1860s Underwear – Dressing The Victorian Lady

Dressing The 1860s Civil War Lady

The invention of the steel cage crinoline changed the underwear of Victorian women. Since 1856, steel crinolines were sold. The cage crinoline soon replaced the many petticoats which were formerly necessary for the fashionable bell-shaped skirt silhouette. Now just one or two petticoats were needed apart from the crinoline. A crinoline is lighter, but more difficult to wear and sometimes it’s even dangerous.


Dressing The 1860s Lady

Civil War Underwear

Put on the same underwear as in 1850s: chemise, open drawers, corset, corset cover, day cap, stockings and shoes.

Victorian Crinoline

Now put on the crinoline. Sometimes a modesty petticoat’ was worn under the crinoline for modesty and warmth.

Victorian Civil War Underwear

At least one petticoat was worn over the crinoline to conceal the hoops of the crinoline. In movies and reproduction dresses it’s easy to see when the crinoline is worn without an over-petticoat. 😉 I’m wearing my ruffled petticoat over the crinoline, but a plain petticoat would also do.

Dressing The 1860s Civil War Lady

Now it’s time to tie your pockets round your waist. And if your dress has pagoda sleeves, put on engageantes (false undersleeves). And now you’re ready to put on your dress.

38 thoughts on “1860s Underwear – Dressing The Victorian Lady

  1. Wow! Looks like the women of the 1860’s had a lot of work to get dressed! Interesting post. I’m visiting from the ‘Welcome Wednesday’ link-up.

  2. Can you imagine doing housework in the get up? I always wondered what it would be like then I got married and had a dress that laces up in the back. However wonderful my day was by the end the dress was painful! #bloggerclubUK

  3. Such an interesting style. I wonder how people came up with this stuff? Could ladies even sit down with those steel crinolines? In a way, it would be kind of lovely if ladies these days wore such elegant dresses all the time. Perhaps it would give us a greater sense of dignity and intention in our daily lives. Perhaps… 🙂

  4. I can imagine how much of a pain that would be to dress up in such attire. I also see why there were so many to help dress that special one on special days

  5. I love the ruffle petticoat. I often thought that the petticoats they wore back then were sometimes prettier than the dress itself but I guess it’s all about taste. There are also so many beautiful dresses they wore back then:) #DreamTeam

  6. This took me right back to the day I wore a bridesmaid dress with a crinoline type of petticoat. It wasn’t uncomfortable, but sitting in it was a bit blush inducing. A really interesting read and I LOVE the photos… so pretty! Thanks for joining us for the #DreamTeam

    1. Thank you so much, Annette! 😀 And sitting down in a crinoline is really easy: You have to grab the hoops of the crinoline and then sit down. Then it isn’t blush inducing! 😉

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  8. I love learning about the styles and dresses on your blog. I would have been too exhausted to move after putting on all of these pieces of clothing, lol. Thanks for sharing on Sunday’s Best.

  9. Your ruffled petticoat fascinates me. I do quite a bit of volunteering at an open-air historical museum and have recently begun attempting to make my own historically accurate garments. Might I ask where you got the pattern for your petticoat from? Or, if you made it without one, would you have any tips I might be able to follow in making my own? I have found internet searches on ruffled petticoats unsatisfactory in comparison to the effects yours achieves. Thank you very much! I’m looking forward to your reply.

      1. Thank you so much for the information, Lina! I think I have a pretty good idea of what I’ll do for constructing mine now. Again, thank you. I’m really excited to start now.

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