Australian dress register ID:244
Owner:Museum of the Riverina
Date range:1910 - 1912
Place of origin:Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
This dress is of historic significance. While ladies of the Victorian (and Edwardian) periods are often stereotyped as being svelte, retaining their small waistlines throughout their lives, with the aid of corsetry, this garment is a lovely example showing the transition of shape of a real Victorian.
By the second decade of the 20th century (between 1910 and 1915) the differences between Victorian and Edwardian clothing became pronounced. The full flowing skirt of the 19th century evolved into a slim fairly straight one, which eventually rose above the ankles. Bodices in this period were rarely boned, and as such, were looser and baggier than their predecessors. Sometimes the wearer accentuated their figure with the application of a belt, similar to the one worn by Clara as part of this stylish ensemble. Whereas the Victorians often reserved black garb for periods of mourning, in the period prior to World War I, street clothes were often of a subdued colour, with black regularly favoured by older ladies, being both practical and elegant.
This dress features a triangular lace panel at the skirt back, which complements the separate lace 'modesty vest' worn underneath the silk blouse. The large covered buttons are a feature on both the front of the blouse and down one side of the slit in the back of the skirt. Author: Michelle A. Maddison, 15th July 2010.
Three-piece dress worn by Clara Boyton (nee Gracie), just prior to World War I. The dress comprises:
Skirt - with triangular black lace and button detailing at front
Bodice - with button detailing on front
Modesty panel - black lace
History and Provenance
Births, deaths, marriages, children or family information
Clara Boyton (nee Gracie)
This garment has been exhibited
This garment is being displayed as part of the exhibition 'Dressed for the Occasion: A History of Textiles". It was sturdy enough to be exhibited on a mannequin.
Place of origin:
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Mrs Clara Boyton
Mrs Clara Boyton
Trimmings / Decoration
Further decoration on this dress is provided by the large fabric-covered buttons which run down both sides of the bodice, and down a single edge of the skirt's triangular opening.
Triangular 'modesty' panel of floral lace at front of dress, matches skirt bottom
Fibre / Weave
Black silk - bodice and skirt
Black cotton - bodice
Black lace - 'modesty panel' and triangle at skirt front
- Natural dye
- Synthetic dye
There is evidence that the original bodice of this dress has been let out at the sides, presumably to accommodate the changing shape of the wearer.
- Hand sewn
- Machine sewn
|Waist||940 mm||610 mm|
|Hem circumference||1980 mm|
|Front neck to hem||440 mm|
|Front waist to hem||1050 mm|
|Back neck to hem||460 mm|
|Back waist to hem||1085 mm|
|Sleeve length||510 mm|
|Neck to sleeve head||160 mm|
|Cross back||350 mm|
|Underarm to underarm||465 mm|
|Convert to inches|
In this case, blouse front refers to the modesty panel on the bodice.
The garment was extensively creased upon acquisition, having been stored for many years inside a hat box. A steamer was used on the garment, and the interior underskirt was gently ironed, as the creases were too extreme to be removed by gentle steaming.
Evidence of repairs
A hole or tear has been patched on the back side of the skirt (see corresponding photograph). Towards the bottom of the lace modesty panel, there are some holes in the fabric.