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Taffeta dress with flounced skirt. This dress comprises a separate skirt and bodice. As waists narrowed ever further and skirts widened to incredibly large proportions, it was no longer practical for a dress to be constructed as a single garment. The bodice became increasingly elaborate and the sleeves, slit open to the upper arm, were known as pagoda sleeves. This style of flounce skirt was extremely popular, with the flounces being woven to shape and cut along the edges to give a scalloped effect. Detachable sleeves or 'engageantes' were both fashionable and practical as they could easily be removed for cleaning. The sleeves could either be tied onto the upper arm by means of a linen tape, or alternatively loosely stitched into the dress.
© Museum of London