An 1869 Evening Dress

based on a dress from the Victoria and Albert Museum

An evening dress based on a c. 1869-1870 dress featured in Nineteenth-Century Fashion in Detail by Lucy Johnston.

It's made of magenta silk faille and trimmed with fuchsia silk satin. The bodice and hem facing are of white polished cotton. The bodice pattern started out as the 1870s bodice from Period Costume from Stage and Screen but has been heavily altered. The skirt is the seven panel skirt from the same book. I'm wearing it over a petticoat made from the same pattern as the skirt, the Laughing Moon elliptical hoop, a red quilted corset made from an 1863 patent by Mina Sebille, Truly Victorian chemise and Laughing Moon drawers. My stockings are from Fugawee and are much smaller than the average stockings meant for costuming and stay up fairly well with garters. At the moment, mine are just linen tapes tied under my knees.

From the front and back. I chose to go with a narrower skirt shape than is shown with the original dress. The smaller shape is also correct for the time period and I feel that I look better in a smaller hoop. Mine is 95 inches.

A slightly different angle. My fan is from A Cool Breeze.

The skirt was the most labor intensive thing I've ever made. Each flounce is bound with silk satin. First, I sewed the bias strip by machine (using my 1917 hand crank Singer 99k) and then I finished it by hand.

The bodice is decorated very simply, mainly due to its small size. I started adding a flounce to it, but it was overwhelming. Instead, I just used a few flowers at the neckline.

The back drape is sewn to the belt, which fastens in front with two hooks and eyes under the rosette.

And at the end of the night, near the end of the gala. The hoop will collapse more nicely, but I sat so it would take up as much space as possible :)

The polished cotton hem facing is also visible. After facing the hem, I bound the bottom with satin bias.

My Costumes
Mid-Nineteenth Century

I'd like to go home!