1850s/ 1860s Copper-Colored Taffeta Day Dress

1860s Copper Taffeta Dress

Here are pictures of my late 1850s/ early 1860s brown taffeta day dress. My main inspiration was this 1855-7 brown silk day dress trimmed with black velvet and fringe. I would’ve loved to replicate those pretty black silk fringe with copper-colored chenille pompoms, but I couldn’t find anything similar.

1860s brown taffeta dress

Brown together with black was a popular choice for silk day dresses in the 1850s and 1860s as these pictures show: black and brown striped silk dress, pretty 1855 fashion plate of brown dress trimmed with black velvet or fur, 1860s dress with zouave jacket, copper-colored dress with black trimmings.

civil war brown taffeta dress

I used brown non-historically accurate polyester taffeta – silk taffeta is so expensive 🙁 – wide black velvet ribbon and black fringe. At first, I’d planned to trim the whole skirt with velvet ribbon and fringe like the dress in the V&A museum but I made the dress for a special event and ran out of time. 😉

1860s taffeta dress

Here I’m wearing the dress with my 1850s/60s cotton and lace Garibaldi blouse. I’m also wearing a starched cotton and lace collar which is fastened with my antique Victorian brooch. The bodice of the taffeta dress is separate from the skirt. The skirt is worn over a crinoline and my Victorian ruffled petticoat.

1860s taffeta gown

I made a matching hat for the outfit, like in this 1865 photograph. The hat is made with the same taffeta over a stiffly starched fabric foundation. It’s bound with black velvet ribbon, and decorated with a taffeta bow which is trimmed with black fringe. I’m thinking about trimming the hat with a black ostrich feather. What do you think?

victorian undersleeves engageantes

Here I’m wearing the dress with white cotton engageantes (false undersleeves) trimmed with narrow black velvet ribbon. My hairstyle is inspired by this 1870 braided updo. Here are detail pictures of my 1860s braided hairstyle.

victorian ladies costume

In this picture I’m dressed for indoors wearing my Limerick lace day cap.

victorian ladies copper taffeta gown

And in this picture I’m ready to go out: wearing the hat and thin black leather gloves.

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