For the 2013 Association for Living History, Farm, and Agricultural Museums’ International conference in Akron, Ohio I decided to make a gown inspired by the c. 1847 cotton gown in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection. Seen here:
Here is my version (sans petticoats):
I cut and stitched this dress just 24 hours before I was set to board the plane for the conference! To my luck, it went together swimmingly and I only had to make a few quick and dirty alterations to the bodice before I packed it into the suitcase.
I chose to make this a front closing gown because I needed it to be easy to get in and out of as I would be dressing myself. The bodice front closes with hook and eye at the yoke and waist only. The center of the bodice is free. The dress is longer in the back to accommodate a small bum pad often worn during this period. Other dress details include a wide hem band in contrasting fabric.
For the conference, I wore it over a heavily starched corded petticoat and one tucked petticoat. I also wore my corset and chemise. I had the bum pad on but took it off last minute. I felt I had enough “oomph” at the back for my liking. (I’m not much of a bustle person I suppose.) All in all, it was super comfortable and really easy to wear. I think I am going to experiment with this design more in the future.
Here’s a few pics of me wearing it at the historical fashion show:
(Image snapped by Eileen Hook)