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80 Godey's Full-Color Fashion Plates: 1838-1880

Fig. f. Dress of pearl-colored poplin, trimmed with two narrow green fluted ruffles. The back of the skirt is formed of ruffles and puffs. Short jacket and front of dress trimmed with leaves of green velvet. Hat of white silk.

Trimmed seems to mean the following

To decorate, especially by adding a border or contrasting element: trim a blouse.

But in the quote above I have no idea what trimmed means. Which border is decorated? All of its border or the front part of the jacket including the collar, what about the bottom? The ruffle on the dress trims the neckline of the dress? Fluted means the ruffle is pleated, but aren't all ruffles pleated hence the name of a famous potato chip brand being ruffles?

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  • Without seeing the picture it is impossible to tell what border is trimmed.
    – mdewey
    Mar 27 '21 at 17:12
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    It says 'especially by adding a border', not that trimming has to be on the border of a garment. The dress is decorated with ruffles in some way that we can't tell without seeing the fashion plate itself. Mar 27 '21 at 18:02
  • Source please. Please tell us the exact source of your quote. Ideally please link to it.
    – James K
    Mar 27 '21 at 20:37
  • In this case it is the the Godley's full colour fashion plates, but I'd like to know which source you are using.
    – James K
    Mar 27 '21 at 20:46
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You have found the right meaning (:-)

There is no information about which border is decorated. I'd assume the bottom border, since the other borders (neck and sleeves) could be specially mentioned. But this is guessed. It's not implied by the text.

You are right that ruffles would have to be fluted. I think the implication is that the "fluted ruffles" are made with even pleats, and not random gathering of the cloth forming the ruffle. This is quite technical handwork terminology.

The second example of trimmed seems to mean "decorated" but not at the border, but refers to appliqué decoration.

The fact that this refers to "Fig. f." strongly suggests that there is a picture that goes with this. In this case, some research finds the orginal image that the caption refers to. The trimming and decoration are visible:

enter image description here

Nevertheless, in every language it is possible to describe something partially. If I say "A spotted dog", can you imagine what type of dog, or what colour the spots are. Of course not. But does this mean that you have "no idea what it means"?

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  • I'm actually quite please with how well my guesses panned out. Ruffles at the bottom, leaves applique.
    – James K
    Mar 27 '21 at 21:02

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