Georgian pink stripes, 1780's silk bodice
Reserved: Despite being some 30 years later, the pink of this delightful bodice exactly matches the pink quilted petticoat showing at Poppies Cottage. Georgian pink.
The bodice is not perfect and is from a 1780's open robe or early round gown. You can see two so similar in Nancy Bradfield, pages 69 [open robe] and page 73 [round gown].
We know this because if we look inside, there are no side seams to the 'white' linen lining. The fabric is cut so that one piece extends from centre back to front. Typical of this decade.
The silk stripe fabric is simply gorgeous, woven with flowers and brocade stripes. Very typical also, of the later 18th Century - see Bradfield's sketches of the fabric patterns on the pages mentioned.
The bodice has been altered in the 18th Century, my theory being that the lady was a nursing mother. The alterations are subtle and do not distract from the lovely Georgian shape. But if we look inside, there are two sets of hand made eyelets for ties [the ties are missing]. One is at the front edge, the second row some distance away inside the other front, so that the bodice could be extended and reduced for breastfeeding. One side of the bodice front overlaps the other and there is no trace of fastening externally, again so that the pins can be moved outward or inward as required. Just a theory!
I believe from the internal back, that two busks have been removed - probably for comfort! The gorgeous shaping and stitching suggest that the piece was originally boned to the back. This boning would have extended all down to the lovely rounded tab at the centre back waist.
The sleeves are just what make me love the 18th Century so much. They extend just below the elbow and are darted to the back for the sleeve ends to curve round to accomodate the lady's elbow.
The neckline is very low and wide, and would have certainly required a kerchief for modesty!
Although the bodice has no splits or underarm discolouration, it has been altered as noted, and does have faults. Please read the condition report below for details.
The most obvious fault is that area's of the bodice have a blue 'wash' of dye in places. I hope you can see this in the photo's. I do not find it at all unpleasant, but it can be seen.
At the underarms, a tiny extra piece has been added to each sleeve. Very neat and no problem.
Each front side bodice has been extended very neatly. This makes absolute sense if the bodice was being altered from an open robe to an early round gown as explained earlier [see Bradfield]. The extensions would have been hidden when the apron front of the round gown was tied over.
There is a trace of stitching to one front bodice.
All of these alterations are early and 18th Century.
The lining to one of the front extensions is very dark. I am sure this is again dye related, rather than soiling.
The whole bodice is free from splits and damage. It presents as very fresh and clean overall.
Finally, removing the bodice from a skirt has left the side shorter panels unfinished, as well as the very base of the centre back tab. All these need are neat hand stitching to sew the silk to the lining again. This is very easy!