My Civil War Christmas Dress …and the trials of a bonnet…

I’m a very visual person so when I see something I can usually replicate it pretty easily. I found this illustration of a bonnet in one of my Civil War booklets and liked the looks of it, so I thought it would be a piece of cake to make… NOT!


For the life of me, I could not get the shape of it right…and believe me I tried… I even used foil to try and get the shape of Rebecca’s head, but it didn’t hold its shape well enough to use… I think I could have maybe gotten there by putting tape on top of the foil to hold it in place, and then cut out a pattern, but I was too impatient. I moved on to the next thing and by the time I was finished, I gathered up all my scraps and trial and error pieces and this is what I had…


Here were a couple of tries…




The clock was ticking and my window was getting more narrow for getting this bonnet finished so I could list the dress set on Ebay this evening. I certainly didn’t want my auction to end at 11:00 p.m. Finally I managed to get a shape that worked and then it was time to decorate it…which proved to be the easy part…






As I looked at it in my pictures, I think the bows are too big on the sides so I think I’m going to take them off and make some that are smaller. Also, I didn’t mention this in my Ebay listing, but if the winner is someone who reads my blog and you would like the lace at the back of the neck shorter, I will shorten it too. Sometimes you see things in your pictures that you don’t see in person. And I also noticed I left off the bow at the back…AND…if the winner is on here and would rather have a tie under her chin instead of the clear elastic, I can do that too…

OH… would you like to see the completed Civil War dress set? This will be my last dress of the year… :o( as I have too many things going on next week and there will be no time for sewing and listing. But I’ll still be blogging…so keep reading…




(PLEASE NOTE: Someone pointed out that the point on the black sash looked a little crooked. It was just the fabric underneath that had shifted… here’s a picture to show you it can straightened up with just a tiny rearrangement of the fabric… I might tack it in place to hold it straight.)


I liked that ruffled tulle and decided to make a petticoat from it for this dress set.




So…do you like the way it all came together?

One last thing… my American Girl Colonial Christmas dress ends this evening on Ebay… you can see it HERE.


See you tomorrow,
Blessings, Jeanne

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  1. Hi, Jeanne! I’ve been away from internet fun for SO long…facebook, all my doll groups, my favorite online game…just wanted you to know I do still get on a couple days a week to sort email and I do put all your blogs in a file so that when I have time, I can sit and read them leisurely. Was just blown away AGAIN by this dress and the green colonial. Your work is incredible and whoever ends up with the beautiful things you make is so blessed. I wish you and your family a holiday season filled with all the things you love most, crowned with His love.


    • HI Bobi,
      I’ve missed you being here with us all… I’m glad you’re back. I hope things are well with you.
      I have to know… what’s your favorite online game? (Inquiring minds want to know…)
      Thank you for your very kind words about my 2 latest and last dresses. I appreciate them very much.
      May YOU have a very wonderful Christmas season as well…
      Blessings, Jeanne

  2. I like both of the AG dresses! They are both so pretty, and I like clothing from both of those eras. Felicity’s hat and Rebecca’s bonnet are both just gorgeous. I really think the right accessories are what make your outfits so special. By the way, I don’t think the bows on the bonnet are too big; I think everything about it is perfect!

    • Thank you Carolyn,
      I’m very appreciative of your sweet comments about my doll dresses. I do like making the little “extras” that make the dresses even more special…
      I might look back at the picture of the bonnet again and just the size by their illustration…
      Thanks again,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  3. Marilyn Grotzky says:

    Of course your original for the cap was a sketch, and we know they are only related to real life, they look like someone wanted them to, not like the real thing. Also, don’t you think the woman in the sketch was wearing her cap over a bun, which changed the shape of her head and cap? The one you made is actually more becoming. You managed to add some of your black and white check to add interest, and, as always, it worked nicely, as do the tiny buttons. You left the skirt long, which looks to me like an excellent decision. Did you raise the waist? You were considering that. I think any of us would prefer the lovely tulle petticoat to pantalettes — that must have cost you an extra hour or more.
    It’s another winner. I gave it a first bid and expect to be outbid by the end of the day or maybe by the time you read this.
    You deserve a break. Why do I think you won’t get one? For one thing, I think you’ll be making the hoop cage.

    • HI Marilyn,
      I can’t believe I had so much trouble getting the main shape of the hat to fit Rebecca’s head. I had her hair up in a bun at first, but it wasn’t cooperating at all, so I took it down so I could feel the shape of her head better. I would like to “fix” the bonnet a little more, but I’ll have to wait and see who wins it because it’s listed on Ebay as one way and if I change it without permission the winner might not like it… They could easily say, “Item NOT as described.”

      I did raise the black sash about 3/8ths of a inch and it did look better. I also took another picture and added it to the post above showing how the dress looks with the point “straightened” up. The fabric just needed to be shifted underneath. I think I’m going to tack it in place.

      Thanks for the first bid on the last dress!
      Blessings, Jeanne

  4. Susette Willhite says:

    Another dress with amazing details and accessories! The hat is a tribute to patience and designer skills. It’s wonderful to see all of this come together every time.

