Vintage Find: 1800s Victorian Blouse

To say I got lucky is an understatement. I found this beautiful Victorian Era (late 1800s) child’s blouse at a yard sale and bought it for $2. TWO WHOLE DOLLARS. I could take my money out fast enough.

This old man named Bill told me about a Victorian chest he had acquired and inside was this beautiful, pretty worn, blouse. This may be my favorite thing I own because it has so much character and it survived over 100 years.

How do we know it’s really Victorian?

Well, clothing this old is generally not sewed by a sewing machine. The first sewing machine (commercially) was in use in the mid 1800s but people still often hand sewed most clothing. The inside of the garment also has boning sewn into the lining (real, authentic boning) which is made of cotton muslin.

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This means this blouse is also 100% silk because synthetics were not invented yet. There are sweat stains in the arm pit (maybe the coolest feature of the whole thing in my opinion) and slight tearing from all these years.

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This is a child’s garment because women had real corsets, which children did not until a certain age. Consider this a built-in corset. The decorative lace style on the sleeves are also very accurate to the times. It was lose in the upper arm and got tighter as it came to the wrist.

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This blouse makes me so happy. Every time I take it out I always wonder what the person was like wearing this. Was she a happy girl? Did she grow up to make a significant contribution to society? I have my own back story that I have fashioned but I would love to know the true story.

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