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Finished. Hope it fits, right?

Finished, that’s how, with holes in my fingers and a split in my thumb.

Sure hope it fits…I have tried it on along the way, and it is an open robe, so chances are good it will fit. But after I dressed Cassandra, I did have that “What if…?” moment of dread. There’s a lot of this that’s like art school. Hours laboring alone, hours of studying precedent, craft/technique and theory, and then you have a presentation, i.e. you wear the thing in public. I try not to think about it too much.

I could take this apart for you (the sleeve is more ‘modern’ than the cuff; gowns are not known to have been bound at the hem, though petticoats were; didn’t finish the matching petticoat; did I use the fabric the wrong side out?) but Gentle Reader, I suspect you can supply your own quantity of anxiety, and need not borrow a cup or quart from me.

Let’s talk about the fun parts:

For a while, I hated this gown. Seriously. The closer I got to being done with it, the more I flat-out despised it and found it ugly. Why? Too nice. That’s a respectable gown, that is. It’s the gown your mother would tell you to wear, or the one she thought you ought to change into when she said, “You’re going out in that?” As if you were planning to run away in a red and black calico gown… And I hated the color. Then I thought the wool was too heavy.

Mrs Sylvanus Bourne, JS Copley, 1766. MMA, 24.79

I am not this old. My impression is not this wealthy. My dress is not silk. But when I look at what I’ve managed to make, and I look at this (my own white apron is coming; I almost finished it yesterday, but the alarm company called and I had to go deal with an early-morning bat) I feel better. I have white mitts, a white kerchief, and there will be a white apron, bats or no bats.

It’s a neat presentation, the brown and white will look well together, and with a black hat or black bonnet. And by the time I’ve sat on dirt and ground some soil into the skirt, and burned a hole into the hem, I’ll probably like this gown.

But it seems so…proper…and that just doesn’t seem like me.