Taffeta “Round Gown”
Style: The newer “round gown” style is updated further with a raised waist and gathered bodice which ties at center front. Vestiges of an older style of fitted bodice are visible on the inside of the dress and internal stitching reveals that the waistline was raised about three inches. Though gathered “chemise dresses” first appeared in about 1782, the soft draped bodice became more widespread in the late 18th century.
Fabric: A stiff taffeta material like this still suits the dress, but lighter, softer fabrics are coming into vogue and will be needed for the slim, clinging styles on the horizon.
Taffeta round gown, probably United States, 1795-1800, 2000.49, Friends of the Museum Purchase; Cotton cap, 1790s, 2005.13, Friends of the Museum Purchase. Jewelry: gold earrings, early 19th century, 2010.3.35, gift of Michelle Mott Juehring in memory of Effie Rose Mott; gold bead necklace, late 18th century, 4061, gift of Phebe J. Walker; mourning pendant, oil on ivory, gold and glass frame, memorial of Charles William Carter, King George County, Virginia, 1794, 78.35.2, gift of Frances F. Hayes in memory of Katherine Hayes Trivella.
The inside of the dress reveals the drastically raised waistline of the garment. The current waistline seam is about three inches higher than the earlier seam.