Late 1860s at the P.E.O Sisterhood’s Founder’s Day Luncheon

This past weekend I attended a lovely event where a few members of our local costuming group, Great Basin Costume Society, were invited to dress in 1860s costume to represent the founders of the P.E.O. Sisterhood, a national philanthropic organization that supports women’s education.

The sisterhood was founded in 1869, but the closest I could get was my recent Purple People Eater day dress with the gored skirt. I finished the elliptical hoop and a dedicated petticoat (not shown) the night before the event, and am pleased that it’s done its job, and saved me from the dreaded “lampshade hoop.”

I hope you enjoy these few snaps of the whole ensemble put together – photos courtesy of my Mom <3


  • Esther

    January 26, 2015 at 9:34 PM

    I just love this dress!! It's such a beautiful color and the design is stunning. The new hoops look wonderful! I've not yet ventured into hoop-land, but someday I suppose I'll have to. Getting in the car sounds so painful though!!! It's bad enough just with petticoats! 😉

    • Lauren Stowell

      January 26, 2015 at 10:37 PM

      Hahaha, I wouldn't recommend driving in hoops, but a few of us did it that day, one of us even in a stick shift! It's possible, but tricky – skirts and petticoats fly everywhere!

  • Lora Martin

    January 27, 2015 at 4:18 AM

    Just wanted to say how lovely this dress is. I am not a costume maker, but I do sew and always love seeing what you've created. Have family in Sparks and hope to be in town visiting sometime when you have an event.

  • Anne Elizabeth

    January 27, 2015 at 8:04 AM

    You got the proportions so right, especially the higher 1860s waist. And no wrinkles and creases in the bodice – very impressive!

    • Lauren Stowell

      January 27, 2015 at 6:53 PM

      Thanks! I need to revisit the corset for this dress, with the lower 1860s bustpoint, but otherwise I'm happy with the overall effect

    • Lauren Stowell

      January 27, 2015 at 6:54 PM

      Thank you! It's an interesting period, as all transitional periods are – a little "weird," which is what I like 🙂

  • La belle inconnue

    January 27, 2015 at 10:05 PM

    What a beautiful dress. I really love the smooth lines of the gored skirt and the fabric is stunning. So far I have only made a Walking Cage and a bustle but seeing your pictures makes me wish I had an elliptical cage too! I may have to come up with a new storage solution for cumbersome steel contraptions first though!

  • AuntieNan

    January 28, 2015 at 1:54 AM

    I don't know if its possible with elliptically, but I've been able to store my Elizabethan hoops collapsed flat and hung against the wall.
    Auntie Nan

  • Masha

    February 27, 2021 at 11:48 PM

    As a P.E.O. Sister myself, I think this looks wonderful ! Your hair styling and make-up is terrific. It's pertinent to me since I'm interested in creating gowns for our upcoming Founder's Day luncheon. Our chapter would surely be the stars of the show.


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