Sheer cotton gauze dress, ca. 1815-20

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 the neck edge and over the shoulder seams to reinforce the seams. The band of piping across the shoulders hides the gathering and the cut edges of the fabric. The bottom edge is finished with decorative whitework embroidery that suggests lace. The leaf motifs are created through appliqués applied to the reverse, then edged with cotton cord.

  1. Sheer white cotton dress
    English, ca. 1815-20
    White cotton gauze, cotton embroidery, cotton appliqués
    Silverman/Rodgers Collection, KSUM 1983.1.32

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