Thursday, March 9, 2017

Under and Over: 1860s Half Mourning Cotton Dress and Cage Crinoline

Last weekend I once more had my 1860s mourning display set up at a local Civil War reenactment. About a week before the event, I decided it would be crazy totally reasonable to finish the half mourning printed cotton dress that I started two years ago. I'm glad I pushed through and finished it because I'm quite pleased with the dress even though it's cotton (what can I say, I love silk and wool!).

To make a cotton dress more interesting, I did a yoked bodice with pleats and piping and played a tiny bit with the directions of the stripes. The bishop sleeve, while not really flattering, is useful if I ever want to roll up the sleeves in a working environment like cooking or doing laundry. The bodice is only partially lined in the yoke and in a strip under each arm, as seen in a few originals like this yoked dress.


I also thought it was about time to photograph my Needle and Thread 116" cage crinoline and petticoat that were made last year. This kit is so incredible... If you're serious about 1860s clothing, it's completely worth the investment as every single piece is perfectly reproduced from originals. I got the 110" kit and squeezed it out to 116". Looking back, I should have called up Needle and Thread and asked for a few extra yards of hooping because they have excellent customer service and I could have made the cage 120" like I originally wanted. 116" is fine, though, and looks very nice under my black and white checked silk dress (I'm not wearing it in the pictures above because the skirt for the cotton dress was cut to fit over my old 108" hoop). Because of the considerable back thrust of the crinoline, I need to make a little bum pad to support the back of the crinoline and keep it from tipping forward. But I'm trying not to feel too badly about it because this original is doing the same thing! ;-)


The petticoat was inspired by this original at the Met, and others like it.


Myrthe said...

It's such a lovely dress. The fabric is gorgeous. I know most about mourning dress in traditional Dutch costume, a little less about historical costumes. The fabric of this dress really reminds me of some of the mourning clothes from the town of Spakenburg. They still use a lot of historical and even antique fabrics which are really beautiful.
Also, that cage is stunning!

Caroline said...

Lovely! And I love seeing the insides. The partial lining is very interesting. That is what I'm seeing there, right? Cotton is generally on my boring list, too, but the fit and print of this gown are lovely. I like the yoke. And I love seeing the finished crinoline and petticoat! I've had one, 90% assembled, hanging in my sewing room, since last September. I've gotta finish that thing! Actually, I think I used some of that eyelet I got at Coco last year for the petticoat. Cheers!

Estelle T. Barada said...

Great post !:-D

Time Traveling in Costume said...

Your choice of the beautiful and rich purple fabric is to die for. I'm a big fan of purple, and of course mourning dresses. Sad but so elegant at the same time.

L. R. Stern said...

You look great! I really like the bishop sleeves, they look elegant :)

Unknown said...

What a gorgeous blog you've created! I've been scrolling through your earlier posts and am amazed at all you've created.
Just one thing: you keep posting "peaks" of your new projects. Unless you're punning, it should be "peeks" instead.

Michaela said...

Hi there! I loved your podcast with Abby Cox!

I had a question about half-mourning; were you expected to throw out your half-mourning clothes once you were completely done with mourning? Or can it sort of cross-over and you can keep wearing it afterwards?

Michaela said...

Also, if you were mourning, say, a grandparent or cousin, would you just divide your mourning time in half to figure out full mourning to half, or are there some instances where you would not even start in full mourning? Or skip mourning? Do you have a post on this somewhere already on your blog?