The Wicked Puffy Dress, aka Brudekjole, 1822

Dress of white voile with cottonpiping and trimmed with lace and silk ribbon, hand sewn with cotton thread. Reproduction of an 1822 Wedding Dress from the Nationalmuseet of Denmark, from a pattern made available on their web site.
Dress Diary
I just found out that my good friend is flying into town for the Commonwealth Vintage Dancers' "Dolley Madison Ball," which is being held in less than three weeks. I had not planned to attend this event, but I really want to see my friend, so I decided to go. The problem is. . . I somehow do not yet have a ball gown for this era! Crazy, I know!

The sensible thing to do would be to make a very simple dress with minimal trimmings from a tried-and-true pattern. So, what do I do? I decide to be ridiculous and attempt the make the "Brudekjole" (aka, wedding dress, which is also very appropriate for wear as a ball gown) from the Nationalmuseet in Denmark. They provide a scaled down pattern on their web site, which is awesome of them!!!

I quickly ordered some voile online (seriously, I am a crazy person!!!) and set to work drafting and fitting the pattern in muslin. . .
First mock up and fitting of the bodice
The first fitting went quite well, and I found I just needed some tweaking at the side seam to make it fit. Then, I altered the shoulder area a bit, to make it sit a bit more on the shoulders. I'm not sure if the original wearer had broader shoulders, or if she really wore the gown that far on her shoulders, but either way, I knew I'd be more comfortable if I wasn't tugging it back up all night long, so I made the change!

Here is mock-up #2, with sleeves as well. . .
Second mock up and fitting of the bodice, now with sleeves as well
My voile arrived the other day, and quick as can be, I washed it, marked and cut it out, and began sewing. Below is a taste of what I've accomplished so far. Left to right, several of the many rows of cording on the skirt, the lace basted on the bodice, and then dealing with encasing some cording along with the lace down the center front. . .
And the bodice, so far, along with a sneak peak of my awesome parure made by Dames a la Mode!
Bodice progress shot
Still sewing like mad, and making great progress! I am somehow even managing to finish the seams inside neatly, as you can see below on the left, and on the right, you can see the puffy over-sleeve getting ready to be added, with all those cut-outs bound in silk ribbon!
Detail of seam finishing inside the bodice  Oversleeves getting read to be set in
I did it! I managed to hand sew this entire dress in approximately two weeks (not including the patterning and such the week before). Crazy! Of course, it still needs the puffings on the skirt, and a wee bit more trimming work on the sleeve. . . But other than that, it's done, including hem and closures. Not bad, considering I also worked full time (including lots of wasted time commuting), didn't miss school or my husband's soccer games, and even kept up with my family/friend time. I am feeling a bit like a human sewing machine just now! And, I'll get to finish up those trimmings and it will be like a whole new dress for the next Regency dance event I attend. ;)
Finished dress!
A bit of a close-up of the bodice. . .
This page © 2014 by Jennifer E. Lithgow