Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A Glimpse into the Creation of a True "Reproduction" Gown

A screencap from the vodcast, to lure you into watching it!
Captured from "A Dress in a Day" on

Yesterday, Colonial Williamsburg posted a new vodcast, "A Dress in a Day," which offers a fascinating glimpse into the work performed by the mantua-makers and milliners of the past.  The video - the first in a two-part series - profiles the reproduction of an original gown from CW's collection using only the materials, techniques, and time span historically appropriate to the moment of the gown's creation.  As I'm sure many of you will recognize, this gown is one of the several featured in Costume Close-up.

The original gown being reproduced in the vodcast,
dated to the late 1770s or early 1780s (CW acc. no. 1983-233).

Interviews with CW's costume and textiles curator and the skilled members of the Margaret Hunter Shop address numerous details of the gown's production - and reproduction! - process, from the width of the original silk to how integral that width was to the gown's construction.  The working conditions and experiences of the tradeswomen who created garments like these are also discussed, as is the delight their twenty-first-century counterparts took in capturing them all over again.

Keep an eye out for the concluding part next month to see how the gown turns out!

(PS - SPOILER ALERT! - If you can't wait another month to see the finished product, the Margaret Hunter Shop's facebook page has posted "behind the scenes" photos of the filming of the vodcast, which include the finished gown.)


lahbluebonnet said...

Oh how funny, I posted this same thing shortly after it was announced at CW! I got to see the gown on display at the milliner's shop during President's Day weekend and they told us about it! I'm glad they made a video of it!

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