This gown is of cream, black, brown, red and green silk plaid. It is believed to be part of the wedding trousseau of Frances Wills Bixby who married Orville Bixby on June 1, 1858 as there was originally a hand-written note with the gown (currently hiding somewhere!). This dates it to the pre-Civil War era. The one-piece crinoline gown is completely finely hand-stitched and has the typical pagoda-style sleeves decorated with deep blue silk fringe with brown bands and white undersleeves (engageantes). These are of broderie anglaise and this is a rare feature to find still in existence on an antique gown. The front bodice closes with a row of original hooks and eyes. The gown is fully lined in brown polished cotton and the hem is bound with brown woolen tape. The skirt is finely pleated at the waistband and has a pocket in one side seam. Sadly, this gown has some condition problems and is very fragile. It shows a number of splits or holes (mainly small but some larger) and the colour has run in some areas of the plaid – mainly on the back. Despite these problems, this is a fascinating item with historical interest for display or study, but is not appropriate for wear. Bust 30", Waist 22", Length at front 52", Length in back 55", Hem circumference 140". Please note that this lovely item has been in storage, so once shipped it may still retain a whiff of mothballs. This should settle with airing. This item appears in my book, “How the Watch was Worn, A Fashion for 500 Years” on pages 139.
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