Monday, March 9, 2015

The performance gown (of inappropriate shift-flashing)

One of the lovely women who attends our school's English Country Dance club was organizing a JASNA meeting focused on the musical aspects of Jane Austen's works, and she graciously allowed me to play a few period harp pieces for it along with the rest of the presenters and performers.
The problem being that my only good early 19th century dress, my yellow and green print, was in a storage unit in the northern suburbs of Chicago.  It was time for a new dress!  So I cannibalized a yellow wool petticoat to make a dress that really needs some structural changes before I wear it again.  But the music, dancing and lovely company at the event made up for my sartorial mistakes!

I used this gown as inspiration for the construction - I liked the gathered detailing on the bib, and I wish that I had had more time to do similar sleeve and hem decoration.  The pattern is loosely adapted from Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion - it went together very smoothly and is pretty adjustable.
I had a couple weeks to get it done, but I procrastinated and ended up making it in a few days. It is tropical weight wool lined partially with linen, sewn with silk and linen thread.  I need to re-make the skirt and possibly the sleeves, but the dress was comfortable and sturdy and I liked the color.
Photo credit to Emma C - I take full responsibility for my phone camera being terrible
Here's a better picture of my hair pre-preformance, when the curls were still fresh.

I do not know what personal projects I'll be doing in the near future.  But Douglas Day is definitely going to happen this summer - I'm hugely excited about that - as well as various and sundry other Civil War events that I'd like to get out to.
I hope you all have a lovely spring!


  1. Hey! Good to see you're still sewing, Frieda! So jealous that you live RIGHT there at Williamsburg! AAAAH I must come see you sometime! lol

  2. Very pretty :) I like the necklace with it too!

    1. Thank you! I think it is vaguely reminiscent of McDonald's, but coral was very much a favorite in the period!