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Wednesday, 17 February 2016

19th century blue gown: HSM Challenge #2


I originally made this gown to wear when I volunteered as a docent at a small museum. I never fully finished some of the details on the gown (particularly those sleeves) and it has sat as a sad UFO in my closet for over a year now. Sit no longer, gown! Your time has come!


Challenge: Pleats and tucks. The tucks are on the bottom of the skirt, and the pleats at the top! I admit, this is far from the most creative way of incorporating either into a garment, but hey, it's got both, so why not?

Material: An old cotton duvet cover, cord for piping, hooks and bars, cotton thread, and some scrap canvas and other white cotton from my stash (I think this also started life as an item of bed-clothing... maybe I've got a pattern here).

Pattern: S&S Romantic Era Day Dress (with modifications)

Period: mid to late 19th century

How historically accurate is it?
The museum I volunteered at was originally a toll-keeper's cottage. It was located on the outskirts of the city of Toronto, on one of the many toll roads that led into the city. The cottage served as a home the toll-keepers and their families from the 1830's to the late 1890's.There isn't much information available on clothing worn by rural workers living on the outskirts of 1860's Toronto (in Upper Canada), and I'm still not sure if this is an accurate representation of something of the sort (maybe the info's out there somewhere, but if it is, I couldn't find it- if anyone could point me to anything, I'd be very grateful!).

As far as construction goes, it's reasonably accurate- I'd give it maybe an 75 % given that the the 19th century isn't really my strong suit (ha puns!) historical sewing-wise. It was an entirely new era for me. I sewed it entirely by hand, I fudged some inside details, like lining the inside of the bodice with the same blue fabric as the outside. I also didn't hang the skirt from the bodice (which would be probably more accurate), but enclosed it in the waistband instead. The sleeves aren't actually the classic 1860's two-piece sleeves- I drew the single pattern shape here and had to reset and piece it a million times to make it work. All I can say is that at least they actually fit me now!

Hours to complete: About three days straight of sewing over a year ago!! Plus a few hours this month to finally finish up the sleeves.

First worn complete: Yesterday while doing finishing touches, to see if it fits. I last wore it in its incomplete form on Canada day (July 1st) last year while doing a shift at the museum's promotional table in a local festival.

Total cost: For the materials, about $3.75- this was for the half a pack of skirt hooks and the piping cord. Everything else I had around already.

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