Friday, November 3, 2017

1760's Chintz Gown

As a person who still relies heavily on patterns for making gowns, I've found that I need to do more draping and enlarging scale patterns from books.  The commercial 18th century patterns seem to be limited to the years of the Revolutionary War.  I decided that I wanted to have some 1760's garments to use at a local living history site so I set about looking for extants.  I found 2 gowns that are very similar to my favorite gown pattern with a few small details.  The most obvious difference is the cuff, which is larger than a 1770's cuff and is attached at the end of the sleeve.  The hip shaping is also different--being wider with hip pads or panniers.  The first extant below is a wool damask with double robings and the second one is an Indian cotton block print.  The robings on that gown look to be of the folded variety.

I made my gown following the regular instructions on the pattern, making sure to add a little length to the skirt to accommodate the small panniers I planned on wearing with it.

Then I had to decide on a cuff.  I studied examples in several books:  Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion showed a 1760's jacket cuff and it indicated that the cuff was backstitched onto the end of the sleeve with the back hanging free.  There were several examples of cuffs in Costume in Detail as well.  What was interesting to me was that all of those examples had little pockets in the cuff interior for small lead weights to make sure the cuff hung correctly.  Lastly, I found a cuff in Fitting and Proper for a printed linen gown dated 1740 - 1760.  This cuff was self lined which I like.  Some others were linen lined.  I enlarged the scale pattern and cut it out of Swedish tracing clot, pinning the pleats in and pinning it on my completed sleeve.  It fit the sleeve perfectly with the right amount of "wing" in the back.  Plus the side seam in the cuff lined up perfectly with the sleeve seam.

Since I like to learn new things with each project, I decided to use a new stitch to put the cuff lining into the cuff.  Point a rabattre sous la main is a stitch used to stitch a lining to an outer piece.  It resembles a whip stitch on the inside and a running stitch on the outside.  I used this to stitch the sleeve lining to the bottom of the sleeve as well.  It's a very simple stitch and you can find a small diagram in Costume CloseUp by Linda Baumgarten on page 8.  Here are some close up pictures --I'm not sure you can see the stitches as there isn't much contrast.

Here are the lined cuffs.

I decided to the pleats in for the front of the sleeve for about 6 inches.  I just folded the top down and did a large running stitch.

Then I folded the bottom up and did the same.

Here is the finished cuff.

I pinned the top edge of the cuff to the bottom edge of the sleeve--allowing the cuff edge to curve upward naturally.  I pinned the cuff in place.  The blue marks are where the stitching stops, allowing the back of the cuff to hang free.

I was happy with the way the cuff looked so I stitched it to the sleeve using a spaced back stitch.

Inside of sleeve/cuff.

I had purchased some drapery weights (left) at Joanns to put in the cuff but they seemed a little heavy.  I found smaller ones at G-Street Fabrics and they seemed better--weighing about what a quarter would weigh.  I removed the weights from the outer sleeves.

I cut two squares of fabric on the fold, turned in the edges and stitched them closed.

Finished weights.

The weights were loosely stitched in the bottom of the cuff.

Finished!  I made a red petticoat and both the petticoat and the gown skirt had to be hemmed to fit over small pocket hoops.  The adjustment was made at the waist of the petticoat.   

Photos taken at Montpellier Mansion in Laurel, Maryland.