1798 Gown: Update #1

Let me start by apologizing for making a slight mistake in one of my previous 1790's gown post.  It's probably not a huge deal to most of you, but it bothers me...so...clear it up, I shall.  I previously posted that my gown would be made of voile. Well, I discovered this morning, while scrounging through some old fabric swatches, that this fabric I'm using is not voile, but combed cotton lawn.   I doubt the average person would be able to tell the difference, voile is slightly more sheer and light weight than lawn, but I feel REALLY stupid for not remembering what kind of fabric it was that I ordered last fall.  In my defense, I've slept since then.

Now, on to the good stuff.  I read an article recently that a friend scanned for me (sorry I can't share the article) that mentioned women in the late 18th century using buttons to hold up their high waisted petticoats.  So, here's my version of how it was done.  I am not entirely sure if what I've done is the correct WAY to do it, and my buttons are porcelain instead of bone or steel, but the buttons and loops serve their purpose and that's all that matters to me.

The lining in my bodice is put together.  After draping, and drafting, and draping again, I finally pulled out the Lawn (not voile) and cut the back bodice out.  I've been working hard to pleat and hand stitch the back of the bodice.  It was a lot of fun to create, and I really enjoy manipulating the fabric...it's sculptural.

The hardest part so far has been figuring out how to make the high, pleated collar or neckline of the dress.  I actually had to redo this collar area at least a dozen times, and finally ended up doubling the lining to get it to stand up as firm as I wanted it to.

Remember my inspirations? 

See the high collar?

Well, I have a long way to go...the shoulder areas aren't finished, the front bodice isn't done, the skirt isn't even a thought yet, and the sleeves have to be made.  There's a lot of work ahead for me, but I am LOVING this project!


Sarah Jane said…
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! I have no other words right now just because I am in awe of this dress. The pleating is SO lovely. I have never seen anyone make a dress like this one before. . .it is definitely not run-of-the-mill! I have to say though that your photo of the back of the collar threw me for a loop at first. I thought the fingers you are holding in the collar to hold it up were a neck at first and wondered why the neck was so oddly shaped! :P It's looking great!
Jenni said…
Haha...thank you, Sarah. Yes, I knew that the hand looked a little strange when I posted the picture, but it was the only way I could get the collar to stand up on the dress form...it doesn't fall down on me. I really appreciate your compliments. :-)
I'd be interested in hearing more about your friend's article that the petticoats were held up by buttons. Any link oyu can provide would be welcomed. Sally
Jenni said…
Fort Osage Garden - I will ask my friend if I can share her documents. I can tell you that the book they came from is called "Clothes and the Child" by Anne Bucke and an earlier version of the book called "Children's Costume in England 1300-1900" by Phillis Cunnington & Anne Buck. The general idea of the article is that in the late 1700's, younger girls were using bodiced petticoats under their gowns, while the older girls were using buttons to hold their petticoats up. And basically, as the high-waisted look became the norm for adult females, and not just children, that ladies adopted the same methods for holding up their undergarments.
Nabila Grace said…
It's coming together so nicely! :o) I'm excited to see how it fully comes together.

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