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Seamstress recreates Civil War look

September 12, 1997

By RICHARD F. BELISLE

Staff Writer, Waynesboro

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - As grand balls go, this one promises to be one of the noisiest, as dozens of Civil War period gowns wrapped in yards of taffeta rustle their way around the dance floor at the Waynesboro Country Club Saturday night.

"It's going to be noisy. Rustling taffeta is one of the most wonderful sounds in the world," said Doris Florek, 47, a Waynesboro dressmaker who made or modified a half-dozen gowns that will be worn at the Waynesboro Bicentennial Blue and Gray Ball.

Florek, a dressmaker by trade, makes gowns and uniforms for Civil War re-enactors. Examples of her period gowns and dresses have been on display all summer at Sheffler's Uniform Shop at 44 E. Main St. in Waynesboro.

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Florek got into period clothing making when one of her sons became a re-enactor about a dozen years ago.

"I did some research and made him a uniform for the 17th Pennsylvania Cavalry," Florek said. "At first I though re-enactments were ridiculous until I saw how much people were charging to make those uniforms. I knew I could make them cheaper. It's been a lucrative business.

"My mother was a seamstress and I took sewing in school. I think it's a God-given talent," Florek said of her craft.

She said it takes nearly 30 yards to make a Civil War gown, including taffeta, lace, brocade and rouching, a pleated ruffle sewn around the collar. "All of my clothes are correct for the period, correct clear down to the drawers. I do a lot of research."

It's cheaper to make a woman's dress than a man's uniform, she said.

A floor-length peach taffeta bridesmaid gown that Waynesboro resident Lori Rogina bought new on sale a dozen years ago will make an appearance at Saturday's ball.

Rogino, 36, said she bought the gown because it was a bargain. "I never wore it. I put it in the closet thinking I'd use it some day.

"I've always been fascinated by the Civil War, the history, dress, the whole shebang," she said. The peach gown is Rogino's ticket to the past.

She and Florek transformed it from the late 20th century to the mid-19th century with a little cutting and sewing and by adding some lace, braided trim and an overskirt.

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