Woman's gown, brocaded silk sack, Virginia history
ca. 1750, altered ca. 1775
Origin: England (textile); America, Virginia (gown)
L: 60" WAIST: APPROX. 24 1/2" ; silk selvage width: 19 3/4"
Silk brocaded with silk; linen bodice lining.
Acc. No. 1989-330,1
Woman's sack-back gown of cream silk with floral self-color sub-pattern created by supplementary wefts and brocaded with multicolor asymmetrical flower sprigs and leaves in red, green, purple, yellow, blackish-purple. Gown styled with low square neckline and button-front stomacher, which is a later alteration. The neckline and front robing are trimmed with pink, green and yellow fly fringe emanating from cream woven tape. Stomacher pieces are stitched to each side of the bodice and meet in the front with 7 buttons (one missing); button stomacher is made of different brocaded silk, and is overlaid with a different fly fringe in serpentine pattern. Elbow length sleeves are missing the ruffles or cuffs. Skirt fronts, open to reveal matching petticoat, are trimmed with self-fabric furbelows sewn in a serpentine pattern down the fronts, gradually increasing in size toward hem; edges are trimmed with fly fringe. Skirt is pleated to the bodice in narrow 3/8" pleats; half-inch hem on skirt. Back of gown has loose pleats falling from center of shoulders, a style known as a sack back, ending in slight train. Bodice (except for stomacher) and sleeves are lined with off-white tabby linen (by microscope). Stomacher is unlined, edged with 3/4" silk tabby tape.
For matching petticoat, see 1989-330,2.
Technical notes: Gown is sewn with loose running stitches, approximately 5-6 per inch. Sack pleats caught to bodice back with herringbone stitches 4" below back neckline.
Provenance:Worn in Richmond, Virginia, by a member of the Blair or Harvie Family. Family's notes indicate dress was found at Dykeland, home of Dr. L.H. Taylor at his death in 1940. See notes written by Rev. Richard F. Taylor in object file.