The design of this textile is done through a complicated lampas technique. The face of the fragment alternated between corduroy (the red stripes), and a white stripe bearing a floral motif--perhaps imitating ribbon. The white stripes are edged in 1/16 inch of sky blue with a vine motif of light and dark green and blue-petaled flowers with a purple center and a yellow highlight. The white stripe is 9/16 inch wide (11/16 including the blue edging), and red stripe is 11/16 inch wide. The floral motif shows a straight repeat of 1 1/4 inches. The corduroy sits over a plain weave structure and is created using supplementary warp floats. Only one weft ties down the supplementary warps, creating the thin stripe of the 7/1 corduroy. Combined with the lampas technique, this tells us that the weaver used 3 sets of warps (the maximum), and seven sets of wefts.

The shape of this fragment was original supposed to be the sleeve opening of the bodice, however, the angle of the opening would have been too small for an arm larger than a child's. Since the seams are held by threads matching those in other, significantly larger fragments from the same garment, it can be deduced that this fragment is not from a garment that had be cut down to fit a child. The round, removed section has a diameter of 4 inches--similar in size and shape to what would be needed to make a pincushion (a popular craft project utilizing the Washingtons' wardrobe).

The bottom is pressed into knife pleats 3/4 inch deep with a 1/4 inch overlap. The significant bulk of fabric pressed underneath would make it too thick for use as the waist, suggesting that they might be the top section of a robe a la française.

A rectangular insert is sewn into the bottom left with thread that has faded to pink. Though different from the thread used to secure the hems and skirt seams (W-3050, W-639/A), it matches the thread used to secure the skirt pleats (W-639/A, W-2370/A). Another seam on the left edge runs along a selvedge showing three red stripes.

"#395" is written on the center of the reverse in ink.

Date

1770-1799


Material/Technique

Silk


Dimensions

Overall: 6 1/2 in. x 6 1/2 in. (16.51 cm x 16.51 cm)


Credit

Gift of Meta D. Huger, 1931


Marks

"#395" in ink on reverse


Object Number

W-1119


Colors


Mount Vernon's object research is ongoing and information about this object is subject to change. For information on image use and reproductions, click here.
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