M17935.1-2 | Dress

 
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Dress
About 1830-1835, 19th century
Fibre: cotton (muslin, lining, embroidery); metal; Sewn (hand)
Gift of Mrs. James A. Peck
M17935.1-2
© McCord Museum
Description
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Description

The sleeves has now expanded into the characteristic large "gigot" sleeve which, under the pelerine, is fitted to a piped armscye with a flat area of gathering. The sleeve would have been supported under the dress by down-filled sleeve puffs attached to four tape ties at each armscye, the remains of which are found on the interior of the dress. The bodice has a broad oval neckline, characteristic for a day wear during the period : it is unboned, fitted and gathered near the top to a central perpendicular seam which is reinforced with a piped self-fabric narrow band. Diagonal bust darts found on the lining are accentuated on the outside of the garment with a similar band; their line is slightly altered, being curvilinear and extending to the armscye. The back closure fastens with flat brass hooks and eyes. A full skirt, gauged to an inset waistband, balances the line created by the immense sleeves. The sleeve, which kept increasing in size during the second half of the twenties, was at its largest in 1830. During the first half of this decade, the fullness began to slip away from the armscye : in our example, this effect is achieved under the pelerine by flattening the puffing near the shoulder through gathering. The sleeve collapsed in 1836. Costume in fashion plates from 1830-1835 likewise reveals various, but often similar, treatments of the flattening of the upper part of the sleeve. This flattened area of a sleeve is curiously referred to as a "cleft mancheron" in the text accompanying a Montreal fashion plate entitled "Fashions for October 1832". (Excerpt from: BEAUDOIN-ROSS, Jacqueline. Form and Fashion : Nineteenth-Century Montreal Dress, McCord Museum of Canadian History, 1992, p. 22.)

Keys to History

By 1830, sleeves had become so big that they were called leg-of-mutton, or gigot, sleeves. Here, under the cape-like pelerine, they are fitted to piped armscyes (armholes) with a flat area of gathering. They would have been supported beneath the dress by down-filled sleeve puffs attached to four tape ties at each armscye. The bodice features a broad oval neckline typical of day wear at the time. It has no bones (steel or whalebone stays) and is fitted and gathered near the top to a central vertical seam, which is reinforced with a piped self-fabric narrow band. Diagonal bust darts found on the lining are accentuated on the outside of the garment with a similar band, which follows a slightly different, curved line extending to the armscye. The back closure fastens with flat brass hooks and eyes. A full skirt, gauged (cartridge pleated) to an inset waistband, balances the line created by the immense sleeves.

  • What

    This dress is of off-white muslin woodblock printed with alternating broad vertical stripes of decorative motifs in tan, and stripes of trailing poppies and wisteria branches in red and blue on a stippled ground.

  • Where

    The owner of this dress, Mrs. James Peck, lived in Montreal.

  • When

    Sleeves kept increasing in size during the second half of the 1820s, reaching maximum volume in 1830. Between 1830 and 1835, the fullness began to slip away from the armscye: in this model, the effect is achieved under the pelerine by flattening the puffing with gathers near the shoulder. In 1836, sleeves collapsed.

  • Who

    This dress belonged to Mrs. James Peck, one of the founders of the Canadian Handicraft Guild, now the Canadian Guild of Crafts. She was a renowned weaver and dyer.