Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dresses & Bonnetts-The Greene Collection

In honor of our upcoming Days of Laura Ingalls Wilder event, we have decided to showcase some items from the Greene Collection that little girls from Laura's time period would have worn. 

The first dress is a machine made pale blue cotton pinstripe from 1885. It has a princess-lined in front and is double breasted with large mother-of-peal  buttons. It has a 2-piece  belt around the back and sides where the skirt is pleated and is edged with white braid. It has elbow length sleeves with turnback cuffs and a small sailor collar that are each edged with white embroidered edging and white braid. It is for about an 8-year old sized child.

The second  dress is a more fancy (Nellie Olsen anyone? ) girl’s dress from 1875-1876.  It is a two piece princess dress of light blue and tan ‘ikat’ spot-printed silk taffeta. The top or bodice has 3/4 sleeves with ruched band above self-frilled end, finished with machine lace edging.  It has a small collar and bodice hem edged with the same lace.
The skirt is made of two horizontal ruched rows of blue ribbon printed with chine roses, heading a frill of same blue silk as bodice. The bottom frill is box pleated.  It is meant to be worn with hoops. This dress is from a private family with origins in Massachusetts.

 Next we have a simple girl's sunbonnet from 1850-1880 It is a yellow cotton print with tiny yellow-orange sprigs on buff. It is entirely hand stitched and has a narrow hem on  the 6” bavolet. The brim lining was brought around to finish the front edge. It has drawstring in rear casing. The crown is gathered at top and the brim is made of 2” sections filled with cardboard strips.

And finally, another girl's sunbonnet from 1865-1880. It is white cotton with tiny black sprig stripe. There are machine stitched rows in the brim, through a papery interlining. It has a long cape, narrow hand stitched hem,  and is front edged  with narrow hand stitched self frill. There is a bow on top back and the ties hand hemmed.


  1. The second dress is beautiful! well, they are beautiful in their own right, but that second dress is amazing!

    I wonder, though... I would imagine it would have been pretty expensive to make. How common would it have been to see a little girl from a middle class family wearing a dress like that?

  2. Krista,

    That would have been a more expensive and more fancy dress (Hence the Nellie Olsen reference ;-) It would have been worn with a hoop. It would not have been nearly as common as the other one.