Sunday, October 6, 2013

Regency/Napoleonic Short Gown

A long time ago I started researching a more period correct lower/working class Napoleonic impression. After some help and advice I made my skirt, petticoat and 2 shifts at the start of the year. The skirt and petticoat are earlier and dated to use with my 1790s impression, but I plan to use interchangeably. There are also some amazing research articles on trade and fabric quality/durability at the end of the 18th Century. Later on, I plan to make an earlier short gown for the 1790s impression.

After a lot of research I was amazed at how many types and styles there were. Online I found extant short gowns from the UK, Sweden, Holland, France and America. In Paintings, I even found them in Australia. It was also interesting to see how they changed to imitate the fashionable dress shape in the neck and waist lines.

Given the amount of inspiration, I finally decided on a short gown design. I used some from the Meg Andrews Auction Website and some from the Nederland Openluchtmuseum, to name a few.

Meg Andrews 1800
Meg Andrews 1820s
Nederland Openluchtmuseum
I must confess that this blog entry is long over due. I began sewing it in July and finished it in September this year. Unfortunately, I have been too busy to photograph it or blog about it. As I do not have a pattern I drafted it from scratch using my regency toile. I went through a number of trials till I managed to get it to work. It is fully hand sewn and I am very proud of it.

Thankfully, Mandi came over to visit and offer me some artistic support today. While visiting she took these amazing photos for me. I normally hate photos of myself as I am not photogenic, but these are wonderful so I have posted more than I normally do.

 It is very comfortable when working in the garden. Unfortunately, we have recently had some very strong winds that have caused a lot of damage to my vegetable patch, including my tomato climbers and my baby mulberry tree.
 Isn't Dotti cute, she loves a cuddle and walk.

The inside has drawstrings in the center to adjust the gathers. It closes on the top with a pin. The middle is held closed using a string on the outside which ties in a bow at the center front.

A Very Late to Post - 

The Challenge 16# Separates

Fabric: 100% Roller Printed Cotton
Notions: Cotton Tape, 1 Brass Pin, Cotton Thread
Pattern: None
Year:  1800-1820
How historically accurate is it? I think it should be fairly acurate. It is completely hand sewn using period correct stitching and construction techniques.
Hours to complete: About a month by stitching on the bus and at events including the Art Gallery (a very inspiring place to handsew)
First worn: Today
Total cost: The Cotton Fabric was $15 and the notions were from my stash, but probably totaled about $3.


  1. This is lovely! Just what I like :)

    1. I did think you would like this one. I hope to do more soon, as my research grows. I really do find your work and blog inspiring to go against the norm. I have recently been put down within my reenactment circles for my taste in cotton, but as I see it there were many other people that need representing if we wish to do this properly... plus I think I would look stupid period camping in silk, not to mention destroying the dress. (I do still like silk sometimes though...)

  2. I'm on a crusade to convert people to the lower classes ;) But joking aside, it's something like forging history to only have people dressed in posh clothing. An added bonus to having simple clothing beeing the most common is that the upper class outfits would really pop by comparison, the way they did in period.