August 25, 2009

Cotton 1880's Polonaise

This was an 1880's dress that I made for the Linda at the Museum where I volunteer. She and I worked together closely researching every detail. The red cotton print fabric is from Reproduction Fabrics, and the skirt is made from a plain, gold colored cotton velvet. The metal buttons are from Joann's.

The Polonaise pattern is Truly Victorian 904. We changed it into a high neck with collar, and square back "pouf" instead of curved. Sorry, it's hard to describe some of the parts of this dress! Unfortunately I would never recommend this pattern, it gave us so much grief. We did a lot of mock ups first, so now Linda has her own custom pattern for making this polonaise.

The pleated trim on the Polonaise was copied from a tiny, one inch square sketch from a Godey's Lady Book, and it certainly turned out dramatic!


The skirt is Truly Victorian 221. It is very narrow, fitted around the front then pleated in the back. It works well under the Polonaise, or an overskirt and accommodates a bustle well. For plain work dresses we usually use the slightly fuller TV 201.

We were considering doing a row of pleating around the bottom of the skirt because of its popularity in the 80's. It wasn't really exciting us though, but we happened to find this picture of an existing 1880's gown. We loved it, and I added it to the skirt, modifying it slightly.




Each piece is piped in the red cotton and it is placed lower on the skirt so it can be seen from under the polonaise. The horizontal band is sewn securely on, but the tabs are only attached at the top so they can dangle freely.




This is another dress that might be seen in the Jesse James movie, so keep your eyes peeled on November 16th!

1 comment:

Anna Kristine said...

I got to see this dress in person. :) You did such an AMAZING job Heidi! You can definately tell much thought and research went into this dress. And many loving stitches.