Overview: The evening bodice, made of black silk faille, dates from the early 1890s. It is fitted and double darted with eleven covered bones on the interior. It closes down center front, and on the interior, there is a waist tape. The collar has been stiffened, made from the same material as the sleeves. The sleeves have two parts: a fitted lower sleeve with a puffed upper sleeve, made from a layer of silk. Covering the bodice is a beaded decoration. There are beaded details to accentuate the garment, such as deep triangles in the front and back of the garment and beadwork over the hands.
Construction: The bodice was constructed with a great deal of care and attention. The interior seams have been cleanly finished by binding them with a piece of silk tape, while the hem has been turned under and finished with a wide piece of black tissue faille. The seams at the armscye have been finished with an overcast stitch and they have also been basted through the five layers of fabric (bodice, flat lining, sleeve, sleeve lining, and the sleeve puff). The interior seams have all been clipped at the waist to allow the wearer freedom of movement.
See supplemental pages for detailed information.
Trim: The trim, beaded, is made from a chain of black glass beads that forms the border of a triangle at center front, center back and two crescent shapes from the shoulders to the underarm in the front. Lace has also been added to the bottom of the sleeves as well. A final trim detail is a black satin ribbon at the hem of the bodice, measuring 1 1/4" with a pleat in the back, where a bow sits at centerback. It then returns to the front, where it crosses over the center front opening to hook on the side left. At the closure, there is another bow.
Damage: This bodice is in excellent condition. The fabric has been well preserved and most of the beaded decoration remains intact. The garment was constructed with a great deal of care and it appears to have been preserved in the same way. It does not appear to have been altered and remains a fine example of a bodice of this time period.
Tags: Has been studied and reproduced by MFA candidate