Mid-Victorian Striped Cotton Morning Dress

Mid-Victorian Striped Cotton Morning Dress

Some years ago, I sewed an 1850s morning dress. The dress is completely sewn by hand: It took me 53 hours and 45 minutes to sew the dress with all those ruffles! 😀 It’s my first entirely hand-sewn dress.

How To Dress With Taste In The 1850s (1856 Article)

What Is A Victorian Morning Dress?

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.

civil war print striped morning dress without engageantes

Striped Cotton Fabric

For my dress, I used 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 dress pagoda sleeves
Pagoda sleeves with ruffles

Unboned Bodice With Pagoda Sleeves

The bodice and the skirt of my dress are separate. Mid-Victorian dresses usually consisted of a bodice and separate skirt. I made the bodice pointed in front because dresses with a pointed bodice were fashionable in the 1840s and 1850s. The dress has princess seams at the back, and sloped shoulder seams which are characteristic for Victorian dresses.

1850s pointed bodice dress

The bodice closes with hook and eyes at the center front. And the bodice is unboned. Some Victorian dresses had a boned bodice and some didn’t. Because this is a working dress, I left the bodice unboned. Under the bodice I wear the bodice of my 1850s sheer white muslin dress.

Related: 1850s Sheer White Muslin Dress

mid victorian dress princess seams

My Victorian cotton dress has pagoda sleeves with ruffles. Pagoda sleeves were very fashionable in the 1850s. Pagoda sleeves can be worn with or without engageantes (false undersleeves). Here I wear the dress without undersleeves because it was a hot summer day.

mid-victorian white taupe striped cotton work dress

Ruffled Skirt

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?! 😉

Vegetable dog food - dog food history
‘I found an apple. – Can I have it?’

I made the foundation skirt, where the ruffles are attached, of the same striped cotton fabric. The skirt is slightly longer at the back than in the front. Then I gathered long strips of cotton fabric and attached them to the foundation skirt. The width of the three ruffles are: 450cm (top ruffle), 480cm (middle ruffle) and 520cm (bottom ruffle).

civil war flounce dress

Antique Victorian Cotton Dress Inspirations

My inspiration for my dress were the following antique Victorian cotton dresses with ruffled pagoda sleeves and ruffled skirt: pretty ca. 1848 sand-colored pinstriped cotton dress, 1860s gray cotton dress, and 1855 printed blue cotton dress.

With all the ruffles and the fabric needed to make the dress, my Victorian cotton dress would’ve been the morning dress of a wealthy Victorian woman!

1850s 1860s underwear flounced petticoats

Victorian Underwear & Accessories

Undern the dress I wear: my Victorian chemise, drawers, calico petticoats, my Victorian corset, my Victorian tucked petticoat, my Victorian ruffled petticoat, white cotton lace knit stockings, and black leather boots.

And because an 1850s lady covered her hair in the morning, I wear my DIY Victorian Carrickmacross lace day cap.

Related: How To Sew An Authentic Mid-Victorian Day Cap

1850s lace day cap day dress photograph

34 thoughts on “Mid-Victorian Striped Cotton Morning Dress

  1. 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)
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. 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….

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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

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