Antique Victorian Long White Lacy Nightgown Medium
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All Items: Archives: Collectibles: Nostalgia: Pre 1900: item # 558198
GlitzQueen History and Art to Wear
Sold; thank you! $155.
As I noted when listing another antique English gown yesterday, if you haven't slept in a Victorian or Edwardian nightie yet, you're in for a thrill. The quality of antique cotton fabric is like nothing we can buy new anywhere today, no matter how expensive. Its touch makes sleeping in it one of life's loveliest luxuries. In case you didn't see that other listing already, I also mentioned the "romance" side. This sort of gown has done me a lot more good through the years than Frederick's of Hollywood.
This particular one is even finer than the other: heavier and older. It's also longer (about 51 inches compared to 49), so a better choice if you're tall. Here we also have more room at the shoulders (18 inches compared to 14.5) and the bust (40 inches compared to 35).
Both gowns are still crisp and snowy white, detailed with exquisite pin-tucking and lace. Here the bodice and jabot-like front placket are lavished with both and the sleeves finish with lacy ruffles. If you look closely enough, you'll find the inevitable old repairs (under an arm, for instance, looking like little darts) and spots where the lace could use a few stitches. The seams are still very strong, though, and the only thing missing is the top button -- no great loss, since these high necks can be claustrophic. (I never button the top one, myself.) There may also have been elastic at the wrists; I can't tell for certain, so that isn't important. Among interesting details of construction, indicating great age, are the long gussets on both sides of the skirt, which can be pressed into inverted pleats, and the fact that it's simply voluminous -- using an enormous amount of fabric to be modestly covered-up. (The original owner must have been of the "lie down and think of England" school.)
It's amazing how well these gowns withstand a century and more of wear and laundering. In this case, even fabric on the button tops has held up well. BTW, you don't have to obsess with ironing antique nightgowns. They're wonderful when starched and pressed, but you're seeing this one straight out of the washing machine after air-drying on a hanger overnight -- photographed against the backdrop of a quilt made by my grandmother (not included, of course).
Thanks for looking!