Friday, August 06, 2010

Addendum: A Tutorial: Sense and Sensbility Bodiced Petticoat

While I am still waiting to get pictures of the completed bodiced petticoat, here is an extant example of one of these garments from Boston's Museum of Fine Arts (MFA).

It's of a later date than the 1790s, but is a lovely object nonetheless.

The MFA refers to it as an underdress. There may be truly a difference between an underdress and a bodiced petticoat, or terminology used then and now differs, or synonyms are floating around. I cannot judge.

Anyhow, the museum explains that the garment dates to the early 19th century (the labeling that came with it said 1820-1825), and was worn by one Mehetable Stoddart Sumner (Welles). It comes from the Boston area.

It's made of plain-weave cotton, with cotton embroidery, and features the use of twill tape in addition to the cotton.

It has drawstrings at neck and waist, and back tie closure...whether that is separate from the drawstrings the text does not make clear.

Want to see it in detail? Visit the object, accession number 49.876.. If the link doesn't work, the garment's accession number is 49.876.

Lest you believe that all bodiced petticoats were complex, here's a dramatically simpler one, with twill tape for shoulder straps. Not something to show under a sheer dress, I would think?

And here is the link to the details for this object, accession number 99.664.5.


Belle said...

I have been looking and scouring the internet for pics/patterns for the nightgown that Marianne wears in S&S, in the scene where she and Eleanor are talking about Edward. Have you seen anything similar?

ZipZipInkspot said...

Dear Belle,
I know the nightgown you are referring to, but have yet to do any research concerning that kind of garment.

Had you tried searching under "night dress" and "nightdress" as well as "nightgown" and "nightgown" on the Colonial Williamsburg, MFA, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the V&A in England, and the McCord Museum in Canada, to name just a few? Probably you have, but it's a thought. If you haven't, try these sites, and if you don't find what you are looking for, head to Demode's blog and look under her list of museums.

As for a pattern, I have never looked for one. :}

Just to see what would happen, I searched for "nightgown" at the MFA and the Met, and came up with some interesting items.

There is a later one at the MFA. Please see

The Met has some, but the dates are rather wide. See


Please to note that "nightgown", when referred to byt eighteeenth century speakers in their writings, referred to a very different garment that was worn in public. I do not know when the term changed to refer to negligee worn at night to sleep in.

Very best,

Natalie in KY

Very best,

Natalie in KY