Category Archives: 1837-1839 fashion plate ensemble

Div III Progress Report: 13 Days To Go!

It’s Wednesday, April 20, and my Div III final meeting is in 13 days. Strictly speaking, since it’s currently nearly midnight, my final meeting is actually in about 12 and a half days. Oh boy.

Today has not been a good day for progress, thanks to innumerable (three? four? five? I’m not even sure, honestly) major technical difficulties, resulting in various delays and deleted progress. Alas. But I finished putting together the base posts for the 1830s straw bonnet with plaid silk ties and white trimmings and 1860s Marie Stewart bonnet of scarlet silk, as well as for the 1950s style petticoat of soft ivory netting and 1950s style petticoat of stiff white netting trimmed with bows, and I wrote up the intro post for the 1950s style net petticoats. I also added a couple more books to the Annotated Bibliography and started on the intro post for the 19th century work box (because I ran across a couple of great pictures that needed to be listed there).

In more corporeal news, yesterday the cerulean blue dye for my 1830s gown arrived in the mail! Or, at least, I arrived at the Lemelson Center to teach my Historical Sewing Techniques for Practical Use class, and Roxy then gave the package, which had previously arrived in the mail, to me. (The dye was among the supplies that were funded by a grant from the wonderful Hampshire College Social Venture Fund, which is run the Lemelson Center.) One of my very talented friends – someone who conveniently has cotton-dyeing expertise – will be helping me to dye 11 yards of semi sheer, satin-striped cotton fabric a nice shade of cerulean blue, so I can make it into a pretty dress. The pretty dress, realistically speaking, will probably not be done before my final meeting, but I fully intend to wear it (along the with enormous 1830s bonnet) for Commencement (also known as graduation) on May 21st.

After work in the morning, I will go by the school post office to pick up my package from, which will contain lots of handy-dandy notions, along with some sky blue cotton broadcloth that was on sale inexpensively, which I will make into a nice vintage-style summer dress, and a yard of stretch cotton sateen in pink and white stripes, which I plan to use to make an experimental modern corset. (But not right now!)

See…while talking about corsetry with my boyfriend the other day (he is surprisingly interested in my obscure areas of research), he suggested that I try making modern corsets, intended for day-to-day use, instead of bras. I’ve talked quite a lot about how – far from considering them mutilating implements of torture foisted on women by the oppressive patriarchy – I find corsets to be in many ways more comfortable than bras. Support that’s structured from the waist up, rather than awkwardly hanging from the shoulders and/or wandering about the ribcage, makes a lot of sense. Therefore, we ended up having a conversation about this hypothetical modern corset that I need to work on designing and building, and I decided to experiment with using cotton stretch sateen, along with 100% cotton sateen (no stretch) to make such a corset. Naturally, when I found this pretty stretch sateen on sale, conveniently in a colorway that would work well with 100% cotton white sateen that I already have, I obviously needed to order it. I’m already planning ahead for the next stage in Stuff I Taught Myself To Do (Or Do Better) During Div III.

I am trying to come to terms with how much less finished stuff there will be at the end of Div III. I’ve been very ambitious all along, and thanks to the foibles of my immune system this semester, and only having one year in which to complete Div III, and needing to sleep, I’m scaling things down from what I had intended. So there are pages on this site that definitely won’t have any garment photos, or sewing progress, for a while (though I do plan on getting to them eventually, some of them probably this summer). But I’m putting them up anyway, because I’ve done a rather absurd quantity of research, and not only is this a good way for me to keep track of my research, but this site also allows me to make my research readily available to others, and I’m hoping that maybe my collection of sources on 18th century greatcoats, or one of the similar posts, would be of use to someone.

Now I just need to whip up an actual rough draft of my what-my-Div-III-is-all-about-and-how-it-works-and-why-it-matters paper. I’m not sure what to call it now that it’s not a “documentation paper,” since I’m now doing most of my documentation online. I’ve been pulling the pieces together and working out the structure for a couple weeks now, but my committee is likely to be quite unhappy about matters if I don’t get a draft to them Very Soon. I’m determined to manage it by Friday. Hopefully they won’t decide that they want major changes a day before my final meeting or anything. But they’re all reasonable people, so I don’t think anything of the sort is likely to happen.

So, tomorrow: picking up supplies, working on my paper, and some sewing. I need to get a paper to my committee, yes, but I also need to sew something in order to feel like I’m making progress.

For the moment…sleep!


