Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Historical Sew Fortnightly - #1 Challenge

A XIX. század divatjai. Collection Geszler. - Die Moden des XIX. Jahrhunderts
 #1: Bi/Tri/Quadri/Quin/Sex/Septi/Octo/Nona/Centennial – due 14 Jan.  Sew something from __13, whether it be 1913, 1613, or 13BC.

For challenge #1 for the Historical Sew Fortnightly I am creating the pattern and toile for the 1813 blue gown in the centre of the image on the left. This fits in nicely with my JAFA Costuming Challenge to create an 1813 gown for the Jane Austen Festival Australia in April this year to celebrate the bicentennial of Jane Austen's, Pride and Prejudice.

 Its nice to be able to complete two challenges with the same outfit, win win all round!

My lovely wife gave me 10 metres of blue silk taffeta for Christmas to make this gown and the pelisse on the left. I hope to also make the white dress under the pelisse and a version of the yellow gown on the right, but in a different colour, as yellow and I clash badly!

  • Norah Waugh, The cut of women's clothes 1600-1930
  • Nancy Bradfield, Costume in detail 1730 - 1930
  • Sarah Jane Downing, Fashion in the time of Jane Austen
  • A XIX. század divatjai. Collection Geszler. - Die Moden des XIX. Jahrhunderts
  • Jean Hunnisett, Period costume for stage & screen: patterns for women's dress 1800-1909
  • Janet Arnold, Patterns of Fashion 1: Englishwomen's dresses and their construction c. 1660-1860
I trawled the web like a madwoman and pinned the results to my 1813 Pinterest board.


I spent an afternoon draping my bodice. I decided to keep the same V-neck front and back as there were other European fashion drawings with front V-necks in 1813. Bodices were extremely high at this period in Europe, they sat at the underarm.

 The back:

I think I have the style, I pleated the centre back to get the ruched looked.

I created a mock trim and added a sleeve to get a better feel. 

The front:

Not sure I'm pleased with it, think I may add the back ruching.

Back to the research, I really want the bodice front depicted in the 1813 French gown below, supposedly the first wedding gown with veil depicted in the 19th century.

In Norah Waugh's The cut of women's clothes, I found a bodice that would work. The style is 1803, 10 years earlier, but it gives me the shape I am want and I can tweak it happily.

Here is my paper mock-up.

Here is my new design of the bodice and I'm much more satisfied with it.


This has been a hard fortnight for me, we have had a horrible heat wave in the Blue Mountains with extreme fire danger, not a happy occurrence in the Australian bush! Our bushfire plan is to leave, so our bags were packed, hardrives and laptops all ready to go quickly if we were threatened by fire. Thankfully this didn't occur for us, but it did for many others across NSW and my heart goes out to them. The Australian Red Cross is accepting donations to help the burnt out bushfire victims if you'd like to help and contribute.

The heat made me unmotivated, I hate high temps, they really knock me around. A cool change came through today so I restarted my 1813 bodice with the different pattern above and finished the toile, it works, but it's a pretty lame attempt for Challenge #1 as its not a completed item as I didn't drape the toile skirt, nor have I tried the bodice on with the correct underpinings. However it is the start of a beautiful 1813 gown and I will post further progress on this gown as I continue. 

I'm back at work tomorrow sewing commissions for others, so not sure which challenges I'll be able to work on, but I am here in spirit and admiring everyone's work. 

Just the facts, Ma’am: Aimed for a completed toile for an 1813 full dress gown. Didn't succeed, only managed the bodice.

Fabric: Calico in my stash.

Pattern: A pattern created by Norah Waugh from an extant gown in 1803

Year: 1813 AD

Notions: Thread and pins.

How historically accurate is it? As accurate as I can make it, based on an extant pattern and adapted to fi my figure and the image.

First worn: Not yet.

Total cost: "free' as I used stash fabric, books from my library and notions also in my stash.

I'm The Tailor's Apprentice and I have created The Miss Page Vintage Pattern Collection. 1940s WWII dress making patterns for the 21st century woman. Patterns created by me from my extant 1940s gowns. All my patterns are available on Etsy and my website where you'll find out more about me as well. This year I am publishing an 1820s gown wardrobe pattern.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love to read your comments and thoughts on my posts.