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Unread 01-20-2014, 10:26 PM   #1
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1830's Dress Construction Question

I've been wanting to make a Romantic Era gown/dress for a while, but can't for the life of me find any information as to whether or not the bodice of said gown are attached to the waistband or if they are separate pieces. Does anyone here know anything about that?

Also, if anyone has information about the construction of the waistband to the skirt, or even just the waistband itself, I would be really appreciative!
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Unread 01-20-2014, 11:21 PM   #2
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Not my era, but Ageless Patterns tends to use real dress patterns from Ladies' Magazines to draft patterns we can use today. On this page they sell a full 1830's gown that is not a bodice/skirt combo but a single piece, if that's what you're asking.

On the other hand, in this page, there is discussion of the skirt changes as they attach to the waistband.

Finally, one website reminded me that the amazing Janet Arnold covered several real museum piece dresses in the 1830's era in her book "Patterns of Fashion 1". In it, I see an example of a skirt on a waistband with a bodice, and also there are dresses where the skirts are pleated onto a band that is attached to the bodice for a single piece.
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Unread 01-22-2014, 10:54 PM   #3
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Janet Arnold is a great source but so is Nancy Bradfield as she has illustrations of the insides and illustrates many different angles and interiors

Generally speaking even when gowns are made all in one the bodice and skirt are made up separately and then joined together. It's a much easier way of doing things as you wind up not trying to wrestle the entire thing while working on it.

Do you have a mannequin? It's not vital but it does help because even with a pointed waist you want to hem first and adjust the skirt length at the waist.
Jean Hunnisett's Period Costume for the Stage and Screen (the 1500-1800 and 1800- I think 1930s) illustrates this really really well. Basically you make your skirt and hem it then pin it over your form (and any support skirts/hoops/petticoats) and adjust the length from the waist. it's a little awkward the first time but it does save time in the long run and also means any pattern on the fabric (printed or woven or embroidered) looks better as there is generally more of it seen at the hem than at the waist. It means a pattern will be even or balanced all the way around the hem rather than being cut out if you try and hem after sewing the waist up.
This is much earlier but describes the process
And here
http://demodecouture.com/projects/meg/ (she has a few images from Bradfield's book too!)

I made mine just using dressmaking manuals from the time:
It has a slightly pointed waist and a gored skirt and a pointed waist. I pinned the pleats evenly at the waist then pinned the fabric to the pointed shape, sewed it up and then trimmed the excess out.
I can get some photos of the inside ebcause I think I have few in progress photos of this anyway as so much was done by hand and left for months at a time
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Unread 03-07-2014, 12:01 AM   #4
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Sorry to bump an old thread (I lost access to the internet for a while), but I just wanted to say thanks and I'll definitely look into you recommendations!

I actually did get Jean Hunnisett's book, and for anyone else who's new to the period like me, I would recommend it as she's very easy to read and understand!

Thanks again!
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