Monday, May 12, 2014

Mystery skirts: Part the second - Drawnwork embroidery on Mystery Skirt 1?

I was thrilled when Isabella of All the Pretty Dresses commented on my post about the mystery skirts. Isabella is an expert historical costumer and I've probably learned more about 19th century clothing from her blog than anywhere else.

Isabella thinks Mystery Skirt #1 might be from the teens, but there's a chance it could be a 1970s Edwardian revival piece. She needed more pics to really be able to assess it, so I unpinned the skirt this weekend and took lots of pictures.

I never seem to notice small details of anything until I'm photographing it. As I was taking pictures of the lace details on this skirt panel, I started to notice how the threads of the lace were actually part of the fabric of the skirt. I believe this lace is actually drawnwork embroidery and I think it was done by hand.

These pictures were taken of the front of the skirt.

Here is a full-length view of the skirt with the pleats unpinned.

Detail of one of the side pieces of embroidery.
Detail of center panel of embroidery.

Embroidery along the hem.
This next series of pictures are from the back of the skirt.

Hem from the back of the skirt. It's come undone by the selvedge.
Embroidery of the main panel from the back.

A bit of the side pieces of embroidery from the back.

A little more detail from the main panel of embroidery.

Isabella, I hope these pictures are more helpful than the ones I included in my previous post. I'm looking forward to reading your thoughts on this. :-)


  1. Hello! Yes, these pictures are very helpful. The lines of the embroidery/insertion are similar to this dress:

    I'd put the skirt panel now firmly in the late Edwardian/early Teens Era (1908-1913). It most likely was part of a dress.

    The blue edging on the selvage, the color of the fabric, and the texture make me think the fabric is linen. It might have been lengthed - the piece added to the bottom of the panel- for a different individual.

    Hope that helps!

  2. I just love the links you provide to similar garments. Thank you so much for looking at this again and for providing so many specific details about the dress. I can't believe you found such a similar looking dress! Where do you find all your fashion plates, like the ones you use in your blog?

    1. Google. :-) Normally, I can guess within about a five year span of when the garment was made. I then just search for the year I think it might be plus "fashion plate". Nine times out of ten, that works. If not, the Met and a few other museums have some great online databases of fashion plates.

      For actual dresses - I've seen so many of the museums and other collectors pages multiple times that I have a pretty good general idea of where a similar item might be. Abiti Antichi has a ton of fabulous dresses and accessories. It really is a great resource.