Day Dress and Cape

1830-1834 (made)
Day Dress and Cape thumbnail 1
Day Dress and Cape thumbnail 2
Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Balloon-like sleeves billow out from the shoulders of this printed cotton day dress. By the 1830s sleeves had reached such exaggerated proportions that women were compared to ‘ants’ and ‘bottle spiders’ with their tiny waists and bell-shaped skirts. There were at least a dozen different patterns for day-wear sleeves with romantic names such as 'Cavalier’, ‘Donna Maria’, ‘Sultan’, ‘Medici’ and ‘Marino Faliéro’.

These are examples of ‘Gigot’ (‘leg of mutton’) sleeves. They were very full at the shoulder, diminishing in size towards the elbow and becoming tight at the wrist. They are made in two pieces and the fabric is matched on the front seam so that the join is barely visible.

Sleeves of this size had to be supported as they were often made of flimsy fabric. Some styles had stiff buckram undersleeves or hoops to give them their shape. The sleeves shown here are unlined, so the wearer probably attached a large down-filled pad to each arm just below the shoulder line to distend them. Feathers can be easily compressed so the pad could be squeezed through the narrow armhole of the dress.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Cape
  • Dress
Materials and Techniques
Printed cotton
Physical Description
Day dress with a low round neck and full balloon-like sleeves trimmed with broderie anglaise. The skirt is bell-shaped and gathered around the waist to increase its fullness. The sash is looped through a decorative buckle at the front of the dress.
Credit line
Given by Messrs Harrods Ltd.
Summary
Balloon-like sleeves billow out from the shoulders of this printed cotton day dress. By the 1830s sleeves had reached such exaggerated proportions that women were compared to ‘ants’ and ‘bottle spiders’ with their tiny waists and bell-shaped skirts. There were at least a dozen different patterns for day-wear sleeves with romantic names such as 'Cavalier’, ‘Donna Maria’, ‘Sultan’, ‘Medici’ and ‘Marino Faliéro’.



These are examples of ‘Gigot’ (‘leg of mutton’) sleeves. They were very full at the shoulder, diminishing in size towards the elbow and becoming tight at the wrist. They are made in two pieces and the fabric is matched on the front seam so that the join is barely visible.



Sleeves of this size had to be supported as they were often made of flimsy fabric. Some styles had stiff buckram undersleeves or hoops to give them their shape. The sleeves shown here are unlined, so the wearer probably attached a large down-filled pad to each arm just below the shoulder line to distend them. Feathers can be easily compressed so the pad could be squeezed through the narrow armhole of the dress.
Collection
Accession Number
T.168&A-1915

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record createdOctober 18, 2005
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