Finely petalled rosettes punctuate the fly fringe (braid) adorning this 1760s sack-back gown. They are made of narrow strips of parchment, covered in silk and twisted into the shape of petals, a technique used in both embroidery and lace since the late 17th century. In addition to the rosettes, the fringe incorporates loops of silver thread with tufts of coloured floss silk. Known as fly fringe, these knotted and highly decorative trims were a popular embellishment for women’s dress between the 1750s and early 1780s.

The fringe of this gown compliments the embroidery of the gown executed in coloured silks, and silver-gilt threads. The pattern of large flowers and leaves is typical of the 1740s, but the the gown was altered in the 1760s for another wearer and updated in style with the addition of the fringe.


  • Title: Sack back
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 1740/1749
  • Location: Great Britain
  • Physical Dimensions: Length: 122.0 cm shoulder to hem at centre front approx, Circumference: 85.0 cm bust under armholes approx
  • Medium: Silk, linen, silk thread, linen thread, silver, gold, parchment; hand woven and hand sewn, bobbin lace and passementerie

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