September 4, 2015

Short Gown Studies II

As promised in my last post, 1830s Working Class Wear, today, I have many more clothing close-ups & construction details to share!

Completed 1830s working wear!

Working at a 19th century living history museum has certainly inspired an interest in the working class dress of the early half of the century.  While the lavish pretties of an era never fail to catch my eye, having pretty, yet practical, clothing is a must when it comes to work.  That said, I began a series of short gown studies - four total are planned - for the 1800s, 1810s & two 1830s.  The first study, Short Gown Study I, defines the "short gown" and features a refashioned 1800s garment.  Jumping ahead three decades, this second study looks at the 1830s version of short gown:

Interestingly, the pattern (or really diagram) that I copied from Old Sturbridge Village calls the garment a "short-gown" or "mantelet." 

Image provided in pattern.

As a simple and utilitarian garment, short gowns often seemed to be cut from one piece of fabric, with the sleeves cut as one with the body.  So this particular style stood out to me as an exception, and, actually, was remarked upon in the provided description from the pattern: "This short gown is not cut in the classic shape used in the 18th and eary 19th century but rather has a set-in sleeve that makes it look more like a shortened gown" (156).

A very simple "T" shaped garment with set-in sleeves.

Set-in sleeves with a small poof reminiscent of the fashionable giggot style,
but on a much more practical scale! 

The pattern description then discussed the "suitable fabrics for this garment[, which] are cotton calicoes of appropriate design, plain or checked cottons, fine woolens and homespun linen" (156).  I chose a suitable reproduction cotton print appropriate for the 1830s.  

The pattern's directions were very simple.  Seam the long sides of the body, as well as the sleeves.  Gather the sleeve heads and insert them into the armscye.  Hem everything! Sides, wrists, neckline, skirt hem...And, lastly, take a tuck along the body to create a casing for the drawstring.  

Detail of the tuck/drawstring casing.
The tuck was first stitched with spaced back stitches,
and then, whip stitched down for a neater finish.

To add visual interest (and stability to the seams), I piped everything - long sleeve seams, shoulder seams, armscyes - and added a narrow, piped facing to the neckline and wrists.  

Detail shot of piping.  Notice the very much dropped shoulder seam.

Mostly hand stitched with a combination of spaced back stitches & whip stitches; machine stitched piping strips and along application of piping.  The short gown closes with a drawstring at the waist and pins shut at the top.  

Just like any other project, I first turned to extant examples when planning my short gown.  Take a look at some of the these: 

"Schootjak, Zuid-Holland"
A very familiar shape!
(Image via: Memory of the Netherlands)

"Jak, Friesland"
Look at those poofy sleeves!
(Image via: Memory of the Netherlands)

"Schootjak, Drenthe"
(Image via: Memory of the Netherlands)

Jak, 1835 - 1845
(Image via: Fries Museum)

For more extant short gowns, take a look at my Pinterest board!

Bonus: A few pictures of my newest, blue & white check apron!  Entirely hand stitched.  Aprons are such satisfying projects.  You can never have too many aprons! 

Close up of the gauging at the waist.
Hand overcast on the inside to prevent fraying.

Another project done!  Thanks for reading!


  1. Well done! I love learning about working class wear as well, but some eras are far more researched than others. I didn't know anything about 1830's working class, I hadn't even thought about it! I'm with you on the aprons; they are satisfying, but I haven't tried gauging one yet.

    1. Thank you, Michaela!! I agree with you, there certainly seems to be more research on the working wear of some eras as opposed to others...and, the 1830s seems to be one of the "others." There is just so much more research that needs to be done! Also, I really like the look of gauging, so applying it to my apron simply made sense!
      Happy sewing! Anneliese :)

  2. OH how I love the look, textures, patterns and colors of your outfit!! That's one of the things I love about the earlier eras...they used so many colors that if you put them together (the fabric) in your shopping cart at the store, they wouldn't even look good together. But when you combine them in an outfit....fabulousness!!!! You have once again, done a breath taking job on your ensemble! You are such a marvelous inspiration!!

    1. *Squeals* I was just called an "inspiration" by the legendary Gina! I can now die happy...Thank you!! Oh I definitely agree, you would think that all of the different colors and patterns would clash together terribly. However, somehow, it seems to work, though perhaps a little different to the modern eye!
      Thanks again! Anneliese :)

  3. so fantastic!!! the fabrics are perfect and this was a very interesting and informative post! you also look great in 1830s!

    1. Eeee thank you, Samantha!! Receiving such compliments from my sewing idols always makes me giddy! I must say, the 1830s have really grown on me this past year!
      Happy sewing! Anneliese :)