American Civil War Era Costumes

My friends Brian and Rick have been dragging me kicking and screaming into Civil War reenactment. It's interesting to do costumes from an era that has soooo much documentation not to mention surviving garments. Of course since it involves corsets and hoop skirts, it's not really that much different from Elizabethan.....

The first dress I did for Naperville in 2005 was a simple blue cotton print day dress because I wasn't sure how I would like this time period. It turned out fine, but not terribly exciting....but it's a blue cotton day dress so what did I expect?

For this year (2006), I wanted to get a little bit more sophisticated so I found a more interesting bodice design and dived into my fabric stash for something interesting in the way of fabric. I found a very light wool, almost a gauze in a tiny grey and dark grey check.

I did a button front with a brooch at the neck which was a very typical look in period. The buttons are black so you can see that in spite of the dark appearance for the dress, it's not actually black.

I did a 'coat' style sleeve which was also very common in period, not a cutting edge fashion but very practical.

And now the full effect with bonnet and paisley style shawl I picked up on my last trip to London.

And the dress by itself

And from the back

For the evening, I made myself a changeable taffetta ballgown in tseal and black. My friend Sheila gave me a blackand red lace fan which inspired me to put a few touched of red into it just to spark it up a bit.

The Victorians were big on fake flowers with their ballgowns so I made a corsage and headpiece to go with the black/green/accented with red theme.

And now a few shots of the gown in it's full glory


And what am I wearing under all that Mid-Victorian splendor? Custom made Mid-Victorian underpinnings, of course!



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This page was last updated on 09/22/06.