Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Late 1830s Dress

Abigail's late 1830s dress is finally finished enough to get pictures of and blog about. Of all the historic eras that I've experimented sewing clothing for, the 1830s are by far my favorite. I love the wide necklines and gigot sleeves, it an aesthetic that I appreciate. Before the gigot sleeves were replaced by the slim sleeves of the 1840s, the gigot for a short time was banded or otherwise reduced at the bicep and flared out around the elbow. It doesn't seem like it's a very popular style to reproduce though, for whatever reason. I loosely based her dress on the 2 girls' dresses pictured in William Sidney Mount's 1840 painting The Blackberry Girls.

Blackberry Girls

I found this fabric at Wal-Mart for $2.50/yard and I squeaked it out of 3 yards. Romantic Era dresses really eat up the yardage.

The fabric is pleated at the bicep and then attached to the lower sleeve. There is self fabric piping at the armscye, between the upper and lower sleeves, at the wrist, binding the bertha collar and at the neckline. The pleats in the bodice are stitched in before the bodice is cut out, I don't know if that's a period technique or not.  :)

Instead of a ruffle I trimmed the collar with 100% cotton twill tape that I dyed dark brown. This is my first attempt at a bertha collar and I really like the way it turned out, it's a nice finishing touch.

There is a slim fitted undersleeve, cut on the bias, that the fashion fabric is tacked onto to give the pouf at the elbow. Without the undersleeve the pouf would fall down the arm and drag off the hand. Not the fashionable look we're shooting for. 

Godey's Ladies Book February 1838