1840’s Black Embroidered Wool Dress

One of the most distinctive features of dresses from the 1840’s is the use of vertical seaming on the bodice. This dress is an example of that style. The 1840’s saw the rise of vertically oriented styles such as Gothic revival architecture and this is reflected in the clothing. The waistline of this dress is at the natural waist, and the skirts are very full and bell shaped. Hooped petticoats were not worn at this time – instead many layers of stiffened petticoats were worn. They could be stiffened with cord sewn in many rows or with horsehair canvas and crinoline.
This dress is made from a designer wool fabric that was pre-embroidered with the pink flower motifs. It was very expensive when it first came out, but to my good fortune a bolt of it ended up on the clearance rack, and this dress was the result. I have learned over the years never to pass up a really spectacular piece of fabric – grab it and run with it! The dress is piped with pink silk, the neckline is trimmed with matching pink and black jacquard ribbon and lace.  It was made with the Period Impressions 1845 Day Dress pattern.