1860-1861 Dress

I found this dress while browsing the Costume Institute Collection Database at the Metropolitan Museum of Art website. It’s beautiful!

It’s actually one of my favorite 1860s dresses from museum collections. Why? Well, the color is particularly striking (it looks like it is constructed of peach/champagne shot silk) and the fullness of skirt makes my heart sing (it’s actually even bigger than the hoops under it, which is why it falls in pleats all the way to the hem).

I also really love the trim! The scale of it is perfect for the 1860s, when trimmings occupied a large portion of the expansive skirts. The bertha and sleeves gracefully complement style of the dress, completing the look. The scalloped arrangement of trim on the skirt and the use of pleating to create the trim all add to my high opinion of this dress. Box pleating of this type was frequently used to adorn and trim garments in the 19th century, but this dress uses this trimming style to better effect than some. (There are close up pictures of the trim below.)

Bertha Trimming
Skirt Trimming

I plan on keeping this dress in mind for future 1860s reproduction dress ideas. I think it would be a fun and fabulous dress to wear to a ball!

4 thoughts on “1860-1861 Dress

  1. I am reading some historical novels and, you’re right, I can see a duchess walk into the ballroom wearing this gown. It brings the 1860’s into our reality and gives me a better understanding of that era.

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