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Historical Costume ~ Women's Civil War

1845 ~ 1869..... is characterized by an increase in the width of women's skirts supported by crinolines or hoops. Wider bell-shaped or pagoda sleeves were worn over false undersleeves or engageantes of cotton or linen, trimmed in lace. Evening gowns were very low-necked, falling off the shoulders, and had short sleeves. The introduction of the steel cage crinoline in 1856 provided a means for expanding the skirt still further, and flounces gradually disappeared in favor of a skirt lying more smoothly over the petticoat and hoops. Pantalettes were essential under this new fashion for modesty's sake.

Evening dress of Sophia of Sweden ca. 1850 From the Royal Armory and Hallwyl Museum

Day dress ca. 1861-63. Museum of London - Pattern in Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion

Evening Gown 1860's, Made of silk, lace, taffeta, and cotton

Evening Gown 1861, American, Made of velvet, satin, and lace~~~This outfit believed to have been made by African American dressmaker Elizabeth Keckly and worn by the first lady during the winter social season of 1861–62. All three pieces are piped with white satin. The daytime bodice is trimmed with mother-of pearl buttons. Its lace collar is of the period but is not original to the bodice. The evening bodice is trimmed with lace and chenille fringed braid.

Mourning Gown 1860's, Made of taffeta

Afternoon Dress 1865, Made of moire silk and satin

Poke Bonnet 1865, American, Made of silk, straw, and cotton~~~~~Poke bonnets, named for their small crown and large brim that extends past the face, shielded the profile of the wearer and provided for ample surface area for decoration. With its exuberant ribbon detail, this cheerful bonnet exudes youthfulness and the enchantment of spring. The feminine flourish of the decoration invites the passerby to see who is hiding beneath the brim of the bonnet.

Inlaid Ring 1861, American, Made of wood and mother-of-pearl

Dress (side view) 1865, British, Made of silk