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’s my first entirely hand-sewn dress!

victorian hand sewn cotton day dress

It took me 53 hours and 45 minutes to sew the dress with all those ruffles! I measured the time! 😉

1850s hand sewn day 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.

striped cotton morning dress flounce detail

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 dress pagoda sleeves
Pagoda sleeves with ruffles

civil war print striped morning dress without engageantes

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 unboned bodice morning dress

Victorian dresses usually had a boned bodice. But because it’s a morning dress, I left the bodice unboned.

1850s pointed bodice dress

The bodice is pointed in front. Dresses with a pointed bodice were fashionable in the 1840s and 1850s.

1850s dress hook and eye closure

The dress is closed in front with hook and eyes.

1850s cotton print day dress

The bodice and the skirt of my dress are separate. Mid-Victorian dresses usually consisted of a bodice and separate skirt.

mid victorian dress princess seams

The dress has princess seams at the back, and sloped shoulder seams which are characteristic for Victorian dresses.

victorian white muslin summer dress blouse bodice
One of the last bellflowers

Underneath the bodice I’m wearing the bodice of my 1850s white muslin and Valenciennes lace summer dress.

mid-victorian flounced cotton dress
Skirt flounces and dog

1850s flounce dress

The skirt has three ruffles.

civil war flounce dress

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).

1850s ruffle dress
‘I found an apple. Can I have it?’ 😉

1860s ruffle dress victorian morning dress

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?! 😉

1850s beige pinstriped day dress

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.

1850s hand sewn flounced print cotton morning dress

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.

mid-victorian white taupe striped cotton work dress

And three photographs of Victorian women wearing striped dresses: 1860s striped work dress, 1860s carte de visite and another civil war era CDV.

1850s dress with light and shadow
Light and shadow

victorian carrickmacross lace cap blue ribbons

Because an 1850s lady covered her hair in the morning, I’m wearing my Carrickmacross lace day cap.

1850s 1860s underwear flounced petticoats

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.

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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