Thursday, February 18, 2016

Tiered Dress, mid-1850s

This fun dress was made at the request of a friend, using a gorgeous lightweight floral print she found at Reproduction Fabrics. The design is copied from an original (unfortunately, the picture was in a book of Russian museum items, so I can't link to it).  The original dress has a three-tiered skirt in a 2:1:1 ratio (bottom/mid/top).  The bodice was cut very full and shirred at shoulder and waist.  There's a piped bodice edge, no waistband, with a narrow self-fabric bow or tie at the center front of the original. The sleeves are wide open from the elbow, where they are controlled with shirring, but are
smooth above.  The center front opening has no buttons, and presumably closes with hooks and eyes.

1850s style dress with three tier skirt, open sleeves, shirred bodice.
 We decided to use smooth sleeve caps over a full open sleeve with shirring to the elbow, to follow the observed sleeve effect--we also tried mocking up a capless sleeve that was tight above and loose below, but it looked like a colonial-era costume piece, so the cap version was selected.  The narrow (apparently tatted) lace on the original was replaced by silk ribbon for the reproduction.  It was present on the two upper tiers of the skirt, and along the edge of the open sleeves.

Bodice waist shirring and gauged skirt.


  1. How wonderful! Thank you for sharing this with us!


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