My third attempt at a c.1800 gown is done--the first attempt was this green gown and the second was August's 1795 work gown.
As you may remember, I had to make a compromise with the quality of thread and a modification on the sleeve that I had originally intended to use--both of which I was OK with. But there's something about this project that doesn't seem right when I wear it. Below are photos showing the completed gown and a bit on my frustrations with the empire era.
As a whole, the gown came out OK...at least when I'm not wearing it. For the purposes of my What Cheer Day first person persona I think it was very appropriate. I portrayed a maid seeking employment with a very wealthy family. I would have worn my best gown, which would theoretically have been nice but not as chic as we see in extent fashion plates.
To show this, I used the drawstring back, which I think of as less formal...
...and added little pleats at the skirt. I'm quite fond of these pleats and the fullness they create.
I based my bodice pattern after this Augusta Auctions gown.
There's a drawstring across the bodice top's square neckline which ties on the inside, just like it appears the extent gown has. There are a few little pleats at the bottom of the bodice...
...and it has the world's smallest shoulder strap, much like the original.
Given that the gown has a shoulder strap, I used my 1780s sleeve pattern and set it in the usual 18th century way. (Many thanks to Sharon for helping me fit the last part!)
The inside of the bodice has very few finished seams. I'm not crazy about this but when I washed it on the gentle cycle everything "seams" fine as it's not terribly fraying. : )
Still I'm convinced that something about this bodice doesn't fit right.
When I tried the gown on as I was making it, it seemed OK.
I tried it on a few days before the event, and it again seemed ok.
When I wore it the day of the event, it didn't seem OK. Here's where I think I may have went wrong:
- I do not yet have all the right undergarments. Strike one.
- The bodice is shaped more like a "bandeau" top which, if the drawstrings are tied too tightly, isn't flattering partly because it creates a bit of bulk in the fabric. And this particular neck handkerchief added to that bulk. Strike two.
- When I made my mock-up, I had to fit it on myself. Strike three.
- No more drawstrings! The drawstring creates too much variation in how the gown can fit, depending upon how tight or loose it's tied. I want something more reliable.
- Get help with fitting the bodice.
- Make better accessories: a chemisette would work better than a neck handkerchief for this style. (And an easy Regency hairstyle wouldn't hurt.)