This is gown #1 in my wardrobe, for the Jane Austen Festival coming up in July. I've decided to make two dresses, one representing the early end of Jane Austen (the 1790s), and one representing the later end (the 18teens).
My references for this 1790s gown are as follows:
|Kyoto Costume Institute (AC9123 94-14-1) from 1795. I love the high back. It seems to be particular to the 1790s.|
|Kyoto Costume Institute (AC5793 88-19-22), 1795-1800. Nice wrap-front, loose sleeves, and I like the curved edges of the skirt hem|
I started with a fitted lining on the back, draping in muslin, upon which I endeavored to mount the voile and create decorative pleating, something like on the back of the Tidens Toj gown:
|Draping. I have an extreme rise in the back...might as well make it interesting, right?|
|The fitted lining. Three seams.|
|Mounting the voile on the back. I added the extra pleaties to look like seams. Cool huh? I sewed these down and cut the excess off.|
I did run into some problems, though.
First, the width of the fabric (the direction in which the slightly oblong "dots" of the dotted swiss run) was way too short to form the length of the skirt, so I had a moment of panic hoping I was going to have enough fabric to complete the gown, since I only ordered 4 yards. Luckily it's come out just right with the dots now running horizontal (it's barely noticeable), and I have plenty of length in the skirt.
|This is looking too short...|
|A little patch piece for the strap extension - this is the lining, and the voile went over this.|
|See? Not bad at all. It looks wide, but this includes allowance for the sleeve heads. Also, the backs of 1790s gowns are not the low scooped backs we see later in the Regency, but instead are quite high, even higher than this, up to the neck.|
This gown is ridiculously simple. The front piece is literally one long rectangle gathered at the top, and with a drawstring under the bust. I removed a small bit of volume to create the curve for the armscye, but that's the only cutting I did.
|My progress so far- this is from the back.|
The front of this gown *will* need an underbodice. I thought I could get away without one, but I learned that there is unwanted poofage on the side of the bust with the drawstring style, and this needs to be tacked down to the underbodice, to keep everything in place. It will also keep the back laying nicely and tightly.
I still have the second half of the front to sew on, and then the sleeves, but I'm really pleased with how quickly and easily this gown has come together! I can instead spend my time on getting the hair and wrappy headgear correct...and acquiring massively large feathers :-)