GREEN CIVIL WAR ERA SILK TAFFETA DRESS

$325.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 2022-1084

Shipping: Determined by Method & Location of buyer

To Order:
Call 717-334-0347,
Fax 717-334-5016, or E-mail

Recently, the Horse Soldier acquired this lovely example of a women’s Civil War era silk taffeta gown in an iridescent green with slight hues of magenta and blue amongst the rivulets of fabric of both the bodice and skirt. This piece is a great example of fashion construction of the Civil War period with its metal stays, padded bust inserts, and plenty of pleats.

This dress was likely made for a woman of middle-class economic status considering the silk taffeta fabric and the oilcloth lining as well as the metal stays and breast pads. These thoughtful details denote intentional choices which money allowed in the Civil War time period and would not likely have been afforded to those women of lower status especially during wartime.

While this antique piece is not suitable for wear, it would make an excellent addition to any collection emphasizing the civilian experience or even a collection of Victorian era fashion with its simple beauty and intricate construction of pieces of the period.

The Bodice

The bodice exhibits fine construction of the period; the steel stays are in place vertically along the waist and cotton batting has been sewn in place at the bust effectively forming breast pads. All buttons are present and remain securely attached. The buttonholes show wear from use. The long sleeves are closed and of tulip, or half-bishop, style. The armscye lacks trim and the sleeve terminates in a simple hem. No trim is present on the sleeve cuff. The right sleeve seam is popped on the reverse of the dress. The waist features a hook and eye closure. Regarding the waist tab, where the hook and eye rest has been stabilized by a modern collector, the hook is present but the eye has been lost. In addition, the sleeves have been tacked up at the hem using modern green thread, which could be removed if desired. The only detractor to note is that there are some minor water spots on the back of the bodice.

The Skirt

The front of the skirt is attached to the bodice and forms box pleats, while the reverse has been attached using pintuck style pleats. One deep pocket has been sewn in and is concealed by a pleat on the right side. The hem of the skirt is covered in a quarter inch hem tape, which perfectly matches the color of the silk. There is a one-and-a-half-inch (approximate length) break in the fabric roughly eight inches above the hem on the left side of the dress. A modern collector or seamstress has tried to stabilize the tear with modern green thread.  Several threads are hanging loose at the hem tape but still appears intact.

The Lining

Brown oilcloth lines all parts of this dress: bodice, sleeves, skirt, and pocket, helping the wearer to wick away moisture. Overall, the lining is intact with the exception of a few breaks throughout. There are moth nips and breaks in the fabric where it rests at the back of neck, but this affects the lining only and does not affect the silk.

The Trim

The dress is devoid of trim apart from eleven bronze buttons inlaid with dark green thread or fabric. No collar is present but it appears that the fabric of the collar has been turned down so a detachable collar could have been optional.

Measurements

Bust: 30 inches

Waist: 26 inches

Bodice Length: 17 inches

Skirt Length: 39 inches

Overall Length: 56 inches

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