Wednesday, January 2, 2013

1860's Cotton Striped Dress

From the seller:

Recently de-accessioned from a New York State museum with a 1968 accession numbered tag still attached, a very pretty original Civil War era young miss's one piece powder blue striped muslin Summer dress with a fashionably pleated bodice, ruched sleeves, piped at the neckline, the armscyes, and the waistband, and with a blind back hook and eye closure. The bodice is lined in muslin. The unlined skirt is finely cartridge pleated, with a single slit pocket and a deep faced hem. Shown over a hoop skirt that is not included. 15" from shoulder to shoulder, a 32" bust, 22" waist, and 52" from shoulder to front hem. In good clean sound presentable condition, with a 1" L shaped mended tear in the folds of the skirt, some minor color variation, a few small organic spots, some pin dot to 1/4" holes, one 1/2" hole, and one 1" by 2" period patch on the bodice forward of one armscye that may have been needed due to wear from corset stays, not uncommon at this spot in the period. All is reflected in the reserve price for this charming young lady's Civil War era dress.

From Me:

I doubt this is Civil War era. The raised waistline looks later to me. Since 52" is pretty normal for a ladies' dress length, I'm doubting the Young Miss as well.


  1. Such a pretty stripe! Honestly, I think this is CW as well. There's no sign of the skirt re-shaping that happened in 1865, or the raised shoulder line. The waist looks regular to me, or at most 1" above natural, which is typical for the early 1860s. I would call it a "young" lady's dress, too, considering that a young lady could be from her mid-teens to her early 20s and thus wearing full-length skirts. The wide neck and short sleeves, done in a simple cotton print, points to it being a young person's day dress.

    I love the "infant" style bodice. It's most typically seen on youngsters, from toddlers up, although there are more than a few CDVs of older women with infant bodices. High necks and long sleeves, though. ;) Those are darling sleeves!

    1. According to my slightly crude manner of measurement (still at work), if the dress is 52", then, based upon the front facing picture, the measurement between shoulder is and waistline is 10.5". Most shoulder to waistline measurements are about 14", give or take an inch.

      I liked the sleeves too. :-)

    2. Oh, and it vaguely reminded me of this fashion plate:

      The blue striped dress on the left hand side. :-) Of course, the fashion plate is much fancier but it's why I figured it's later.

    3. My back waist measurement is no more than 14", and I'm 5'9". I have a hard time judging this to be high-waisted, particularly since we don't know who the dress was originally made for, and how tall she was or how high-waisted she was. It's so hard to judge proportions in a photo! I saw a CDV recently that struck me as having an unusually long skirt. I mentioned it, but no one else saw the proportion at all.

      So personally, I have to stick to an early 1860s date, particularly in the absence of any other evidence of a later date. (I.e. no gored skirt, no elliptical shape, no smooth-pleated bodice, no raised armseyes.) The shape, silhouette, cut, and details are all dead-typical of the other early 1860s originals I've seen, including CDVs.