1830s straw bonnet with plaid silk ties and white trimmings

Inspiration: My need for a charmingly enormous 1830s bonnet to go with my fashion plate gown; I’m not imitating any specific bonnet trimming style
Form:  Purchased reproduction straw form from Timely Tresses, of ivory-colored hemp braid in their 1835-1840 Frivolia style
Brim Lining:  White silk taffeta or habotai (which I still need to procure)
Crown Lining:  White cotton batiste
Ties and Ribbon Trim:  Plaid silk taffeta in cornsilk yellow, dove gray, and white, purchased at Delectable Mountain Cloth, which I will cut into wide (6″ plus) ribbons and turn narrow hand-stitched hems on.
Outer Trimmings:  Puffing and possibly a bow of the plaid taffeta ribbon, one large white ostrich feather from Timely Tresses.
Trimmings Inside Brim: Three bunches of white velvet lily and two bunches of ivory/yellow velvet violets from Timely Tresses (though I may move one of the bunches to the outside of the bonnet)
Thread:  TBD
Construction:  Linings and trimmings will be entirely hand-sewn, though I believe that the form itself is machine-stitched.
Current Status: I’ve ordered the form and trimmings, but currently all I have for this project is the fabric to be made into ribbons (which I’ve had for over a year, since I originally intended to make this bonnet as part of my 1830s clothing independent study). Since I’m using a straw form rather than buckram, as I’d originally intended, it should go together fairly quickly, so hopefully I can manage to finish my bonnet by my Div III final meeting – or at least by graduation!

Print resources for 1830s bonnets:

Grayscale fashion plates of complete ensembles, including bonnets, all dating from 1832: Figure 41 on page 70; Figures 42 and 43 on page 71; Figure 44 on page 72.

Grayscale fashion plates of complete ensembles, including bonnets, 1838-1840, pages 2-7. There are no color plates dated earlier than 1841.

There are schematic drawings of, and notes about, an extant bonnet on page 140; the bonnet is described as a “Large WHITE SILK BONNET; Trimmed white satin and pale blue ribbons” and appears to be the same bonnet as on pages 26-27 of Hats and Bonnets by Althea Mackenzie, where it is shown in photographs. Together, these sources offer a great deal of information about this bonnet, which is unusually well-preserved. Mackenzie dates the bonnet to the late 1820s. See entry for that book below for more information.

Images of extant 1830s bonnets on fully dressed mannequins: straw on page 190, silk-covered on page 191, page 194 (same bonnet/mannequin as page 190, from another angle), straw on 196/197 (same bonnet from two angles in two pictures).

In the first section of image plates, following page 32: there is a photograph dated “Summer 1840,” of a woman in a late 1830s style large bonnet, either drawn silk or with a shirred silk lining, plate 3; there is also a photograph of “Queen Victoria’s going-away bonnet after her marriage on 10 February 1840,” plate 4.

“Chapter XXI. The Art of the Milliner, or the Mode of making Hats, Toques, &c.” encompasses pages 522 through 564. It offers a great deal of useful information, translated and edited from 1820s and 1830s sources. Included is detailed information on trim, such as how to make different types of bows and ribbon trimmings, and about different types of ornaments. There are very few images, and most are of 1820s hats, but this section is overall a useful informational reference.

Grayscale fashion plates of full ensembles: Figure 51, dated 1834, on page 89; Figure 52, dated 1835, on page 89; Figure 55, dated c. 1837, on page 90; Figure 56, dated July 1837, the popular image of the seated woman in corset with a standing dressed woman beside her, on page 91; Figure 57, dated November 1838, on page 92; Figure 58, dated 1839, on page 92.

The text on “Women’s Bonnets” is on pages 158-162, including hoods and a caleche (or calashe). The associated plate is plate 20. There is some useful information about how to go about lining, covering, and trimming a bonnet. There is also a section on “Straw Plaiting” at the end of the book, on pages 278-290. This book can also be accessed online, so direct links to pages and plates are included.

Extant bonnets: a silk-covered bonnet from the 1820s or 1830s, page 47; a silk-covered bonnet dated “early 1830s,” page 51; a large drawn bonnet, c. 1836.

Fashion plates with bonnets: from Journal des Dames et des Modes, 1830, page 51; fashion plates including bonnets, c. 1830, pages 52 and 53; fashion plate, 1835, page 54; fashion plate with drawn bonnet, 1836, page 55.

