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Victorian Library

item number #LISA0001-20090928-01

1880 Victorian Wedding gown of Silk with French lace

This is one of the finest 1880 Natural Form Victorian wedding gowns I've ever had the opportunity to run across. As the story goes, I was informed that this was a wedding gown that was only worn once during the wedding, then just carefully packed away. The condition is such it is like looking through a portal through time. That it to say it is very nearly exactly as it was when it made-, way back when... so long ago.

Magnificent use of color tones and dress fabrics. Luscious, soft, silk satin fabric's made of a luminous, pearl luster (semi-matte) creamy "pearl" color. There's a French ribbed brocade weave (woven through both sides of fabric) to resemble faux moire' on satin (See extreme close-ups.). This really makes the unusual fabric come to life!

The 1880 natural form style can be seen with the cuirass fitted bodice, dropped lace neckline, half pleats utilized on 3/4 wrist length sleeves (popular length during this period). Princess seams, deep under bust darts that have sharply pointed tips. All the original, hand-blown glass pearls are accounted for in wonderful condition. Obviously, they were chosen carefully to maintain the harmony with the "pearl" theme. Pristine white French Lillie Lace with ground of Point de Esprit. Fine thread count, cream hued, mercerized cotton lining on bodice and skirt innards. Extra fine, featherweight baleen stays (all there and firmly secured). Underarm cotton gauze perspiration pads basted to bodice are pristine, and extend to bust to act as early breast enhancing pads. NO underarm stains!

On the skirt, there's large, sharp-edged knife pleats of carefully harmonized ribbed silk faille. The large, draped hip pannier folds are in the patterned silk satin. The large, knife-pleated skirt alternate fabrics (long, smaller silk satin knife hem pleats) and dropped, double-sided "butterfly" bustle draping is attributes that attest for a fairly precise dating of this gown. Looped adjustment ties on skirt inside to adjust fabric bustle. There is Mother of pearl buttons under the bustle folds for a removable train, but there is no existing train now, but I think someone might be able to make one of plain silk satin without too much effort if they really wanted one. (Warning to the wise- at a wedding most people unused to trains have a tendency to trip/step and tear them, so remove train after ceremony, and before dancing!)


Happily, the condition of this cream wedding gown is extraordinary. It is strong enough (with no discernible weakness easily found) so it could easily be in a movie, museum, be a phenomenal display, or even be carefully worn at a real wedding (if one was small enough and took precautions to care for the fabric integrity for future generations.). Only an "A" cup or small "B" cup to fit bodice, no larger cup sizes would fit. Do not wear gown tightly, give at least 1" extra measurement over your corseted measurements taken with undergarments. Gown cannot be let out more than 1" on bodice bust and waist from seams, can be taken in up to 2" without warping style.

Considering the age, use of pale color on reflective fabric, I cannot believe how trivial the amount of soiling! I would NOT clean this gown- it presents pretty and cleanly, really and truly. (Just not 'brand spanking new.') The possible damage that could result from a dry cleaner not used to dealing with antique clothing is not worth the risk of possibly removing just a few inconsequential spots.

Study the second set of photos carefully. There are a few minor condition flaws to mention... I darkened them all slightly so as to be seen. One shoulder has a few faint, pin dot sized soil spots, and a light, surface "pin" pull. Both sides of bodice have a small amount (4-6?) of tiny (darkened for seeing sake) pin dot sized spots. One tiny tannish spot near front buttons is very faint, but about a pinky-tip edge in size.

One sleeve has a small amount of spots at within elbow and wrist. One hip pannier has a small amount of light spotting hidden in folds (darkened to be seen in photos, otherwise, you would really not notice them.) Minor few spots on skirt waistband and a few knife pleats, plus very light, minor soiling at hem edge.

Minor light spots on insides of bodice and skirt, but looks overall clean for age. No underarm issues. All brass hardware on skirt/ waist petersham accounted for, firmly attached, with no oxidization. I believe lace had been cleaned at a later time, then carefully reinstated, but original to gown. Very excellent Victorian wedding gown!

Price is: $1625

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lace French with Silk of gown Wedding Victorian 1880
lace French with Silk of gown Wedding Victorian 1880

Estimated Current size Approx.:

Unsure about size? Go to the page
SizeLength BodiceLength SkirtBodice Shoulder AcrossBustBodice Across WaistAcross HipsEstimated overall condition scale of bodice 1-10Estimated overall condition scale of skirt 1-10
SmallShoulder to hem 21"Waistband to hem 38"13"32" closed flush.22" closed flush.Loose9.999.99

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