I fell in love with this walking gown the first time I saw it and I knew I had to make a replica. The original gown was made of tan silk. I did not like the color of the original ensemble and knew I would change this. I came across a navy blue striped silk faille and I knew it would be perfect. There were only twelve yards, so I knew I would have to make some changes to the original design. After I failed to find a navy silk that matched my base fabric I decided to go a different direction and use a contrasting coloured silk for the bias.
This ensemble has three pieces, the underskirt, the overskirt and the bodice.
I made the underskirt first. I mounted the silk on cotton broadcloth as there was not enough silk to make the skirt pieces full length. The puffed section and pleated ruffle were also mounted on the broadcloth. When I added the puffed sections I found that keeping to the bias pattern used on the original gown was distracting to the eye and didn’t look anywhere near as elegant. After trying many variations I found what looked best was having the bias at the top and bottom of the ruffle.
The next step was to work on the overskirt. I made up the underskirt by draping muslin until I found a pattern that looked similar to the original, though in retrospect I believe my scale was somewhat off. My absolute favourite part of the overskirt is the long, lace-trimmed panel on the left side. I underlined the two back pieces with net. All edges are bound in silk and trimmed with lace. Because I could not find two pieces of lace of matching colors I cut the upper leaf pattern from the larger piece of lace. I chose to bind the pocket with the dress material as I thought it looked better this way. The lace used to decorate the pocket was also cut from the larger piece.
The bodice of the gown was drafted by starting with a basic Victorian bodice. I did make a few changes with this. First I made the square neckline higher because I wanted to be able to wear this gown during warmer weather so I made the upper neckline and collar removable. The bow at the back is made with gown fabric and surrounded by a cockade of lace cut from the larger lace trim. As with the two other pieces of this ensemble the bodice is trimmed with white silk and lace and self-covered buttons. The bodice is lined with cotton broadcloth and is closed with hooks and eyes. The sleeves are basic two piece coat sleeves decorated with a band of rouching as well as white bias and lace.
To finish off my outfit I made a hat, using a pattern from Lynn McMasters.
This is by far my favorite thing I have made thus far.