Monday, March 23, 2015

New Sheer Civil War Dress

So for my second sewing project of the year, I have decided to redo the early 1860s dress I wear for Civil War events. My blue bud calico dress was made back in 2012 for a tea event at the local historical society. When I had put it together, I used a quilting calico which makes for a cool dress even during the summer (yay for cotton!) but the dress itself is very heavy because it's a quilting fabric. In addition, this was one of the last dresses I made before I started fanagaling fitting techniques so the bodice is a little big on me.
Denver Fabrics was holding a sale at the beginning of the year and while had I told myself I would NOT buy any more fabric this year, I caved when I found a pretty blue and brown striped cotton lawn. It is definitely much lighter than the quilting calico.

It came in two pieces because I apparently managed to completely buy out the fabric (I'm a firm believer in always having a little extra, just in case). When I pulled out all my pattern pieces, I then remembered I had committed one of my own cardinal sewing sins and cut the original pieces. Oops.
So I reordered the original pattern - 1863 Sheer Dress by Truly Victorian (TV447) - and used the new pattern to redraft the bodice pieces. In short, taking in the bust line like I usually have to do with my dresses.

For the lining, I'm using my mystery poly/cotton blend from the LA fashion district. In the original instructions, it calls for the neckline to be edged with piping, which I did with the first dress. I didn't like the result because, to start, the lining doesn't show, so you don't really see the piping. Second, with the piping, lining fabric, and bias edging, there was a lot of fabric bulk along the neckline.

For the new dress, I eliminated the piping and edged the neckline with just pre-made bias tape. I machine stitched it on to the lining edge along one fold of the bias fabric.
Afterward, I clipped the edges and extra fabric then ironed everything so the raw edges would be covered.
The bias I stitched in place by hand using just a small whip stitch.
I also tacked down the edges at the front to smooth things out for when I attach my closures later (still to be determined). Already liking my second attempt a little better!


  1. I'm excited to see how this turns out!

  2. This is very timely for me. I'm making this exact pattern up in cotton voile. I'm waiting for the pattern to arrive any day now.

    1. Oh I would love to see how yours turns out too!

  3. Oooooh! Love the fabric! So cannot wait to see the finished product!!!