Sack back (1)


The Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum

A woman's sack back and petticoat of maroon and white striped silk, figured with white in a trailing floral motif. The sack back is open at the front with elbow-length sleeves and double, scalloped sleeve ruffles. The bodice meets at the centre front, without robings. The bodice and sleeves are lined with linen. The back has two, double box pleats stitched at the neckline. The skirts are sewn to the bodice at the waist seam that runs from side back seam to the front opening. The sack back is made of two widths of silk with two partial widths and a triangular gore on each side of the front opening. The skirts are pleated at the sides to go over a square hoop. The skirt fronts are decorated with a broad ruching of silk, pleated and gathered into puffs, arranged in a serpentine line. The ruching edged with a fringe of white silk gimp and maroon floss knots. A narrower ruching, edged with the silk fringe decorates the neckline. The sleeved ruffles are edged with the silk fringe.

The petticoat is made of 6 widths of silk; the back panels pieced at the top and with a square of rust-coloured silk. The hemming of the pocket slits forms a casing for a drawstring to adjust the width of the petticoat.

The ensemble was altered in the late 19th century for fancy dress. A large dart was sewn in each bodice front; they were shortened and boning and hooks and eyes added. A piece of the puffed silk ruching was added to the bodice fronts. The sides were taken in with a machine sewn seam (now unpicked). The petticoat waist binding and pleats were unpicked and a new waistband added. The flounces on the petticoat were removed; a narrow ruching edged with the silk fringe was sewn to the front at the hem.

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  • Title: Sack back (1)
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 1760/1769
  • Location: Spitalfields
  • Physical Dimensions: Width: 50.8 cm silk, selvedge to selvedge
  • Provenance: Given by the Misses Spiers
  • Medium: Silk, linen, silk thread, linen thread, whalebone, metal; hand-woven silk and fringe, hand-sewn

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