M15300 | Dress

 
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Dress
About 1810-1814, 19th century
Fibre: cotton (muslin, embroidery)
Gift of Miss M. Gould
M15300
© McCord Museum
Description
Keywords:  Dress (84)
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Description

From the end of the eighteenth century into the first decade of the nineteenth, an interest in classical art forms revealed itself through an emphasis on vertical column-like lines in dress. The fit of the unboned high-waisted bodice in the front is controlled by a draw-tape in a casing at the square neckline. The back closure is controlled by draw-tapes at neckline and waist. The extra long sleeves have a narrow shoulder strap, are puffed and end with a flounce; under the puff is a narrow horizontal insertion of whitework embroidery. The straight-cut skirt is fitted smoothly to the bodice in front, but is gathered to it in back. The hemline is trimmed with crocheted loops in white cotton (the under-dress is a reproduction). Beginning with a second decade of the nineteenth century, draw-tapes instead of drawstrings were often used as bodice adjustment devices, as here. The cut of the skirt changed from about 1815 on, when flaring began to predominate. (Excerpt from: BEAUDOIN-ROSS, Jacqueline. Form and Fashion : Nineteenth-Century Montreal Dress, McCord Museum of Canadian History, 1992, p. 16.)

Keys to History

From the late 1700s into the first decade of the 1800s, an interest in classical art forms revealed itself through an emphasis on vertical column-like lines in dress. Here, the fit of the unboned high-waisted bodice is controlled in the front by a cased draw-tape at the square neckline. The back closure is controlled by draw-tapes at the neckline and waist. The extra-long sleeves have a narrow shoulder strap and are puffed and finished with a flounce; under the puff is a narrow horizontal insertion of whitework embroidery. The straight-cut skirt is fitted smoothly to the bodice in front but gathered to it in back. The hemline is trimmed with crocheted loops in white cotton.

  • What

    This dress is made of white muslin embroidered in white cotton with a delicate all-over design of sprigs and sheaves of wheat worked in stem stitch and long and short stitch.

  • Where

    Lightweight muslin dresses like this one offered little warmth, so a stole was often needed to cover the shoulders.

  • When

    Beginning in the 1810s, draw-tapes often replaced drawstrings as bodice adjustment devices, as in this dress. Skirt cuts changed around 1815, when flaring began to predominate.

  • Who

    The De Witt family of Quebec City originally owned this dress.