18 August 2011

Wearing my New Gown

I debuted my Museum of London inspired gown at two events this month. The first was Rebels & Redcoats...

And the second event was a gala fundraiser...

Given my self-imposed two week deadline I think the gown turned out fairly well. I was able to construct it in just over a week, but I failed to finish the cuffs and sleeve ruffles so it needs more work. 

Here's the low down on my accessories:
  • To closer match the original, I wore a red sash which was just a light weight red silk from Wm. Booth Draper that I folded and pinned. (I ran out of time to sew this as well.) 
  • The felt hat is old...I had purchased it at Colonial Williamsburg's Mary Dickenson Shop and I trimmed it with a cream colored silk ribbon a few years ago. 
  • I wore my Sharon Burnston pearl necklace.
  • For Rebels & Redcoats I wore my red shoes. I had hoped to complete the look with my new American Duchess shoes for the gala fundraiser but I couldn't find leather glue (which was recommended for ribbon ties). 
Museum of London gown c.1780-1790
accession number 35.59
I'm a little frustrated that I cut the bodice front differently from the original. As you can see above, the stripes on the original make perfect Vs. I didn't so this because a) I was afraid I couldn't get the small stripes to line up correctly and b) even if I did cut and hem it just right, I wouldn't be able to wear the gown for very long. I'm planning to begin weaning my 11 month old from nursing and, since it's likely that my size will change, I would be really bummed if the stripes didn't meet correctly. 

As for this cherryderry fabric, I wonder if it's actually a seersucker. After I washed and thoroughly ironed it, it has a pucker that was not originally there. According to Textiles in America 1650-1870, seersucker is, "an Indian striped fabric of mixed silk and cotton exported to England from the end of the seventeenth century" (p343).

Whether it's searsucker or cherryderry probably doesn't matter. Both are period correct. The lightweight nature to the fabric makes it great for summer programs and I think this gown will be pretty versatile. I can dress it down for a working class impression or make it an even fancier 1780s gown with trim, a more elaborate sash with a bow, etc.

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