Contemporary Collections: Preprints from the AICCM National Conference 17th g 19th October 2007 Brisbane pp. 181-186
In most museum costume collections there are historic costumes which cannot be exhibited because sections of the garment are either too weak, crumbling apart, or missing. Various techniques have been used to stabilise such garments, including the use of adhesives, and unstitching sections and stabilising them with new fabric. This paper will outline the techniques used to reproduce part of a late nineteenth century woman’s dress in the Queensland Women’s Historical Association costume collection. The dress was made by Miss Margaret Scott who operated a dressmaking business in Queen Street, Brisbane, from 1874 until 1889. The dress is made of black silk brocade and black silk satin. Large sections of the silk brocade which has been used in the back gores of the skirt have disintegrated making it very difficult to handle, let alone display on a mannequin. As this garment is the only surviving example of Miss Scott’s design work in a public collection, it was decided to reproduce it so that it could be seen in its three dimensional form. Fabrics similar to the original materials used were sourced. Using patterns taken from the garment, toiles were produced in order to check their accuracy. The toile was then mounted on a custom made mannequin which was developed using the measurements taken from the original garment. The reproduction was then cut out and made up using as many of the original external construction techniques.