I found this little gem recently on etsy for a steal. I'm so thrilled!
I have been heavily researching the 1860's lately and it is completely foreign to me. I mean, I thought I had some idea of Civil War era fashion, when I really knew nothing. It's so daunting, venturing into a new era.
What prompted me?
This October there is a big Civil War reenactment her in Las Vegas. Imagine - here... in Las Vegas? Never would have guessed. I suppose Nevada is "Battle Born"... But anyway, it sounds like so much fun. I have seen pictures and they have cannons and lots of smoke and horses charging. Not to mention it takes place in a state park against the mountains and it's very pretty. Very cool :)
But now I need an outfit (or two).
I have started reading extensively and as I think I'm getting the hang of what was in and what was out for the times and my age demographic, the actual sewing was kind of eluding me.
This bodice has been so instructive! It is SO helpful, when trying to create a garment, even with a pattern, to see the real thing. I can reference the seams and the shape and get an idea of the feel of the fabrics. I also found an original chemise and pair of drawers. So cool! But one thing at a time.
Let's start with the bodice:
|She almost fits! A bit petite, though. |
The waist is probably about 21-22
inches and the bust around 31-32. The back
length is around 14-14.5.
|The fashion fabric is an olive green, |
plain weave silk.
|It is a fitted, darted bodice.|
Many, many, many more pictures after the cut!
|The bodice center front dips a little.|
The bottom edge is piped.
|The back seams are top stitched down.|
|The top stitching is done in a matching|
|The collar is a "stand up" collar.|
It would have been worn with a little
matching white baste-in collar underneath.
|The buttons are self fabric and covered in a|
thread net, which radiates from the center of
|The inside, where the buttons are attached.|
|The button holes overlap the selvage. I|
love when you see bits that aren't perfect!
So much character!
|Note the machine stitching: the stitch length|
is very small. Much smaller than the average
setting on modern sewing machines.
|The top stiching and bobbin are two|
different colors of thread.
|The armscye piping is very narrow. Barely a 16th of|
an inch. You can see the piping seam in this picture. It
is in plain view, not hidden under the arm as we would
|This is the underside of the left sleeve. This is interesting: the|
sleeve is gathered/pleated to fit under the arm instead of on top. The right
sleeve doesn't have this. This is one period way to fix a sleeve thats too
big for the sleeve hole.
|Note the curve of the sleeve, with it's widest|
point at the elbow.
|This pinked trim is basted into the sleeve,|
meant to be removed and restyled. It is
not whipped and gathered like 18th c. trim.
|The cuff is faced with a couple inches of self fabric,|
turned under and stitched to the lining.
|Piecing! The silk is pieced on the inner cuff |
of the left sleeve.
|Inside out. The lining and silk are flatlined together.|
|The center front is not boned. The bones are|
in the darts, which you can see below.
|The dart/boning channels are intact so I |
can't see what the bones are made of.
They are about 1/4 inch wide and rounded at
|The middle of the center front lining |
has a small dart. The silk does not.
The dart is pictured in more detail below.
|The inside waist is outfitted with hooks|
and eyes on a placket that fasten first, before you button.
I assume this would take strain off the button area.
|The hooks and eyes are attached with|
long lengths of doubled thread.
|The armscye and sleeve seams are the only |
selvages which are finished off.
|The rest of the selvages are left raw. The lining is|
polished cotton, which as I have read, was
very common as a lining.
|Parts of the inside are stitched with different|
colors of thread. Black and beige.
|The left back of the bodice has this little|
fabric loop hanging. I have no idea what this
was for. Anybody know?