Friday, April 24, 2015

Black Plaid Cotton Dress, early-mid 1860s

Partial follow-up from the 1865 dress research post and redux: Mom's dress.

Black plaid shirting dress.
Bias waistband/cuff and pleated skirt details.

I decided to opt for a relatively plain and conservative approach to this dress, various reasons of persona, fit, and the wearer's comfort.

Classic elements of the period:
  • Bishop sleeves
  • Pleated bodice with jewel neckline
  • Manipulating the plaid fabric for self-trim (waistband and cuffs)
  • Piped neck and armsythe
  • Skirts balanced at the waist; faced hem 
 Stylish elements for 1865:
  • Small "stand up" white collar and narrow white cuffs (to be added)
  • Waistband at the elevated 'fashionable waist'
  • Skirts set fuller at the back than at the front; worn over petticoats set fuller to the back than the front (with a small tournure, or "dress improver" to help simulate the elongated cage of '65)
The skirt is knife-pleated (admittedly unusual for a cotton in the early '60s) to emphasize the plaid and to mimic the fashion for pleats in gored skirts, which are apparently ubiquitous by '65.  Gauging is falling out of favor, but pleating a non-gored cotton skirt is still sort of iffy, as far as I can tell.  The good news is that I can easily re-set the skirt with gauging for future re-use.

The front closure uses hooks and eyes.  One side pocket, taken from the design for a '66-'67 dress in Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion II.  Bodice and sleeve custom-draped.

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