c.1780 Italian Gown – In Action – literally!

Now I can finally show you the whole look of my new 1780s ensemble all put together!

(In case you’re just tuning in and/or would like to revisit the construction posts I wrote about this here are links to the bodice, petticoat, and skirt + finishing)

(and I will still be doing a post about the sleeve cuffs, some of the underpinnings, and the wig, which I will link to here when it’s done and up)

Taylor (aka Dames a la Mode) graciously volunteered to do a photoshoot for me last Friday. The location is St James church + yard just up 8th street from my house here on Capitol Hill that’s done in an atmospheric faux-gothic-Jacobean mash-up style. I kinda love it!

And now on to the show!

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Italian Gown – The Gown Skirt & Putting it All Together!

A quick re-cap of the original dress/pattern in Patterns of Fashion and how I modified it:

the original dress has a box-pleated skirt but I wanted the tight, narrow knife pleats so common for this period.

(Also, here are links to my posts on making the bodice and petticoat)

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So I used the skirt pattern from another dress in Patterns of Fashion as a rough guide.

Although I still did things a little differently from either. I cut my skirt as two full-width panels of my fabric with a little bit of a train at the back but completely straight along the top. Instead of cutting the waist edge with a curve I just sewed it with one – you’ll see what I mean in a moment.

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c. 1780 Italian Gown – The Petticoat

The style of the petticoat is based off the original one that goes with my primary dress inspiration/pattern in Patterns of Fashion:

p59 JA 40. Petticoat - 4.5 widths. Flat pleated towards sides. Top edge bound linen tape, ties both sides. Deep self flounce all round hem:  petti-pattern

Although to make it I simply cut 2 panels of my fabric, with the back slightly longer than the front to help accommodate the false rump that’s going under there. I also pleated mine differently from the original since it appears to have been done according to an older style where the pleats all face towards the side/pocket openings – another clue that the ensemble *may* have been an earlier one altered in the late 1770s/early 1780s. During the later period petticoat pleats tend to all face towards the centre back similarly to dress skirts, although the pleats themselves tend to be larger than on dress skirts.

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Red + Aqua Spring/Autumn Dress

This dress post is even more belated than the summer ones from this year as I made it back in the spring. However, since I’ve also been wearing it over fall I thought I could get away with still posting about it.

It’s actually one of my overall favourite dresses right now because it’s both so pretty and super comfortable!

It’s made of lovely soft, swishy rayon challis in an aqua/pink/red print, with solid red rayon for the accenting bands.

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2016 Summer Frock Parade – Yes, there’s one more

This is the final summer dress I made this year. It’s also quite possibly the most comfortable, making me wish it had been the first. But at least it was done in time to help get me through the horrors of August heat/humidity. It was also a favourite during my recent trip to Italy in September.

It’s made using the same bodice pattern as the Flamingo dress, just altering it back to be sleeveless (as per one of the options with the original Burda WOF pattern). For reference, the pattern is number 112 from the November 2007 issue of the Burda magazine when it was still Burda World of Fashion, so unfortunately earlier than they started archiving them on the website.

Oh but look, I did just find an image of the line drawing from the Russian site on Pinterest:

#112 Burda 11/2007:

The skirt is just 3 panels of the 54-60″ wide fabric gathered/pleated up using the ruffler foot on my Singer Featherweight.

It’s made from a really lovely cotton voile I’d had in the stash for a few years. I love the swirly, impressionistic print of it and the combination of light and dark olive greens with hints of aqua/turquoise.

It also happens to be THE perfect fabric for DC summers – so lightweight and cool, and with just a hint of crispness to it that keeps the surface smooth and cool. I have some more of this fabric in an abstract watercolour-ish print in shades of mauve that I was hoping to make up this year, but it will now have to wait until next spring. Next summer it is quite possible that I will live entirely in these two dresses (unless I can get my hands on more cotton voile of this type).

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