1850s Sheer White Muslin Dress

victorian white muslin wedding dress roses basket

That’s my mid-Victorian sheer, white, cotton muslin summer dress.

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1850s Sheer White Muslin Dress

The dress has a partly attached low-neck underbodice with short sleeves.

1850s Sheer White Muslin Dress

This 1847 painting shows the underbodice of the muslin gown quite well. Here’s an antique 1840s muslin lace dress with attached underbodice, and a sheer tucked dress with underbodice. Here you’ll see the interior of the underbodice of a sheer plaid bodice. The underbodice is unboned like mine.

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The muslin bodice is slightly gathered in front  and closes with two hooks and eyes at the waistband, it’s very similar to this mid-Victorian muslin gown or this lilac print muslin gown.

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In the back, the bodice isn’t gathered. Here’s a pretty 1854 fashion plate of a muslin gown with blue ribbons.

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victorian white muslin summer dress-90

The bodice and skirt are separate as Victorian dresses often were, such as this pretty 1860s sheer white linen dress.

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victorian white muslin summer dress roses flowers

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The bodice has sloped shoulder seams and princess seams at the back, like this sheer muslin gown. Victorian dresses emphasized sloping shoulders, such as this pretty 1855 flounced white muslin dress.

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I’ve attached lace round the neckline and at the sleeves. It’s the same white cotton Valenciennes lace which I’ve used for my 1850s lace day cap, and my Edwardian muslin blouse. This Victorian muslin gown also has Valenciennes lace at the sleeves.

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victorian white muslin summer gown

My dress has pagoda sleeves which are often worn with undersleeves such as here. But muslin dresses can also be worn without as this photograph of Empress Elisabeth of Austria and this 1850s painting show.

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I’m wearing my Victorian Carrickmacross lace day cap which I’ve made myself.

victorian white muslin summer dress roses flowers basket

The skirt has two shorter ruffles and one longer ruffle at the bottom.

muslin summer dress roses flowers basket

The skirt is mainly inspired by this pretty Victorian white muslin dress. This printed sheer cotton dress also has three similar ruffles. An another sheer plaid dress with three ruffles at the bottom of the skirt.

victorian white muslin summer dress roses flowers basket

victorian white muslin summer dress roses flowers basket

victorian white muslin summer dress evening sun

victorian white muslin summer dress afternoon sun

Sheer White Muslin Dress

victorian white muslin summer dress lace day cap

victorian white muslin wedding dress roses basket

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victorian white muslin summer dress closure detail

That’s the closure of the muslin bodice which wraps in front.

victorian white muslin summer dress bodice closure

The under-bodice is closed with many hooks and eyes, like this Victorian sheer cotton dress. The fabric of the under-bodice is a thicker off-white cotton fabric (the same fabric which I’ve used for my ruffled petticoat).

victorian white muslin dress petticoats

This is what I’m wearing underneath the muslin skirt: four unbleached cotton petticoats, my starched tucked lace petticoat, my flounced petticoat (with the ruffles to the inside or they would be seen through the sheer muslin), white lace cotton stockings, and black leather ankle boots.

victorian quilted petticoat

Doesn’t the ruffled petticoat worn inside out look like a quilted petticoat?

victorian white muslin summer dress underwear

I’m also wearing a chemise, corset, and drawers.

American Civil War Sheer White Muslin Dress

I love this muslin dress: It’s so comfortable to wear, yet looks very elegant and feminine.

1860s Sheer White Muslin Dress

Despite the masses of underwear, it’s really cool in summer.

victorian white muslin summer dress lace day cap

9 thoughts on “1850s Sheer White Muslin Dress

  1. Hi,
    I have a question about fabric.
    Where did you get the sheer muslin? I’ve been looking all over for fabric like this!

    Thank you,
    Isabella

    1. Hi Isabella,
      I’ve bought the fabric online at macculloch-wallis.co.uk. The fabric is called ‘Muslin, Egyptian Grade A’. Depending on where you live there may be import duties etc. but till now it’s the only seller I’ve found who sells this kind of fabric.

      I hope this helps,
      Lina

      1. Thank you so much Linda!
        I think I’m going to buy this fabric. But I have one more question.
        I don’t want stiff fabric, I want fabric with a soft drape. Your dress seems to have a soft drape but I just want to double check that it is.
        Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions!
        Isabella

          1. Thank you so much Lina(sorry, I spelled your name wrong in the last reply :))!

            I’m just about to order the fabric
            You’ve helped me incredibly!
            Have a great day!
            Isabella

  2. I found your interesting website by accident when I looked up Victorian white Summer dresses for inspiration, and love it. You are so talented and I wonder if you ever sell or make to sell your creations? Your clothing pieces are beautiful, and your photos look historically authentic.

    1. Thank you for your lovely comment. 🙂 I’ve already sold some dresses on ebay, and I’m thinking about opening up a dawanda or etsy shop.

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