Monday, July 19, 2010

1860s Asymmetrical Bodice

My mother, Nancy, recently finished another stunning 1860s dress for herself. She's an amazing seamstress. She taught herself by watching her grandmother sew and practice, practice, practice. Her grandmother left her a large stash of fabrics, and mom sewed clothing for herself just for the practice. Recently she attended her first Genteel Arts sewing class...not that she needed it, I'm sure that she could have figured out the asymmetrical bodice on her own, but purely for the experience and camaraderie with other seamstresses. Her dress turned out lovely!

Here's my mom in her new dress portraying Harriet Lane at President James Buchanan's home, Wheatland, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

When we first started reenacting, Mom made all of our clothing, and she was passionate about doing things the authentic way. She figured that if she was going to do it, she was going to do it the right way. She also wanted to dress authentically out of respect for the others in the reenacting community who devoted so much time and energy perfecting the authenticity of their impressions. I think that a lot of reenactors could learn from this example.

Asymmetrical bodice trimmed with blue glass buttons. Small double point at the bottom center front of the bodice. Stand up collar - like most original asymmetrical bodice dresses. Box pleated skirt.
The back is straight across at the bottom. I think that a point would also look lovely.

Coat sleeves pleated at the back in the armhole with ruffled self-fabric trim down the back of the sleeves.
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  1. I had the pleasure of having your mother's company at that class. She is an amazing seamstress and a wonderful classy lady, who has not problems sharing her wealth of knowledge and does it with grace. I was greatful that she shared that time and her pictures with me.

  2. Wow! What a beautiful dress! and I love the fabric too.

  3. Simply stunning. The fabric is gorgeous. Your mother must be a perfectionist because the dress looks perfect. Truly a labor of love.


  4. Your Mother is a beautiful lady with a wealth of talent, the gown looks perfect!

    Mrs. G


  6. Okay, so I am seriously, major, big time jealous of this dress! Asymmetrical bodice? Awesome! Silk taffeta? Awesome! Plaid silk taffeta? Even better! ;D