Dressing like a Civil War Woman: The Order of Clothing

There can be a bit of confusion of all the various items one should wear when dressing as a 1860’s lady, and in what order all of these items belong. I have created a picture tutorial of what I humbly think (based on research and practicality) the order of events should be when dressing. Hope this helps!
Step One:
Put on stockings and garters.
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Step Two:
Put on chemise and corset. Lace up corset as tight as you can but make sure you still feel comfortable and can breathe normally.
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Step Three:
Do your hair. I find that this is the best point to create one’s hairstyle. This way you have the basic foundation of clothing on, yet you can still move fairly easily.
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Step Four:
Put on your pantaloons and tuck your chemise in. Some people but their pantaloons on underneath the corset…it is your choice.
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Step Five:
Put on a modesty petticoat. The modesty petticoat is not as long or as full as a regular petticoat and is designed to protect you should your hoopskirt go flying about! I find this piece to be rather annoying but needed. If you are going to be outside during the winter, I would make this petticoat out of quilted flannel for warmth.
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Step Six:
Put on your shoes and your hoopskirt…in that order…this way you can still reach your feet easily.
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Step Seven:
Put on your over petticoat.
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Step Eight:
Put on a corset cover if needed. If your gown is of light or see through material, a corset cover is a must!
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Step Nine:
Finally…put on your lovely dress of choice!
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P.S. This dress is the completed (well, almost completed) blue and white Day Dress. All that is needed is the front hook and eye closures down the front.

Step Ten:
Put on jewelry, accessories, and hat! Now you are ready to go out after these ten easy (ok…well maybe not easy) steps.
Oh and here is a close up of my new shoes!!! Love them!
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Hope this helps in your effort to put together the perfect Civil War outfit!!

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1860’s Blue Floral Day Dress

Last week I decided to make a new curtain for one of the doorways that is in my sewing studio. I went to the fabric store and found this beautiful white fabric with blue roses scattered all over it! I loved it and made the curtain. Well, I had about a yard and a half left over and realized how beautiful this fabric would look as a dress. I proceeded to quickly make up a bodice of the leftover fabric and was very pleased with how it turned out…so pleased, in fact, that I ran back to the fabric store and picked up another six yards to complete the dress.

For this gown I am using the Peachtree Mercantile Pattern #206. I love this company and this pattern because the pattern pieces are sturdy, clearly marked, and color coded. In addition, the pattern comes with a beautifully spiraled booklet with instructions and backnotes.
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I followed the pattern exactly (which is rare…I usually tweak something) and have completed the bodice. I have made this pattern many times before and am always pleased with how it turns out.
For the following pictures I just draped fabric down the front so one could see how it would look with the skirt.
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Don’t you just love the horseshoe cuffs?

Oh and the few items I ordered for my reenactment came in the other day!
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I purchased all these items at Abraham’s Lady. I have shopped there before (not only online but also in her brick and mortar shop) and am always pleased.
I am still waiting for my new shoes…which I am rather excited about…they are cream!!!
Alright, well have a wonderful Sunday!


1860’s Corset Cover

I realized that after I tried on my white bodice, one could see my corset. How scandalous! So I decided to create a corset cover. I didn’t feel like paying money for a pattern and I was confident I could create one on my own. I did some research and found several pictures for inspiration.
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All three covers have darts in the front for a tight fight, a scooped neckline, and trim. With these images in mind, I went through my collection of patterns and decided to use Period Impression Pattern 450. This pattern in for a Day Dress, however the bodice pieces are wonderful for a variety of purposes. All I did was add three inches in length to the pattern. I assembled the back, side, and front pieces (made out of white muslin) and then fitted it on my dressform over my chemise and corset. This part is important so you can get a really tight and accurate fit. I pinned the darts and then sewed them.

Once I had the correct fit, I then cut out a scooped neckline and hemmed it. I know that the above covers have a very wide neckline, but I do not like the feeling of straps or clothing items falling down my shoulders, so I made sure to leave a pretty wide shoulder strap. I also decided not to do sleeves since my chemise already has sleeves and I didn’t want so much material around my arm. I added five buttons down the front, hemmed the bottom and armholes. And for a little girly finish I attached a lace trim around the armholes. Overall, I am very pleased with how it turned out!
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Next up on my sewing list: Drawers!! Stay tuned!


1860’s Twist with Bun

Alright…well after four hairstyles (some more successful than others) I have opted to go with the following:

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It is basically a center part with the sides rolled and pinned until you reach the back of the head. The remaining hair is then twisted into a bun.

