Elegant and beautifully made raw silk coat, c. 1905. The bodice portion is lined with silk damask and fastens at the front with hooks and eyes. Each eye is wrapped with thread to match the garment. It is trimmed with stunning lace, applied braid and silk covered balls and tassels. All of the seams are French seams, very fine finishing work.

The style of the garment reflects the Arts & Crafts Movement of the early 20th century. It is quite similar in style and ornamentation to Hungarian overcoats or szürs worn by the peasants and shepherds [pictured and discussed in Wendy Kaplan’s The Arts & Crafts Movement in Europe & America.] Indeed, Ms. Kaplan states that “more than any other craft, the textile arts in Hungary also had the potential to communicate the values of social interconnectedness and continuity central to Arts and Crafts ideology.”

This coat is also representative of the fine craftsmanship that was central to the movement. Coupled with some of the tenets of the Healthy and Artistic Dress Society (headquartered in London) and a renewed emphasis on the design of needlework (not just following a pattern), clothing of this period can be pretty exciting and expressive.This coat was worn by Elsie (Ella) VanAlstine Dority (1870-1951) of Syracuse, NY and was given to the Museum by Myrtle B. Auborn in 1975.

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from our textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our new Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday