Monday, August 9, 2010

1800-1810 Cotton Print Dress... and Bonnet!

When planning my hypothetical 1812 wardrobe, one of items on the top of my extensive ‘to do’ list was a serviceable cotton dress in a dark color that could withstand cooking and tearing down camps etc.   I made this dress to wear to the annual Siege At Ft. Erie 1812 reenactment in Canada.

Since I just wanted a nice, basic everyday sort of dress (with nothing crazy design-wise), I worked from the Past Patterns Lewis and Clark Era dress pattern.  The only major change I made was to the sleeves which I shortened, made fuller, and added a drawstring at the bottom.  I also raised the waistline at the back, as it seemed too long for the 1812 period.  The fabric is a dark violet cotton print with cream flowers and tiny cream and dark green geometric patterns.  At least, I am calling it a violet fabric... it’s rather hard to pin it down exactly as in some lights it looks brown, in others blue, and others purple.

I paired this dress with a cotton lawn chemisette based on the 1800-1825 chemisette in Janet Arnold, but putting a double ruffle at the neck instead of the triple mushroom pleated frills of the original.  Also worn is the straw bonnet which I had made the year previously.  It's made from a light-weight straw braid, which was stitched into shape after being soaked in water to become more pliable.  The crown and brim were made as two seperate pieces before being stitched together.  A wired hemp trim decorates the edges, and the bonnet is trimmed with a simple silk ribbon band and a spray of feathers.