The first settlers in South Australia arrived in 1836 at Kangaroo Island and then moved to the mainland to settle in December 1836. That makes this year the 175th aniversary of Adelaide. In honour of this momentus event the Victoriana Society decided to hold 1830s sewing workshops to assist and help all members in making 1830s dresses.
I must say that I am not a fan of the big sleeves of the 1830s. I am a fan of the fashions from 1838 and the 1840s. This left me in a little bit of dilema making a dress that I would not like. I am also quite tall at 6ft and big sleeves would take out the rather large hats of the other ladies, especially as the sleeves of the times were filled out with large pads similar to the bustle pads of other periods.
This is the style of dress that I had originally wanted, however it would be highly unlikely that the women would have worn a dress of 1837 when then left England in 1835/6.
The design I have finally selected for the dress is from a fashion plate book. It allows me the freedom to have the sleeves pleated in at the shoulders and to tack on the caplet to add detail and the larger sleeves from the early 1830s and yet have the option of removing the tacking for when I wish to wear the dress for late 1830s.
This design has a similar shape sleeve under the caplet allowing me to still create the dress I wished but in a period correct way for the earlier 1830s.
In the workshops, patterns from the 150th aniversary celebrations that were drafted by Briain Reader, an expert and author on 1830s fashions, were made available to trace. We used these to make our own toiles that were then kindly fitted by Mrs Smith, who was trained as a tailor and dressmaker. This is a simplied account of what took 2 whole workshops and multiple fittings and toiles to achieve a final and workable pattern for the actual bodice.
The front is in 1 piece with only a single large dart under each breast, unlike the later periods that have 2 darts. The bodice will be laced at the back, which is in 2 seperate pieces.
The fabric I purchased was on sale so that I purchased 6m and recieved 3m free. It is 100% printed cotton and is a lovelly soft fabric. With a white and lilac background with light brown flowers. I did a lot of research on the prints in the 1830s and found it hard to find a print that was suitible, so I was extremely happy with this. I find that it doesnt help that I do not like ordering fabric from the internet without samples, which has limited my supply base. I really need to get more confident with online shopping.