Saturday, August 14, 2010

1839 Rosamund's Tea Dress

I have to say I was quite proud of myself for getting this dress done a full 12 days before wearing it at Costume College 2010. However, I lost sleep the night before furiously trimming my bonnet. Argh! I guess since the dress was done, my motivation and speed fell off drastically, so I drug my feet finishing the bonnet. -sigh-

But the bonnet turned out just dandy anyhow. It's covered with light seafoam green silk with the inner brim in a cream silk and lined in soft cotton organdy. The trim is 2" wide chocolate brown double-faced satin ribbon and two large ostrich feathers (which I stole from a previous Regency headpiece). Tiny faux flowers and their leaves accent the inside brim. Fairly simple really - but the effect was true to the period and perfect!

The dress was made from 44" cotton calico purchased at Jo-Ann Fabrics about nine years ago. I saved all 14 yards for a special "someday" project, perhaps in the 1830s/Romantic Era vein. Well, it found its purpose. It really is wonderful for the period. I even had someone tell me it reminded them of the fabrics in the Tasha Tudor Collection Catalog from the auction in 2007.

As I wandered the halls of the Warner Center Marriott on Friday, I kept getting the same question over and over: What pattern did you use? Um... let me think.

As one gets more experience in creating historical clothing, your selection of patterns to begin forming your chosen silhouette becomes quite varied. Here's what I used:

Bodice: This is perhaps a 3rd generation bodice pattern that probably originated from the Truly Victorian 1830s dress pattern. For this 1839 gown, I put on my 1830 "Slytherin" Green Dress for a first fitting, noting how much to lengthen the bodice and any fitting issues I needed to correct. (Shoot me now, because I still haven't worked out that little horizontal pinch across the back - total ARGH! Perhaps I'll just stand up straighter next time for the photo so no one will know.)

Bertha Collar: Drafted off the bodice and copied the V&A original for a nice look-alike.

Sleeves: I started with Hunnisett's Period Costume book and drafted out an Early Victorian multi-puffed sleeve, then greatly reduced the sleeve head and width. The bands holding the pleats were made from my arm measurements. The cuff was cut as 2-1/4" finished width to keep with what I read in Costume in Detail. (The pleats took 2 hours for EACH sleeve and were a pain to get even. I think that part of the sleeve needs to be cut on the bias. Too late to change now.)

Skirt: Cut from my measurements but relied heavily on my measurements from my 1844 Striped Dress.

The 1839 dress is worn over a linen chemise, cotton drawers, basic Victorian corset, corded petticoat, bustle pad, organdy ruffled petticoat, and a plain petticoat. The look was completed with a belt (Oh so period!) made from gorgeous royal blue ribbon with a mother-of-pearl buckle and a oval brooch.

Shall we to tea?


Deborah said...

This is a truly awesome dress. The fabric and workmanship is excellent. With the beautiful bonnet you have captured the look completely. This is one of the nicest ensembles I have seen to date.

Jennifer said...

A very gracious Thank You, Deborah.

Noelle said...

DARN IT! I was trying to remember to look for all the people who's blogs I read at Costume college, but I failed miserably. And you were literally the first person that I saw in costume!

Here is a picture I took of you (in fact, because you are picture #1, you are also the icon picture for my costume college set!):

I am so cranky I didn't think to ask people if they blogged! I would have gushed over your blog etc etc. Oh well, consider yourself gushed-over.

Costume college was fab (my first time) and I plan on going from now on. You looked beautiful and perfect and charming (even more so in person)!


Jennifer said...

Thanks Noelle! I feel "gushed." I'm sorry we missed the connection of Blog Writer and Blog Reader. Next year... :-)

Anna said...

it's so pretty! and you made it in 12 days? I couldn't make that in 12 years! hihi

Jennifer said...

Thanks Anna.

I actually got it finished 12 days BEFORE Costume College - which is a feat because I'm usually sewing up to the day before. (Technically I was up late anyhow finishing the bonnet 'cause my momentum stalled because the dress was finished. Ack! Don't stop just because the dress is done - keep going if you have accessories to complete!)

Anyway.. I started this on July 4th with the initial fitting/pattern alterations, so the dress took three weeks. That's with a full-time job and working on other Cloak & Corset writing.

The Budget Reenactor said...

Oh my goodness that is gorgeous!!! I look forward to seeing more of your creations:)!



Jennifer said...

Thanks Kim!
You can continue to follow my projects at and on the Historical Sewing Facebook page. See you there!

Renaissance Festivals said...

wow! 1839 fashion era really very pretty and styles according today fashion..

I liked your dressing style... and i love also renaissance clothing era

Savories of Life said...

Yes very pretty dress. I love 1800 clothign as well as victorian. read my blog.

ywea said...

omg i love yor blog. its nice to see that more people enjoy historical sewing :)

0s0-Pa said...

Seeing all these fun dresses almost makes me wish I had been around during the 19th century!
-Jackie @ Matching neckties