Saturday, January 1, 2011

1860s Wool Day Dress


A Civil War era day dress of lightweight 'tropical' wool of a slate-like blue-grey color. To trim it I used a narrow, gold colored velvet ribbon, which decorates the bottom edge of the pointed bodice and the sleeves.  The assymetrical bodice has domed brass buttons, and a narrow standing band neckline has a white cotton collar basted in.  The plaid silk neck bow is totally seperate, and is held on by a brooch.  The skirt is triple box pleated and the hem is faced with printed cotton.

Like many of my costumes, I did all visible work by hand and used machine stitching only on interior seams.

I wore this dress to Rememberance Day in Gettysburg two years in a row, and made a small but important change to the dress before wearing it the second time.  As you see in the pictures below, the first time I wore this dress I had used black antique buttons on the bodice (which were all I had on hand at the time).  The buttons were nice in and of themselves but really did nothing for the gown, and I swapped them out for the plain brass buttons which I think look a great deal better.

The assymetrical, military inspired bodice was quite popular during the Civil War, and is seen in quite a few images from that period.  My main inspiration for this dress was the CDV below and I copied the ribbon trim on the sleeves as exactly as I could, though my gown only has one row of ribbon around the waist instead of two.

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