This exhibition includes seven ensembles from the nineteenth century. These pieces include both men’s and women’s wear and showcase the changing silhouettes and construction techniques from the period. During the course of the century, women’s clothing became increasingly structured while men’s clothing showed much subtler changes.
The delicacy of the sheer cotton fabrics of the early 19th century stood in stark contrast to the stiff silks of the earlier decade. This cotton gauze demanded careful attention to stitches, since sloppiness could not be concealed and because the delicate cotton would unravel if the edges were not finished. Piping is used along … Continue reading Sheer cotton gauze dress, ca. 1815-20
This small dress was probably worn by a girl in her teens. Although the skirt is full-length like adult styles, the style of the bodice with a yoke and pleats down the front and back is typical of children’s dress at the time. The dress was made just about the time when sewing machines were … Continue reading Printed day dress, ca. 1850
The beautifully finished interior of this mid-nineteenth century man’s tailcoat provides an interesting counterpoint to the comparatively crude linings of the previous century. Although none of the lining would be visible when the coat was worn, the quilting is a thing of beauty. Tailoring had developed into an art form, which is particularly impressive considering … Continue reading Black wool tailcoat with quilted lining, 1850s
During the second half of the nineteenth century, most women’s dresses were actually composed of a separate skirt and bodice. Generally the waist of the bodice would conceal the waistband of the skirt. The brown cotton underlining of this bodice provides a beautiful contrast to the green silk taffeta of the outer fabric. The taffeta … Continue reading Dress of green taffeta, ca. 1864
The interior of this dress is so beautiful it is no surprise that the maker added her label. Waistbands of petersham ribbon were common in dress bodices from the 1870s through to the 1910s. While they anchored the waist of the bodice, they also served as a place for the dressmaker to add her name … Continue reading Gold silk and blue velvet dress, ca. 1880
This suit was worn by William Allison to his cousin, William McKinley’s inauguration in 1897. It was made by Elias Rheinheimer, a Cleveland tailor. The label in the neck of the jacket was removed, but the tailor’s name appears on the buttons of the trousers. Although the cut of this coat is similar to the … Continue reading Man’s suit, 1897
This dress was worn by Mary Bishop Whisler of Hancock County, Ohio for her wedding on September 25, 1898. The blousing at front of the bodice was typical of the turn-of-the-century. A look at the interior structure reaveals that the underbodice is heavily boned down the front, with the loose appearance being created with a … Continue reading Ivory silk and lace wedding dress, 1898