|Late 1830's Dress|
Because, of course, I intended to make this dress for Christmas. The fabric was an early Christmas present from David. Besides draping a pattern and fitting the mock up and cutting it out, though, I didn't get much done. I finally decided to speed sew it 5 days before Christmas but that afternoon our power went out. I spent much of that day getting out the kerosene heater, filling the oil lamps, finding candles and matches, making food and converting our long, narrow living room into a kind of one-room cabin where we could hang out and keep warm. Obviously, the dress did not get made.
It's getting made now, though. I am sick of regency stuff at present (even though I do have a 1790's-ish gown I want to make soon) and I need to get back to *me*. This dress is not for any challenge or sew along, but it's what I want to make, so, by gosh, I'm gonna make it! (although, technically, it could work for the UFO challenge for the Historical Sew Fortnightly. It might be a stretch, but it *could* work!)
The basic design is fairly simple. I really like the late 30's silhouette. I like the round, elongated waist. It is slimming. I like the sleeves that are tight at the top and still fluffy at the bottom. I like the necklines and I like the skirt fullness. I like the full hips. I like almost everything about the late 30's. It's a very feminine era, without looking ridiculous!
The dress I am using for my inspiration image has a crossover, or surplice, bodice. I debated a while about whether or not to make the crossover actually part of the main bodice or to just cut separate strips of fabric to mimic the crossover look. For a long time I was actually going to do a front opening, crossover bodice dress but at the last minute I remembered Jessamyn's early 1840's dress that has a front opening and a back opening and has separate drapey crossover panels. This clicked for me, and I decided to go with it.
After I knew how I was going to cut the bodice I dove in and got started. The basic "foundation bodice" was easy. It is very similar to many of the dresses I have made before. It has a fitted back with curved seams between the center back and side back pieces. Since I have a large difference between bust and waist I had to fit the front bodice with 2 darts per side, rather than the 1 dart per side that is more common. The waistline is slightly high, to allow for a wide waistband. All the seams are piped with self fabric piping. The shoulders are slightly dropped and the neckline is finished with piping. The front bodice opening was piped and sewn shut about half way to the neckline. This gives me double piping along the front seam which is seen in several examples from Nancy Bradfield's Costume in Detail. The part of the front seam that I left open is for nursing access. It will close edge-to-edge with hook and eyes once the bodice is complete. Here you can see the darted bodice:
|sorry for the poor quality of the pics. . .yet again. . .I am lazy and did the infamous "mirror shot"|
I hemmed and pleated two strips of fabric to become the drapey crossover bits. I sewed one pleated end into the shoulder seam. While wearing the bodice, I pinned and pleated the other ends of the fabric strips to the darted bodice. Here you can see one side crossed over and pinned into place:
And here it is with both crossover pieces pinned into place:
After that, I trimmed off the excess fabric at the waist and sewed the waistband to the bodice. The waistband is slightly wide as the waistline was in transition at this point in history from the higher waistline of earlier years and the very long, pointed, low waistline of the 1840's.
|There will be piped tabs lower on the shoulder, holding the pleated panel in to make a sort of sweetheart neckline shape.|
I am as pleased as anything with how it is coming out so far! I do love this style so much. I can't wait to see what it will look like with sleeves!