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Printable page Black Velvet Beaded Bodice

1900 -1905 Black womans bodice [Silk Velvet and Gauze; Jet Beads]
Overview: This black velvet bodice has a pouter pigeon silhouette. It has a bolero-like front with wide lapels and a cut-out design at the side front.
Construction: At the back, the interior of the bodice is flat-lined in cotton. The weave of the cotton creates a ground of light gray and the surface features a small diamond-shaped pattern in a charcoal gray. The reverse of this fabric is charcoal gray. The center back panel of the velvet is cut on the fold however the cotton flat lining has a seam. All interior seams at the back are boned and their edges are bound. The interior cotton bodice is separate from the exterior bodice from the side front forward. It closes independently at center front with metal hooks and eyes. The cotton underbodice is shaped with two bust darts on each side. Each of these darts are boned. The bodice's center front plastron is comprised of three layers. The outermost is a black silk gauze. The second is a pleated black China silk. The third layer, a glazed black linen, serves as a foundation for the other layers and controls the excess length of the first layer. It is this gauze layer which provides the pouter pigeon silhouette of the bodice. This fabric hangs over a waist which is slightly dipped below the natural waist at center front. The waist is edged in a black satin ribbon. The plastron closes at the left side front with six hooks and eyes. It also fastens with hooks and eyes near the shoulder on the left side. The velvet fabric is used to create a bolero-like silhouette at the front of the bodice. There are wide lapels and a cut-out design at the side front. These velvet portions are edged in black trim and a lace applique in the shape of a bow has been applied to each lapel. The sleeves are cut with a single seam and there is slight gathering at the armscye. The sleeves are lined in the same cotton as the rest of the bodice. The hem of the sleeve is cleaned on the inside with a 1" bias binding. Wide cuffs in the velvet lined with black satin are stitched to the bottom edge of the sleeve. The bodice has a detachable collar that is interlined with buckram. The black satin lining is mostly deteriorated. The collar closes at center back with two hooks and eyes. The velvet exterior is decorated with jet beads in a bow pattern. See supplemental pages for additional information.
Trim: Braid trim, lace appliques, and beads ornament this decorative bodice. The contrast of the velvet with silk gauze in the neck opening and the trim creates much interest. See supplemental pages for additional information.
Damage: The bodice is in poor condition and continues to deteriorate. The velvet has been flattened in some areas and has an imprint of the braid and beads indicating it was stored without much care.
Tags: Has been studied and reproduced by MFA candidate
Costar #G1274