|Close up of completed gown front|
Next on my sewing list for preparing for baby's arrival is infant gowns. After looking at all the amazing designs in the fashion magazines and extant examples available on Google, I decided to try my hand at a very over the top gown. A few years ago, a friend of my husband gave me some panels of antique embroidered voile that used to belong to his grandmother. It has been waiting for the perfect project. I also had some similar design thinner voile tape that complimented it beautifully. As I was going over the top on this gown it also needed lots of pin tucks.
To begin with I wrote down the gown measurements and construction notes from Cassell's Guide 1869. It was interesting as the paragraph on gowns begins with a warning on the absurd lengths that gowns had been previously made. It also instructs that gowns should not exceed a yard in length, and that the yard should include the bodice.
I began by laying out my cotton voile fabric and insertions to settle on a design. I chose to use a voile fabric as it was the closest match to the insert panels. Once I was happy with a design, I worked out the maths for the front panel lengths to cut it as a single piece before adding the pin tucks. I find that folding paper helps to get an idea of pin tuck width and separation. Once the panel had been completed by machine, I cut the panel down the center to make two sections.
I then attached these on either side of the center embroidered panel. I hand sewed the seams into a flat fell. One frustration was that the panel had stretched/warped with age, making it a little tricky.
I wanted the front panel to be wider at the bottom. From extant examples I had seen the panels both gathered and cut to angle out. After laying it out, I loved the fullness of the gather more. I also repeated the process from the skirt to make the bodice, but I did shape the pin tuck panel to remove the fullness from the bodice.
|The front top was shaped to remove bulk|
The rest of the construction followed the instructions in Cassell's. The back panel is a single piece of fabric cat to the same measurements as the front (1 yard by 1yard). As instructed in Cassell's, I put a slit down the center back and narrow hemmed it by hand.
The neckline was gathered onto a a strip of bias tape. This tape also has a drawstring inside of it to adjust the neckline to the infant. The sleeve was drafted using the sketch in Cassell's and the measurements provided. I also played around with different design ideas for the sleeves. In the end I decided that less was more and to leave the sleeves as plain fabric.
|I am very happy with how the gown turned out and I cannot wait to try it on my little on in two months time. On a funny note a friend recently asked me what I will do if my baby is a boy. After I stifled my giggles I explained that all infants wore the same clothing until about 3 months of age when slight differences in trim occur and that boys did not often wear pants until after they had been toilet trained. My husband also added that I can run some gender specific ribbon through some of the lace if it makes people feel more comfortable, at a later date.|
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