Sunday, 28 August 2011

Australian Dress Register Now On-Line

The Australian Dress Register ia a new, collaborative, online database recording historic clothing and, particularly well-detailed and fascinating to read are the precious, personal stories behind the garments. Developed by the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, this is a great example of how new digital technologies are preserving cultural heritage and enabling researchers, students, teachers, designers and general public to share that culture and knowledge. Above you can see a waistcoat reputed to have been owned and worn by Captain James Cook who died on 14th February 1779 on his third and final voyage.
If you click on an item in the time-line then you may see multiple versions of an object and full descriptions and stories. The following description is an example of the richmness of descriptions you will see when you click on the object: Above is the twilled silk waistcoat front, embroidered with an overall floral sprig design with concentrations of more complex flowers along the front edges, pocket flaps and across the front hem. The fine floss silk is embroidered in a range of natural colours in symmetrical floral patterns. Two shaped embroidered pocket flaps have at some time been relocated as a collar at the neck. The waistcoat fastens at the front with 9 brown leather shanked buttons (not typical of this style) and hand-worked button-holes. Darts have been stitched into the front body, one at each armhole which has been removed and one at each side from side seam to accommodate a female bust-line, which remain. The lower front edges have been re-cut shorter than the original waistcoat by lifting the embroidered hem bands and machine stitching them to the body along a curved seam-line at a different angle to the grain of the main waistcoat. The armholes are neatly hand hemmed and the buttonholes hand stitched. The back is made from cream linen and has also been altered to fit a woman. The centre back is made wider by an inserted machine stitched panel of cotton fabric. Two vertical machine sewn darts have been unpicked and a narrow band along the hem has gaps where those darts were previously stitched. There is a combination of original hand stitching, more recent, rougher hand stitching and machine stitching on this garment.
If you wait a little while you will see a black magnifying glass appear over the image - click on this and you will get a pop up of the image. Again click on the pop up image and wait and you will see a row of icons appear at the bottom of the image. You can choose either to zoom in - or choose the double dashed square at the right hand side of the row and you will see the item in full screen mode so that you can see all the wonderful detail.
Dating from about 1885, this full length dress is made from fine wool, is pink/musk in colour and is elaborately trimmed with cream lace. The tight-fitting bodice is lined and boned, with a high standing collar trimmed with lace that is identical to that used on the cuffs of the full length sleeves.
This fine wool dress dates from about 1885 and belonged to one of the daughters of pastoralist, William Pitt Faithfull, founder of the pioneering merino stud, Springfield. Faithfull was granted land south of Goulburn in 1827. By the 1850s Springfield was a prosperous and well-established property. In 1844 Faithfull married Devonshire migrant and teacher, Mary Deane, and together they raised nine children. Their daughters Florence, Constance and Lilian were active members of the Goulburn region and Sydney society, and attending balls, calling on visitors or shopping all required appropriate dress. The tight fitting, boned bodice and bustled skirt decorated with lace flounces and frills are of the style fashionable among the middle and upper classes in Britain and Europe during this period. In a maturing colony female free settlers and their Australian-born daughters used fashion to maintain and reinforce their social status within Australian society.
To explore the Australian Dress Register click here.

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