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Evening Dress of the Civil War Era

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Godey’s, October 1859

Evening Dress

In selecting one of the newest and prettiest dresses of the season for illustration, we have been influenced by its simplicity of style and taste. To be appreciated, it must be seen in contrast with those which are loaded with ornament. This dress is made in pink tarleton. It has a double skirt; the upper one is looped up with large bows of black velvet ribbon. The body is made round at the bottom, and finished with a draping of folds at the top. The sleeve is peculiar; it consists of a broad fold of the tarleton, plaited into the armhole, surmounted by an epaulette in black velvet, not compressed down to the arm, but adapting itself to the spread of the folds of the tarleton. Under all is a short, full sleeve, of sheer, white tarleton, which produces the best effect by the relief which it affords. The same dress is also made in white tarleton, having rows of white satin ribbon and white satin epaulette. This very pretty fabric has a peculiar advantage for evening wear, as it lights up remarkably well.

(Page 17)

Godey’s, October 1859

Cutting Diagram of Evening Dress

(Page 18)

Fashions for January.

Fig. I. -Evening-dress of White Tulle, trimmed with eleven narrow tulle flounces, edged with blonde and narrow currant-colored velvet. A tunic of spotted tulle is trimmed with a broader velvet, a long wreath of velvet flowers, and a large bow of velvet ribbon. The sleeves and the berthe, which is of a heart shape, are trimmed to correspond with the skirt. Wreath of green leaves and velvet flowers.
Fig. II. -Evening-dress of White Crape. -The edge of the lower skirt is ornamented with a blue ribbon quilling. The upper skirt is festooned on one side with a large blue rosette. Blue satin opera cloak, trimmed with heavy cords and tassels, and bands of swan's-down. Cleopatra wreath.

Petersen's Magazine
January 1860
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(Page 22)

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Description of Steel Fashion-Plate for February.

Fig. 1. -Evening-dress of white silk, with two skirts; the lower one has a flounce of lace, headed by a puffing of silk, caught at intervals with sprays of crimson salvia; the upper skirt is in longitudinal puffs, finished in the same manner; puffed and pointed corsage trimmed with salvia; round wreath of the same for the hair.
Fig. 2 -Evening-dress of sore-colored silk; the lower skirt trimmed with four straight flounces, or single folds of the silk, edged by a shell rouche of the same; the upper skirt has corresponding volantes arranged as a tunic to the right; low pointed corsage, with Grecian folds, trimmed by a flounce and heading of lace, the fall is crossed at the bouquet de corsage, and is continued in graceful lapels. Round wreath of blush roses without foliage, as in bouquet de corsage.
Fig. 3 -Dress for the opera. Material, gray moire, with ribbons of deep bright crimson sewn on flat. Opera cloak of white cashmere, trimmed by several rows of swan's-down; Olga sleeve, and graceful hood with tassel.
Fig. 4 -Evening-dress of white silk, with triple flounces, very deep; under each flounce of white appears an alternating flounce of blue; the drapery of the corsage and the sleeves has the same feature. Wreath of blue convolvulus, with foliage and tendrils.

February 1860
(Page 24)

Fashions for July.

Fig. 1 - DINNER DRESS OF WHITE EMBROIDERED MUSLIN, WITH THREE FLOUNCES; below each flounce is a plating of green ribbon. The sleeves and cape are trimmed to correspond with the skirt of the dress. Sash of green and white ribbon. Head-dress of green and white ribbon loops.
Fig. 2 - EVENING DRESS OF WHITE SILK. - The bottom of the skirt is finished with a puffing of white tulle. A white tulle dress is worn over the silk, and has two black lace flounces, each headed with a quilling of pink ribbon. The lower flounce is put on in festoons, in each of which is a medallion, composed of pink ribbon quillings and black lace, pink ribbon, and tulle. head-dress of black velvet loops and ends, pink roses and black lace.

Peterson’s magazine
July 1860
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(Page 36)


Dress of clear muslin, worn over a slip of clear silk, having the corsage low, and en cœur in front, demi-low at the back, and short sleeves. The corsage of the dress has the right side crossed over the left, and it has revers in the shawl form, lined with green silk and trimmed with narrow lace. The corsage is rather short-wasted, not pointed. Ceinture of green ribbon, with flowing ends, fastened in a bow on one side. The sleeves consist of four puffs of muslin, separated by rows of green ribbon. The lowest puff is finished by a band of green ribbon, beneath which is a frill of white lace. In the inner part of the arm, a row of green ribbon passes up the whole length of the sleeve.

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The skirt is full and gathered in at the waist. A full and deep flounce, surmounted and edged by a bouillonné and a narrow flounce, trims the lower part of the skirt at the back and sides. The two ends of this flounce, gradually diminishing in depth and fullness, pass up each side of the front as far as the waist. between them is a space, forming a tablier front, trimmed at the lower part with six narrow flounces, edged with green ribbon, and disposed in the form of a festoon.

Godey’s Lady’s Book, September 1860
(Page 40)

Fashions for July.

Fig. 1 - Evening Dress of light Blue silk. - The skirt is made quite plain, and the body low with short sleeves. A cape of figure lace and short puffed sleeves to correspond, complete this charming costume. The head-dress is composed of a wreath of blue, and blue velvet and silver cord.
Fig. 2 - Evening Dress of white muslin. - The skirt has one deep flounce, with a narrow ruffle as a heading. The body and sleeves are composed of fine tucks or plaits, and are finished with a narrow Valenciennes edging. The braces, sash, and pointed belt are of black velvet, trimmed with a gold braid. head-dress of black lace and flowers completes the costume.

Peterson’s magazine
July 1861
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(Page 51)

Fashions for July.

Fig. 1 - Evening Dress of White Barege, trimmed with two rows of black guipure lace. Bournouse of white barege trimmed like the dress.
Fig. 2 - Evening Dress of Pink Grenadine.-The skirt is trimmed with puffings of grenadine, lengthwise of the skirt, edged with narrow white blonde. Sleeve reaching to a little below the elbow, made quite wide. The body is pointed both back and front, and has a square trimming of puffed grenadine.

Peterson’s magazine
July 1862
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(Page 65)

WHITE HIGH BODICES FOR EVENING WEAR are now displayed in great variety, and many of them are very tastefully arranged. The most novel are those which simulate a high and low bodice in one; the top being composed of plain organdy muslin, and the lower part of straps of embroidered muslin insertion, and Valenciennes lace laid on so as to give the appearance of a low bodice; These are generally finished off round the shoulders and throat with Valenciennes lace, and at the waist with a Swiss band in black velvet or taffetas. Lace tuckers are still composed principally of Valenciennes lace and tulle illusion. As low bodices are now cut so low as to require very wide tuckers, puffings of tulle and clusters of small loops of the narrowest ribbon velvet, placed at equal distances, are necessary, as well as the Valenciennes edging. The black velvet, which is introduced into the edging to hold the tucker in, should be tied in the front as well as the back; by doing so, the tucker will set more evenly and securely.

Fashions for July.

Fig. IV.—Evening Dress of White Organdie, figured with green leaves. The skirt has two ruffles around the bottom, the upper one passing up the right side of the dress in the tunic shape. Short puffed sleeves, and berthe of the same material as the dress. Green grasses and roses in the hair.

Peterson’s magazine
July 1863
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(Page 74)

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