Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Pink Sheer 1860s Dress


1860s sheer dresses are one of my favorite styles, so when this fabric became available, I knew I needed to make this dress. I've worn it twice, once to a local reenactment, and the second time to visit my friend Sarah in Montana.

The dress is made from my 1860s block. The bodice is lined with cotton sateen. The sleeves are unlined, except for sleeve caps and undersleeves, and the skirt is unlined as well. The skirt has a pocket, made of white cotton, that blends in with the white petticoat and doesn't show through the sheer fabric. My bonnet is a straw bonnet from Timely Tresses that I trimmed myself.

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I'm wearing the dress over a chemise, my red 1860s corset, hoop from the Needle and Thread kit, and a petticoat.

Though it looks like it has a pleated trim around the bottom of the skirt, that's really just the effect of the pattern of the sheer fabric without the petticoat shadowing through.

Pink Sheer Dress

The first time I wore the dress, I wore a spoon bonnet that I made from the Miller's Millinery spoon bonnet pattern. It's made of buckram, millinery wire, mulled with cotton flannel, and covered in silk taffeta.

The undersleeves for this dress are made of cotton net with box pleated cotton net trim at the ends. They're basted into the short sleeve cap linings.


My shoes are Robert Land's walking shoes, and are incredibly comfortable. My garters are based on the Workwoman's Guide pattern and are just a strip of knitting in garter stitch with a loop on one end to fasten them.

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One common misconception about historic clothes is that it's difficult to do things in them. I've always found that, in well-fitted clothes, this really isn't the case. As an example, I found it quite easy to climb a ladder in this dress. We were staying in a cabin, and I had the loft room. It was quite cozy :)


And though I have no construction pictures, I do have a picture of the open dress! It was quite hot, so when we were waiting for the train back from Nevada City, MT, to Virginia City, I loosened my dress. You can see the center front opening and the side opening on the skirt.


  1. It's a beautiful dress. You know how beautiful? I dreamt about it. In that dream, it was on a mannequin, in a museum photo, and I was thinking, "Oh, so that's where she got it from! She did a great job!"
    I love how floaty that fabric is, and how well that works with this otherwise stiff silhouette.

  2. What a lovely sheer gown! That fabric is beautiful! :) What circumference is your hoop? It looks nice and full, without being unmanageably huge.

  3. I absolutely love the pink dress ensemble! Really wishing I knew how to sew right now, so I could make lovely 1860s dresses of my own.

  4. Hi, I'm curious to know which pattern you used for this dress ? :) Thanks a lot !

  5. Koshka,
    I've been looking to make my own sheer, floral print gown. Any idea where I might find some good fabric options?

  6. Koshka,
    I've been looking to make my own sheer, floral print gown. Any idea where I might find some good fabric options?

  7. This is such a gorgeous fabric. Sadly the link in your post is broken. Do you happen to recall where you found it? Thank you!