Drss in Detail - Dress 4

Every week, with will post photos of a specific dress and discuss the various aspects on how the dress was built. A dress dissection, if you will.
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Drss in Detail - Dress 4

Postby Laura » Sun Dec 04, 2011 2:41 pm

I fell in love with this 1902 House of Worth gown when I was 18. While perusing the college library I discovered the book Opulent Era(1). On the full color pages were three gowns that I had the librarian make color copies of. I still have those photo copies today. One Of these is this gown. I dreamed of making this dress over and over again but I never found fabric that would inspire. Perhaps some day.... Maybe I can inspire someone reading this.

1902eveningWorthgownMetMuseum.jpg (5.16 KiB) Viewed 11616 times

The one thing about all House of Worth gowns is the excellent use of the most top quality fabrics available for the time. The main portion of this dress is a silk taffeta warp-printed chine' of large flowers (the book says they are roses but I see peonies). The print is of soft pastels and the dress is accented with the use of lace and green silk belt and bows. The focal point of the gown is the cutout work of the silk flowers applied to the french lace. You can zoom in and see that the cutaway edges of the silk are appliqued over with a thread stitching. Even the side front panels are hemmed with this appliqued technique. At the side a 3" or so lace trim separates the front from the back of the skirt. The fine silk and lace is lined with a cream silk to give support and body to the skirt. If you look at the worn away train hem you can see an additional layer of crinoline or hem stiffener. Under all this is an additional underskirt with full ruffles at the hem.

The skirt back is a large double box pleat. It is two quarter circles with the selvedges down the long center back. The print is only on half the width of the fabric and is mirror printed for left and right side. (Oh to have Worth fabric.) The fabric is likely 48" wide. The side edge is pieced the last few inches.

The bodice silhouette is early 1902 still using the Victorian corset, not the straight front Edwardian corset. The outer fabric is pieced and appliqued on lace to show off the printed flowers. The under bodice is cream silk lining and tulle topped with a double fold of green silk. A dark trim of rhinestones decorates under the green silk. Over the shoulders is a strap of lace and green silk bow. The belt is folded green silk with a bow to the left of center. The closure for the whole gown is not seen, but i believe it is under one front side; possibly the left side.

I hope you enjoy this gown as much as I do.
Thank you for reading


(1)The Opulent Era, Fashions of Worth, Doucet and Pingat. Elizabeth Ann Coleman, The Brooklyn Museum. 1989
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