Introduction, pages 4-5. Information on straw plaits, with photographs, pages 24-25. Enormous silk-covered bonnet of the late 1820s with intact puffs of ribbon, pages 26-27. Leghorn bonnet, 1830-35, with trims added later, pages 28-29. Winter bonnet, 1830-40, covered in novelty fabric, with a cream satin lining with a gathered strip around the brim edge, pages 30-31. Bonnet of the later, closer-fitting shape, dated “Late 1830s – 40s,” with interesting applied striped ribbon decorations, pages 32-33. Information on trimmings, specifically ribbons, with photographs, pages 34-35. Glossary, page 94.

Note: Futher information on the late 1820s silk-covered bonnet is available on page 140 of Nancy Bradfield’s Costume in Detail. There are schematic drawings of, and notes about, an extant bonnet; the bonnet is described as a “Large WHITE SILK BONNET; Trimmed white satin and pale blue ribbons” and appears to be the same bonnet as on pages 26-27 of Hats and Bonnets by Althea Mackenzie, where it is shown in photographs. Together, these sources offer a great deal of information about this bonnet, which is unusually well-preserved.

Full color fashion plates of complete ensembles, including bonnets, 1838-1840: plates 2-5, of which 2 and 3 are both double plates. Plate 6 is also dated 1840, but only evening styles, with evening headdresses, are pictured; there are no bonnets.

The plate shown on page 8 and described on page 9 is dated to c. 1842, but the style of the clothing is quite similar to fashions of the late 1830s, including the large bonnet, so it is useful for reference. The bonnet’s wide ribbon ties are left untied.

Two extant 1830s straw bonnets are shown on mannequins in 1830s gowns, page 34. Extant wedding bonnet of “cream silk with cream crêpe trimming and artificial lilacs 1835-39” shown on a table in a period room, along with a dummy head and a “milliner’s wooden delivery box 1820-50,” pages 87-88. Presumably the same wedding bonnet, shown with a veil, on a mannequin in an 1837 wedding dress, page 91.

Print resources for general millinery, not necessarily period:

This book is less likely to be useful, since it is geared for making hats more-or-less contemporary to the 1960s publication date. However, there is some good general information about materials and techniques.

Online resources, specifically collection photographs of extant bonnets:
(I have organized these roughly chronologically, based on the overall shape. As nearly as I can tell, the angle of the crown related to the brim, at the top, started out fairly acute with early bonnets of the regency era and 1820s, often around a right angle – more like a hat – and around the middle of the 1830s became gradually more obtuse [yes, geometry is relevant to bonnets!], eventually smoothing out completely in styles of the very late 1830s and the 1840s, including the “coal scuttle” bonnet.)

1830s cuffs of white cotton voile


Note: this is only a possibility. I need to check on whether cuffs were worn/required for this period, and for this style of dress. If I don’t need them, I probably won’t make them initially. If they’re optional, I’ll probably plan on making a pair later.

1830s chemisette of white cotton voile


1830s gown of semi-sheer cerulean cotton with satin stripes

(Updated May 1, 2011)

(Note: the first portion of this post is identical to the project introduction post for the 1837-1839 fashion plate ensemble, but this post continues and goes into more detail, complete with sources and links.)

Back during my first semester at Hampshire, in fall 2009, I went on a field trip to Old Sturbridge Village, and while dawdling in the clothing exhibit, I rather fell in love with the late 1830s styles displayed in the fashion plates on the walls. It’s a very interesting transitional style, without the absurdly enormous sleeves of earlier 1830s fashion, or the stiff gothic lines of the 1840s. Waistlines were briefly hovering around the natural waist, and sleeve shapes were neither huge nor tight, with an interesting variety in shapes and details.

I parlayed my fascination with late 1830s fashion into an independent study in spring 2010, and really dove into the period. I had never studied the romantic period in particular, but I had a substantial background in mid-19th century clothing (specifically 1860s), which gave me somewhere to start. There are two interesting technological differences that make studying and reproducing clothing of the 1830s more difficult than clothing of the 1860s: the lack of photography, which leaves a significant gap in the materials to study, and the lack of sewing machines, which renders a great deal of hand-sewing necessary for true authenticity. For the independent study, I hand-stitched all of the pieces I made. For the 1830s pieces that I am making now, in the portion of my Div III that is a continuation of that project, I am fully hand-stitching three pieces–the shift, the stays, and the bonnet–and using a combination of machine-stitching and hand-stitching on the other pieces. On the gown, all visible stitches will be done by hand. But for the sake of time, I’m using the machine for portions of the project.

