1830s, 19th century clothing, common dress, common people, dress, fashion, living history, Massachusetts, Old Sturbridge Village, sewing
Sometimes you end up doing things for reasons you don’t entirely understand. Remember that brief flirtation with the 1830s? Well… we met again, and this time, I said yes to the dress.
Several friends are on the “shoot meat, win a target” program at OSV this weekend, and I agreed to go along. Yes, it’s a gun show. Yes, I’m compromising again.
Gentle reader, it gets worse. While I had not planned to dress, I rethought this choice last week. Awake in the early morning hours of November 11, I thought about dress patterns, wool petticoats, and the contents of the Strategic Fabric Reserve. One of my wool petticoats fit the waistline of my 1820s dress better than the 1800 dress I made it for, so I figured I was on my way towards being warm outdoors in November.
I have 1830s patterns, and a muslin was quick to make. Worse yet, once the muslin was made up and tried on over stays, it needed no alteration beyond a slight shoulder seam adjustment. Can you imagine? That hideous decade fits me? Doom or destiny, you be the judge: I had enough striped wool blend to cut a dress and a pelerine… so I did.
The bodice went together quickly, and the sleeves were fairly easy at the shoulder and arm scye (I really enjoy setting sleeves). It was the length and width along the forearm that threw me, and I ended up having to piece on the lower sleeve. Twice.
The sleeves are where the meat comes in: you say pork chop, I say leg of lamb, the fashion plate says gigot. I did reduce the arc a bit, which makes this a more late-1820s style than firmly mid-1830s. Since some of the folks I’m going with will be wearing a mix of late 1820s and 1830s styles, slimmer sleeves seemed reasonable.
More seriously, I’m taking cues from the William Sidney Mount painting I’m so fond of. The women in this 1830 painting have less flamboyant sleeves and possibly achievable hair. Honestly, the things I get into when I lie awake and think. I ought to know better by now…but every decade is a new adventure.
What remains to be done? Backstitching the waistband and waistband lining, hooks and bars at the back closing, the ever-popular hem of enormity, and a final pressing. Achievable, I think, with focus and some lunchtime sewing.
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