I rarely make pieces without a certain event to wear it to in mind, but when I saw this fabric at work - a crisp silk damask probably intended for use in a high quality lining - it reminded me so strongly of the 1840s that I had to make an exception.
This dress is entirely hand sewn, made from silk damask lined with cotton, sewn with silk and cotton thread. It took me about two weeks, and most of that was honestly in wrangling the bias decoration on the skirt. The pattern is based on Period Costumes for Stage and Screen, which worked wonderfully and with few alterations, except for the reeeally long, wide sleeves. I wish that I'd done the gathering before I assembled the bodice, as it definitely would have helped it look neater- that being said, for not having any instructions outside of Janet Arnold, I think it turned out alright. I just wish that I could have fit the back a bit better and evened out the hem at the front. Next time I wear this I'll add some lace at the collar and, if needed, make a pelerine from the leftover fabric!
I decided on a simple style to let the fabric speak for itself - a standard gathered fan-front and a large bias strip on the skirt, which was a pretty common period decoration. Next time I wear this I'll add matching bias strips to the ends of the sleeves as well.
I wish I was able to show you pictures of me wearing this on the beautiful North Shore, but unfortunately it was raining pretty hard by the time I left for dance. But my dog stood in as a prop for added visual interest.
Hopefully I'll be able to take, and post, more pictures (including detail shots) this week!