Threads Magazine recently had a great article about The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s online collections database. The database is extensive, with over 43,000 costume pieces. Better yet, you can narrow your search down by time period, material, manufacturer and location. Each item listing includes photos, materials and maker info as well as time period, when known. The image quality is exceptional, allowing you to zoom in quite close on the details.

Here’s a piece I’m already interested in: a 1912 Egyptian Revival evening gown of silk, metal and rhinestone.

from The Metropolitan Museum of Art's online collection

I’m really fascinated by the lace detail on the right side (which I believe is only attached where the bodice and skirt join) and the way fullness is created on the back sides for the train. The front and back of the bodice are asymmetrical and the back gives the look of a second layer folded down over an under layer. The materials look rich in a way that we usually only see on the red carpet these days. I’m not sure, but I think the train may be slightly asymmetrical as well.

More after the jump.

I told myself I wouldn’t get too into searching the database until I had my first pattern from the 1912 Project, but that ‘s gone right out the window. There is a second dress in the Museum’s collection that I find interesting in its unique construction, also from 1912. This evening dress appears to be a fairly simple draped bodice shaped creation with a unique and complicated (for lack of a better word) sash under the bust, at least until you look at the profile shot (below). Now the dress is revealed to be much more complicated with, what I can only describe as a combination deflated bustle/obi. Look at the interesting structure that shapes the bustle attachment. Would such rounded seams be flattering on one’s figure?  What interesting constructions will I find in my assigned 1912 Project patterns?

from The Metropolitan Museum of Art's online collection