That’s my mid-Victorian sheer, white, cotton muslin summer dress.
The dress has a partly attached low-neck underbodice with short sleeves.
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.
In the back, the bodice isn’t gathered. Here’s a pretty 1854 fashion plate of a muslin gown with blue ribbons.
The bodice and skirt are separate as Victorian dresses often were, such as this pretty 1860s sheer white linen dress.
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.
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.
I’m wearing my Victorian Carrickmacross lace day cap which I’ve made myself.
The skirt has two shorter ruffles and one longer ruffle at the bottom.
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.
That’s the closure of the muslin bodice which wraps in front.
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).
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.
Doesn’t the ruffled petticoat worn inside out look like a quilted petticoat?
I’m also wearing a chemise, corset, and drawers.
I love this muslin dress: It’s so comfortable to wear, yet looks very elegant and feminine.
Despite the masses of underwear, it’s really cool in summer.