So, in an attempt to motivate myself, I’m going to write down my plans…
The first C18th dress I want to do is a chintz day dress. I saw a few that I loved in this style in Europe, such as this one from the V&A.
I’ve got an Ikea doona cover that I’m going to use as the main fabric. In fact I’ve got 2, because I liked it so much I decided I wanted one to use as a doona cover as well. I’ve got about 6 pillowcases as well, which I can cut into if need be. The advantages of this are that it was cheap, I can probably get another set if it goes horribly wrong, and the fabric is quite soft, as it’s not designed for quilting or anything. The pattern probably isn’t 100% historically accurate, but I think the effect is close enough for a first go.
I ordered some fine cotton voile to make a matching petticoat, but it turned out to be a very stark white which makes the Ikea fabric look too yellowy, so I’ll use it to do an under-petticoat, and some softer white voile from my stash for the proper petticoat (both are very fine, so I’m assuming I’ll need at least two).
In terms of cut and pattern, I’m using Sense & Sensibility’s Portrait Dress pattern. I’ll use the lower neckline and try to achieve something gently curved. I’ll cut the bodice with a pointed front and back and elbow-length sleeves.
By way of trimming, I’m thinking of doing something similar to this dress, from the Kyoto Costume Institute. I like the soft organza and bolder colour of the red. I’ve got some silk organza to make a kerchief and I may have some offcuts for the trimming – I’ll see how I go, otherwise I can order more. This might be a longer-term plan – from what I’ve seen, very little decoration is also acceptable.
I also bought a couple of metres of very beautiful, wide lace to trim the cuffs with. I think this will probably date the dress a little earlier than the 1780s I’m going for – most of the soft, frilly decoration seems to be a little earlier, though it’s probably hard to tell as lace is the sort of thing that might get transferred from dress to dress. Anyway, the lace is beautiful and I think I’ll gather it onto some bias tape so I can remove it easily.
Oh, and I’ll probably attach some ribbons and buttons so I can turn the dress into a polonaise, depending on how I like it better.