This dress was a pleasure to make! It is the first dress I have made using all traditional methods……no sewing machine! In fact, the methods of sewing make it easier to do it by hand, at least for the bodice.
The pattern from Past Patterns is based on a dress in the Wayne County Historical Museum in Richmond, Indiana. My version was first worn during a play at Westfield Heritage Village, and it fit in perfectly for the farmer’s wife ca 1815….good dresses were not thrown out and I am sure were worn long after their debut.
The pattern gives cutting instructions for the original crosswise stripe, I adapted to the lengthwise fabric I had, so had to rearrange the pleats, not difficult to do. The original fabric for the dress as made in the early 1800′s was a handwoven stripe, with several colours. Although my fabric is a print stripe, the slightly coarse texture of the fabric makes it appear handwoven. I also had to enlarge the bodice over the shoulder, following the directions given with the pattern. The dress is front opening, with drawstrings at neckline and waist and a short placket in the skirt, hidden in the gathers. It was lovely to work with this fabric and the linen thread.
Note the very narrow back of this time period, and the characteristic diamond shape.