Some years ago, I sewed an 1850s morning dress. The dress is completely sewn by hand! 😀 It’s my first entirely hand-sewn dress!
It took me 53 hours and 45 minutes to sew the dress with all those ruffles! I measured the time! 😉
In the Victorian era, morning dresses or day dresses were worn at home to do the housework. A Victorian woman could receive visitors in her morning dress but she usually changed before going out. For shopping and visiting, she wore a plain walking dress, an elaborate visiting dress, or a carriage dress if she was wealthy.
For my dress, I used a sturdy cotton fabric with woven stripes in taupe and white. The small, white stripes are woven with a thicker yarn, so the fabric has a ribbed surface. For the whole dress, I needed about 6 meter fabric and about 100 meter cotton and linen sewing thread. Yes, I measured that too! 😀
1850s dresses often had pagoda sleeves. Pagoda sleeves can be worn with or without engageantes (false undersleeves). Here I’m wearing the dress without undersleeves because it was a hot summer day.
Victorian dresses usually had a boned bodice. But because it’s a morning dress, I left the bodice unboned.
The bodice is pointed in front. Dresses with a pointed bodice were fashionable in the 1840s and 1850s.
The dress is closed in front with hook and eyes.
The bodice and the skirt of my dress are separate. Mid-Victorian dresses usually consisted of a bodice and separate skirt.
The dress has princess seams at the back, and sloped shoulder seams which are characteristic for Victorian dresses.
Underneath the bodice I’m wearing the bodice of my 1850s white muslin and Valenciennes lace summer dress.
The skirt has three ruffles.
The foundation skirt, where the flounces are attached, is made of the same striped cotton fabric; the skirt is slightly longer at the back than in the front. The width of the three flounces are: 4,5m (the top flounce), 4,8m (the middle flounce) and 5,2m (the bottom flounce).
Victorian cotton morning dresses were usually plain, without ruffles or embroidery, so they could be easily washed and ironed. But my dress was the muslin for a mid-Victorian white silk ballgown – because it took so long to sew this dress by hand, I haven’t made the ballgown yet. Maybe one shouldn’t sew a muslin by hand?! 😉
But some Victorian cotton morning dresses had ruffles.
My inspiration for the dress: pretty ca. 1848 sand-colored pinstriped cotton dress with ruffles and tiered sleeves, early Victorian cotton print dress with flounced skirt, 1850s beige and brown striped cotton dress with flounced skirt and tiered sleeves, pretty 1860s beige printed cotton dress with flounces and pagoda sleeves and a ca. 1855 printed blue cotton dress with ruffled sleeves and skirt.
Extant mid-Victorian striped day dresses: ca. 1855 white and beige horizontal striped cotton dress with tiered skirt, ca. 1862 brown and white striped linsey-woolsey day dress and another 1860s striped maternity dress.
And three photographs of Victorian women wearing striped dresses: 1860s striped work dress, 1860s carte de visite and another civil war era CDV.
Because an 1850s lady covered her hair in the morning, I’m wearing my Carrickmacross lace day cap.
Underneath the dress I’m wearing: my chemise, drawers, calico petticoats, my Victorian corset, my starched petticoat, my flounced petticoat, white cotton lace knit stockings, and black leather boots.
34 thoughts on “Mid-Victorian Striped Cotton Morning Dress”
This is sew beautiful! I love it!
Thank you! 😀
What a beautiful dress! I am very impressed that it was hand sewn! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures
What an elegant work of art!!
This is Beautiful, Lina! I love it! I could wear things like this every day. I must have an old spirit. Popping over from Sherry’s Home Sweet Home party. I would LOVE it if you would come and share it with me and my readers at my party, What to do Weekends! It’s LIVE now. Incredibly talented. I wish I could sew this well. I hope you don’t mind, I’m going to leave you my party link. (http://www.shoestringeleganceblog.com/2017/11/what-to-do-weekends-252.html#more)
Thank you Theresa! 🙂 And thanks for the invitation to your party!
It’s just beautiful! Hand sewing is one of my favorite things to do.
I can’t even imagine wearing a dress like this to do housework in, but your dress is lovely, of course. Taking “only” 53 hrs & 45 mins” to sew it sounds pretty quick to me! Now my question is…wherever do you go to wear dresses like this? Are there balls or contests or something? Just wondering….
Thanks Florence! Yes, there are balls, historical reenactments, living history etc.
I was just talking to someone today about all the clothes we would have to wear in the great victorian era. Love all the lace and bows thanks for sharing
Thank you Angie!
What a pretty dress with the ruffles. Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home!
Wow! No, I don’t think I’d sew a muslin by hand! I’d never have managed this – it would have become one of my “unfinished symphonies” that I eventually, a decade or two later, hand off to someone else! You are amazing.
Thanks Jean! 😀
Wow. That is so stunning. It made me think of my great aunts, all of whom were seamstresses (although not quite so long ago). The patience to do all that handsewing.
Thank you Ginny!
Wow. I am amazed at your work. I have never learned to sew, but am so impressed with ladies that do. I also love reading about fashion history, and that the women wore these to do daily chores, boy that would be tough! looks amazing as all the ruffle detail looks very time consuming.
thanks for linking
Thanks for stopping by, Jessica!
What talent and patience. Way to go! Visiting from Blogger Spotlight, where my post “Tips to Boost Gratitude” appears.
It is gorgeous! I can’t believe you sewed it all by hand!! Thanks for sharing with SYC.
Thank you Jann!
This dress is stunning- your eye for detail and sewing skills are incredible
This is so beautiful. Thanks so much for joining the To Grandma’s House We Go link party!
Thank you Sheri!
You sewed the dress by hand????!!! I can’t even imagine doing that. You are amazing. Thanks so much for sharing at our Party in Your PJs.
Haha! 😀 Thanks for your lovely comment, Nina!
How deep are the ruffles on the day dress. You have the width. Thank You for that. Anxious. To copy it for a petticoat with 3 organdy flounced just like your day dress
The ruffles are 29cm deep. My day dress is also based on a dress in Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion 1 – 1660-1860.