And why did I pick this hairstyle? Because all the other ones had the front hair flat against my face and I looked…well…odd. I like to have my hair full and the twists from this hairstyle allow a bit more volume around the face which I feel help me feel more comfortable.
Sooo there we go…I finally have a hairstyle! I do hope that these styles have been helpful!


1860’s Braid and Twist Hairstyle

Well I did try to create the hairstyle from the picture..
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…and it was rather hard. My hair is just a few inches too short for this look. I still went ahead and took pictures so for those of you out there who have long enough hair can try it!
Soooo for this look you will need: pins, hair ties, and a comb.

Start with hair down and parted in the middle.
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Then pin the front sections of your hair behind your ears to give the front a smooth look. Try your best to keep this whole look as smooth as possible. I had some teasing in my hair and as a result, my hair isn’t as smooth as it should be!

Then make two medium size braids on either side of your hair and secure with hair ties.
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Attach each braid over the top of your head with pins. Eventually you can pull off the hair ties and then secure the ends under the braids. This is where my hair just isn’t quite long enough.
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Then take the rest of your hair and create twists or buns. Secure with pins and then insert decorative hair combs!
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Since my hair isn’t long enough for this hairstyle I am going to try one more to see if I can find one I like!Enjoy your weekend!!


Reenactment Inspiration

When you suffer from O.C.D., it is easy to see how one can become consumed with one’s hobby. Now I’m not trying to say that I am some kind of nutcase who can’t do anything else but think about reenactment clothing (although it is kind of close to the truth) but I have been struggling trying to find the right look for my next reenactment. I am a perfectionist…and I am a stickler for authenticity. I like to have an idea in my head of who I am trying to interpret and why. I have a rather stressful “real job” and I use this outlet to “forget” about life for a while and pretend I am someone else…if only for a few hours.
So when it comes to creating the perfect ensemble I have to make sure that all parts of my outfit are ready. So here is my so far completed checklist:
Undergarments: Check! See 1860’s Corset for the picture!
Petticoats and Hoop Skirt: Check!
Drawers: Not yet….
Outfit: uhhhhhhhh……nope
Hat: uhhhhhhhh… double nope
Hair: ummmmmm…I think you can see where this is going. I’m getting there…

Well, on my nightly search through pinterest…I came across this picture.
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Don’t ask my why, but she spoke to me. I saw her and her outfit and thought “Bingo!” Love her hair, love her earrings, love her outfit….pretty much love everything. Soooo now comes the fun task of trying to recreate this look!!!
Oh so since the picture doesn’t show her hat…..what do you think? Straw? Spoon bonnet? Let me know!!!


1860’s Corset

Well for the reenactment I am attending in August I needed to make a new corset. I wanted something that was a bit more secure and more durable. I used the Past Patterns Mid-Century Stays for this corset and am very pleased with how it turned out.
Here’s what I did…
I first cut out the pieces using a medium weight, white cotton and transfered all markings.
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Then I put in all the gores…which took quite a while. I also made sure to topstitch all the seams as well.
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I then put together the lining with the face pieces and made the casings for the busk and stays. I also made the eyelets for the back lacing.
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I used shoelace string..about five yards worth…to lace up the back.
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And voila…a corset!
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I do have a few things to tweak on the bust gores…but overall it came out great! OH and I did finish the brown and tan gown! This picture is very dark but in person it looks great! Its now for sale on my Etsy shop!
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Have a great rest of your day!!


Fort Niagara French and Indian War Reenactment

Well apart from the mugginess and occasional downpour, the reenactment at Old Fort Niagara was wonderful! There were so many different battles and activities going on as well as many sutlers to visit. My two favorite being Smoke and Fire and Smiling Fox. I so enjoyed myself that I am debating about getting involved in this time period for reenacting. I have always just done Civil War, however I thoroughly enjoyed reliving the history and costume of the 1750’s. Something to definitely think about!
Here are a few pictures. It was really muggy and cloudy out, so the pictures turned out a little drab.
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If you want to visit this amazing fort check out their website for future events! www.oldfortniagara.org

As for shopping I got surprisingly little. Although the conversations I was able to have with the sutlers was wonderful!
Here is what I did pick up…
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The beeswax heart is wonderful for strengthening thread and reducing the amount of knots. I usually use the wax when I do buttonholes. All you do is take the thread and drag it over the wax.
The stork scissors are just cute and perfect for reenactments and clipping those tiny threads.
The stays I picked up for my new corset I am going to be making this week.
To get any of these items or to see what else they have to sell check out these sutlers!
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Smoke and FireIf you do 1700’s reenactments please let me know! I would love to hear what from you!