National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of House Dress House Dress
Rendered by Julie C. Brush (artist), 1935/1942
watercolor, graphite, and pen and ink on paperboard
overall: 54.8 x 41.1 cm (21 9/16 x 16 3/16 in.)
Index of American Design
Not on View
From the Tour: Costumes from the Index of American Design
Object 10 of 26

Multicolored printed cotton or linen fabrics were fashionable in Europe as early as the seventeenth century, when trade with the East began to flourish. Later, English and French textile manufacturers began to produce their own versions to compete with imported materials. By the beginning of the nineteenth century, American textile manufacturers were producing inexpensive printed fabrics because of the availability of cheap cotton and the introduction of mechanical spinning machines.

This "house dress," from about 1835 or 1836, is made of a printed cotton fabric. The sleeves, between the forearm and shoulder, required a special down-filled padding to support their large balloon shape. The skirt was extended outward by layers of petticoats.

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