1790s Chintz Gown – The Home Stretch

It’s that time of year – that special time just before That Big Annual Costume Event when the mad “must-get-it-all-done!” sewing commences.   I wonder why I do this to myself: I have loads of perfectly good costumes to wear to Costume College, yet I simply must go right down to the wire making new things.  WHY!?

The neckline is well below the top of the stays.  I will need to wear a more opaque neckerchief to fill it all in

I spent this past weekend working feverishly on this 1790s chintz gown, made from the famous Lowe’s “Felicite” curtains, in the noir colorway
(yummmmmy).  The gown is for Maggie’s wedding…in October…and despite having one Curtain-Along dress to wear to Costume College already, I decided to finish this one up and wear it as well.

It’s close, very close.  In fact, it was finished, until I put it on. (Isn’t that always the case? lol).  I knew the neckline was going to be tricky, as it is *very* low on the originl gown.  As suspected, mine wasn’t low enough, and wasn’t working at all with the Regency stays, so I put on my 1780s prow-front stays, folded the bib down a bit, and was happy to see the correct silhouette emerge.  Yay!

Just a bit of a train in back – think I might add some weights to get it to behave a bit

I don’t have time to make 1790s stays, so I’m going to have to wing it with my 1780s, which create the right bust shape, at least.  So now all that is left is to stitch down the bib alteration, remove the belt loop from the back (it’s too high), add an oomph-pad to the back to kick out the skirt, and sew on the buttons.  Onward!


  • Anonymous

    July 22, 2013 at 11:15 PM

    I have a pattern for an 1810 dress that has a similar skirt shape, but the front bust area is cut higher and the sleeves have a little more poof to them in the back. Is that the only different between 1790s and 1810s?

    • Lauren Stowell

      July 23, 2013 at 12:30 AM

      I'm not super-knowledgeable about 1810, but from what I've been finding, there's a change to the treatment of the ladies' bust through corsetry/support, but the gowns are all over the place with the necklines. Sleeve shapes vary greatly as well, but skirt shapes do change noticeably, from quite full in front in the 1790s to much slimmer and flat in front by 1810.

      Regency ladies, please add to this thread, as you know way more about the 1810s than I do!

  • Zach

    July 23, 2013 at 1:09 AM

    Lovely!!! I can't wait to see the finished dress (and the shoes you wear with it!). Also, drapery weights are pretty nifty, aren't they? Millions of perspective uses in the clothing world!

    • Lauren Stowell

      July 23, 2013 at 7:20 PM

      Thanks! I'm torn between red Pemberlies and black Kensingtons – I want to wear the red clocked stockings, and not sure if red stockings and red shoes would be too much? lol.

      Drapery weights – yes! well, I used two large washers sewn into a little pouch, are those okay? They sortof clink a bit when I walk, hahaha

  • Time Traveling in Costume

    July 23, 2013 at 1:46 AM

    Beautiful! I can't wait to see it and the other Curtain Along dresses at CoCo. The fabric is just yummy and I like the black background.

  • Brandi

    July 23, 2013 at 4:10 AM

    Love love love love love! 🙂 Cannot wait to see pics from CoCo. I will make it out there, one of these years. 🙂 Have a great time!

    • Lauren Stowell

      July 23, 2013 at 7:17 PM

      They're awesome curtains! I love the fabric so much I'm really tempted to get the red background and make an 1830s dress

  • Nora

    July 23, 2013 at 9:18 AM

    Lovely! Just goes to show how important the stays really are; the silhouette is exactly right. And that fabric! I love how dramatic it looks 🙂

    • Lauren Stowell

      July 23, 2013 at 7:16 PM

      Thank you! I was worried about it being rather loud, but the large print is calmed by the accessories, thank goodness. (that, or I really will look like a walking sofa, and not realize it, lol!)

  • flyingdreams

    July 23, 2013 at 6:14 PM

    Your dress is so wonderful! Simply fantastically! I wished with myself if there were such great fabric!

    • Lauren Stowell

      July 23, 2013 at 7:15 PM

      Thank you! You can get the fabric on Amazon, in three different colorways, all divine. It's in the link above 🙂

  • AuntieNan

    July 24, 2013 at 1:38 PM

    Dress wonderful! You look beautiful in it, and the shape is so flattering!
    As to skirt oomph, have you tried a strip of nylon horsehair around the back hem? Not too wide or stiff. It helps!
    Best Auntie Nan

  • Kleidung um 1800

    July 25, 2013 at 5:52 AM

    Beautiful! The colour suits you perfectly and the fit of the bodice is superb. Can't wait to see what hairdo and accessories you will wear with it.

  • Hana - Marmota

    July 25, 2013 at 9:18 AM

    The neckline IS very low. I knew it was, but it probably never hits home until you make it… But it looks great now on the photos. Good luck in finishing it and finding the right neckerchief! (And if you finish it in time for Costume College now, it will be finished for the wedding, right? Distatnt deadlines are sometimes more difficult to keep.)


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