Antique Civil War Era Mourning Dress Circa 1860s Hoopskirt
While this original antique Civil War gown may appear to be “plain”, it is for this reason we believe it to have been used as a mourning dress during the late years of the Civil War era - late 1860s.
In keeping with the Victorian custom, the lack of frivolous trim would be appropriate for mourning wear. The bodice is decorated only with bands of silk velvet ribbon at each cuff and a velvet appliqué in the shape of a diamond covering the wearer’s heart. The darted bodice features very typical Civil War era construction, 2 darts on either side, Y-back construction to the back, piping at the armscyes and waist, and as seen in the latter war years, a small stand-up collar. It fastens up the front with 12 original hooks and eyes. It is fully lined with tan cotton in the bodice and brown cotton in the sleeves.
The skirt construction is appropriate to this time period. Attached to the bodice, it is knife pleated in the front and gauged at the back with a “dog-leg” closure. A pocket is sewn into the seam on the right side. The skirt is fully lined with brown polished cotton and the hem is bound with wool tape.
The condition of this dress is simply marvelous! It is very sound, probably due to the full lining, with only minor splitting in small areas, mostly unseen. At some time in more recent years, someone has made very slight alterations to wear the dress. There are additional hooks an eyes added on the bottom third of the bodice to enlarge the waist area, and a piece of the fabric from inside the fold of the eye area was used to cover the resulting gap. It is a well-done alteration that left the original hooks and eyes. The front of the skirt, in the dog-leg area, has also been let out some, but again is done very well, again leaving the original hook intact. It also looks like the later wearer probably got her heels caught in the lining of the back of the skirt as there are holes torn in the lining ONLY – not visible on the outside.
This is an extremely nice example of an original antique Victorian Civil War era mourning dress that will display magnificently! (Shown over a period cage crinoline, which is NOT included but is available separately. Please ask! We usually have many hoops / cages available for sale.)
Approximate measurements are given for reference only, as garments of this age cannot stand up to the stress of being worn.
- Bust: 32”
- Waist: 27”
- Skirt Length: 42”
- Hem Circumference: 150”
Due to the fragile nature of antique dresses, we cannot accept returns on this dress.