V251: Starting the Indienne Gown, 1780s

With only about a month left until we leave for Williamsburg, I have rather a lot of sewing to do!

I was giddy when I found this Indienne print cotton at Lowe’s, and now it’s time to make it into a dress.  The “Prelude to Victory” event that will be taking place during our trip is set in 1780/81, so everything I have been constructing has been late 1770s, but no later than ’81.

Costume in Detail, gown, 1780s – My changes – moving the skirting more to the front, changing the closure from lacing to self-covered buttons
Costume in Detail, page 70.
I’m using a gown in “Costume in Detail: Women’s Dress 1730-1930
” for reference, page 69 and 70.  It has no specific date, just “1780’s,” so my plan is to set it a little earlier in that decade, by bringing the skirt more to the front than is on the original.  The overall construction is not much different than a 1770s Robe a l’Anglaise.
The original gown from “Costume in Detail,” from the Snowshill Collection, 
National Trust Inventory Number 1348733 
For the pattern I sortof smooshed together my basic bodice block and the pattern from the last Robe a l’Anglaise.  I want to try the squared-off tail style in back, along with a narrow-cut back, and a single-piece front/side/side-back piece. The shoulder strap is in-one with the bodice on the lining piece, but separate for the fashion fabric.  The sleeve has yet to be tested.

So far so good with the bodice.  I cut the center front well on the bias, and it has made a supremely massive difference in how the front/side/side-back pieces are fitting to the form.  I’ve turned the side back seams and pinned them – they’ll be top-stitched into place, and if any additional fitting is needed, I plan to take it up at the center back seam.

Progress so far
Back pinned in place.
Here’s hoping the rest goes as smoothly as it has done so far…I say this before getting to the sleeves, which always seem to stop a project dead in its tracks! Someday I will stumble upon the perfect sleeve pattern…maybe this will be the day. 🙂


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