Original Civil War Era Dress 1860s Mauve Plaid Antique - Complimentary Secondary Mourning
This marvelous find is an original mauve plaid 2-piece Civil War era dress, circa 1860, that features pagoda sleeves and functional center front buttonhole closure.
The most exciting thing about this dress is that the color mauve is incorporated into the striping of the skirt. Invented in 1856, mauve was the first chemical (vs. plant material) dye ever made and the color became one of the colors acceptable for use in “complimentary” or “secondary” mourning clothing. It is quite probable that, given the other colors in the skirt are black and white, this dress was made specifically for this purpose.
The bodice is fully lined in brown cotton twill and the interior of the pagoda sleeves is lined with lightweight, gauzier weave of ivory colored polished cotton. The upper portion of the bodice front is padded – seen as tiny hand stitches that hold the padding in place on the inside only, and there are 3 stays – they feel like they could be baleen. The collar, armscye, and waist have tiny self-fabric piping. The sleeve tops are box pleated at the top and are finished with fringed ribbon at the cuff. The closure is at center front with 9 handmade buttonholes and the prettiest little goldtone and black glass buttons that have a goldstone curly cue molded into them. Of note is an extra buttonhole that was turned under and a tiny brass hook with an even tinier handmade thread eye.
The front of the bodice has quite a bit of yellow/brown staining and the underarm area is also stained. The skirt is fully lined with brown cotton and has a pocket attached at the waistband. The waistband looks to be hand sewn to the knife pleated skirt. There is damage to the waistband, at the closure area (no hooks and eyes) and a tear, about the size of a buttonhole, elsewhere on the waistband. The bottom of the skirt does have a hem protector, but the hem was shortened and has been tucked to the inside. This shortening has been done neatly and well, and probably could be removed to restore the skirt to its original length if so desired. There is generalized slight darkening of the front of the skirt, and a few scattered brown spots and pin holes. There is a small hole in the silk fabric on the left side (pictured) that is slightly larger than a pencil tip eraser.
Overall, the silk fabric is in exceptional condition with no splitting or shattering. The entire dress is reasonably strong and supple, probably due to the full lining. There are several tiny dot holes in the silk throughout. There is generalized slight darkening of the front of the skirt, and a few scattered brown spots and pin holes. There is a small hole in the silk fabric on the left side of the skirt (pictured) that is slightly larger than a pencil tip eraser, along with the issues mentioned above in the body of the description.
Approximate measurements are given for reference only, as garments of this age cannot stand up to the stress of being worn.
(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.)
This is an antique dress. Due to the fragile nature of antique dresses, we cannot accept returns on this dress.