Saturday, December 6, 2014

American Civil War Second Mourning Dress

From the seller:

New to the market from an old Connecticut estate

Literally out of the trunk

Impressive Civil War mourning dress with pagoda sleeves

Authentic 1860s mourning dress made of lustrous black silk satin. It features a tight fitted bodice with six stays. It has dropped shoulders with exquisite ruching and pagoda sleeves bordered with chenille trim. The sleeves are lined in black silk (up to the elbows). The attached skirt has fine cartridge pleats. There is piping around the waist and armseye. Fully lined, the skirt in brown cotton, the bodice in beige cotton it has brass eye and hook back closure. There is an inserted panel in the back, made from different silk. Was it intended to make the top wider as the owner got bigger or to be worn by two different people? The dress retains both the original eyes and hooks and the panel has its own eyes. Hand sewn.

Underarm discoloration on lining as well as many spots; there may be a couple of small holes

Measurements taken flat:

length 51"

circumference bottom 147"

waist 24" and 29"

Remarkable example of Civil War fashion

From Me:

My guess is this was originally an 1840's dress remade several times. The way the waist of the bodice looks and the shoulders is more common in the 1840's - but the point looks to have been cut off. The shoulder detail is also more common in the 1840's - it looks like someone took the cuff of the sleeve so it would look like a pagoda sleeve rather than just a puffy sleeve.

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