The first of many garment images! A friend has loaned me their camera; combined with some time off for the holidays, and having the spare bedroom to myself for awhile, I am in business!

Please feel free to add comments for what aspects of garments you like to see, and I will keep that in mind for future photo sessions!

The bodice is made of some of the yummiest silk brocade I’ve ever seen. It has a typical bodice structure for the mid-19th century; darted to fit, jewel neckline, 3 piece back. Her personality comes from the fabric and the sleeves, as well as some very creative alterations.

I date this dress circa 1859-1861 due to the sleeves. They appear with the most frequency during that time frame.



Despite the even and steady nature of the stitching on the front of the bodice, this bodice is entirely handsewn, frequently with very thick cotton thread.


The bodice is piped at waist edge, neck edge, armsyce, sleeve seam and sleeve cuff.


The true three-piece back is top-stiched with more very fine stitching.

Under each arm, the bodice has been altered to a larger waist size. The side seam has been split, up to about 2.5″ into the under side of the sleeve. A gusset has been whipped into the sleeve, and a rectangular panel has been hastily put into the underarm. The waist of the bodice is currently about 32″. It would have been about 26.5″ before the alterations. IMG_0348

Our slim sleeve features a puff and cap at the top. The cap has been trimmed with pleated silk velvet. The slim sleeve is slightly gathered on the underside of the sleeve only (seen above). There is piping running the length of the sleeve, and there is self-fabric trim at the cuffs, which close with a hook and eye on each. If you look near the cuff of the sleeve, you will notice a small triangle of piecing. This is pieced on both sides in the same place.



A view of the hastily whipped in panel from the inside. As you can see, there is no lining to the alteration, and the waist piping was not re-done to fit the expansion.


The lining has a dart in the center back, and interestingly shows picked out v-shaped stitching (on both back and front), as if though the bodice had additional trim at one point. The outer silk shows no evidence of this.


The bodice closes with brass hooks and eyes, and the four darts are boned.