The weekend before American Thanksgiving a few friends and I enjoyed a little jaunt to Williamsburg. We dressed up one day for a carriage ride in the historic district:
So, I really seem to be a lot about the 4th quarter of the 18th century these days – and there’s more to come!
Back in the spring I crossed another style off the wishlist: a 1780s Chemise gown (aka Chemise a la Reine, Robe en Chemise, etc):
Say that 10x fast! Lol.
I should begin by noting that I have no idea how HA or not the construction of my hat is. We apparently do know that wire and buckram were used in hat making at the time but don’t know how much it would have resembled our modern materials or just how they were used. We don’t have any surviving examples of these hats (that we yet know of) to check against. So please do keep this in mind – this is *my* interpretation of how such hats maybe *could* have been made.
Anyway, here is the hat in question:
Right at the end of 2017 I had a little dream come true – a costumed weekend at Colonial Williamsburg!
A couple groups of friends decided to get together there to take in the holiday decorations and sport our 18th century winter wear.
*Note*: all watermarked photos are courtesy of In the Long Run Designs – thank you again Gloria & Mike!!
This dress is the first off the list of 2017 historical sewing projects. Hooray for crossing items off lists, I love that feeling! (if you’d like to, you can check out the full-ish list here)
This is something I had planned/wanted to make for some time – basically ever since I bought the fabric a few years ago. It’s a scrummy silk taffeta in irregular micro-stripes of light robins egg blue and ivory and I the moment I saw I had late 18th century visions. In fact, I loved it so much that after first buying 6m of it I went back to the store (it was on sale at Fabricland) and bought the rest of the bolt for a total of about 12m!
After making my quarter-back Italian gown in the fall I really wanted to make an Anglaise with an en fourreau back. Initially I thought I would do the regular kind, just with the late 18th century quite narrow en fourreau. But then I saw this and I was instantly won over:
I had actually seen one (or two) other such dresses in-person in the UK as part of my research so I knew it wasn’t a complete one-off-outlier and I think it’s just such a neat twist on the en fourreau style I had to have it!
I was also keen to try a cutaway front bodice (often referred to as a “Zone front” but as that’s a modern term I try to stay away from using it) and so put all of these elements together in one dress.
I’ve finally gotten around to doing a sort-of how-to post on the ruched sleeve cuffs of my rust 1780s Italian Gown. This is very far from an authoritative description or tutorial as it was entirely trial and error, my own cuffs are far from perfect and I didn’t have a full tutorial in mind when doing it. But, hopefully it can somewhat helpful to people and it would be awesome if it was a starting point for someone to come up with a much better and more comprehensive how-to!
Now I can finally show you the whole look of my new 1780s ensemble all put together!
(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!
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.
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.