By the early 18th century, the mantua was worn by women as formal day wear. The pale blue silk of this hand-sewn example is brocaded in silver in a large-scale pattern of fantastic fruits and leaves, a typical design for the 1720s. The train of the gown is folded up and the sides held back with a loop and button. This complicated draping required a reversal of the silk when sewn together, so that only the right side of the fabric would show when properly arranged.
Museum no. T.88 to C-1978