Enter the Larkin & Smith English Gown pattern. This pattern comes with paper pieces for the bodice, and a spiral-bound color booklet of history, materials guidance, and step-by-step instruction. It's *fabulous*.
I've just started, only cutting out the bodice lining pieces and pleating down the back, but so far it's been very easy and enjoyable, and I truly feel that an excellent gown will result.
I'm doing the gown up in yellow silk taffeta shot with bronze. I would have preferred a stronger Chinese yellow, like some of the gowns below, but it didn't seem to be in season. Still, the fabric is gorgeous, and I've wanted an obnoxious yellow gown for so long!
To get more familiar with this type of dress, here are a few of my favorites from my Pinterest board:
|Museum of London, 1743-50|
|National Trust, 1750-60 - this one has winged cuffs, which the L&S pattern does have as an option.|
|KCI, 1770 - fabric is Spitalfields silk from 1740|
|Kerry Taylor Auctions - c. 1770. You can flick through the archives to find this and many others.|
|Museum of London, 1743-50 - this dress is a lot more saturate yellow - click through to see better and more photos|
|The Met, 1740-60|
|The Met, 1770-75 - isn't that just gorgeous! Crisp pleats and fly fringe.|