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Mary Boykin Chesnut 1840 - 1870 Bodice and Gown

  • 1860s updates included
  • Historical notes
  • Notions
  • Yardage
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Product Description

This dress is a fine example of both the 18th century fabric being reused to create a stylish 1840s gown — a very popular fashion trend in the 1840s — and then the gown itself being updated and adapted to the ever changing fashionable silhouette during Mary Boykin Chesnut’s life time.

A quick summation of the alterations timeline:

1770s: brocade woven, first dress probably made.
1840s: 18th c dress taken apart and remade in 1840s style, probably with short fitted sleeves and narrow detachable sleeves.
1861-65: Skirt removed and re-pleated closer to 1860s style with flat stacked pleats; sleeves removed and puffed short sleeves substituted.
1867-70: detachable sleeves have ruching added for size and style update.
2017: Conservation of the gown to stabilize the textile. Funded by the South Carolina Chapter of the National Society of Colonial Dames.

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