My big goal with this project is to be able to wear a full ensemble of 1830s clothing to Commencement (otherwise known as graduation) on May 21st. I’ll need a gown and a bonnet, a chemisette to full in the neckline of the gown, a pair of gloves (I have some I can use), some sort of shoes (I plan to buy a simple pair of ballet flats), and stockings (I have some that will work) – and those are just the parts that show! Under all that, I’ll need a shift, probably a pair of drawers, a set of stays, a corded petticoat to create base fluff, another petticoat for additional fluff, a bodiced petticoat to cover all the other layers tidily since my gown fabric is semi-sheer, and probably the ruffled bustle from the independent study, so as to achieve the proper silhouette.  I’ll most likely use the pockets from my independent study as well. I probably won’t worry about making cuffs just yet. All told, there is still much to do, but it’s coming along. The most alarming part is that I have not yet been able to dye the fabric for my gown.

From a February 1838 Fashion Plate in Godey's Lady's Book

The gown at left is the one I originally chose as my inspiration piece, during the independent study. I love the crossover bodice style, especially with the stripes cut on the bias. I also love the bias stripes on the skirt ruffle, set against the vertical stripes of the skirt. However, I’ve never been entirely enamored of the sleeves, I don’t like how the ruffle is set to leave a gap of plain skirt at the hem, and I find myself getting distracted by the astonishingly hideous headdress whenever I look at the picture. So, at this point, I’m not planning to do an exact copy of the fashion plate, but rather to combine elements of several fashion plates, along with details from extant gowns, to create a just-right late 1830s gown style for me.

The bodice for my gown will be cut like the February 1838 fashion plate at left, which seems to have been a popular style. The Workwoman’s Guide even has instructions for the style. I may have to adapt the bodice design slightly, because I think that with my rather well-endowed figure, I’ll probably need darts at the waistline to control the fullness of the fabric needed to go around my bosom, even with the stretch of the bias cut. Fortunately, I’ve seen various examples of just such a bodice style, including the left figure in the following fashion plate at right. I’m also partial to the sleeve shape in the following fashion plate – but not the precise way that the fullness is fixed down at the top. I think I’d rather use little controlled pleats than bands with buttons.

Pretty Gowns from an April 1840 Fashion Plate in Godey's Lady's Book

I’m also rather partial to the plethora of ruffles at the hem. I might do that, but I think more likely I’ll just do one ruffle, only set so that it goes all the way to the hem, or possibly two ruffles, the lower one deeper than the upper, as in the pink dress in the fashion plate below at left.  The fabric I’m using for the gown would most likely be termed a muslin in 19th century terminology. It’s a smooth, long-staple cotton fabric that is semi-sheer, but with opaque stripes of satin-weave, which have a bit of openwork stitching along either side of each stripe. It’s absolutely beautiful, and perfect for the period. I bought it at Delectable Mountain Cloth in Brattleboro, Vermont – a wonderful little shop that’s well worth an excursion. I believe that the owner said that my fabric was of Italisn manufacture. The only difficulty is that solid white dresses, especially in cotton, do not seem to have been very common by the late 1830s. I am solving this problem with a few bottles of cerulean blue dye, and the help of a friend who has a lot of experience dyeing cotton.

I think that my bonnet will probably give a similar impression to those in the plate above at right – large but not too terribly ridiculous, and really rather pretty, in that slightly silly way. A chemisette will definitely be needed in order to keep things suitably modest, and by the same token, I’ll also need a bodiced petticoat like this extant one to provide a tidy, opaque underlay for the somewhat see-through dress. I just hope I can find the time and the patience to sew enough cords into my corded petticoat, and then track down down enough starch, in order to achieve satisfactory fluffiness. I’m also concerned that a mere three petticoats (over a long chemise, with a ruffled bustle) might not really be enough fluff, but for the time being, I’ll just have to live with whatever level of fluff those combined garments can achieve.

A figure from a November 1838 Fashion Plate in Godey's Lady's Book

Having gone through every source of information on late 1830s (and even early 1840s) gowns that I could find, both in print and online (plus my examination in person of gowns in the collection at Old Sturbridge Village), I found that bias cut bodices appeared to be typical, and that crossover style bodices could be cut with or without darts. Intriguingly, I discovered that while hem flounces (one, two, or more) were almost universal on gowns in fashion plates of the late 1830s, I have been able to find very few extant gowns of this period with any kind of flounce. Even on very high fashion, extravagant gowns, the flouncing is rarely present. Nevertheless, it can be documented in some extant gowns, so I feel safe including flouncing on my gown. Which is good, because I’m quite enraptured with the look of the bias stripes on a flounce or two, against the vertical stripes of the skirt – with diagonal stripes on the bodice, and all-over-the-place stripes on the sleeves! And self-bias piping everywhere! Fortunately for the eyesight of everyone who will ever see my reproduction gown, my stripes are a woven variation rather than a strong color difference. It is my hope that blinding effects will be minimal.

