Sunday, November 23, 2014

A Brown and Pink Cotton Print 1860s Dress

Brown print dress

Despite its simplicity, this is one of my favorite dresses. Many of my more elaborate dresses feel like costumes, while more everyday dresses like these feel so much more natural and make it easy to imagine how women in the past felt in their clothes.

The dress is made of a cotton print from Reproduction Fabrics and lined in polished cotton. My sortie cap is made from an 1858 Godey's pattern.

Brown print dress Brown print dress

My pattern is my 1860s block that started as the 1870 bodice pattern in Period Costume for Stage and Screen. I drafted the coat sleeves based on an existing sleeve pattern. The cuffs are just strips of lighweight cotton folded in half and basted in. The collar is an embroidered collar I use with most of my 1860s dresses. I'm wearing it over a chemise, corset, Needle and Thread cage crinoline, and a petticoat.

With my sontag and sortie cap Brown print dress

My first wearing of this was rather chilly--a nighttime event in the 30s, so I knit a sontag to wear with it.

Brown print dress Election, 1860s style :)

I really wish I had taken construction photos while I was making this. Cotton dresses were typically gathered, not darted. While I successfully gathered the bodice on my first sheer dress, it wasn't easy. Because my figure is really only suited for the 1920s--straight up and down--and gathers seem to want some tension, I had to do all sorts of contortions to make the gathers work. The heavier cotton just didn't want to behave. What I ended up doing was based on an original bodice that I own. I darted the lining and then fit the print over it with tucks. It's slightly visible in these pictures where you can see the fabric loosens a bit at the top of the sewing instead of smoothing out like with a dart.

And I think I'm being very ladylike before people show up, no? :)

1 comment:

  1. love this one! And your tiny collar is so sweet...must find a cute little collar...