Dress belonging to Rebecca Tailer
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[ This description is from the project: Fashioning the New England Family ]
Wide boat neck on front-closing bodice attached to skirt. Back constructed of panels that narrow down towards center seam at waist which has a 3 cm band of silk sewn in place to cover waist seam line. Skirt front is open to waist; no petticoat. Lace that might have been at elbows is missing.
A sackback gown when Rebecca Tailer (1718-1775) wore this dress at her 1747 Boston marriage to Rev. Mather Byles (1707-1788), the dress was refashioned circa 1770 and again by less practiced hands in the late 19th century. The pleated length of fabric that fell from the back neckline to the floor was removed and the neckline and sleeves were altered, among other changes. The designer of the brocade pattern was most likely the renowned Anna Marie Garthwaite who worked in Spitalfields, where London’s choicest silks were woven. The quality of Spitalfields silk is evident in the survival of this magnificent fabric and its natural deep green dye, unfaded for over 270 years