This year I'm celebrating Valentine's Day by dressing as a Federal-era servant and hanging out in a historic house with Kitty Calash.
The program, An Afternoon in 1820: Life at the Whitehorne House, takes place at the Newport Restoration Foundation's 1811 Whitehorne House in "N'Port", where we will portray maids. A slightly outdated 18-teens gown seemed an appropriate costuming option for 1820 when representing a servant in an economically challenged city, so I created this cotton dress. Here are some sewing notes and interpretation thoughts...
I found this printed cotton fabric last year by Cranston Print Works. (I love how the company, established in 1807, dates from the era I'm representing!) Though it seems a little French, it has a nice early 19th century look. I used the Period Impressions 1809 Daywear pattern as my guide for cutting...but I didn't follow the construction directions. (Directions are too confusing!)
The skirt panels were gathered and stitched into the center back.
Being short waisted, I modified the bodice pattern so it wouldn't be gappy at the back shoulders. I cut it a tad too short so I created this waistband that I space back stitched in place. This helped lengthen the bodice without starting over.
I actually used the sewing machine on this project--a little. Inside seams that would normally be back stitched (such as the skirt panels to the bodice, flat felled skirt seams and attaching the sleeves) were sewn on the machine. In reality I'm better at hand stitching than manipulating my Singer, and I ended up sewing some parts twice.
1810-1818 Roller Printed Gown.
For construction photos, and the pattern, visit 19us.com.
I think Anne Shirley would approve of my poofy sleeve.
Detail of the sleeve pleated and top stitched in place.
With this unusually chilly winter, long sleeves are a necessity.
For the bodice lining, I made it the kind that ties in the front.
And that's about it!
Photo bombed by my four year-old!