18th Century Round Gown: Pink Thing Construction

I looked at the calendar yesterday and realized – to my horror – that the DLM Tavern Night event is THIS WEEKEND.  As in, 2 days from now.  Ahhhhhh!  So last night I pulled a marathon and got Pink Thing sewn together.

The bodice went together quickly since I invested a lot of time in fitting the pattern mockup:

Pink Thing's bodice on the dressform, which is too small for it.

Pink Thing’s bodice on the dress form, which is too small.  It is too small because I am too fat.

Next pleat the skirt.  I had to piece it together somewhat from the larger parts of its previous incarnation’s skirt.  It proved to be an advantage in the front, as it conveniently left me two seams to use to make the drop front.  The drop front allows you to put the gown on.  The ties on the drop front are wrapped around back and tied in front, holding the apron front up.  Then the bodice is fasted closed which hides the apron front:

Put On 1 Put On

The ties are tucked under the waistband, but I left them out in the photo to show how the whole thing works.  The image on top shows how the apron front is attached to the rest of the skirt.

Fastened Closed

Fastened closed with ties tucked inside waistband

At this point I have to stop and thank one of my favorite vintage sewing tools, the Clinton Pleat Maker:

The Clinton Pleat Maker

The Clinton Pleat Maker

This awesome tool allows you to make lots of even pleats quickly – just stick it in the fabric, turn, and viola!  Pleat!  The legs are adjustable to allow you to set the pleat depth, and there is a measuring gauge so you can keep the space between the pleats consistent.  They are usually available on Ebay.  They have been out of production for a long time so look under vintage sewing tools.  Every time someone blogs about them there is a run on the bank, so to speak, so be patient.

The pleat maker in action

The pleat maker in action

Given that the event is days away, I don’t have time to make a new fichu and sleeve ruffles.  So I will wear a cotton net fichu I already have.  For the sleeves I turned to my stash of cheap-ass but decent looking lace.  I have not had good experiences using antique lace and fine fabrics for decorative elements than hang from sleeves.  It gets caught on things and dragged through the guacamole in the buffet line.  Some jobs are just better suited for cheap lace.

So here it is, ready to go – as much as it is going to be:

Ready for Saturday

Ready for Saturday

Too Small Dummy is wearing correct underpinnings to help the skirt stand out – a Georgian bum, a corded petticoat, and a silk over petticoat.  In the 18th century there was a large market for fake rumps!

The Georgian Bum Shop

The Georgian Bum Shop

 

I like big butts and I cannot lie!

I like big butts and I cannot lie!

I used this example as a model to copy, from Two Nerdy History Girls:

Reproduction of late 18th century bum pads.

Reproduction of late 18th century bum pads.

Stay tuned for the event report, complete with root cause analysis of any wardrobe malfunctions!

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