Sunday, April 17, 2016

1860's Day and Evening Ensemble plus Bust Improvers!

From the seller:

This auction is for an original lady's 3 piece ensemble from the Civil War period. It is comprised of a skirt with coordinating day and evening bodices made of vivid, crisp silk taffeta warp-printed in pink, green and blue. The ball gown bodice's features include dropped shoulders with piped armholes, curved back seams and gorgeous blue silk fringe trim as well as black Chantilly lace edging the sleeves. They really are remarkable. It closes up the back with hooks and eyes. My favorite part of this whole ensemble are the conjoined boob pads! I've seen removable ones before, but this bodice has what amounts to an early padded bra inserted into it, AMAZING!!! The Reception bodice's sleeves are 2 piece coat-shaped with stunning blue velvet ribbon trim. It's fully boned as is the ball gown bodice and it fastens up the front with hooks and eyes. The skirt is triple box-pleated all around. It is fully lined in off-white polished cotton and bound at the hem with blue wool hem tape. This is a fantastic dress and a great period example from right at the start of the War! It can be easily handled with care and is highly suitable for display, as well as patterning and study. Please note, the brooch and belt shown are not included, but the original collar IS included.

Condition: Underarm wear to the silk (please ask for pictures); Splits near the skirt hem, some repaired; The day bodice has been repaired at the lower right front. Overall intrinsic discoloration, It really appears to have been a manufacturing flaw, It's not organic. Please see photos and ask questions.

Measurements are: The day bodice bust measures about 34 inches, its waist measures about 22 inches. The ball gown bodice bust measures about 34 inches, its waist measures about 21 inches. The skirt front length is about 42 inches and back length is about 47 inches.

From Me:

The skirt has more material to the back, the day bodice has a somewhat fitted sleeve, and both bodices have a straight, rather than pointed, waistline. This is from the tail end of the American Civil War, if not just after it.

1865 Fashion Plate
1865 Fashion Plate


  1. Another gorgeous dress! I'm overall impressed, but the seamstress did a magnificent job matching the pattern on the back seams.

    1. My favorite part of the dress is the uniqueness of the patterned fabric for a ball gown. It must have really stood out.