Author Archives: Alice

Kitty’s Dress


Kitty’s dress is finished! The cotton fabric is a blue, green, and brown print of birds, leaves, flowers, and branches on an ivory ground. It has brown cotton epaulets at the shoulders, matching brown piping at the sleeve hems, and brown fabric covered buttons. The collar is an antique ivory lace collar from my collection.

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Dress Making Part 1


For the mother’s dress, I first made a test of the bodice and sleeves in some spare fabric similar in weight and weave to the final fabric. Even though Kitty’s corset hadn’t arrived yet, we were able to test the bodice fit by having her try it on with a similar corset and her chemise on. I was able to tell that the fit through shoulders and neck worked well. I’ll make the final bodice able to have fine tuning adjustments made to the waist when we have her corset.

Continue reading

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What Boys Wore


“Farm boys or town apprentices wore heavy, coarse, durable fabrics that could withstand the hard daily labor. Jackets and pants were made from denim or canvas. Children during the Civil War also wore cotton shirts, woolen vests (in cool weather), and suspenders (not belts) to hold up their pants. Wide-brimmed straw hats protected outdoor laborers from the sun.  Continue reading

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Boy’s Patterns

Boy’s band collar shirt pattern from Abraham’s Lady  Continue reading

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Audiobooks, Podcasts, & More

I’ve been enjoying listening to learn more about the people, events, changes and challenges both large and small before, during, and after the Civil War. Here are some Audiobooks and Podcasts I recommend:

Yale University Open Course on iTunes U  Continue reading

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Corded Petticoats

Antique 1840's corded petticoat from

Antique 1840’s corded petticoat from
This petticoat has a drawstring waist with 10 rows of cording at the hem and 13 rows spaced further apart (2.5″ apart?)

“From the late 1820s through to the 1860s, there was a structural undergarment that was required in order to get the “proper” bell-shape to your skirt: the Corded Petticoat. It came into fashion right after the Regency era when the waist line was slowly dropping and before the American Civil War when hoop skirts were commonly used.” ~ Jennifer Rosbrugh in 5 questions about corded petticoats at  Continue reading

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Sewing Supported the Civil War

Needle and thread were important tools for women in supporting and giving comfort to soldiers. The last gift a mother, wife, or other female relative often gave to a departing soldier was a sewing kit, called a “housewife”, that they made for him to carry to repair his uniform. Women gathered in church halls and parlors to sew the vast quantities of bed shirts and linens needed for the wounded. The work likely gave them some solace and a chance to share news as they gathered to work. Read more in Ardeana Hamlin’s article at Bangor Daily News.


“Women contributed to the war effort in innumerable ways. Women’s domestic work, including sewing, took on new meaning when their labors were destined to assist soldiers.”  Selection from “The Influence of Woman”, Harper’s Weekly, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries
Link to online archive of the exhibition “Women on the Border: Maryland Perspectives of the Civil War”.

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Victorian Hair Art : A Curious Way To Mourn

Victorian Hair Earrings from ebay

Victorian Hair Earrings

Victorian Hair Earrings

Victorian Hair Art : A Curious Way To Mourn.

Victorian Hair Jewelry and Mourning Jewelry

Memories, Mourning, and Craft: Hair in Jewelry and Art

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1865 Met Museum Derby

1865 Met Museum Derby

1865 Met Museum Derby


Date: ca. 1865         Culture:British           Medium:Wool, silk

Credit Line:Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Ethel Paxton, 1950

Link: 1865 Derby Hat at Metropolitan Museum of Art

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1830’s to 1840’s Corded Petticoat

Left: 1830s Petticoat from Kyoto Costume Institute’s “Fashion”
Center: 1840s-1850s petticoat sold at Karen Augusta’s site
Right: 1830s petticoat that was sold on eBay a while back

from Historically with how to make instructions by Jennifer E. Lithgow

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