In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Historic Clothing Collection

1850-1870

(Page 3 of 4) Print Version 

One of the collection’s finest and widest crinolines is a boat necked short sleeved teal and pink silk plaid with a set of detachable long sleeves, fringed neck trimming, flat skirt pleating at front and tight cartridge gathers at the back. The weight of the heavily lined, and very expansive skirt, is carried by an attached cotton bodice designed to fit over the shoulders under the teal and pink back-laced bodice.

The cage crinoline made of flexible steel appeared about 1856. As a result, women could walk unencumbered by the layers of heavy petticoats, with their legs free under the cage. Reducing the ever-increasing skirt circumferences down to fit bodice waists involved tight dense gathers, knife pleats, arrangements of double and multiple box pleats or some combination. Dresses from the MHS collection likely worn with cage crinolines include: a green and white warp print dress, with red and pink floral print, pagoda sleeves, and double layered skirt; a blue, black and white stripe with double pagoda sleeves and frizzé fringe braid trimming with an unusual stepped velvet motif; a gathered lavender and rose warp print with two bodices, one for day and one for evening; a bright blue, possibly ‘electric’ blue, taffeta with a combination of knife pleats, side and back double box pleats and a double pointed bodice; and a reddish-brown and green jacquard leafy patterned silk, tightly cartridge pleated with a bodice and decorative pattern of buttons very similar to an example illustrated in the June 1858 Peterson’s Magazine.