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Civilian Impression Workshop
Next Workshop:  TENTATIVE DATE:  MARCH 14, 2010, at 2:00 pm, at the Lodge
(No February meeting due to Battle of Olustee- see you at the event!)

• Bookshelf • Tidbits •

The Well Dressed Woman

Victorian era: 1830s, 1840s, 1850s, 1860s, 1870s, 1880s, 1890s.

I Wonder What’s Under There?    ~    Underpinnings Uncovered


Underpinnings - Undergarments:

- Chemise or 'shimmies,' refers to the classic smock or shift, worn next to the skin to protect clothing from sweat and body oils, worn under the corset and petticoats. Generally, they were calf-length.

- Chemisette (from French, "little chemise") worn to fill in the front and neckline of any garment, made of linen or cotton, often worn with day dresses and decorated with tucks, embroidery (especially whitework), or lace, often with matching false under sleeves.

- Sleeves, false Under sleeves (aka engageantes)

- Pantaloons (plural only; not used in singular form) Pantalettes: could be one-piece or two separate garments, one for each leg, attached at the waist with buttons or laces, (are undergarments covering the legs worn by women, girls, and very young boys (before they were breeched), worn to just below the knee, originated in France in the early 19th century, ankle-lengths for women are worn under the crinoline and hoop skirt to ensure that the legs are modestly covered, for children and young girls - mid-calf to ankle-length and are intended to show under their shorter skirts.

- Corsets: Canvas or Cotton, are essential in achieving the period silhouette.

- Camisoles (corset cover - like a sleeveless shirt)

- Hoop skirt

- Petticoats: Under and Over (sometimes with ruffles) the hoop

- Stockings, Garters, Shoes, Slippers


Text Box: … that clothing was, after all, a practical issue to shield the wearer from the elements while covering the body for modesty's sake.



- Gloves, Mitts: Mitts are a cloth covering the hand and separate the thumb from the other four fingers.

- Fans (Cupid’s Weapon)

- Handkerchiefs (most common) about 18” square

- Jewelry: Broach, Victorian Jewelry made of Hair, Pocket watch

- Waist Belts and sashes

- Parasols and umbrellas

Springtime Victorian Tea Party

Women's fashion was highly influenced by Queen Victoria of England.

Ladies Garments 1861 to 1865

Text Box: 19th Century Garments are cut with a drop shoulder seam, giving a fuller, larger look and a slightly snug feeling in the upper arm.  These garments are made with the shoulder & side seams more to the back.




- Dress (also frock, gown, a one-piece garment, a skirt with an attached bodice): Day dress, Fancy dress, Ball Gowns

- Waist (blouse)

- Bodice - The bodice of a dress was called the corsage in the nineteenth century, it covers the body from the neck to the waist, distinguished from the skirt and sleeves (“day” bodice: long-sleeved with high neckline and an “evening” bodice: very short sleeves with low-neckline (decollete): Gathered, Darted, Semi-formal or "Tea," Ball Gown

- Skirts could be looped or drawn up by means of tapes over a shorter petticoat.

- Summer Capellette - a “circular mantle, very lightweight unlined cape

- Embroidery, Lace, Tatting & Other Embellishments

Hair Styles & Headdresses:

- Hair (was worn parted in the middle and smoothed, waved, or poofed over the ears, then braided or "turned up" and pinned into roll or low bun at the back of the neck): Hair combs, pins, floral, fabric, lace.

- Hairnets: Plain, Crocheted, or Fancy w/ Glass Beads (aka known as Snoods) some made of very fine material to match the wearer's natural hair color, but occasionally more elaborate versions were made of thin strips of velvet or chenille (sometimes decorated with beads, some were edged with ruchings of ribbon that would serve to adorn the crown of the wearer's head.).

- Hats: Glengarry, low crown

Reticules, Poke: Crocheted, fabric

Text Box: CDVs (era photographs) and other sources indicate that the single most common item of clothing for women regardless of age or socioeconomic status was the one-piece dress.




(Victoria Rumble)Text Box:  . . . publications such as Godey's or Peterson's, yet the photographs) do not bear witness to the lavish gowns featured in these publications having been routinely worn.
                                                Olindia B. Bell, Ft. Walton Beach, FL