1860 Civil War Era Dress 18" Doll Clothes Pattern

5 reviews   |  

From 1840 to 1860 the focus of the woman's figure was her waistline and fashionable dresses were designed to accentuate this feature. The desired circumference of the waistline was 20 inches around. Take a look at your doll. Her waistline probably measures about 10 inches around. That would mean that fashion conscious women were trying to get their waistlines to just twice that of your doll's. To achieve this look women and girls as young as 10 years of age wore extremely tight corsets. To further diminish the waistline, dress skirts became extremely full. By the mid 1860's they as wide six feet in diameter.

This dress can be worn with or without a crinoline. The skirt is calf length, which was the appropriate length for a pre-teen girl during the Victorian Era.

This basic PDF pattern itself is not too difficult, but some sewing experience is helpful.

Suggested Fabrics: Dress, Lining, and Piping in lightweight to mediumweight woven fabric such as cotton, cotton blends, linen, or silk. Undersleeves in lightweight woven fabric such as cotton batiste, muslin, silk, or handkerchief linen.


Supplies Needed:
Fabric ~ Dress:
- 2/3 yard (2/3 m).
Contrast for Collar and Undersleeves:
-1/6 yard (1/6 m). Scrap pieces or fat quarters work well.
-1/6 yard (1/6 m). Scrap pieces or fat quarters work well.
-4 yards soutache braid or other trim
-five size 4/0 snaps
-1 size 1/0 snap
-five 3/8-inch decorative buttons
-1 ribbon buckle with a 1/2-inch slide
-one decorative button or bow to attach at the collar
Optional: 3-inches of 1/2-inch wide hook and loop tape or 3/8-inch buttons may be used instead of snaps


Skill Level: Intermediate


What You Get: One 20 page sewing pattern that you digitally download as a PDF file so you can start your project immediately! The PDF sewing pattern provides digitally drawn step-by-step illustrated instructions and full size pattern pieces. A PDF reader is required to view and print the files (example: Adobe Reader or Preview for MAC). The download link is received immediately after the transaction is complete. Print copies are NOT available.

Download, Print, Sew!

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For detailed information and answers to the most common questions, be sure to read the Terms of Use and FAQ's related to the doll clothes patterns sold at Pixie Faire.

Pixie Faire and the designers featured are not affiliated with American Girl®.


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Customer Reviews
5 Based on 5 Reviews
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Joanna H.
United States United States

Gorgeous Quality Garment

This is a masterpiece of a pattern. It is not hard to follow with some sewing experience, and while time consuming, you really reap the benefit with such a high quality finished product. Highly recommended.

Tara F.
United States

Lovely Dress!

If you have sewing experience, this pattern is easy to follow, and results in a beautiful dress and pantaloons.

Tara F. verified customer review of 1860 Civil War Era Dress 18 Doll Clothes Pattern
Georgianne T.
United States

another winner

I love all of her patterns. This is no exception. Well written instructions that turn out well every time.

Elizabeth R.


I'm an experienced sewist, but this was my first attempt at doll clothes. Loved every minute of the experience. Directions are clear and complete, with fun little historical factoids added. I love that the bodice and oversleeves are lined -- for historical accuracy, I imagine -- even though the lining doesn't show. An excellent pattern with so many fun details.

Penny T.

Period Perfect Design

I sewed from an earlier version of this pattern and used purchase trim. I look forward to making it again with the self bias for trim. Lots of great details in this design including front skirt pleating, princess seams, and double sleeves.