Civil War Gown Inspiration and Plannings

…oh yes, *plannings* !

I have terrible Costume A-D-D at the moment. Terrible. One of the many things I want to make *right now* is a new Civil War gown.

I can’t even remember the last time I made anything Civil War! I actually have plenty of occasions to wear such a gown, here in Nevada, so I think it’s time to work up a new one, with both a day and evening bodice.

To the Inspo!:

Day Dress, 1860s, from the Centre de Documentacio i Museu Textil de Terrassa, but the link is broken, so here it is on Fripperies & Fobs.
Carte de Visite, c. 1863 – via
Clara Barton, c. 1866 – more on her on Wikipedia
Kyoto Costume Institute – c. 1865 – via
From eBay, but no longer available

For loads more of my inspiration images, check out my Pinterest board for this project.

The fabric is decided already – a gorgeous aubergine silk I got in China – trimmed in black velvet, and paired with crisp white collar and cuffs. I have 7 yards, 60″ wide, so I should have enough to do the two bodices and a full skirt, if I cut carefully.

The purple silk – it has some very minor slubbing, so I’ll call it Dupioni.

For the day bodice, I have this pattern:

Truly Victorian TV443 – 1863 day bodice.

Originally I wanted to use this Simplicity one, but in doing a bit more research, the style seemed more late 1850s:

Simplicity 3727 – out of print, but you can get it on Amazon, Etsy, eBay, even from Simplicity’s website. 

And here are my sketches for bodice ideas:

Of course, I have to *not* work on this until I’m done with the Red Russian Doll project (which is still interesting to me, at least!). So I shall just pet the purple silk, and admire it, and dream, until the time comes to start working on this. 🙂


  • Eleonora Amalia

    October 1, 2014 at 10:14 PM

    The first one <3 and the fourth one from Kyoto – too dreamy. Can't wait to see you in a Civil War gown, it's been a while since the last time!

  • Stephanie Lynn

    October 1, 2014 at 10:45 PM

    I know what you mean! I have two vintage UFOs in the pile plus a heap of in progress Renaissance projects but I'm dying to make a 1490s dress right now! Ahh! Must finish some things before I start a new project! Or just hunt around for pretty silks. 😉

  • AuntieNan

    October 2, 2014 at 1:19 AM

    They are all exquisite, but I think you should save on fabric by making the slimmer sleeve and trimming it with the military cuffs! And do the skirt that has more fullness to the back. Yum!

  • Miss Brilliantine

    October 2, 2014 at 5:23 PM

    The Simplicity pattern looks great with a two piece coat sleeve. I've made it that way a few times, it's a slimmer line and pushes it into the 1860's

  • bauhausfrau

    October 6, 2014 at 4:14 AM

    Those military styles are such fun. I *love* that Truly Victorian pattern, I was so happy with the fit and how flattering it was.


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