Not a terribly exciting or very original title, I know: maybe I can think of a better one. In this series, I’ll take one garment and look carefully at its textiles, trim, and construction details, including evidence of alterations made to keep up with new trends, or much later changes made for dress-up. (So many 18th century dresses, for example, were worn for Colonial Revival or Centennial or other commemorative events like pageants, parades, or “Martha Washington Teas,” that they often have 19th or early 20th century alterations which are pretty easy to spot.)
I hope that these closeups with commentary will be interesting, especially to anyone who uses historic clothing in his or her work or hobby. If you are a collector, it may help date antique dresses you see for sale. If you go to costume exhibitions in museums and leave wondering about more than the label tells you, these will give you something extra. If you are a costumer who is frustrated by books and exhibits’ lack of interior photos, and online databases’ lack of details on construction… I think you will enjoy this series. If you write fiction set in other periods, perhaps this will be enlightening.
I welcome suggestions and requests on this series. What should I choose first–a dress from what decade (1770s-1910s)? What would you like me to mention as I look at these dresses? I have a lineup of several garments in the DAR Museum collection I’d like to talk about, but I’ve got no particular order to go in, so I’m willing to crowdsource my posts.