Sack back


The Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum

A woman's sack-back gown and petticoat of dark beige silk embroidered with coloured silks in a pattern of flowering trees and floral motifs. The sack back is open at the front with robings to the waist and elbow-length sleeves with triple, scalloped sleeve ruffles. The bodice and sleeves are lined with different qualities of linen. The back has two double box pleats, stitched at the neckline. A waist seam extends from the front openings to the bodice side back seam. The sack back is made of 2 widths of silk, with a partial panel and triangular gore on each side of the front. The bodice robings and sleeve ruffles are embroidered, and a long triangular robing adorns each side of the front.

The petticoat is made of 5 widths of silk, pleated at the waist and embroidered all over. It is lined with white silk taffeta and faced with dark beige silk ribbon at the hem and both pocket openings.

The sackback was probably originally a mantua and remade in the late 1760s; the skirts are extensively pieced. A new lining was made for the bodice. The petticoat was probably unpicked at the waist and reconfigured; the lining and ribbon facings were probably added at that time.

In the late 19th century, the robings of the sack-back bodice were unpicked. The waist binding of the petticoat was removed and the waist reconfigured with a machine-sewn waistband (now removed); two new pocket openings were added.

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  • Title: Sack back
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 1740/1749
  • Location: England
  • Physical Dimensions: Width: 68.0 cm silk, selvedge to selvedge
  • Medium: silk, linen, silk thread, linen thread; hand-woven, hand-embroidered, hand-sewn

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