    I just finished a project I thought would take a couple of days and I won’t even tell how much time I spent on it. Thanks to your inspiration, I now have to accessorize the outfits with at least one additional item! And the mess in the kitchen with the cutting board, two ironing boards, doll size and regular, the sewing machine on the dining room table and hand-sewing mess in the living room. Yikes! Got the package in the mail on time, though, for my granddaughter’s family music concert. Thanks again for the inspiration to sew again, Jeanne Marie. Relax and enjoy your family and community Christmas Season.

    • Thanks Susette,
      I appreciate your kind words about my dresses… I DO like the details…

      It’s fun to find the right accessory, isn’t it? …and I know exactly how you’re feeling about the “Mess” in your house… you should see my sewing room now… no you shouldn’t! I just threw my scraps on the floor as I was in such a hurry to get my pictures taken last night.

      I’ve got to get cooking on my Married Couples Christmas party!!! I will relax though…
      Thanks so much,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  5. Good morning Jeanne,
    You must be exhausted with working so hard on all the Christmas dresses. This Civil War dress and the hat are gorgeous. The hat is amazing. I’m sure some of us non-sewers have no idea what you go through to create these beautiful dresses.
    I know you will continue being busy and doing for others, so I hope somewhere in there you can relax a bit and enjoy the festivities coming up.
    What a blessed Season this is.

    • HI Paula,
      I’m okay… it’s 9:35 and Rebecca and I were already in my sewing room digging through yarn so we could get a few Skinny Scarves made and listed on Etsy…if possible!
      Thank you for your compliments… I know you are a “detail” person and wanted to point out that the “point” has been fixed… I added a picture above to show it. The fabric had just moved underneath the sash. Like I told Marilyn, I might tack the sash down to hold it in place in the front.
      I will find time to relax… but just not today…maybe tomorrow… :o)
      Thanks so much Paula,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  6. Linda Doyle says:

    What a gorgeous Civil War outfit, Jeanne, the dress, hat, and petticoat! You outdid yourself again! I too, think the bows on either side of the hat are just perfect, you don’t really have to change them! I love the black and white checked fabric to add interest at the neckline and on the hat. So many little details that make a difference! That hat is what makes this whole outfit so different and gives us all a history lesson that is as entertaining as much as it is pretty! Whoever wins this outfit will certainly have something very special!
    Now just enjoy yourself for the rest of the holiday season and don’t overdo anything. Take care of that foot! You deserve a bit of time for your own celebrations and the things that make your holiday special for YOU!

    • HI Linda,
      Thanks so much for all your kind comments about the Civil War dress. I’m glad it turned out like it did. I wish I had made the boned crinoline first to show how much it holds the dress out…it does look better when it’s fuller. (and I fixed the point…) you can see above in my added picture.
      I will enjoy myself. I think I may have to go back to the dr. about my foot. I was thinking it should be almost well by now, but I’m still limping, so I need to get it looked at again…

      Happy Baking… (or cookie making…that is…)
      Blessings, Jeanne

  7. Jeanne your Civil War outfit turned out beautifully as well as the bonnet. It looks lovely on Rebecca.

    • Thank you for your kind comments Christine. I’m glad I got it finished and listed all in the same day… it was close, but I did it!
      Have a wonderful weekend…
      Blessings, Jeanne

  8. Jane Miller says:

    You are amazing! Please have a wonderful holiday!

    • Thanks so much Jane,
      I appreciate you taking time to comment on probably a very busy Saturday! I hope you have a wonderful holiday season too!
      Blessings, Jeanne

  9. Jeannie Brandon says:

    Jeanne, I am absolutely blown away by that hat !!! It is totally awesome. {I sound like I’m in jr. high !!} The picture you were working from was a pretty clear representation of the era but how you took that pic and turned it into an actual hat is above and beyond the call of sewing duty. My hat is off to you !! WOW !!!

    • Jeannie,
      Thank you very much for your “awesme” comments! I appreciate them very much. I love to copy things and this was fun…once I got the shell of the hat made… :o)
      I hope you have fun with your company that’s coming…
      Blessings, Jeanne

  10. Wow, what a great hat! Rebecca looks lovely in her completed dress. You’ve outdone yourself on this one. Love the slip too.
    Now on to Christmas activities.

    • HI Joy,
      Thanks so much for your sweet compliments on my Civil War dress. I was kind of sad as I sewed that last ribbon on the hat, knowing that it’s my last dress of the year… but there’s always next year to look forward to.
      Thank you so much and YOU have a wonderful weekend…
      Blessings, Jeanne

  11. Wonderful job on the bonnet AND the dress and petticoat, Jeanne.

    • Thank you Jevne,
      I appreciate your kind words about the dress and bonnet. I hope you have just been busy…. Have a wonderful Sunday tomorrow,
      blessings, Jeanne

  12. It is hard for me to think you would ever lose patience with anything. Congratulations on your last dress of the year! A wonderful ending! I’m glad you will have your foot checked again. Maybe PT, but if needed, don’t push yourself.

    • HI Jan,
      Oh Jan, you are so silly… what makes me lose my patience is trying to do something, knowing that I know HOW to do it, but still not being able to accomplish it…
      Thanks for your kind words about my last dress. It’s hard to believe we have reached the end of the year, but we have…
      Thanks for the foot advice…
      Blessings, Jeanne

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