Black Printed Cotton Dress, c. 1790-5

Black “printed cotton” dress with cotton lining handsewn with silk thread using mostly running and combination stitches. The pattern is the c. 1770-85 dress from “Patterns of Fashion 1,” with the lining technique copied from the c. 1770-85 dress (Gown #3) from “Costume Close-Up.” Printing on black fabric does not seem to have been the most popular textile design of the era from what I’ve observed, but I have seen several surviving garments from the late 18th century that use this sort of fabric. This particular dress was inspired by a surviving printed cotton dress of this color and style in the collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute. The dress is dated 1790-1795 by KCI, and can be seen on page 104 of their book, “Fashion.” Petticoat shown is of white striped linen, handsewn with white linen thread, pattern of my own invention. Sash in silk taffeta, handsewn with silk thread. Cap is the Kannik’s Korner “single ruffle” cap in cotton organdy, handsewn with cotton thread, and adorned with a pink silk ribbon. Voile fichu handsewn with cotton thread. Necklace of coral(?) beads strung on silk thread.
Dress Diary
I have what I think is a very nicely fitted mock-up of an 18c dress bodice done, and am ready to give it a shot. I found some black cotton with an 18th century-ish design printed on it sitting in my stash, and it reminded me of a dress I saw in the Kyoto Costume Institute's "Fashion," so I thought, why not? Here is my mock-up:
And here is the start of my dress:
So far, so good!
I'm very happy with the way the skirt of this dress turned out! I first turned under the raw edges of the bodice, and then levelled the skirt from the top while on the dress form, and turned under the raw edges at the top of the skirt as well. Then, I pleated the skirt onto the bodice, right on the dress form. So much easier than trying to work from a pattern or measure the pleats and do them flat, and, it's a period-correct way to go about it! I think I will always do 18c dresses this way in the future.
Starting to really look like a dress:
Almost there!
I managed to finish this dress in time to wear to CostumeCon over the weekend. I did notice I could do to adjust the angle just a bit where the shoulder strap meets the front of the bodice. That shouldn't be too hard to fix! And, it wasn't so bad that I couldn't wear it. All in all, I'm pretty happy with it, and it was so much more fun to test drive my pattern in a fun fabric and end up with a wearable dress instead of making another muslin!
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