By the 1840s, America was sending cotton all over the world. Systems of transportation were growing at a fantastic rate. Immigrants were arriving by the tens of thousands. Fashions of the 1840s changed to darker tones and cottons were in use, especially for everyday wear. In Philadelphia and New York, women visited the new department stores to purchase parasols with tilting shafts, upside down walking sticks, long net gloves, cloth boots, lace by the yard, soul comforters (chemisettes) and bonnets. The large brimmed bonnet of the 1830s have started to lose their popularity and will soon become small confections that just sat on the back of the head. The low neckline increased the use of kerchiefs, collars, and capelets. A small sheer pelerine is used to protect Peggy from a chill. In winter they were made of wool or fur. A woman would carry a muff to match.
This day dress is of floral printed cotton. The full skirt is unlined for everyday wear and is faced with a stiff material to help hold out the gown. Shirring, tucks, and piping were used to give a diagonal line to the bodices. The drop shoulder and low neckline also contribute to the wide shoulder illusion. Light blue piping emphasizes the pointed waist and seam detail. Sleeves are still cut very full at the top but closely ruched and hidden under the small over sleeve. Back fastenings continued to be used until the end of the 1840s. Ladies wore the mitts and gloves in the house even while doing embroidery. Petticoats ranged from 4 to 6 according to the seasons. Only the outermost was decorative. Stiff knee length horsehair skirts were worn below the growing number of petticoats to help support the dress. The wearing of bloomers had filtered down through the middle to the lower classes by this time although they were still rather plain. The chemise, with long or short sleeves, became the second layer of clothing with the introduction of a new undergarment, a woolen vest, worn next to the skin. The indoor cap of lawn and lace worn in different forms for many years is also fading as a fashion.
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