Thursday, June 6, 2013

A Mourning Dress for Anne

Since Anne has long outgrown the below-feet-length white gown of her infancy I have had to pull out some of Malachi's old dresses for her to wear for this reenacting season. With a few adjustments, most of them will fit her fine although it is apparent that she is wider in the waist than Malachi was. I will need to move the hooks on the waistbands over so the edges just meet!

This coming weekend David and Anne and I will be attending a living history event. The boys are sleeping over at Grandma and Grandpa's house. I decided I really wanted Anne to have a mourning gown and at first I was going to sew a new one for her. Time and other projects and a lack of proper materials (it is impossible to find nice quality, light-weight cottons locally anymore!) made me look again at Malachi's old clothes and I pulled out a sheer cotton dress he had worn in his first year.

It was insanely long as Malachi wore it in his pre-crawling days. Anne is now pulling up and standing on her own so I had to take six tucks in the skirt to bring the length up to her ankle. It is still a tad long, but it is impossible to put in any more tucks since I tucked all the way up to the center back opening on the skirt. As long as she does not get much bigger in the waist this dress ought to fit her for quite a while!

The neckline was also too wide, so I took in a small tuck at each sleeve seam. I added some lace to the neckline and made black silk bows from the scraps left from my bonnet to tack at each shoulder. Ta da! A mourning gown.

Well, almost. Children's mourning clothes were often white, with black trim. This gown is not white. It is off-white, which compared to the white it ought to be, makes it appear dingy and old. I am going to try to whiten it with some RIT dye remover. I hope it works! It's not horribly awful as is, but it would look so much better being white.

Underneath she is wearing a shirt, a bodiced petticoat and drawers. I think for the event I will just let her go barefoot as she is used to that and she despises shoes (and even socks) in any shape or form. I am not a fan of shoes on babies anyway as I feel shoes are a handicap to little developing feet and cause them to learn how to walk in an artificial environment. This is one area where my modern preferences are more important to me than what is period correct. I am not sure what to do about her head. She hates hats or bonnets for any extended period of time. I have leftover black lawn from my dress that would make a cute sunbonnet but I do not think she would wear it!

This is another one of those garments that could be mourning, or could be just an everyday style of dress. It is nice to have such versatility!



  1. The upshot to all of those tucks is that the skirt stands out in a lovely way. :) Looking forward to the pictures from this weekend and as always thank you for sharing with us!

  2. I LOVE how the tucks make her dress poof out so beautifully, and no scratchy tulle petticoats! (Does the bodiced petticoat for her have tucks in it as well?) She looks so cute!
    Its so cool how you remake the children's clothes, it feels more historical and real somehow.... and it look so beautiful...

  3. Unless they will be attempting to walk on ground that has things that could cut or otherwise harm the feet, I didn't like shoes on my daughter either. I never understood the hard baby walking shoes that my mom and grandma's generation were so fond of.

  4. Wonderful! I really like how our ancestors added black bows to the white dresses for mourning and you have captured the essence of this to perfection! And you little sweet is so adorable!


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!