Monday, May 14, 2012

Civil War Gown for Lydia

Just when you think you can't take anymore of certain time period/ project, a new one pops up to refresh and renew you. Isn't it awesome how that works out? I was terribly weary of making adult 1860's clothes and when a reenacting gentleman of our acquaintance brought up the possibility of me making a dress for his daughter, I was more than happy to leap at the opportunity.

It was a quick little project to work up, but nonetheless fun. We did a quickie pattern drape last week and Lydia went through original images with me to pick out a style she liked. We decided to go for this style, but with a front opening to allow her to dress herself:

I didn't have much time to make a lot of undergarments, but I did get a chemise made (chemises are absolutely necessary!!)

And a bodiced petticoat. The petticoat likewise buttons in the front, same as the dress, to allow Lydia ease in dressing herself. The straps button the bodice so the button can be moved to make the straps longer as she grows taller. The tucks are mainly for pouf factor but can also be let out to make the skirts longer as she grows.

The dress is of a lightweight plaid cotton. Instead of hook and eyes (which don't work well unless under tension) the opening is secured with china buttons and handworked buttonholes:

The neckline is piped and finished with a removable collar, the same as a woman would have on her dress.

The skirt is gathered by hand. I attempted to do stroked gathers but the pleats would *not* lay all the same way as the fabric is springy. They just boinged back into a soft round pleat instead of laying flat.

Now with this project under my belt I can tackle my May regency costume challenge project - a bodiced petticoat for me! I really need to get cracking on diaper making but honestly, right now, a bodiced petticoat just sounds so much more alluring.



  1. It's lovely. And it looks like you've got a lot of these darling girl's dresses in your future!

  2. A nice girl's dress is a good sort of change. Sometime I want to make children's clothes but first I have to make my own.

    Good job!

  3. How sweet, lovely dress and undies! And I know what you mean about being bored wiyh a period - right now I don't want to even think about 14th century clothes, but with the first event coming up soon....

  4. What a lovely little dress. It sort of reminds me of some 1950's dresses I've seen before too

  5. Very pretty! I love that plaid :) And I agree with you, a bodiced petticoat sounds a lot more fun than diapers! (They'd be good for mindless sewing when you don't want to concentrate on something, though.)


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!