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wedding bodice

Artifact Number982.31.13 a
Category03: personal artifacts
Sub-categoryC100: clothing, outerwear
Place of UseCountry - Canada, Province - Ontario
MeasurementsLength 68.0 cm, Width 48.0 cm, Thickness 15.9 cm
Person / InstitutionAssociated party, Edwards, Edna Stuart Meighen
Earliest Possible Date1895/01/01
Latest Possible Date1895/12/31
Related Activitymarriage
CaptionComments on this wedding bodice worn by Edna Stuart Edwards
Additional InformationThe bodice portion of a wedding dress; other components include a dickey, skirt, and train of cream silk brocade, which is figured with design of five-petalled flower on a thorny stem. Bodice has a low, rounded front neckline with looped pearl trim and is filled in with a standing collar dickey. Bodice is waist-length with a slightly pointed front; front opening closes with alternating hooks-and-eyes. Each front has three pleats at the centre front which are closely spaced at the waistline, and widen at neckline. Bodice is seamed at centre back where it has a low, rounded square neckline. Front and back are finished with a deep ninon flounce. Neckline is tensioned by an elastic cord encased in ribbon, which forms the facing of front and back necklines. Back neckline is trimmed with a yoke of ten strands of graduated pearls alternating with iridescent clear seed beads; there are five cross bars of pearls and beads. A similar, detachable yoke fits across front neckline. Brass hook on each of left side cross bars attach to thread eyes on ninon ruffling at left neckline. No similar hooks and thread eyes can be found for right side. Bow of double-faced silk satin ribbon at each shoulder. Enormous leg o' mutton-style sleeves, with seams along front arms and fabric pieced in two places on each sleeve's back. Fullness at each sleeve's head is gathered with three rows of gathering, and sleeves are attached to ribbon neckline facing. Sleeves lined with cambric cut to usual arm size and sleeve heads are supported by stiff sleeve caps which extend 17.5 cm into sleeve heads. Sleeves' lower seams have been opened up, gathered, and their cuffs turned back, but originally were long sleeve. They are trimmed with a bow, as at the shoulders. Waistline is finished with wide double-faced cream silk satin ribbon; irregularly folded into a narrower width and finished at front with a bow with long streamers. Lined with cambric; fronts of lining fitted with two darts, slashed open, from waist to bust on each side. Back lining is cut with centre back seam and curved side back-seams; all raw edges finished with ivory silk binding. Each seam and dart is boned. Front and lower edges finished with gold silk taffeta facing. Front edges are boned. There are batting-filled bust improvers under the arms. Waistline stay of wide twill tape is fastened with a buckle trademarked "PRIMA". There are two hooks at centre back waistline to attach skirt. Beaded yokes, very similar to those on this garment are found in Montgomery Ward and Co. Catalogue for 1894-95. The dress was worn by Edna Stuart Meighen for her marriage to Gordon Cameron Edwards who built 55 McKay Street in 1898. In 1926 he inherited 24 Sussex Drive from his uncle. He and his wife lived there from 1927 to 1946. The dress shows signs of being altered. It would seem that the bodice has been altered from its original styling. The ribbon facing at the neckline is the same ribbon which forms the bows at shoulder and wrists, but this is not the same kind of ribbon that has been used to trim the rest of the bodice nor does it match in colour. The sleeves show stitching marks which suggest the sleeves have been reset. One possibility is that what is now the dickey was originally part of the bodice. The ninon neck ruffle is probably a later addition and perhaps the ruffles on the dickey and the pearl and bead trim are also. The dickey is very soiled inside and the lining has been cut away 5.5 cm. above lower back edge of the dickey suggesting it may have been tacked into something. The ties are crudely attached, compared to the quality of most of the rest of the stitching. The sleeves were originally full length, with no turned back cuff. The skirt has very little soiling - possibilities include that the bodice was used with another skirt or that there was a second skirt of the same fabric.

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