Muslin wedding gown from Glenbawn Dam

Contributed by: Lake Glenbawn State Park Trust

Front view of the gown Tears around the bottom of the skirt Patched repair on proper left front of the skirt Possible bleach stain The material along the dress opening is very delicate and somewhat damaged
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Object information

Significance statement



Description

This dress has been hand made from tamboured cotton muslin and decorated with hand embroidery and machine made lace.

The bodice is made of muslin and lined with cotton. The muslin is gathered at the centre front of the bodice, but released a little at the shoulder. The dress has a very low neckline and was probably worn with the lace insert. The waist has been let out at the sides indicating that it was re-worn. There is no boning in the bodice, but it does have a very long and narrow diaphragm. The low waist is pointed at the bottom. The dress is fastened with brass hooks and hand worked eyes.

There is delicate piping on the sleeves, which are cut on the bias. There are no persperation marks under the arms. The sleeves have two little puffs of muslin at the top of a frill, possibly echoing a fashion for the 'shepherdess' aesthetic. The machine made lace frills have been hand sewn to the dress.

The underskirt is made of the same kind of muslin. The overskirt has three tiers which are all decorated with embroidery of the same scale; however, the scallops on the bottom edge of each tier get longer. The edge of each scallop has been hand stitched. There is a lot of mending on the underskirt indicating that it has been worn many times. There is also modern darning on the top tier of the over skirt. The selvedge is 1020mm (40 inches) indicating that it may be an English fabric.

Trimmings / Decoration

Piping

Delicate piping on the waist, arm hole and sleeve.

Lace

Machine made lace decorating the sleeves.

Tucking

The muslin is gathered at the centre of the bodice.

Embroidery

The skirt features embroidery on all three tiers.

Fibre / Weave

The skirt is entirely cream cotton muslin.

Cream cotton muslin on bodice.

Cream cotton under-bodice.

  1. Natural dye
  2. Synthetic dye

Manufacture

Entirely hand sewn, but with machine made lace on the sleeves.

  1. Hand sewn
  2. Machine sewn
  3. Knitted
  4. Other

Cut

  1. Bias
  2. Straight

Fastenings

  1. Hook and eye
  2. Lacing
  3. Buttons
  4. Zip
  5. Drawstring

Stiffening / Lining / Padding

The bodice is constructed from cotton, with cotton muslin over the top.

Measurements

dress
Vertical
Front neck to hem 1290 mm
Front waist to hem 840 mm
Back neck to hem 1295 mm
Back waist to hem 910 mm
Sleeve length 505 mm
Horizontal
Neck to sleeve head 170 mm
Underarm to underarm 380 mm
Fabric width 1020 mm
Convert to inches

Front neck to hem estimated based on probable neckline of the lace insert that would have been worn with this dress.

The three tiers of the skirt increase in length by one inch from the top - first tier: 280mm, second tier: 305mm, third tier 330mm.

Condition

Overall discolouration of fabric from cream to pale brown. Bodice fabric is in reasonable condition, but shoulder to waist muslin fabric is quite fragile, with may minor tears in it. Brown foxing stain on proper right hand side of the bodice on decorative fabric.

Skirt muslin is quite fragile with many holes and brown staining. Possible bleach stain at the top of the skirt near the centre. The underskirt is quite fragile with many minor holes and larger brown stains, particularly near the hem.

Evidence of repairs

Patched repair on proper left front just above waist.

Rough repairs to torn fabric around second and fourth eyelets on back.

Two detailed embroidery repairs near the front left hip.

State

  1. Excellent
  2. Good
  3. Fair
  4. Poor

Damage

  1. Discolouration
  2. Holes
  3. Stained
  4. Torn
  5. Worn

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