Late 19th Century Brown Calico Childs Dress with Homespun Shawl
Brown calico and homespun textiles are a favorite for most of us as this color will blend in perfectly with any color scheme. This late 19th century child’s dress that is offered with a handmade wire hanger has wonderful presence because the chocolate brown calico is strong and sports a rich hue. The contemporary homespun shawl I added, compliments this dress lending a simple tiny check pattern and has options as to how it can be displayed. I incorporated a decorative necklace in the way of using an old bottle that can be filled with fresh posies for a great look and is also included in this gathering.
The dress has nice form depicting a simple and relaxed prairie/farm style lacking frilly details. This dress was sewn on a hand operated sewing machine that accommodated a single stitch as shown in images 23, 24 & 25. Five milk glass buttons were used on the front of the dress and image 11 reflects the detail while image 10 shows the oval button holes. Did you know that these simple utilitarian buttons fashioned from opaque white pressed glass were introduced in 1840 and began to replace brass and gilt buttons in men’s wear?
There are more than several holes in the fabric but are hard to detect as the gathered area below the waist hides this circumstance. Image 14 shows five clustered holes on the front side of the dress while image 15 captures the reverse side. There are a couple more holes as indicated in images 16 & 17.
This calico fabric has a gentle course feel and there are also some stains to report. Image 12 shows a small stain present on the front of the dress (right hand side), above the waist area. Image 22 reflects this same stain located on the back of the fabric. Other small stains are present on the back below the underarm as well as three more below the waist area. Some of these stains are very hard to see because of the dark fabric. However they can be seen on the reverse side because the material is lighter in color.
Overall the condition is still very good for a textile this old and the dress does make a nice statement especially displayed on a shaker peg rack. The homespun fabric chosen for the shawl is very complimentary and lends an exciting feature to the overall look. This shawl can be draped over the shoulders or can even be hung off to one side as this relaxed look evokes a rural farm/prairie style laced with simplistic charm as shown in images 1 & 2.
I used an old, clear glass bottle to act as a pendant and two toned wool was chosen for the necklace. Burlap sporting a creamy hue was added to accent a portion of the bottle. You can just fill the bottle with water and add small poises to create a natural look that is in keeping with the prairie/farm theme. A hand fashioned wire hanger was custom made for this dress by Harry and he did a great job!
This gathering awaits a cozy place perhaps in a bedroom snuggled together with other textiles where it can call home! Don’t forget to add the posies from the prairie! Enjoy!
Overall height including hanger is 24 ¼” tall, dress itself stands 22”, measures 9” across the draped shoulder area (right to left), measures 8 ¾” across the middle area and measures 13” across the bottom hem area in a relaxed position (gathered). Shawl measures 18 ¼” across (right to left) and measures 9 ½” tall (vertical position). Overall height of the bottle with the wool necklace feature is 6 ¾” tall, bottle opening measures ¼”, bottle measures 1” across (right to left) and measures ½” deep (front to back). Wire Hanger measures 6” across (right to left) and stands 2 ¾” tall including the top half circle feature.
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