Cynthia Settje Cynthia Settje Cynthia Settje Cynthia Settje


YWU17 exp winThis Colonial Williamsburg fabric sat on my shelf for months. The fabric just wasn't speaking to me, for some reason. And then I opened my copy of Historical Fashion in Detail to page 42. The print on this 1780's Dutch gown at the V&A is remarkably similar to my print, but it had been further embellished with thousands of tiny gold dots. I immediately fell in love with the texture and depth that the dots added to the fabric. The gown was precisely what I wanted to make, too. And so, a “simple” personal project became much more complex.

You can read more about my dot process on my blog (link below). The dots took about 18 hours and 13 paint pens. I bought every pen within a 40 mile radius! The bodice pattern came from a previous custom gown made for a client who was almost exactly my size.  I changed the sleeve and moved style lines. The skirt is 3 panels of the 44” wide fabric. The information on the V&A website, as well as the diagrams in Historical Fashion in Detail, helped immensely in re-creation. I used a mixture of historical and modern theatrical construction techniques to assemble the gown. All visible stitching is done by hand.

I had originally planned to make an ivory petticoat, matching the V&A display. However, I changed my mind when I found the berry pink silk in my stash. I used a rotary cutter with pinking blade to cut the zig zag edge on the ruffle.

The ensemble is completed with a false rump consisting of two stuffed pads, Redthreaded 18th Century stays, a linen under-petticoat, and a hand stitched organdy cap. I plan to make a fichu and chemise before I wear it again. Many thanks to my husband for playing photographer with my iPhone in 30 degree weather!

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Reference Gown



You nailed it!
I've seen and photographed that gown in the V&A, and yours looks astonishingly like it. WOW! I can't believe you hand-inked all those dots. Serious dedication! Beautiful work.
Martje pieters
This is a work of true dedication, how did you manage to get the dos so precise on the fabric? Love how you took the V&A example and made a wearable copy very inspiring.
I love the dots, they really make this gown special! I also like the color you chose for your petticoat, it sets off your gown beautifully.
It's simply stunning. I'm a sucker for dots, and have always loved your inspiration gown. It's inspiring to see how you tackled it. And I think the berry petticoat was the right choice; it really sets off your fabric.
I loved seeing your construction photos an then the stunning result.
I am in awe. The dress is beatiful and knowing that you actually printed every dot by hand makes it even more awesome!

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