Saturday, January 8, 2011

~1860's cotton dress

I mentioned this dress way too long ago and promised pictures in this post. I am finally getting to it now! This dress was finished for my friend in time for the 4th of July. I'm not sure if she likes it more or if I do :) Here she is at a Christmas social.

I ordered the fabric from on one of their sales. When I ordered it, my computer showed that it was a white fabric with the blue pattern but when it got here, it obviously was not! I tried to return it but guess what! They gave me a refund and told me to keep it instead! How nice is that?! Hooray for free fabric!

If I remember correctly, we used Past Patterns #702 as a base. It is a darted bodice so all I did was use that pattern for the lining and then I added fullness to the pattern for the main fabric front. To do that, you just slit up the darts to right above the bustline (or all the way up to the shoulder if you want the gathers to go that high) and spread the pattern piece out. Tape it down to another piece of paper, trace around it and use this larger piece to make a gathered front bodice. Make a mock up of course and you are all set. If that makes no sense at all, just ask. Elizabeth Stewart Clark's dressmaker's guide book is also the best resource I have found.

The skirts are gauged and I followed ESC's instructions their too. The sleeves are just bishops and again, I highly recommend ESC's dressmaker's guide.

To me covered buttons are the best thing since sliced bread (except I actually prefer my mom's homemade bread :P). I use plastic buttons all the time and just cover them to make them look period correct.

Collars are as easy as pie once you get the hang of them. I used batiste for this one (I think 1 yard will make at least 10 collars!) and Martha Pullen's website is absolutely wonderful if you are looking for all cotton lace. Just look for "edging" that is under a half inch. It really is not that expensive per yard. I had fun once and bought 5 or 6 1-yard lengths and have already used them all up on collars! Someday I will make matching white cuffs :)

As Always,
Bethany Lynn


  1. As always dear friend...your job is exquisite!

    Your friend looks lovely. Thank you for the links. :)


  2. What a lovely dress! Great work, I wish I was as talented a seamstress.

  3. I LOVE that fabric Bethy!! And it was free! :D I love the style of the dress too, I was admiring it at the social. ;)