Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Cream poplin late 1830s

I still have to play catch-up with my new things from Gettysburg, but I'll do this one first. My friends and I decided we finally wanted something in the correct era for Allaire Village (they're set in the 1830s), to go up for one of their Christmas weekend events. It was a bit of a crunch, as we only had 3 weeks in between Gettysburg and Allaire, and one of those involved Thanksgiving.

I based my dress on one in Nancy Bradfield's Costume in Detail:
Materials: Made of cream figured cotton poplin, with off-white silk taffeta piping. The bodice is lined in linen (not usual for the late 1830s, but still occasionally seen), and the sleeves in cotton. The skirt is unlined. The main seams (and piping!!) are machine sewn, due to time constraints; finishings are done by hand.
I'm not very excited about the sleeves. Their construction was a complete guessing-game, and I think I made the wrong guess on several things! The puffs need more support and some slight trimming down, and I chose to make a fitted sleeve lining and tack the puff to it, but I think I would have done better to line the puff as-is, since the sleeve lining ended up not matching the sleeve itself at all! The lining's about 3" shorter than the sleeve itself at the wrist. I ended up just turning the cuff under and tacking it down, since I was so displeased with it! Ideally I want to take the sleeves completely apart and redo them before I wear the dress again...
I wore my 1844 corset, mid-1840s corded petticoat, and taffeta/quilted 18thc petticoat underneath. Honestly the corded petticoat is a little too much for this dress, as you can see in the side-view! But corded petticoats are a pain in the butt to make, so I'm not very interested in making a slightly less heavily corded one just for this dress...
Stupid face, sorry. My friends make me laugh a lot.
The chemisette is made of cotton, with poly lace on the collar (horrors!), and has main seams sewn by machine, seams flat-felled and finished by hand. I think it's adorkable and probably my favorite part of the outfit!
The bodice ended up being just a little bit too big, which is where I suspect all those lame-o wrinkles came from. Too much room in the non-boob space. Chronic problem.
Sad and wrinkled droopiness everywhere. Good look.
And I was pleased at how my doofy Jane-Eyre-hair behaved itself. My dress is dated '37-'38, and you still mainly see the side-curls at this point:
But there are a few with simpler waved-back swoopdies over the ears instead of curls (I believe "swoopdies" is the technical term):
Less exciting, probably less fashionable, but didn't require curlers and a wet-set, which I was all over! Even if it did make me look like an impoverished governess. ;)

And a few in-progress shots.
Chemisette without the dress.
Almost-finished bodice - eyelets are half-done here.
Somewhat dodgy detail shot of the front bodice piping.
Skirt's attached! You can see the pleating & gathering better here.
The back edges do not, in fact, quite line up. This was not high on my list of Things To Worry About.
Inside of the bodice. My bodice insides are not usually that neat, but I was copying the CiD dress and that was neat, so...The back edges are boned with a cable tie; the CF seam is just covered with tape, no boning.
So, all in all, I'm not unreservedly in love with this dress, but it was fun to branch out into a style I hadn't done before, and I will very probably do more of it! My first foray into any given era is never the most successful, anyway. I require a lot of practice!


  1. You look absolutely beautiful! The 1840s don't get much love in the costuming world. I always appreciate when a costumer does a gown from this period and gets it absolutely spot-on. Well done!

    1. Thank you! I agree you don't see very many things from this time period (except maybe dodgy ones on Dickens-esque caroling choir groups, hee hee), so I was excited to give it some love. Hopefully next time I do it I'll have time to make a hat to go with, because they had some *ridiculous* ones!

  2. I adore this! So simple and yet stunning!

  3. Oops, sorry, late 1830s! I feel lame now, lol

    1. Hahahaha, no worries; the hair is just barely the right side of 1840 for the dress, so it's fairly misleading. ;)