Thursday, October 11, 2012

A 1782 Court Dress--with a bonus bow mini tutorial :)

This is going to be ooh, look at the pictures! posts because as large as it is, this is really a rather straightforward dress. I fell in love with a fashion plate at the MFA of an over the top, slightly ridiculous, rather theatrical pink and green court dress. Seen here on Pinterest--the MFA changed their links, so I pinned it after refinding it

Pink and Green Court Dress at Costume College">

Here I am in my hotel room--you will see why I have a picture in the hotel room in a few moments!

Pink and Green Court Dress at Costume College Pink and Green Court Dress at Costume College

As you can see, the skirt slid a bit shut and the zone front fell open for the good pictures. Um, oops?

Anyway, the dress is silk taffeta, lined with linen, and trimmed with silk gauze and marabou. I'm wearing it over my 1780s stays (which, when I was putting them on, got tangled in my batiste chemise and ripped--the stays, not the chemise), and the Simplicity court hoop, which is nearly identical to the one in Corsets and Crinolines (which also broke as I was wearing it--a wire snapped!)

Pink and Green Court Dress at Costume College

On the bright side, the side view of the falling down zone front (not a period term, as far as anyone can tell, but a good modern costuming word). The bodice essentially has two front pieces, the normal, pins in the middle front piece, and the cutaway piece that pins over that.

The petticoat is different than the petticoat tutorial for my first court dress. Instead, I made it like this petticoat at the Met

Pink and Green Court Dress at Costume College

And here it is closed, showing the damage that silk gauze gets when you drag it around on a long, wide train!

Court Dress Progress Court Dress Progress

And here it is on the dressform, with a more properly displayed skirt!

Court Dress Progress Court Dress Progress

The nearly finished bodice. It just needed the raw edges turned in and edgestitched and, rather obviously, sleeves.

Court Dress Progress Court Dress Progress

The finished bodice.

Court Dress Progress Court Dress Progress

And the finished, trimmed bodice!

Court Dress Progress

The dress is covered in bows. I might as well include how I made them!

Making the bows Making the bows

Cut two strips of fabric, fold them down the middle as shown, then fold and sew a running stitch down the middle.

Making the bows Making the bows

Gather it, repeat with another strip, and sew them together.

Making the bows

Add a small strip around the center, and voila! A bow!


And a parting shot--the skirt has a lot of fabric!

Live Journal tag here!


  1. I can absolutely guarantee that every piece of fabric in my house has been sat on by one of both of my cats. I can no more prevent this than I can fly.

    1. Completely unpreventable! Cat hair is period, right?

    2. LOL! But of COURSE!

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  3. Good job! You chose the right colors, too. From the looks of it, it took a lot of effort to make this work. love it so much!

  4. Those fabrics make me all happy inside. Great job!