View Full Version : Help finding a pattern for 1820s dress

11-17-2010, 10:18 PM
Hi! I'm making a Little Dorrit dress based on the blue striped one in the 2008 mini-series. I might end up making my own pattern, but I thought it would me nice to use a commercial pattern this time. The trouble is, it's proving pretty difficult to find anything similar enough! The 1820s aren't exactly the most popular period to make patterns for.

Here are some pictures:







I think the whole idea of her dress is that it was purchased in the regency era and updated for the romantic era, but still isn't quite fashionable. The year is meant to be 1826.

It has princess seams both in front and back, with back closure, and front ruffles. The sleeves are shortish. There are undersleeves, but I don't need a pattern for those, or for the apron. There's also a matching pelerine you can see in some of the photos, but I don't need a pattern for that either.

Here are some patterns I've found:

Truly Victorian's "1830s Romantic Era Dress" TV455 (http://tinyurl.com/24kx65o)
Past Patterns' "1830-1836 Full High Gown" Past Patterns: 1830-1836 Full High Gown (http://tinyurl.com/27e7lqg)
Past Patterns' "Lowell Mill Dress" Past Patterns: #806 Lowell Mill Dress (http://tinyurl.com/2b34pjt)
Sense & Sensibility's "Romantic Era Dress" Romantic Era Dress PatternSense & Sensibility Patterns (http://tinyurl.com/2ewt5cv)

For any of those, I'd have to do a bit of altering (especially for the sleeves), so it's hard to tell which one is best. Have you tried any of these? What are they like? Do you know of anything better?

Also, do you think she's wearing a corded petticoat under there? I know it was the fashion, but then she's not the most fashionable character, and her skirt seems a bit limp for that. Maybe just a tucked one? Or lightly corded?

On a side note, is anyone else making any Dickens costumes?

12-07-2010, 09:14 AM
Simplicity's 5189 Misses Dresses
Misses / Miss Petite Pullover Dress With Neckline Variations
might be what you want you'd still have to mod the sleeves but the cut looks simmliar.

12-08-2010, 02:24 PM
The 1820's seems to be one of these transition periods which aren't so popular, not to mention most patterns are made from fashion plates and very expensive garments, whereas (If I'm remembering Little Dorrit right) this is something poor and unfashionable. Clothes like that didn't really survive - Or really change. For several hundred years, poor women wore gathered skirts and not so many undergarments. The sleeves and neckline change a bit, neckerchiefs come on and off, but otherwise it's a far cry from the portraits and fashion plates. You may well be best off looking at a broader range of historical patterns for a bodice and skirt that will 'work', and then see what you can do with the sleeves and neckline.

Because she's poor and working, it's likely that she wouldn't wear as many reinforced undergarments - which were pretty expensive until quite late on in the Victorian period. I don't think it looks like she's wearing many petticoats, let alone a strengthened one, so you're probably all right without.