history note

The loops and tapes within the skirt are a simple but effective way of adapting a skirt to a bustle. The fit suggests that this outfit belonged to an old lady. The unshaped bodice is unusual.

Descriptive line

Jacket, bodice and skirt of silk, Great Britain, ca. 1870


Women's clothes; Day wear; Textiles; Embroidery; Fashion; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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