1879 winter dress 1879 winter dress
1879 winter dress 1879 winter dress  


YWU comp logo EXPERIENCED RI've made many different dresses from many different eras, but late Victorian, and Natural Form in particular, is a new one for me! I've wanted to try the style for ages, but the fitting of those long-line princess styles intimidated me for a long time. I was inspired by a drawing in Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion 2 (pg.8), of a "Gainsborough Princesse Dress" from The London and Paris Ladies' Magazine of Fashion, January 1879. (The original plate is in the V&A's collection, but I can't for the life of me find it on their website!) This plate from Peterson's Magazine from 1880 at least has a dress with a similar design, second from left, in black and red.

Since I decided to make this dress on a bit of a whim, everything is from my stash. The gown is lightweight wool suiting, the attached waistcoat is a 17" silk shantung remnant (lots of piecing!), and the skirt is bargain-bin striped silk taffeta. I even stole the buttons for the waistcoat from one of my old dresses! Everything is lined in polished cotton. I started with the Truly Victorian 1882 tea gown pattern, and did some pretty heavy tweaking, at least to the fronts! I made the hat all from stash as well.

The dress is machine sewn, with hand finishings. I'm much more familiar with earlier hand-sewing techniques, so that was actually a challenge for me! I don't know too much detail about late Victorian construction, so I just did what seemed reasonable - flat linings, facings, etc. 

I'm quite pleased with it overall; it's a very elegant style. I might be a convert to this late Victorian thing yet! 

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