Dutch Cotton Chintz Gown,
The pattern: This is from my usual bodice that Ashley draped on me at the gown workshop. Because I wanted this gown to reflect a 1780 date, which is consistent with the textile I used, however, I raised the waist ever so slightly so that it falls just above the natural waistline. I also widened and lowered the neckline just a bit. The sleeves are also a teensy bit tighter than I usually do them, as increasingly became the fashion as the 1770s turned to the 1780s.
Construction details: Because this is yet another 1770-1785 fitted-back gown (let's face it, we're both living entirely in the Rev War period these days...!), the construction details are identical to those of every other gown we've made from the same period. The last outline we gave for gown construction was in the pink worsted gown post, so check that one out if you're looking for more details. Don't worry - we've got some new and exciting - and different! - projects coming up soon!
The fabric: A stunning Dutch chintz from Den Haan and Wagenmakers. It was pricey, but the price reflects the quality and it's just gorgeous stuff. We've both used their fabrics before for jackets, but that only necessitated buying a single yard at a time. I held off indulging in a gown length for years...couldn't justify spending that much money at once on a single gown...and then a few months ago, I finally broke down and splurged and I'm so glad I did. I absolutely love this print and its possibilities! The silk taffetas used in the petticoats, the breastknot, and on the cap are all from Burnley and Trowbridge.
Finishing the look: The best part about this fabric is the sheer number of petticoat possibilities, since there are so many different colors in the print. What's so much fun is that the fabric looks completely different with each change of petticoat, so it's like having half a dozen potential outfits in one!
The first time I wore this gown was the Friday of UTR in Williamsburg. Since our regiment didn't attend in an official capacity this year, I took the opportunity to wear something more satisfyingly posh and pretty than my usual dirty camp gowns. I paired the gown with a yellow silk taffeta petticoat and my new (favorite!) hat trimmed and lined with blue/green changeable silk. The yellow of the petticoat really pulled out the yellows and blues of the gown.
Today, for a local historical society event, I chose an "aurora" silk taffeta petticoat (pink/yellow changeable). This completely changed the way the fabric appeared to the eye, highlighting the pinks and purples in the print instead. To aid that even further, I added a purple/yellow changeable silk taffeta breastknot and then capped (haahaa, sorry, couldn't help myself!) it all off with a yellow silk bow on my cap. A sheer striped white cotton gauze apron, my B&T red shoes, and a pearl necklace completed the "best" middling look I was aiming for, in keeping with our historic house location. I just wish I'd been able to get better pictures than this - these really don't do justice to the brightness of the colors and the way they all played off of each other. But I really love this outfit!
I think the next time I wear this gown, I'm going to try it with my blue/ivory changeable silk petticoat. I also have more of the purple/yellow changeable waiting to be made into a gown with a matching petticoat, so that petticoat would also be a nice complement to this gown as well. One can never have too many petticoats...;-)
A couple additional photos can be found in this project's flickr set. Clicking on any of the images here will bring you to their larger flickr format.