Evening Dress in 1881

I can sew fairly well, perhaps even a bit better than average but the idea that I would have either had to make all of my own garments or pay someone else to make them for me. Years ago, women depended upon catalogs for ideas of what is in fashion and patterns of those fashions. This vintage drawing from a fashion magazine was one such pattern. This jacket-bodice pattern sold for 60 cents.

My goodness how elaborate and expensive it must have been to make a jacket like this one. Lace trim, velvet ribbons, buttons, stays, embroidery, and a number of flowers would make this a quite expensive garment to produce.

The fashion catalog described it as “The dress is of pale heliotrope faille; the corners of the jacket are embroidered with blush roses, buds and foliage; bouquets of blush roses ornament the hair and front of dress; ruffles of lace and bows of stain ribbon.”

Seems like by the time such an elaborate garment was completed that it would already be out of style. lol Most homes didn’t even have a sewing machine in 1881.

My editorial comments about the complexity of this garment, this is a wonderful vintage clothing drawing. The details are fairly crisp and cleanly printed. So many of these fashion magazines didn’t show the garments as well as the Young Ladies Journal did in 1881.

evening dress in 1881

This image is copyright free and in the public domain anywhere that extends copyrights 70 years after death or at least 120 years after publication when the original illustrator is unknown.