|Screenshot from one of the videos I made about the gown.|
Last post I introduced you to a black taffeta Edwardian two-piece gown in my collection.
This and the next post look at it in more detail, in both photos and in eight YouTube videos. The gown is much easier to understand in motion in 3-D on a mannequin than flat in photos.
Find the videos about the entire gown on my YouTube channel at https://youtube.com/user/ZipZipInkspot.
No worries, I am not replacing this blog with videos, but in cases where video is a good means of communicating about a project, they are a helpful adjunct.
In this case, I kept finding new parts of the gown to explore, so the planned four videos became eight.
Now for the additional photos, and some more information about the gown.
The bodice is abundantly pintucked. The front pintucks give a sort of yoke effect and release into the lower bodice. Not much fabric is used up by the pintucks: it's the width of the fabric itself formed into center-facing pleats at bottom that gives the blouson, pigeon-front effect.
The front is longer than the back, which cut The Delineator called a "dip". With a straight-front corset, the front of a loose bodice would fall loosely naturally, while the hips, angled back, would cause the back itself to be shorter. Pulling the loose fabric close and moving the bulk of it to the front causes the pouch effect. This pouching is moderate and doesn't look as heavy as on some bodices because the fabric is crisp and stiff.
About the fabric: in the videos I wondered aloud if the fabric could have been Nearsilk, an early cellulose-based faux taffeta, because the heavy taffeta shows no signs of shattering. Many silks, especially thin ones, had a tendency to do this because they were treated with metallic salts during production. The metals tends to degrade the fabric over time. So does sunlight. However, even without a burn test, I was able to determine that the fabric is silk, and we even know the brand.
I did find an embroidered label integral to the selvage with "Princess Guaranteed Ta" hidden in a frill pleat.
On a long skirt seam is another label, "Guaranteed Stirling Silk Mfg Co". I looked it up in Google Books and found that the fabric is actually silk taffeta by a Stirling Manufacturing Company, whose fabric was sold in the US and perhaps elsewhere. I located two ads, a full-page ad in 1899 in Book News (volume 17) for the black silk fabric at John Wanamaker Department Store in Philadelphia, and the other a 1900 quarter page ad in another publication.
Further, this company and another, by the similar name of Sterling, fought over the use of selvage labeling, it apparently being a new feature. The Sterling silk was said to be of lower quality, and the name and labeling chosen to mimic the Stirling silk. (New Jersey Equity Reports, volume 59).
The silk is wonderfully sturdy, so much so that I had thought it might be Nearsilk, an early faux taffeta. Quality indeed, and carefully stored out of the light -- it's not shattering! I am going to have to obtain storage for it that is equally dark and of archival quality.
The gown came from an estate in Maine, and was sold to me by Pincushion Costuming in Canada. Whether it was made in Canada or the US is unknown.
Next post in this series: Tour of an Extant Early Edwardian Silk Taffeta Gown: Some Bodice Details
Previous post in this series: A New Project and circa 1901-1903 Extant Gown to Share