Sunday, October 23, 2016

Quickie project! A new short gown.

I needed something fairly quick to wear on a warm weekend so I decided to bite the bullet and finally make a short gown.  I'm not sure why I had such an aversion to them in the past.  They really are practical little garments.  They're unlined, which removes one layer making them nice in warmer weather.  They're also not fitted which eliminates a whole world of problems.

I started researching them and found that linen is the most common fabric used so I picked up a brown striped mid weight linen.  I like the reduced pattern in Fitting and Proper by Sharon Burston. This pattern was made from an extant example.  I enlarged the pattern and it clearly wasn't going to fit without major alterations which I just didn't have time for so I pulled out the JP Ryan pattern that I happened to have.  The JPR pattern instructions have you making the garment by machine.  I knew this pattern would fit so I cut it out all in one piece and I used the instructions in Fitting and Proper for constructing it by hand.

I whip stitched the side seams before realizing that they should've been flat felled so I felled the inside which rendered them nearly invisible.  The back pleats were stitched with running stitches and whipstitched in place on the inside.
side seam

back pleats

Inside of back

The neck edge, front edge, hem and sleeves were hemmed with a 1/4 inch hem.  I used a facing at the back neck where the pleats are as turning it in twice there would be too bulky.  This is the way the extant in the book was constructed as well.

That was it!  No lining or anything fiddly involved with this one.  I've already decided to do one with long sleeves:  wool lined with linen.  It was an enjoyable project.



Here's one view of the short gown being worn:

Inspired by a runaway ad from 1780:  "Ran away on Monday morning the 20th instant, an Irish servant girl named Jane Smith . . .had on and took with her, a striped short gown, striped lincey petticoat, a pair of new stockings, new shoes, and a new check handkerchief:  She stole and took with her a dark gray cloak almost new,  a green bonnet with a white ribbond round it, a pair of silver shoe bucles, a pair of white mitts, and about forty dollars in Continental money. . ."

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