Here are the rest of the dresses from the recent Civil War women's clothing exhibit at the Lakes Region Historical Museum in Antioch, Illinois. Several people e-mailed me to ask if these were reproduction dresses. They were NOT. All were authentic period pieces dating from the 1850s - 1870s.
The dresses were in remarkably good condition, although some were patched in places. Still . . . . incredibly preserved.
A brilliant purple maternity gown. Love it.
Purple, along with green, was often considered a "fugitive" color and faded to a soft brown over time, which explains the drab colors you see so often in antique quilts from this era. Do any of you with knowledge of fabric know why this dress would have retained its color instead of fading as others did? (see below) I think I remember that it was made from wool instead of cotton or silk and I wondered if that had something to do with it, or - perhaps it was because it was so well preserved and kept away from light? I haven't a clue.
Purple silk fabric faded to a brownish mauve.
You can see the original brilliant purple color underneath the sleeve.
Another faded purple dress -
Here you can see the original color preserved under the layers of trim.
This one below was probably my favorite dress, made from a lovely gauzy material with several additional layers underneath the dress. What amazed me were the details - tiny, tiny stitches all by hand; gathered stitches attaching the bodice to the skirt. Delicate, lace-trimmed removable sleeves. What an awful lot of work went into making these gowns.
Notice the tiny blue acorn buttons on the front of the bodice - how sweet.
Ladies boots. Such tiny feet!
Those removable sleeves again.
Painted glass buttons on this dress front.
You can't see it very well in the photo but the mannequin and the lady in the photo are wearing the same "Medici" belt.
Was this where Wonder Woman got the idea??
A display case showing a "huswife" needle case carried to war by a Civil War soldier. The note next to it read:
"Miss Amy Ingalls of Menominee, Mich, made this needle book just before I left for the war in Aug 1862. Was carried most 3 years. [signed] Homer Stevens"