Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Historical Sew Monthly 2015 #4: 1860s Mourning dress and bonnet

The Challenge for April is War & Peace.

What the item is (and how it is a product of war or a lengthy period of peace): 1860s Mourning dress and bonnet.

My choice for the challenge refers to the 1863-1864 Uprising in Belarus (that's my country). Here some historical information:

“After the Partitions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (Rzeczpospolita) – a federative state which from 1569 included the Kingdom of Poland (present-day Poland and Ukraine) and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (present-day Belarus, Lithuania, part of Latvia), executed in 1772, 1793 and 1795 by Austria, Prussia and Russia – Belarusian lands became part of the Russian Empire”. (http://archives.gov.by/eng/index.php?id=434588
The January Uprising (Polish: powstanie styczniowe, Lithuanian: 1863 m. sukilimas, Belarusian: Паўстанне 1863-1864 гадоў) was an uprising in the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (present-day Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, Latvia, parts of Ukraine, and western Russia) against the Russian Empire. It began on 22 January 1863 and lasted until the last insurgents were captured in 1864”.

According to memoirs of contemporaries during the Uprising and after it's suppression the vast majority of women wore mourning dresses, bright colors were rare and even condemned by public opinion. That's was not only because almost every family lost someone, but also in solidarity with the men who were fighting and as a sign of mourning for the country.

The idea of creating such costume came to me more than a year ago. But the work moved very slowly. So April challenge was a great impetus to finish the project.

The Challenge: War & Peace

Fabric: 2 types of cotton for dress and 1 more for undersleeves and bonnet

Pattern: I made it myself using guidance from Janet Arnold and Norah Waugh

Year: 1860s

Notions: Cotton fringe trimming (10m), vintage lace for collar, cotton thread, spiral steel boning (1,1 m), boning tips (10 pcs), plastic buttons (were covered with fabric), some other stashed materials for bonnet.

How historically accurate is it? It's very close. The pattern is correct, most of the materials are correct too.

Hours to complete: 40-45 hours

First worn: On the1st of May for making photos

Total cost: About 95 USD.

And some more photos:

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