1864 Civil War Mourning Gown

A mourning gown had been on my “to sew” list for many years, but I was motivated to finally get it done to wear to the exhibit opening of “Death Becomes Her” a Victorian Mourning Clothes exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  It was done enough to wear there but I am in the process of adding more trimmings and details as I am wont to do…

The smooth line of the fitted bodice emphasizes the small waist with wide shoulders and the width of the hoop.  This effect is emphasized with the cartridge pleated waist.

This gown is made from silk taffeta, self piped,  lined with polished cotton and is hand finished to complete the period look.

  • Mourning gown
  • Machine sewn inner seams
  • Hand finished (hems, edging, hooks and eyes)
mourning back

Photography by Drew Harting

mourning carriage

Photography by Drew Harting


Photography by Drew Harting

Some inspiration images for this gown:

Mourning CW dag

CW Daguerreotype 1862

Here the shine of taffeta and the vertical trimming with buttons up the center front.

CW cartridge pleat and button placket

This extant gown has the bodice darts, coat sleeve, silk taffeta, piping, center front button placket, and cartridge pleating that I chose to copy in my gown.

ruffled trim mourning

This gown has the pleated trim down the back arm seam which I am adding to mine- considering the collar trim…