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This deep blue dress with a repeated pattern of gathered spiria and mock orange flowers is a product of changing times. Advances in the textile industry made producing extravagant fabrics easier than ever. An increased availability of dyes also offered a greater range of colors. This intricate floral design was printed on a challis (pronounced shalee) ground.
The hoop crinoline (invented in 1850) replaced layers of petticoats, providing women ease of movement, while further expanding the full, round silhouette, stylish at the time. The largest circumference of hoops measured up to four yards. It is said that skirts were so wide, that fashionably dressed women could no longer fit through doorways.
(eBay auction, sold by Time Travelers Antiques, run by Glenn & Gail Sitterly, Fayetteville, Pennsylvania); purchased by Amy Davidoff, Indianapolis, Indiana, 26 May 2003; given to Indianapolis Museum of Art 2007.