An extant 1880s cotton bustle gown

I found this gown at Past Perfect Vintage via the Vintage Fashion Guild’s blog. Past Perfect Vintage is a purveyor of antique fashions and a source I have used in my Costume History Pages.

Here are the details:
Antique 1880s Victorian Bustle Print Cotton Dress 
This 2 pc dress is c. 1885 – 88. The fabric? A lovely brown on ochre cotton print with an overall leaf pattern. The fitted bodice is darted with a 23 button front closure and all the buttons are amazingly present. The bodice has a stand collar, self fabric reveres, and pleated tails. The skirt ha a left side front opening, three tucks across the front and gathers at the back waist to accommodate a bustle. We show this over a wire frame and a petticoat. It would look bets with a smaller bustle pad, or a shorter frame. The skirt may have been restyle ca. 1891 to a slimmer line. The skirt is slightly faded compared to the bodice. 

Labels: none

Size: Bodice: Bust: 32″
Waist: 24″
Shoulders: 13″
Sleeves: 23″ 
CB Neck to Waist: 14 ¾” 
Skirt: Waist: 26” 
Waist to Hem Center Front: 41” 

Condition: Very good, and strong. There is a scattering of small spots on the left shoulder as shown in close-up, and there are light areas and a water stain on the back of the skirt a shown. The skirt has not closures, it was possibly pinned. There is an odd piecing at the waist that is covered by the bodice. This has not been laundered, being cotton it would be possible with care. 

All images/details courtesy Past Perfect Vintage.

I purchased this dress through their Etsy shop. I look forward to studying this gown more closely in person!

About Susan

Hi! My name is Susan and I am a historian, seamstress, teacher, mother, and wife. My passion for history has manifested itself in the art of recreating clothing from different periods of time. Growing up in the American South, I am heavily schooled in the art of recreating clothing from the 19th century. After nearly a decade of immersing myself primarily in the Victorian period, I found the need to branch out and explore other periods of time. However, it is my connection with the American South and the clothing of rural America that continues to be the driving force behind my designs.