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Clothing and Textiles: Blue-Grey Silk Day Dress with Carrickmacross Lace Yolk c.1910


Longtime New Canaan resident Dorothy Thayer Noble donated her blue-grey silk day dress from c.1910.  Dorothy had been married in Silvermine in 1913.

The dress is a grey surah silk with a handmade carrickmacross lace yolk and matching cuffs on the sleeves. Surah is a right-hand twill weave with a diagonal pattern, most commonly made with silk. It is soft, smooth, and fine, and can be both printed or solid. It closely resembles a decorated net. The wedding dress of Lady Diana Spencer featured a square of Carrickmacross lace that had belonged to Queen Mary sewn onto the front, and most recently Kate Middleton incorporated lace inspired by Carrickmacross lace into her wedding gown.

The front of the c. 1910 gown is pleated on the top of the bodice, and the waistband features a pleated belt. Due to the lightweight fabric and lace details, this was most likely a summertime dress.  Despite the warmer summer weather, the high neckline and long sleeves were essential to maintaining decorum. The skirt is embellished with rows of vertical pleats that open up at the knees to allow for more movement at the bottom and rear of the dress, creating a trumpet effect.