Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Early 1860s Print Dress

You've seen this dress already in my engagement photos, but I really thought it deserved a post of it's own with a bit of construction explaination.

I knew back in March I wanted to make a new dress for Shiloh 150th. I had the material picked out, but what style to do was still undecided until the last minute, when I happened upon this picture on Pinterest:

A young married couple c. 1855
As I studied the dress more, the details were very intriguing. What appears to be a very fitted fan-front dress, (though on closer inspection I think it is a gathered yoke dress) high collar, and unique 2-part sleeves. They seem to have a drawstring at the wrist, a separate short pouf at the shoulder.

I was also inspired (again) by one of my old favorites.....This sheer day dress from 1860.

For the pattern of the front bodice, I modified Past Patterns #800. The back bodice is not gathered, but is in a normal fitted style. Back and lining were from Past Patterns #702. Sleeves were drafted by me.

I speculated from the first picture that the lower sleeves could have been removeable, they were certainly made with two separate pieces. So, I decided for my dress that would be quite handy. The upper sleeves are just lightly gathered and completely finished with a narrow band. The lower sleeves are also gathered and finish with a band that was just hand-sewn to the short sleeve on the inside, so that the stitches could be clipped and the lower sleeve removed at any time. The wrist is just a simple buttoned band.

The dress, without lower sleeves.

The cotton print fabric is from the collection 'Nottingham Village'
 by Judy Rothermel and Marcus Fabrics.
Buttons are antique black glass.

Even though short sleeves for adult women were not as common as long sleeves, they were seen.
Both for working and fashionable situations.

I deviated quite a bit from my orginal inspirations, but I just love the way the dress turned out, and hope to make more in similar style.


Lilac Bud Gal said...

Beautiful, beautiful!!! :) Looks absolutely wonderful on you, too!! :) And, a very handsome fella you pulled in there for the photoshoot. ;) hehe!

Mary Beth said...

What a beautiful dress! You are quite the seamstress, you know. ;) Reading your posts really makes me want to go sew!!

Jenna K. said...

Lovely! (:

Adventures in Dressmaking said...

Looks just lovely! I've never seen an original with removable sleeves but it does seem a great way to stretch your wardrobe. And you can pull off the short sleeves while you're a sweet young thing! ;) I love seeing CDVs and originals in the lightweight summer prints that are so easy to come by and affordable for us reenactors. Perfect for summer, too.


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