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YWU2014 Runner Up!Mrs Gainsborough and her daughter were developed for a 1760s interpretation event last summer. Although I had made a trial set of hoops at college 25 years ago and am an experienced costumer, I had never made an eighteenth century outfit.

Rummaging through extant outfits, fabric resources and portraits from the time, I simultaneously came across both the lovely portrait of Gainsborough’s daughters chasing a butterfly, and the Foundling Textiles. Mrs Gainsborough had a number of personal connections with the Foundling Hospital, and my daughter shares the same name as one of Gainsborough’s.

With the exception of the boning channels, every last stitch in this ensemble, from skin out, was worked by hand, exactly as it might have been back in the 1760s. The fabric was a horrific challenge to source, but eventually I fell across exactly the right silk in the corner of the silk mill – in Gainsborough’s home town. All the fabrics are entirely as they would have been – linens, cottons, silk, hand quilting – with the idea that these outfits were not only looking as if they had stepped out of a picture, but that Mrs Gainsborough and her daughter could actually have selected them from their own closet that very morning.

The production diary can be seen here



Mrs Gainsboroughs daughter MrsGainsborough  Mrs Gainsborough 
 MrsGainsborough MrsGainsborough  MrsGainsborough 
Quilt1 Quilt2
JuliaBarrettSourcePic2 JuliaBarrettSourcePic1



Oh. My. Goodness.
I would love to have been a fly on the wall while you were matching up the material to keep the motif so beautifully symmetrical across all those bodice back pieces! WOW!!! Stunning. You and your daughter both look amazing, and I love your stays with the tabs all 'round the lower edge. Now my two oldest daughters are begging me to get out my sewing machine and make them each one of these gowns. laugh Beautiful, beautiful work.
Fantastic work and lovely pictures! I must show the pictures of you daughter chasing butterflies to my grandfather, who has dedicated his life to this occupation and art. smile
Oh that piecing
Beautiful. Such lovely piecing! your daughter playing so comfortably in what many would assume was stiff and uncomfortable is a joy to see.
I love this gown and look forward to your next article. Please do share your fabric source - I have serious fabric envy at the moment :)
Thankyou for all your lovely comments - I had such enormous fun making this outfit, especially completely by hand (even I do now think I am more than a little bonkers). Aylwen - the silk grosgrain for the petticoat and the spitalfields silk for the gown both came from Stephen Walters in Sudbury http://www.stephenwalters.co.uk/. As a factory remnant shop, they don't carry their remnants on their website and can't guarantee having what you need - but are generally very helpful on the phone and will post out samples of fabrics they think might suit. The next article coming out is the Robe a l'Anglaise itself smile

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