1870 Seaside Dress (Part I)

Part I – Skirt

Part II – Bodice and Apron

Part III – Details, Supports, and Accessories

I’m preparing to spend my summer researching and interpreting a historic site for the years 1865-1875. What better way to do that than make a massive Pinterest board and sew a costume from each end?

(In other news, I’ll be making an 1865 linen dress at some point.)



I’ll be using Black Snail Patterns’ 1870s Seaside Dress pattern. (I found a similar one the other day from an older historical patternmaker, but now I can’t find it. Ugh.)


I’m not sure how good it’ll be – it’s pretty shapeless on the mannequin, but then again: mannequin. And I’ve liked her other patterns that I’ve tried!

-> Full review will be up on patternreviews at the conclusion of this project, and linked here <-

The fabric I’m using is a seafoam-and-white striped cotton/lycra light suiting. I was under the impression that it was 100% cotton when I bought it, and I can’t very well do anything else with 11 yards of fabric, so…forging ahead. I’ll have to flatline the bodice, but I think the skirt will be fine – the stretch is quite minimal, and only horizontal.

As usual, I started with the skirt.


Screen Shot 2018-04-16 at 11.30.54 PM.png

Just the flounce missing…



I cartridge pleated as per usual, gathered, flounced, etc etc. Made a couple of deviations from the pattern. Did some research, found that flounces on 1870s striped dresses are always on the bias, for some sweet diagonals. Other prints can be on the straight.

However, encountered my first irreconcilable mistake. This skirt pattern is too narrow at the front for the 1870s – it should be much more full. (I think the patternmaker just reused her 1880s petticoat pattern for this, which is disappointing.) I may be able to correct the shape a bit with a partial crinoline, which I planned on making anyway, or a super fluffy petticoat (again, planned on making). Will report back later.

Screen Shot 2018-04-16 at 11.27.26 PM.pngCage crinoline | American | The Met

I would just remake the skirt, but I’m pretty sure I don’t have near enough fabric, and I can’t get more.

(I put this dress aside for a day in order to make an 1860s corset that I could use under this.)


Final photo for this post – skirt over my new 1860s corset.

I intend on tackling the apron and bodice within a few days; I was going to do it today and then got sidetracked by creating this website. Whoops…

Part II – Apron and Bodice

One thought on “1870 Seaside Dress (Part I)

  1. Pingback: 1870 Seaside Dress (Part III) | Sewing with Kenna

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