This is a family photograph of my Great Grandmother, May McCutcheon, with a group of seven girls holding bamboo and paper fans. Isn't it the most wonderful image? Written on the backing board of the picture is: "May McCutcheon with class of fan dancers 1905 Hawkes Bay. The photograph is mounted in the frame so that it is sitting against the glass, which has caused the surface of the photograph to break down and adhere to the glass where the pale blue marks are.
Written above the photograph on the brown card the photograph is mounted on:
"These gave a fan drill item at the school concert"
and on the lower edge of the photograph: Pukahui.
I love the dress May is wearing, and would love to recreate it, I know I say that all the time.
The photograph does not show all the detail of the dress, or what colour it is. but I love the gathered sleeves, with their wide lace frills.
The girls are dressed in full gathered dresses with deep lace on their sleeves, and sashes across their shoulders that tie on the side at their waists. There is a special name for these, but I just can't remember what it is, points for any clever darling who can though.
Don't you love the gathered sleeve with its little bow and lace frill?
The dresses look like they are made of soft cottons, maybe a muslin or lawn.
This lace front belonged to May, and was recently given to me by an Aunt. It inspired me to find out a little more about my Great Grandmother, who died before I was born. The lace front was pinned on with the same safety pins you can see on the lower edge, and my Aunt remembers watching her pin it on under her jacket.
May's lace front is similar to the "Vestee" in this advertisement from a 1930 Sear's Catalogue,and it is likely to be from this era or a little earlier.
A detail of the design on the lace. If you want help identifying lace, the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney has a great reference for lace identification on its website: http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/pdf/research/classification.pdf
A close up of the right side of the embroidered machine made net, or needle run lace.
A close up of the back of the fabric.