Sweetest 1850's Crinoline Frock for Tiny Tot!
If you take a look at my Blog dated May 2016, you will find a twin pair of little crinoline frocks for boys, with many references for similar examples of the period.
Now I have found another, I can see that the boys' frocks were closer to the 1840's, with their severely sloped shoulders, and this one is very true to the mid 1850's.
The image above with a pure black background, is taken from the wonderful book ''Fashioning Fashion; European Dress in Detail 1700-1915', from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. 2010 [see The Study for full reference]. This image shows a small child's dress, described on page149 as follows:
'Boys Frock, 1855. Cotton plain weave with cotton cutwork embroidery [Broderie Anglaise]'.
It is so very similar to this one I have for sale today. The severe sloping has now gone, but essentially, the frock is constructed in exactly the same way as Mama's would have been in the mid 1850's, with an almost circular crinoline skirt, beautifully cartridge pleated at the waist to provide all of the fullness. The stroked pleats give the external appearance of intense gathering, further enhanced by internal ties to adjust the waist to fit the little one.
More importantly, this dress has the original internal features so necessary when trying to dress a toddler in the same manner as a full grown woman - we find ties even at the wide neck shoulders, so that the immature form of a child can wear the gown without having it slip off the shoulders not yet ready to keep the bodice in place!
This frock uses four different designs of cutwork throughout. Remarkable.
So, there is one design that is used to centre front bodice, forming a v-shape so fashionable of the period, together with tiny pintucks. Matching broderie anglaise forms a flounce that edges the v-shaped front, going over the sleeve tops to form flounces, and then to end at the centre back neck.
A further flounce at each sleeve top makes the shoulder edges stand out like angel wings!
The skirt uses different cutwork designs in-between many horizontal tucks - as a small matter, these were used so that they could sometimes be taken out easily if a sister [or brother] be a little taller. Childrens clothing was passed down whenever possible, so it is a wonder that some still survive - perhaps that is why I value them so highly!
The vast skirts end in deeply scalloped cutwork of yet another pattern, and layers of petticoats would have made the entire skirt stand out very widely.
Of course, being from the 1850's, every part of this frock is beautifully hand stitched.
Too small for my baby mannequin, she fastens at centre back with ties and the original linen covered, tiny button, and measures approx. chest 20", waist 18" [adjustable], centre back length to waist 6.5" and centre back full length 20.5".
Not without problems, but all being quite minor and I am going to tidy her up before she goes anywhere, so please wait for around 1 week to receive her. See the condition report below for further details.
This beautiful little one has several little problems, but they get lost in all of the details and for a 160 year old child's dress, I think we are lucky to find her so well.
There are several little issues with the scallop ends at the sleeve flounces and a couple at the skirt hem.
At the moment, she is gently age discoloured at the back of the skirt, but I am going to wash her and know she will come up pure white. No dullness at all.
There is a 1.5" horizontal tear at the end of the skirt back opening - so easy to make a little seam to close.
There is a short length of the tiny neck lace trim undone - very easy to re-stitch.
A few of the many hand sewn tucks have lost a few stitches.
Given that she is entirely original and just as made in the mid 1850's, Mama would still be proud of her!