Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Late 1830s Striped Dress

Victoria gives the stink-eye
I've come to really like the crazy hairstyles and the puffy sleeves from 1830s dresses. I hadn't really looked at this style until seeing the movie Young Victoria (2009), which was costumed by Sandy Powell, who won an Academy Award for the costuming. Maggie at The Costumer's Guide to Movie Costumes has a great spread of the various costumes in the film. I realized that I had a great striped silk in the stash for making a dress from this period. Since I wanted to wear the dress to the Dickens Faire I decided to style it towards 1838-1840.

From the Stash:
  • 6 yards striped silk (Joanns red tag clearance)
  • 8 yards piping, dyed green
  • 1 yard mint green canvas
  • 1 yard green leaf trim
  • various notions (bias tape, hook & eye tape)
  • Partially finished corded petticoat (purchased from Carol Wood at the Costumers Bazaar)

The entire dress came from the stash. I decided to use the pre-made piping because I wasn't sure if I had enough fabric to make my own bias tape. I used Truly Victorian 455 as a base and altered the sleeves using the 1837-1841 morning dress from Pattern of Fashion I by Janet Arnold. Comparing the shapes of the sleeves you can really see how the wide puff of the 1830s was tamed into the lower puffs of the 1840s. The gathering really tames the puffiness and is a nice bit of ornamentation to the tops of the sleeves without being fussy. I did a full mockup of the bodice and the new sleeve shape just to be sure everything would go together.

Patterns of Fashion 1837-1841 morning gown
I flatlined the bodice with some horrific mint green canvas. This stuff must have been on super sale when I bought it. Instead of finishing the interior of the gown with a complete lining I finished the seam allowances by enclosing them in bias tape, like a Hong Kong finish. This technique is how the seams are finished on an extant 1880s bodice that I purchased at an antique store. I'm not sure if this technique is period to the 1830s, although the liner notes for the TV pattern say that it is.
1880s bodice construction
I had this great green leaf trim (also bought in light and dark brown) that I bought a few years ago when I first
 started learning how to make ribbon flowers. The trim helps emphasize the lines of the bodice front, similar to the PoF dress, and in the low light of the Dickens Faire looked like embroidery.

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