1770s Pink Sack Gown

I started this dress last October, I think, for an event, but decided it would be smarter, considering the weather forecast, to wear something a bit warmer - which is how the cranberry wool 1770s gown came about! Then the idea came about for a Francaise Dinner for the costumers in my area, and conveniently, I already had this dress started! Barely started…

Here’s how it came out!

I must say, I’m pretty pleased with it!

All photos at the dinner taken by Kathryn Stelzer
The dinner was held at the William Penn Inn, where the seventeen of us had a room all to ourselves, with good food, delightful company, and several passers-by of the terribly impressed variety!

Please excuse my bangs; I didn’t glue them to my head, and that one wispy bit gradually made its escape over the course of the evening! And next time I need to anchor the feather a little more securely. Still, it was a very nice birthday present to myself (the date of the dinner ended up falling on the night of my birthday)!

I did end up adding a bit more trim after the dinner - I thought I had enough time to get on all the trim I wanted, and then the night before I looked at the dress and thought, “It needs MORE trim!” Well, now it’s finished…just needed a few more lines of fly fringe.

I took pictures of it today on Mabel the dummy, because I'm very bad at remembering to post in this blog, so I had to do it while I was thinking of it!

The color's truer in this photo than the others!

Material: The gown is made of approximately 8.5 yards of 60” silk - I had 10 yards, and still have a bit left over (but it’s in strips and pieces, so is hard to estimate!). It’s actually a home dec silk, and has some slubs, but they aren’t terribly noticeable - plus I got a good deal on the 10 yards and really couldn’t resist pink striped silk! The bodice and sleeves are lined in (an anachronistic) linen/rayon blend, but I was shopping in my scrap bin and that’s what I had!

Construction: I didn’t follow the specific design of any one sack gown, but generally followed the lines of gowns later in date. The front-opening bodice, fitted pleats, and linear trim are all design elements of 1770s sack gowns. Depending on the year, the falling flounce cuffs probably wouldn’t be at the height of fashion any more, but I had some pretty lace I wanted to use! And in a more formal dress, a slightly fossilized element wouldn’t be out of place.

I came up with my own pattern for this gown - for the bodice lining, I adapted my base 18thc bodice pattern, and I draped the back pleats on my dress dummy.

The gown is completely hand-sewn, and the petticoat partly - the long side seams, waist tapes, and gathering stitches in the ruffle are machine sewn.

Trim: All the trim is sewn on by hand. The self-fabric is a combination of knife pleats and box pleats, with pink-and-green and yellow-and-green fly fringe sewn on top of that.

Close-ups of the trim - so you can see my wonky stitches and how the silk likes to fray!


  1. It is absolutely gorgeous!!! :) I really wish I could make a gown like that - sadly don't have the talent.

    1. Thank you!! And honestly, it's kind of surprising to me to look at that dress and realize *I* made it! I've been sewing for nearly eight years, but it's like I just woke up and realized I can sew. :D

  2. Wow stunning!! I love all the trimmings!

  3. Love the color and shape. Much love from another Amanda



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