Overview: The black silk paper taffeta bodice is c. 1883. The bodice is probably a piece of an ensemble that would have included an underskirt and a bustled over skirt. The back is cut with fullness to accommodate a large bustle.
Construction: The bodice is flat lined with brown cotton in body and glazed, light brown cotton in sleeves. This black bodice was cut in three pieces on each side. There is a center-front panel with two darts, a side panel and a center-back panel. The bodice closes down center-front with nine handmade buttonholes, the tenth button covers a hook and eye closure. Although these are working buttons there are also four hook and eye fasteners, probably to relieve stress from the buttonholes and reinforce the closure. The sleeve is a two-piece and is set in with no gathers. The garment has no collar, but lace has been added to the neckline. The front of the bodice dips to a curved point, going up at the side seams and dropping in the back. The garment is longer in back than the front. The back is cut with fullness to accommodate a large bustle. The inside seams of this garment have been finished with a whip stitch. The hem of the bodice was faced with a strip of black silk. For a more detailed description see the Supplemental Pages.
Trim: There is a 2 1/4" shirred ruffle at the bottom of the bodice. On top of this a row of ruched trim. These two go along the whole hemline of the garment. The back bustle has three bows going down to the hem. There are two rows of self-covered buttons on either side of the bustle area. The neckline and armseye have been corded with a 1/8" cord. The sleeves have a double ruched trim similar to the one that goes around the bodice hem. All of this trim is made of the same fabric as the bodice. The neckline is trimmed with white lace. See supplemental pages for additional information.
Damage: This garment is in poor condition. The silk fabric has deteriorated all over and there are many pieces missing. This garment could not be pressed for the photo due to it's poor condition.
Printer friendly garment information from the Costar collection.