Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Late 1860's Dress remade around 1940

From the seller:

This gown was first worn by my great-great-grandmother at her wedding in 1841, It was next worn 99 years later by my mother at her wedding in 1940. At that time some alterations were made to the bodice and sleeves by Bonwit Teller in New York and dress shields were added to protect the gown from perspiration stains. Other than these changes, the dress is in its original form. It has been stored in a box since my mother's wedding and has not been cleaned or pressed. The neckline and puffed sleeves are trimmed with duchesse lace. The bodice is lightly boned and there is a self--belt with a silk rosette at the waistline. There is a pocket in one side seam of the skirt. The train is quite full and falls from gathers at the back of the waist. There are stains which appear to be spilled liquid on the front and left back of the skirt and some soil at the hemline consistent with being worn through the wedding and reception. I have tried to show these flaws in the photos. Please message me if there are specific questions or for additional photographs.

The measurements are:
Bust: 33"
Waist" 26"
Back of neck to waist: 14"
Front waist to hem: 39"
Back waist to hem: 66"

From Me:

The lace and some of the other details were clearly added in the late 1930's making it consistent with the 1940 date. The dress overall, is similar to this one from 1866 and this one from the same time frame. The skirt is longer in the back to give a bit of a train as well as for the early bustle. The waistline is on the high side and straight across. The shoulders are similar to shoulders we'd see on a dress now (unlike every 1840's dress I've ever seen). The buttons are also similar to other American Civil War and later buttons. I'm putting the dress at 1866/1867, just post the American Civil War.

Wearing 1860's dresses - or any extant crinoline dresses- was a thing in the late 1930's/early 1940's thanks to Gone with the Wind.


  1. Oh my goodness! It's so pretty! I would wear it to my wedding. ;)

    1. Unfortunately, that is the very reason so many of these gowns have disappeared. When you wear antique gowns or outfits like this, the environmental factors (smoke for one) can't be controlled. Also, you will sweat, body oils will get on to the garment, and movement, most of all, will cause the fabric to deteriorate even faster. Although many people - even myself at one point- believe that "It's mine, I can do with it what I please!" all this really does is cause these irreplaceable garments to be destroyed so another generation can't view them and learn from them.

  2. I have to tell you how much I look forward to your posts in my email, mainly because of what you post, but also for the occasional snark! I am actually learning things about fashion from you.

    1. Thank you! I'll try and be better about posting. I tend to get wrapped up in other things.

    2. Quality over quantity--anything is good when it comes to fashion!