Dressing the Dummies

To help with the revamp of the upstairs room at Market Lavington Museum we have decided that we’ll have a couple of dressed ladies sitting on the eighteenth century settle. We are using dressmaker’s dummies and they had no heads, so volunteers have made a couple of heads from balloons and papier maché.

Now, the dummies are being dressed from our collection of clothing.

We’ll start with this cotton chemise, with crocheted linen. It dates from about 1900.

Chemise dating from about 1900

No Victorian lady would have displayed such undergarments, so a brown bodice, from about 1890 goes over the chemise.

Bodice from 1890 - still being fastened

We thought this dummy was small, but trying to get these garments to do up reminds one of that ‘straight-laced’ phrase. Being straight-laced was often a literal truth for the ladies.

This lady has been given a suitably modest long black skirt which dates from about 1900.

Late Victorian skirt at Market Lavington Museum

If you would like to see these items and some of the thousands of other artefacts we have in the museum then pay us a visit. The museum is open to the public from May to October on Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday and Bank Holiday afternoons. Do contact the curator to visit the museum at another time.

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