This half scale 1860’s evening dress was made from a pattern by Janet Arnold taken from a dress from the trousseau of Miss Wyatt. We had to make a half scale garment from any pattern by Janet Arnold as an exercise in using another person’s patterns and making them work.

I chose to make this nineteenth century evening gown because I thought that it’s shape was really interesting. I liked the slightly flattened front bell shape of the skirt and the sleeves and the way that the berthe sat across the bodice. I wanted to have a go at making this dress in half scale because I’d never made anything from the 19th Century before so I thought it’d be different and a good chance to learn about another period of dress.

I began by going to have a look at the original garment in the Manchester Costume Gallery. The Gallery were kind enough to let me have a look at the gown and take photos and measurements from it which was so invaluable when constructing as I had already seen how the dress went together.

 

From the notes and photos I had taken of the original, and from the instructions given by Janet Arnold, I constructed my half scale garment as true to the original as I could. I did make the decision to machine stitch some of the major seams but I don’t think that it affects the garment as a whole because I hand finished everything I could.

I really liked the colouring of the original gown, however I couldn’t find the right fabric in a pink and black stripe, so instead I chose a green and black striped fabric as I felt that having the stripes was more important than having the pink colour. I really like the colour combination of the green and black on my version and I think it works well with the green net sleeves instead of the ivory colour of the original.

 

 

 

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