My 1820s walking dress was inspired by an 1820s gown in the Kyoto Costume Institute in Japan. My gown duplicated the neckline, cuff and hem ornamentation. It was made as a one-piece dress with a belt under the bust and hook & eye closures at the back.
The existing gown is made of a brown and blue striped silk taffeta. It has a separate jacket and dress, matching belt, silk taffeta cording and puff decoration on the bodice, and four rows of flounces on the bottom of the skirt. The original is not available for the public to see in person.
Finding a close matching fabric was a challenge - after spending months searching unsuccessfully online for a similar striped silk I found some fabric in my stash previously reserved for a gentleman's frock coat. Although not the same colour, it immediately seemed right for this project.
Much of the gown was sewn by hand - there is a lot of piping on the ruffles and around the neckline. My biggest challenge was working out how to sew the neckline and how to make it sit flat in real life. My solution - more is better. (Make the scallops larger, gather them in more with the loops - then they sit flat.) I still find my experiments in amongst my fabric scraps months later!
Another challenge was the lack of any photos or documentation on how it was fastened at the back - or even if it was. I emailed and then posted a letter to the caretakers of the KCI collection in Japan but didn't receive any reply.
See more at Aylwen's blog.