A Lost Daughter



Katlin McCreery


(click images to to enlarge)

Other Credits

Aly McCreery

Outline the story …

The story of this dress started with a picture from The Met Archives, seen while reading Elizabeth Gaskell’s, “North and South”. Though the book never fully describes Miss Margaret Hale’s mourning dress, I wanted to create one around what little description there was, while also making a garment that I could use at Living History events. Specifically, Margaret’s dress is described as being silk but nothing more, therefore the rest of the idea was based on her status and class in England. This made for a simple but decently decorative dress.

Outline the construction…

The construction of this dress started with buying black broadcloth, silk georgette chiffon, and silk taffeta ribbon. A pattern was drawn to my measurements using the book “60 Civil War-Era Fashion Patterns” by Kristina Seleshanko, and served as the base. The pattern was only altered for the silk overlay, which required pleats to be added to the bodice as well as the addition of a watch pocket in the waistband. The broadcloth bodice was machine stitched, then French hemmed by hand for stronger seams. After, the dress was sewn by hand using techniques learned in “Authentic Victorian Dress Making Techniques”, by Kristina Harris, and eleven years of research. This is my first project incorporating the use of a sewing brick, which was used for the hemming of the silk bodice and over skirt, creation of pleats, and the making of the skirt ruffles. My challenge with this dress came with the skirt, where the pleats and gathers didn’t sit in the waist band correctly. Due to the weight of the broadcloth and silk, the band was sewn to cotton tape and then twice to the bodice band in order to make it sturdy enough to be held there. Even after the careful making of the skirt, one box pleat is missing, causing the skirt to look off kilter when seen from the front.




  1. Avatar Kayla Burrow on March 11, 2021 at 7:31 pm

    I really enjoy the pintuck effects of the bodice!

  2. Avatar Samanthalovestosew on March 12, 2021 at 2:09 pm

    A truly beautiful mourning dress, and I love the romantic quality of your photos.

  3. Avatar Sammyra on March 13, 2021 at 7:28 am

    oh wow, i love this. the colour, the silhouette, the details, the fabric, everything. ♡ job well done, this looks amazing

  4. Avatar Elena Migliorin on March 13, 2021 at 11:00 am

    Everything looks to neatly done and it matches perfectly the theme you’ve chosen. Very well done! Good luck with the competition!

  5. Avatar Laurie on March 13, 2021 at 5:30 pm

    Very authentic. Great natural quality. Well done!

  6. Avatar Mary Wilson on March 17, 2021 at 9:58 am

    This is such a lovely creation! It is very elegant and fits you beautifully. I think it suits Margaret Hale very well 🙂

  7. Avatar Maeri Certo on March 27, 2021 at 6:04 pm

    Nicely done– you look as though you could have stepped from an early photograph.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.