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item number #SOLD0005-20090207-07

MAGNIFICENT Civil War 1860's Bronze Copper and Cobalt blue CHANGEABLE silk Brocade dress

This is a fabulous example of a Civil War summertime dinner dress made for a married lady (who enjoyed watching heads turn as she walked into a room!) or even a fancy traveling dress. The soft iridescent molten bronzy-copper and cobalt blue, blue-violet silk-satin and taffeta weave brocade in a fan leaf motif shimmers and changes from light to dark as the light changes. There's a heavy weight silk-satin dotted and patterned wide bow at the round neck and matching epaulets across each shoulder, I assume for effect since they are so similar in color. Three blue and rust watered silk grograin bands cross the gathering on the dropped sleeves that make the upper sleeve form-fitting. This original trimming is echoed on the pagoda sleeves which has wrist slits and self piping, displaying white silk taffeta with extra fine snowy ruffled edges. This two piece dress is incredibly lightweight, without boning, and is hand stitched in construction. The skirt is simple and full, with cartridge pleating around the waist and brass hook and eyes for closures. Simple glazed cotton lining. White for the bodice, beige and golden tan on the skirt. The effect is elegant and rich without becoming fussy.


I cannot rave enough about the unbelievable fabric of this dress! Must have been costly at the time, due to the electric colors. I just don't see them like this anymore! There's little to mention here about condition. This novelty silk seems to be mostly in fantastic condition. I noticed one eraser head sized rub hole at one of the waist opening points (where the round waisted bodice and skirt meet there's a tiny amount of wear) and 1" of rubbing near it (see photos). Someone had put the epaulets on the shoulders on at a later time (well done, but they used a sewing machine) and I assume the bow was probably added at that time, but these are both Civil War fabrics also, so it's possible it may have been added not much later (they look to me to have been there for. There's of course, underarm lightening- which is yellowed faded, and discolored moderately (on both sides, and lightly water spotted on the inside, which also has a few age related dark spots with 3-4 very tiny holes in them) with a few slight wearing areas there that haven't become holes. Someone used period trim on a (2 to 2 1/2") area there and I can only guess that they were reenforcing under the arms. I've had this dress for many years (I purchased it from a dealer who had bought it from a museum auction), and when I put the dress on the mannequin, I just now noticed a 8" period mend across the skirt. It's pretty hard to spot due to the busy pattern, so in my opinion, it does not distract. One the fine white silk trim there are a few tiny areas missing from the fine ruffles there. There's a tiny soil spot and a few very minor snagged threads on the skirt. There's also some very minor wearing spots on the hem and some threads there. I also think that the waistband of the skirt was let out at a later time with a similar fabric (perhaps when the epaulets were added?). In all, a great dress that has much life left, and would be fabulous for a collection! Wearable in condition. Could accommodate a fuller bust, made for a petite lady under 5"5."

This item is sold and no longer available.

To reserve or order item, get quotes or ask a question fill out the seller contact form at bottom of page.

dress Brocade silk CHANGEABLE blue Cobalt and Copper Bronze 1860's War Civil MAGNIFICENT

Estimated Current size Approx.:

Unsure about size? Go to the page
SizeShouldersBust WaistEstimated Length from top of shoulder tip to bottom of hemEstimated Wear-abilityEstimated Underarm conditionMaker's Tags/ MarksEstimated condition ratingEstimated overall condition scale of 1-10
Small (2-3)16."30." Max.24" Max.54."Terrific.Underarm discoloringNone.VERY EXCELLENT.9 3/4

To Buy an item (and check on item availability) fill out the Contact Seller form below, and click on the red, "Order / reserve this item" link to contact seller via email to reserve and purchase an item. You can also receive quotes for custom made items, shipping, or, ask a question / send a comment.

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This item is sold and no longer available.

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