|1890s Blue Velvet Tea Gown
with Battenberg Lace Insert Panels, worn for afternoon teas
and visiting occasions when elaborate dress was required.
Alterations were made to allow this gown to be worn by someone
who was both smaller in the bust and waistline and somewhat shorter.
The sleeves were removed, shortened, and reset into the armhole
incorrectly. This reduced the original shoulder fullness and
caused tearing in the underarm. The skirt was also removed to
shorten the bodice and back yoke, and was then resewn unevenly
into the waist. Thus the lace and cording on the skirt no longer
match the bodice decoration. A tear in the back of the bodice
was never mended, but tears in the back of the skirt were mended
with iron-on tape. Finally, the lining was poorly mended and
reattached without resizing so that it no longer fits the dress.
There is also some fading from exposure to light.
The basic design, the train, the detailed hand embroidery, and
much of the original rich silk and velvet fabrics remain and
allow for restoration to be considered. Although some of the
pieces which have been removed in the resizing can never be replaced,
it is possible to return the garment to much of its original
form and beauty.
It is estimated that this gown would cost $1100 to repair by
hand. In today's market it would be worth approximately $2000
if in mint condition.