Thursday, September 4, 2014

Civil War Dresses, Part 1

Last weekend I attended one of the best local museum exhibits I've seen in a long time. The Lakes Region Historical  Society in Antioch, Illinois, had an exhibit on Civil War era dresses ranging from the 1850s through the 1870s. They were all absolutely stunning.





From fancy silk gowns  . . . 


. . . to cotton day dresses.




It was so much fun to see these up close and take notice of all of the hand stitching on the various garments. I took so many photos that this topic will be continued in part two, which I'll post in a couple of days. 



Civil War wrapper, worn exclusively at home, in the mornings.


Wrapper over a dressing gown


Love the strip cut on the bias for a little contrast. Today, we turn fabric under to hem a skirt. In those days, hems were bound by a long strip of fabric that could be removed and replaced if the hem wore out. 


I learned that some aprons were decorative and  also fashion accessories, instead of simple work aprons.









  
A young woman's fancy dance dress. It was inappropriate for a woman to show her arms before evening.




A wonderful display of an amazing collection.

I found out about the exhibit by chance, only one day before it ended. What luck. After I talked to the curator, she said the response had been great and they may extend it through this coming weekend, until Sept 7, 2014.  If you live in the northern Illinois or even southern Wisconsin area and love this time period, I urge you to go see it. Call first to make sure it's still open. Then grab a friend and make the drive (it took us an hour to get there). It is so worth it and you won't be disappointed. Make sure you take the informative "tour" given by curator Ainsley Brook Wonderling. The dresses are all a part of her extensive and beautiful collection of 19th century artifacts. 





                                   







32 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful and interesting exhibit. You are so lucky that you got to see it. I so enjoy historical society exhibits. The one in our county is very active. Love to visit on a rainy day when I can take my time and wonder thru.

Linda in IN

Janet O. said...

Fascinating. I love seeing these! I used to volunteer at a local historical center and I have made many a cotton day dress from authentic patterns to wear during my time there.

Donna K. from N. Texas said...

Lovely exhibit. Glad you discovered it in time.

stephanie said...

wonderfull

Ronnie said...

Very interesting, thank you for sharing!

Liz said...

Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos. The dresses look a lot like the quilt fabrics in my stash.

Martine said...

Wonderful dresses. Must be great to try one and to look in the mirror.

quiltgrannie said...

Looks like you had a fun day Kathy, I would have loved to see those beautiful dresses. Can you imagine having to wear one though. UUUGGGHHH!!

Ann in PA said...

Wonderful exhibit! Thank you for sharing all the great photos...next best thing to being there in person.

Sheri in Iowa said...

This looks wonderful....wish I was closer, would love to see this. I am sure the pics don't do them justice either.....so hard to capture the details. Thanks for sharing, Kathy!

Donna~~ said...

Thanks so much for sharing the photos. I live far away, but such a wonderful collection. How lucky you found out about it in time.

Susan said...

Amazing! I can't imagine what it would be like to see these dresses up close and in person!

Nancy said...

I so enjoyed these pictures! I came into a similar situation this week.
Learned on Sunday evening via Facebook, that some of the Gees Bend quilts are on display in the Searsport, Maine museum til Sept. 7 and was able to visit the exhibit on Tuesday. There is a Fiber College each year at the local Campground and 3 of the Gees Bend ladies are there giving classes. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to make arrangements for any of those.

Leeanne said...

That sure looks like one to visit!

Judymc said...

Such beautiful fashions!

Rose said...

Fabulous photos! Thank you for sharing them. I am reading about the women of the civil war at the moment so this is a real treat.

Granny's Button Box said...

Fabulously frocks, the colours are beautiful but so glad that cumbersome clothes are not in fashion now. Thank you for sharing with us. Sharon x

Jennifer M said...

Truly amazing! Wonderful, worthwhile exhibit. Anxious to see the second part. Thank you so much for sharing, lucky you to have seen up close and in person:))

Sue Bennett said...

Fabulous wear. The dresses are truely works of art. I think I could have lived in that era and with the hats.

Mary said...

They are amazing garments. I would love to have seen the exhibit but live to far away. Thank you for sharing.
Looking forward to part 2,

Karen said...

Thank you for sharing these wonderful pics with us. That would have been so interesting to see.

Shuttle, Hook and Needle said...

Amazing exhibit. I can't imagine wearing one of those dresses and having a hot flash! I guess that is why fainting couches were invented.

hookedonquilting said...

What a wonderful exhibit! Living in the south, and in a house that was partly built in the 1850's, I cannot imagine how hot, and no doubt miserable, it must have been having to wear all that fabric every day during the summer months. Even with AC this old house still gets uncomfortable when the humidity is high. I'm sure they were glad for all their layers in the winter, but summers must have been terrible.

Milah Frost said...

Is this a traveling exhibit? If so, where can I find their schedule?

Kathleen Tracy said...

No - see the link on the blog for museum info.

Anonymous said...

Sharon Friday Sept. 5,2014 Thank you for the wonderful display Kathleen! They are beautiful! To see prints we are using today for things. The reproduction of prints are so good.
I look forward to your blog. You always have intrresting things to tell us. Love your books too. I have most of them.

kshackabq said...

Oh my. Thank you for showing us this!

Anonymous said...

Kathy, please take a look at Bonnie Hunters blog Quips and Snips dated 9-5-14., There is a fascinating story about the David Davis Mansion in Bloomington Ill and at the end is a video showing the "tea ladies" dressing a mannequin in a period wedding dress of the family. you will love it! Carolyn Barnett PS. Love your blog stories!!!!!

gloryquilts said...

I am so sorry I missed this - Antioch isn't far at all! Do you know where it was going next?

Kathleen Tracy said...

The exhibit was a part of this particular museum's collection and does not travel as far as I know. They are doing this again next year with different dresses and I will post something on my FB page when I find out the dates.

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Qnique Quilter said...

We absolutely love your design. How long did you take to make it. Did you use a quilting machine like the Qnique Quilter or blockrockit?

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