To all who mourn in Israel, He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory. Isaiah 61:3

Monday, June 3, 2013

1863 Second Mourning Gown

This year two things are occurring.  One is Idaho is celebrating 150 years as a Territory (signed into being by President Lincoln.) Two, I am going to Costume College with my dearest friend Josie.  What better excuse do I have (like I need one) to make an 1863 second mourning dress?  Ha!  I love that!  One of my costuming goals is to make a mourning dress (in whatever stage) from every silhouette stage from Regency to 1920s.  I have a half mourning bustle and the skirt of a Natural Form Era.  Now I will have a hoop!!!  

I truly love the simplicity of the American Civil War era mourning dresses.  They literally scream mourning, what with the absence of pleating, puffs, ruching, draping and all of the trappings from the eras that followed these years.  There are so many CDVs and Cabinet cards from this period in time to gather inspiration from, but my favorite inspiration comes from the movie North and South.  This mini series based on the book by Elizabeth Gaskell is so....just....sigh....fabulous.  There are so many "squee" moments in the movie that it has become one of my main stays when I need a dose of romance.  The costumes are wonderful, the actors beautiful and the story, after all of the sadness and trials, actually has a happy ending.  Yeah Margaret and John!!!

Even though the story is not set in 1863, I still use it for my bell skirt inspiration.  Margaret is just so beautiful in her mourning dress and bonnet.

Here is Margaret after leaving the Thornton residence after her father dies...Her alabaster skin set against the black of her dress and bonnet is just stunning.

I am choosing half mourning for my dress as I really like the white set against the black.  It is a lovely contrast....

Margaret's lace collar is beautiful.

A CDV of Mary Todd Lincoln.  I'm pretty sure it is mourning, and I like the Pagoda sleeves, leaving an opening for lovely white undersleeves....

Another mourning photo of what looks like a Mama and little one.  Pretty sure this one if mourning as well as the little girl has mourning bows on her dress.  I like how the dress of the lady has a texture to it.  Again, she is sporting Pagoda sleeves.  I like her lace collar.  Very lovely image.

Well, after much research, I am ready to start my adventure into 1863 half mourning!!!


  1. I love that white lace collar! I need to get my hands on something like that!