Printed Cotton Dress, c. 1770-85

This dress is the first dress that I made with the intention of making something that represented anything near historical accuracy. As such, it is not entirely authentic or perfect, but will always hold a special place in my heart. It is made of cotton, lined with cotton, and using a combination of machine and hand sewing. The pattern and construction technique are copied from the c. 1770-85 dress (Gown #3) from “Costume Close-Up.”

The dress is shown with a white linen petticoat with a woven stripe pattern, hand sewn with white linen thread and cartridge pleated to a cotton tape. The cloak is from a pattern also in “Costume Close-Up,” and is of red wool, sewn with silk thread, and having silk ribbon ties. A simple silk ribbon adds a little visual detail at the neck.
Dress Diary
I don't have a dated dress diary to share because when I started this dress eight years ago, I was only just starting a web site, and wasn't being as detailed with the dating of updates. Here are two ancient progress pictures from when I first started making this:
I am amused now at how I thought it would be a good idea to put the dress over side hoops. How much I have learned since then! But, Halloween (my kitty, pictured at the right) to this day believes this dress is one of the most comfy hangouts ever. In fact, it's been worn exactly once, but laundered several times because of being coated with kitty hair!

Even with the flaws and inaccuracies with this dress, there are things I'm proud of, like the historically-accurate lining technique, and the pretty decent fit I managed to get. And, the dress is special to me because it is the first historic dress I made by scaling up a pattern taken off an extant garment. I am really happy that my good friend Sarah convinced me to finish and wear it. :)
This page © 2010 by Jennifer E. Lithgow