A faded bodice

Our recent blog entry about Another black jacket showed a dummy being prepared to sit on the settle during 2023. Her close fitting jacket was originally made for a lady of slightly smaller proportions than our model, so we needed a garment for her to wear underneath. It is always a problem finding a set of clothes dating from exactly the same era. The jacket is late Victorian, but our best match for a suitable blouse is some years older.

This long sleeved garment, gathered at the waist, was made in the 1860s and is no longer in prime condition. Made of muslin gathered over cotton, it was once pale blue and worn as part of a wedding outfit by the grandmother-in-law of our museum founder, Peggy Gye. It has faded to a dirty white and is rather stained, so just as well it’s only peeping out near the buttons of the black jacket.

However, we can take a look at some of the detail here.

There is a pleated section down the centre back and the front fastens with hooks.

These do not fasten with metal eyes, but hook through hand sewn eyelet holes.

Our bodice may be past its best, but we wonder how many of our garments will be here to tell a tale in 160 years time.


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