Sunday, 13 March 2011

Research - MoDIP Historical Garments

In a studio session we had the opportunity to look at some 19th century garments that had been donated to AUCB's Museum of Design In Plastics (MoDIP). This was a very engaging session and allowed me to look at how the garments were constructed and get a feel of the materials as well as proportions and the way they were constructed. It was a really useful session as it gave me an insight to the reality of the clothes, rather than just seeing them two dimensional in pictures. It was really great to be able to touch the garments (with gloves on) and turn them over to look at all the details and construction inside.

This exotic looking bodice I have dated around the 1850's, it being almost identical to one found in Nancy Bradfield's Costume in Detail, Womens Dress .It is not boned  and has signs of heavy wear, with sweat patches inside and possible watermarking on the silk top fabric. I was quite surprised at the extravagance of this piece and would love to see what skirt accompanied it.
This bodice I would guess is around the later 19th century possibly 1880's. It is quite plain with only a small gathered collar with lace as decoration. Its well worn nature and hand stitched repairs on the sleeve and underarm suggest it may belonged to a working to middle class lady.It was originally boned but the boning has been taken out. The boning channels sat along the seams on top of the seam allowance. It is interesting to note this construction method and how the lining has been sewn as one with the top fabric with the seam allowance on show inside.

This pin tucked chiffon bodice was particularly beautiful and in good condition. It is thought to be part of a bridal outfit.  A particularly interesting feature was the fitted inner sleeve and how it worked holding the position while the large chiffon top sleeve created the balloon effect. The boning remained in the bodice and the waist strap  can be seen clearly. This was in most bodices to prevent the bodice from rising up when bending over or sitting. The technique of having the supporting, hardy under lining and the light chiffon (or muslin) on top seems to be a relatively common technique and one I may have to use in my toile construction.

This dress was unusual as its pleating of the skirt was a-symmetrical having one side much more pleated at the back than the other. We thought this may be because of the pocket however we couldn't find a good explanation as to why. It was quite a simple dress that had a cotton lining through all of the skirt and the sleeves, this was probably for warmth and suggests it would be a day dress. The faux fastenings of the buttons can be seen in the lower to photographs.

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