Sunday, December 04, 2011

Making the Wrapfront Dress Do Double and Triple Duty

Given how little time and funds I have to sew, I am learning to make what I have stretch in a lot of ways...a method popular "back then". Not to mention with my modern wardrobe.

First, we know that the wrap-front dress can be worn with a "body", to make an afternoon ensemble, or an evening ensemble, depending on how it is accessorized. 18th Century Sewing Techniques has an example used for evening dress.

Second, I can simply wear it like an open robe, with a petticoat peeping out underneath. Here is a 1799 fashion plate from The Fashions of London and Paris, from the Bunka Gakuen library collection in Japan. This particular example is full dress, meaning that it would be suitable for dinner or an evening out. Memo: the fabric the model is wearing around her arm is not a shawl, it's the train from her dress.


The description:
London Full Dress
Hat of lilac crape, looped up in front; with silver loop and button; ostrich feathers; robe of muslin; petticoat of lilac crape; both trimmed with lace. Lilac belt, trimmed with silver; gold chain.

A handsome hat, small plumes, sash and matching petticoat, and necklace--oh, and shoes--, and voila, we have yet another ensemble. In my case, I already have everything to hand. Just need to mix it around a bit. Or I can take fabric from my stash and run up a petticoat in another color. No expense whatever.

That hat...Polly and Jenni, what do you think? The original is felt.

8 comments:

Time Traveling in Costume said...

I love your idea of double duty. I do the same with my bustle era gowns, using the same black skirt under different bodices & bustle aprons. Makes for quicker outfits to be done.
I also have two 1795 open robes but they're very dressy so I haven't had much chance to wear them.
Val

Jenni said...

Yes, yes, and more yes! I love the whole ensemble. 1799 is later than the mid 1790's that you've done in the past, and change is good!

ZipZip said...

Cool! It's a done deal then. Val, it's good to hear you re-use, too. I remember one of your open robes, and just went back to look at...the periwinkle one. The color is l-u-s-c-i-o-u-s, and the trim! Jenni, you need to look at it. It's at http://timetravelingincostume.blogspot.com/search?q=open+robe.

Very best,

Natalie

Time Traveling in Costume said...

Thank you, Natalie. That's my favorite too. Here's a better photo of me and not my friend wearing it. http://www.pbase.com/cinnamonhrts/image/98744776
I've never had a chance to wear my pink one.
Val

Lady D said...

Love the hat. What a pretty ensemble.
And the lilac is quite sweet.
I do prefer the 1790-1800 stuff more than the 1800-1820 stuff.

ZipZip said...

Dear Val,
Oh, my gosh!! Even better!! How did you trim it? It's one of the handsomest I've ever seen!

Note multiple exclamation marks :},

Natalie

Time Traveling in Costume said...

Thank you, Natalie. :) It's one of my favorites but I've only had a chance to wear it twice. This is a closeup of the trim. http://www.pbase.com/cinnamonhrts/image/98744775
I used a gold metallic trim all around it, and a stiff white lace around the neckline. The hem of the dress, which doesn't show here, had a very wide net trim with gold metallic designs on it.
I did another one in pink but haven't had a chance to wear it at all. http://www.pbase.com/cinnamonhrts/image/98744778
A lot of times I cut out two at a time of a pattern in different fabrics, so that by making two the construction technique sticks to my memory. :D
I used Butterick 4890 for it, and extended the front underbust to get that closure. I have a fancy rhinestone pin in the middle of it.
Val

ZipZip said...

Dear Val,

Ooh, fun stuff! I think open robes are among the most elegant garments going, don't you? Wearing one makes me feel like a queen, or a duchess at least :}

Very best,

Natalie