The Textile Collection

Capes and mantles were popular in the 1860's when full skirts supported by crinoline petticoats, made the wearing of coats impossible. This black cape, of embroidered black tulle over a black underfabric, has a 24cm wide lace frill around the lower edge. The tulle is embroidered with a floral design, and the top edge of the lace frill is trimmed with a pleated black ribbon. There are many articles of clothing in the collection at The Elms that are totally black. During the Victorian era, there were strict dress codes for mourning, that required the wearing of black for given periods. Black clothing, black jewellery and accessories. Letter paper was even edged with black for those in mourning. Victorian silk gown c.1850's.A Victorian silk bodice, and skirt. The style suggests the gown dates to the mid 1800s. The bodice has a mandarin collar, long sleeves, and opens down the centre front with 10 carved mother of pearl buttons, and handsewn buttonholes. The top 5 buttons are hidden by a pleated panel of silk fabric running from the collar part way down the centre front on both sides of the bodice opening. The silk fabric is printed with a floral design in white on a green ground. The handsewn bodice is shaped and fitted, with 4 stays on each side of the front , 1 in the side seam, and 5 on the back. It is lined with a brown polished cotton in the body, and a khaki green twill in the sleeves. Sewn onto the centre back seam on the inside of the bodice is a tape belt that fastens on the front with 2 metal hooks and eyes. The skirt has a waistband that is backed with a brown twill canvas ribbon, and fastens on the centre back with 3 metal hooks and eyes. Over the sides of the skirt there are 4 horizontal rows of smocking, the back is very gathered and full. The skirt is lined with a khaki green twill and there are tape ties inside at the back that tie to shape the skirt. The lower edge of the skirt lining has been stiffened withan interfacing and has a pleated band of the silk fabric sewn onto it creating an effect of an underskirt, the hem of the skirt is sewn onto this underskirt in places. The edge of the lining has been bound with a heavy green cotton tape to protect it and this is the lowest part of the skirt. The skirt is machine and handsewn.The ornate standing collar is edged with ruched black ribbon, and decorated with a standing frill of lace, and a bow of black grosgrain ribbon on the back of the neck. The cape fastens on the neckline with a metal hook and eye and is lined with black taffeta.Victorian gown c.1850's