05 August 2011

Museum of London Gown Inspiration

I need a new cap, new stays, and a host of period toddler clothing. But I'm not working on any of that. I'm making a gown. (A girl can't have too many gowns, can she?)

Museum of London gown c.1780-1790
accession number 35.59
This project is one that I've wanted to make for over a year. It's inspired by this gown from the Museum of London's collections. I saw it last year during their Pleasure Garden exhibit. 

The original gown's fabric is a lightweight cotton embroidered with flowers. I purchased a cherryderry at the Berwick Street Cloth Shop. This isn't a perfect match -- it's a black and white stripe, instead of pinkish red and it's not embroidered. But the stripes are fairly close in size and the fabric is from England.

According to Textiles in America cherryderry is "striped or checked woven cloth of mixed silk and cotton imported from India from the late 17th century...used for women's dresses and handkerchiefs" (p199).  

To start this project I cut my fabric into 20 inch wide panels, instead of the 30 inch panels that I used for my runaway gown
Skinny skirt panels.

When I tried to measure and sew the center back panel, I remembered how tricky stripes are and started to despise my choice. I just couldn't get the stripes to line up evenly and create an "appeasing" V pattern. After several attempts at hand sewing and unpicking my unforgiving fabric...

Note: ugly prick marks : (
...I resorted to the sewing machine. (More on this debate next week.) 

I then modified the sleeve of my wonderful Hallie Larkin gown pattern to closer reflect the length of the MoL gown's sleeve because it's a bit longer. (Fortunately MoL includes measurements for this gown, which helped me better guesstimate the length.) It took me three attempts but I was able to find a new pattern that fits. 

With the tricky part done, I'm on schedule to complete the gown for my two week deadline! 

1 comment:

  1. Wasn't the Pleasure Gardens display fabulous! I have my beady eye on that eggshell blue pelisse with the beautiful roule work on the bodice. Loved this one too, I will enjoy seeing you put it together :)


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