Drawings of the Hollytrees Collection. No. 1

In the late 1980’s I worked as a volunteer collating the costume collection of the Hollytrees Museum in Colchester. I drew each of the costumes in detail for their information cards (this was in the days before digital cameras and digital data gathering)! So I thought I would occasionally share one of these drawings with you. Sadly, I didn’t make a note of the accession numbers of the gowns, but here is the first:

No 1: A Titanic Era Gown: 1908-12

Original drawing by Pauline Loven

The dress consists of an oyster satin under-bodice and petticoat with overdress made from vertical panels of embroidered lace, net pin-tucked into a herringbone pattern and georgette.

The construction of the dress is complicated!

It begins with a boned silk under-bodice which closes at the centre back with hooks and eyes and extends below the waist. This is covered with fine silk. A yoke of radiating pin-tucked net, lined with fine silk, is attached to the under-bodice and closes at the centre back with five hooks and eyes. The yoke and under-bodice together form the armhole into which the under-sleeve, made of embroidered lace edged with satin ribbon, is set.

The tunic overdress has a low square neckline and Magyar sleeves which finish shorter than the under-sleeve and are edged with satin ribbon. The tunic is attached to the bodice around the neckline and from the shoulder down either side of the centre front and centre back panels.

Original drawing by Pauline Loven

The tunic overdress and lining is gathered in at the waist and is attached to the under-bodice waistline. The tunic top closes at the back left of centre with six hooks and eyes. A further three, horizontally placed, hooks and eyes attach the top of the tunic to the yoke (see above). Two hooks and eyes secure the sash at the waist and poppers concealed in the placket close the skirt.

The front and back are much alike, although the neckline is slightly lower at the back. The centre front and centre back georgette panels are each decorated with a vertical line of satin-covered ball-shaped buttons. The tunic hem is six inches shorter than the satin petticoat which is slightly trained. The hem of the tunic is decorated with satin covered bobbles. The narrow sash (made from a tube of silk satin) is knotted around the waist and two streamers hang down the front left side. Half way down, both streamers are fed through a ball decorated with satin cord. The shorter streamer finishes in a single ball, from which hangs three bobble, while the longer one finishes with a double ball with five bobbles.

© Pauline Loven

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3 Responses to Drawings of the Hollytrees Collection. No. 1

  1. Bess Chilver says:

    Oooh – that is gorgeous. I assume you took piccies but probably can’t post them? Its amazing how complicated the closures were.

    Are you going to be recreating it?

    • Loven says:

      It is a gorgoeous gown and I would love to recreate it! unfortunately, I don’t have any photographs and the museum was not, at the time, making a photographic archive because of the cost – hence the drawing done by volunteers. I wasn’t museum trained back then either, so I didn’t realise how vital it is to record the accession number of every garment you study. You may have noticed that I didn’t record the colour of the overdress either – oops. It may have been oyster, though I think it was black – but that may be because I have got so used to looking at my line drawing! It would be great to revisit it!

  2. What lovely (and very instructive) illustrations!!!!
    Is there a chance that all your illustrations could be collected and published (as book, pamphlet, ebook)?

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