Monday, December 14, 2015

American Civil War Era Green Dress Pieced

From the seller:

This auction is for an original lady's Day Dress from the Civil War period. It is made of rich green silk taffeta trimmed with green silk braid and black torchon lace. Features include dropped shoulders with piped armholes, coat-shaped sleeves and double-pointed waist. The bodice is lined with off-white cotton and the sleeves with cotton gauze. It has tiny steel buttons, which are decorative only and a collar with matching cuffs of hand-made lace. Recently purchased from Great Britain and offered AS-IS. Please note the brooch and fan shown are not included. The fan is part of another auction I have listed.

Condition: Poor- Overall discoloration, tears, repairs (most poorly done) patch fabric and iron-on interfacing all inside the skirt. It was probably used for theatre for a period of time.

Measurements are: The bust measures 38 inches, The waist measures 29 inches. The skirt front length is 43 inches, the back is 53 inches.

From Me:

There is a lot that is interesting about this dress. First, the most obvious - those purple patches. There is one at the underarm, one at the elbow, the large one at the waist, another big one on the back of the sleeve, and one at the hem.  This really shows you how much the fabric has faded over the years.   I'm sure the colors matched at some point - and the purple patches once had a lot more yellow to make them more green.  In the last photo, you can see the purple is really has a lot of blue in it.

Another item of interest, the trim - how many dresses of this era still have their collar?  

1863 Fashion Plate from the Bartos Collection

The white dress shows the pointed waist and sleeve style of the extant dress here. By 1863, the skirts started to go back thanks to a new hoop shape - the extant dress has most of the fullness towards the back.

Yet another interesting thing about this dress is it's size - It's between a modern size 8 and 10 without a corset. The lady who wore this would have been roughly 42" bust with a 33" waist based on most reduction amounts with a corset, or a modern size 14.

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