Yesterday I made my first visit to do research for my thesis! I went to the New York State Museum and met with Connie Frisbee Houde, who took me up to the collections. I saw, sketched, patterned, and photographed:
- a yellow silk damask anglaise with an en fourreau back, ca.
1750. Pretty standard as far as they go, with little unexpected or
ground-breaking - it was still amazing to see up close and handle,
though. Such a beautiful gown (if not my favorite shade of yellow). There was also a yellow taffeta quilted petticoat, maybe worn with it: the ground is all-over quilted in a geometric floral pattern, and there are more naturalistic flowers all over it.
- a gown from the later 1820s with bodices from the 1810s and the 1790s. I think it may have originally been an anglaise in the 1770s, as there are some weird long pieces on the back of the 1790s bodice and the sleeves are elbow-length and curved at the bottom, with stripes running around them. That set was very good for comparing construction methods.
- a white gown, ca. 1800. This was the absolute best find and the gown I make is going to be very, very similar to it. At first the back looked like it had been cut with a long hexagonal CB piece, but then I realized that it was only cut where the shoulder straps attached, and the two lower sides were pleated up. There was more pleating over the side seams (and pocket slits!), and the sleeves were set in far to the back like you see on earlier gowns. The front's one wide piece with a slit down the CF, and drawstrings at the neckline and waist to gather and tie. Perfect, perfect.
- a white cotton gown ca. 1808. I think it shows the continuation of the transition - the sleeves are puffed and on the shoulder, like later styles, but the gathering of the puff is all concentrated on the back. The skirt is also gored rather than gathered. (My date might be a bit off, I haven't been doing my research there. But I will later, obviously.)