April 2009 archive

Romantic Era Silk Ballgown

By Jennie Chancey


This is a heavenly silk ballgown with its original reticule purse, circa 1830. “Silk satin, cotton net, embroidered cotton ribbon, cloth flowers, muslin lining. Owned by Harriet Van Schoonhoven-Roy. The Van-Schoonhoven family came to America in 1695 and settled in Waterford, New York. The details and construction of the sleeves of this evening dress are […]

1838 Afternoon Dress

By Jennie Chancey


Another beauty from Karen Augusta’s shop, this 1838 afternoon dress is made of green-gold figured silk with a linen bodice lining. It fastens with brass hooks and eyes. “This unaltered dress shows the transition between the styles of the 1830s and the later 1840s. The bodice has not yet acquired the pointed front as is […]

Extant 1830s Summer Dress

By Jennie Chancey


Karen Augusta of Antique Fashion.com has graciously allowed me to share some of the photographs she has taken of original garments she has sold in her online shop. Studying original clothing is essential for recreating the correct look of the period, which changed from year to year. Thank you to Karen for sharing her knowledge […]

1890s Friends’ Portrait

By Jennie Chancey


I love to find pictures of friends posing together. This is one of my favorites. What an artistic shot, with the ivy in the background and the young ladies’ profiles! Written on the back of the picture is “Misses Swartz and Grugan.” No date, but I’d place this in the late 1890s or very early […]

Mid-1890s Photo

By Jennie Chancey


This picture appears to be ca. 1895-1896. The skirt is slim and straight, reflecting a change that would carry over into the early part of the 20th century before giving way to a fuller sweep in the back around 1904. The silhouette is also still straight and slim rather than the later “S”-bend shape that […]

1890s Illinois Lady

By Jennie Chancey


Here are three dramatic photographs of the same Illinois woman. The styling of the dress she wears in the center is unmistakably 1890s with those huge leg o’mutton sleeves. The topknot hairstyle is also typical of the period. I think the profile shots may be slightly earlier, since her hair is worn differently (more along […]

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