Saturday, May 3, 2014

1812 Cotton Gown

In preparation for the Sailing Masters Ball this May, I've been working on a striped cotton voile 1812-1814 gown.  
Illustration from Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion
The pattern was scaled up by SG from Janet Arnold, and miraculously, did not have to be altered much.  I was amazed at how tiny the back piece looked.

I am not as familiar with the construction of this era as I am with others, so I have been taking it very slow.  The next step is the one that terrifies me the most:  Attaching the gathered "bib" front.  The part I have already constructed will serve as a support, and a stay.

I was having real trouble visualizing how exactly it all goes together, so SG directed me to a great diagram she found from from the Etsy site of HerOdyssey.  I found them to be extremely helpful.

From Her Odyssey on Etsy

 The fabric, acquired as Osgood Textile in West Springfield, MA, was VERY sheer.  I backed it with plain white cotton muslin, and basted the layers together.  It's a lovely cream and pale tan stripe that works better for my complexion than stark white.  It gathered up rather easily across the narrow back piece.  I am still amazed at how tiny the pattern pieces looked.

The skirt:  Constructed of three trapezoids, and one rectangle gathered across the narrow center back.

The sleeve was drafted by SG as an alternative to just a straight puff sleeve.  She called it "tulip".  They are unlined, and hemmed.  The bulk of the gathering is much lower toward the back, south of the top of the shoulder than I had thought it would be.  My plan was to serge the sleeve and the lining together, rather than bind the armholes.

I decided that I needed a spring green silk taffeta bonnet to go with this ensemble, and to dress it up a bit.  I used a pattern that is more suited to the 1770s-1790s, but it's not too far off, and is much more likely to see use for Revolutionary War era events.

I had fun making the bows and the puffings.  I think it needs some more saturated spring green embellishments, though.

My deadline is the Regency picnic, and the ball May 10, 2014.  I have a show the same weekend.  Let's do this.