Monday, August 5, 2019

A Late 1790s Bird Print Dress with a Diamond Back

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My late 1790s dress is based on examples of cotton print dresses, and a remodeled 18th century dress from An Agreeable Tyrant at the DAR Museum. It's made of a cotton print from Colonial Williamsburg, lined with linen from Burnley and Trowbridge, and worn over stays, shift, and strapped petticoat.

I made the dress for the Jane Austen Festival in Kentucky, and it was as comfortable as a dress can be there. The pictures here were taken by my friend (in much better weather!), whose photography Instagram, @journeyofaphotog, can be seen here.

Construction for the dress can be seen here

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The diamond back is the feature that drew me to this dress, even though it is mostly obscured by the pattern! The double drawstring was an interesting detail that I found on an original cotton print dress, and I like the added depth it gives to the front bodice.

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The way the dress works is typical of drawstring dresses. It's made over a fitted lining that pins shut.

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Then the drawstrings close over the fitted lining.

This is a very easy dress to wear, and it's nice that it's slightly adjustable--I've worn it over different stays each time I've worn it. The diamond back is one of my favorite styles as well, so I'm glad I finally made a dress with it!


  1. I am always so happy when I our scaled patterns in the Tyrant exhibit catalogue being made into garments, and this is so beautiful!—Alden O’Brien/DAR Museum

    1. Thank you! The patterns are fantastic--so detailed!

      And thank you for the tour as well--I was part of the group that came with Carolyn and Taylor that April.

  2. It looks so nice! I really love the double-drawstring detail.

    1. Thank you! I was happy to find that detail. Just something a little different :)

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  4. It looks amazing and the detailing is also very clear. Thanks for such article.