January 13, 2010

1830's Gown

This is the last thing I finished over my winter break, an 1830's gown for my friend Linda at the museum. Our inspiration was this dress from the Tasha Tudor collection.

We used reproduction fabric from the Sturbridge village collection and the Lowell Mill dress pattern from Past Patterns.

It is hard to see details because of the busy fabric, but here is the finished bodice front. It has a darted and gathered front bodice, a square piped neckline, banded down leg of mutton sleeves, waistband, and a pleated skirt.

I did not use the Past pattern pelerine pattern because we wanted one that was more dramatically scalloped like in the picture. Instead I drafted it, and it is fully piped with a contrasting color.
This pattern was wonderful to work with. It had very clear instructions and fit with only a slight bit of tweaking. There are 17 pages of research included about the original dress, and other similar ones worn during the time period at the Lowell Mill. It was an expensive pattern, but includes all sizes and would be easy to alter for many different 1830s looks.

The Lowell Mill pattern has you put together the dress exactly like the original was done and I found it very unusual. The darts and seams are all folded under and then topstiched together. I imagine that this would be inconvenient if extensive alterations have to be done later. Because of the strange technique, about 75% of this dress was done by hand. Personally I love the appearance it gives on the outside.

Linda and I decided to use a contrasting piping on this dress because it is one of the only decades where we have seen it done on originals. Many of the other eras only have matching piping, but we saw many examples of contrast on Tasha Tudor's gowns and other sources. It also provides visual interest since there is very little trimming done on the gown.

Of course, after making this dress I had to have one in my size--so I'm working on another in all my spare time :) It will make it's appearance eventually and then Linda and I can pose like the cover from Wives and Daughters!

 *New* additional photos have been added here


Lauren said...

Very pretty. I'm not a fan of the 1830's on my frame, but I think it would be very pretty on you :-)

Adelheide said...

Thank you Lauren. I don't particularly like this style of dress either, but I do think it is interesting how the sleeves reappear in 1890. Linda and I are trying to put together a fashion exhibit for the HDM showcasing a dress from each decade and following the patterns throughout the years.


Christina said...

I've been looking for a pattern for undergarments with stuffed sleeves that would go underneath the dress to make the sleeves balloon out. Anyone out there know?

Adelheide said...

Sorry Christina, I haven't yet seen a pattern for the underdress. It seems like something that could be made by modifying the dress pattern though.

I have one fashion book that has a good picture of one, I'll try to scan it and post it soon. It might help in drafting one.