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Reproducing History: A Doll's 1850s Calico Dress


Reproducing History: A Doll's 1850s Calico Dress


Carleen Gabrys



Carleen Gabrys, Fashion and Textile Technology
Faculty Mentor(s): Professor Arlesa Shephard, Fashion and Textile Technology

This research project explores the methods of historical creation of textiles and garments through the recreation of a doll dress for the Buffalo History Museum. While items from history are important links to the past, the unfortunate reality is that they can often be damaged to the point where they can no longer be displayed, and their significance cannot be shared with a modern audience. Through reproduction of an item for display, the integrity of the historic item can be presented for viewing, while the original item can be preserved from further damage. This recreation process can also impart important knowledge about the original item that can allow for a greater understanding of the item and its significance. The original dress at the Buffalo History Museum had received extensive light damage and a new dress was requested so that the doll can be displayed without harming the original garment. The process for the digital recreation of the textile is detailed and compared to historical means of textile production. Comparisons to other garments and prints of a similar style and era are highlighted to analyze the construction of the garment. The procedure for recreating the garment from the textile to the final dress is illustrated and implications are drawn for the uses of recreating historic textiles through digital means.

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Reproducing History: A Doll's 1850s Calico Dress