In order to systematically research and document each aspect of this gown, and each type of reference, I have organized my sources into a variety of specific features. Some sources appear more than once.

Pattern diagrams and schematic drawings of late 1830s gowns:

En romantisk ungpigekjole at Tidens Tøj, a museum site, which has photographs of an extant probably mid 1830s gown, along with text, and a PDF of a graphed pattern diagram of the gown. Tragically, all of this is in Danish, and I have no idea what it says.

Brylluppets skikke – bryllupskrans” also at at Tidens Tøj, a museum site, which has photographs of an extant late 1830s formal gown, along with text, and a PDF of a graphed pattern diagram of the gown, which appears to be dated 1837. I suspect it might be identified as a wedding dress. But again, all of this is tragically in Danish.

Lady, A (Anonymous). The Workwoman’s Guide: A Guide to 19th Century Decorative Arts, Fashion and Practical Crafts (A Facsimile Reproduction of the Original 1838 Edition). Guilford, Connecticut: Opus Publications with Old Sturbridge Village, 1986.

  • In the section on “Gowns,” which begins on page 106 and is pictured on plate 14, there are two relevant styles:
  • “A wrap high dress,” discussed on page 110 and depicted on plate 14, figure 15
  • “A high body, to open in front,” discussed on page 111 and depicted on plate 14, figure 18
  • See below for more information on this resource.

Arnold, Janet. Patterns of Fashion 1: Englishwomen’s dresses and their construction c. 1660-1860. New York: Drama Book Specialists/Publishers, 1978.

  • “A dinner dress c1830-36,” in the Northampton Museum, on pages 60, 62, and 63.
  • “A morning dress c1837-41,” in the Gloucester Museum, on pages 64 and 65.
  • “A day dress c1839-45,” in the Gallery of English Costume, on pages 64 and 66.
  • None of these have the crossover front I’m looking for, but they’re all useful references anyway, thanks to Janet Arnold’s impeccable attention to detail.

Waugh, Norah. The Cut of Women’s Clothes 1600-1930. New York: Theatre Arts Books, 1968.

  • Diagram XLI: “Day dress c. 1834. Privately owned
  • Diagram XLII: “Day dress c. 1837. Museum of Costume, Bath
  • Diagram XLIII (above): “Bodice c. 1839. Central School of Art and Design, London
  • “Nineteenth-century Tailors’ and Dressmakers’ Patterns” – on page 193, there are reprinted original 1834 pattern diagrams from the Petit Courier des Dames (a magazine) for “Bodice, Sleeve, Cape and Corset.”
  • Unfortunately, none of these are in the crossover style or anything much like it.

Bradfield, Nancy. Costume in Detail: Women’s Dress 1730-1930. Hollywood: Costume & Fashion Press, 2009.

  • Styles of the late 1830s are pictured in schematic drawings, with detailed notes, on pages 163-172, including one crossover-style bodice on pages 169-170.

Hunnisett, Jean. Period Costumes for Stage & Screen: Patterns for Women’s Dress 1800-1909. London: Unwin Paperbacks, 1988.

  • This is a generalized, simplified, theatrical costuming resource. It can help to fill in the blanks, but it is not a creation of pristine historical accuracy (and is not intended to be).
  • “Part Three: Period Patterns — 1826-1838” on pages 49-84, in particular:
  • “Pattern sheet 7: bodices” on page 53, though none are crossover
  • “Pattern sheet 9: sleeves” on page 57

Early daguerreotypes (1839 and 1840s) picturing late 1830s styles:

Severa, Joan L. My Likeness Taken: Daguerreian Portraits in America. Kent, Ohio: The Kent State University Press, 2005.

  • On page 8, with accompanying text on page 9, there is a daguerreotype, dated “ca. 1842,” of a young woman in a style quite close to that of the late 1830s. Even though the type of gown is quite different from mine, it is an excellent point of reference, and the detail of the sleeves in particular is exquisite.

Construction information for gowns of the late 1830s or a nearby era:

Lady, A (Anonymous). The Workwoman’s Guide: A Guide to 19th Century Decorative Arts, Fashion and Practical Crafts (A Facsimile Reproduction of the Original 1838 Edition). Guilford, Connecticut: Opus Publications with Old Sturbridge Village, 1986.

  • The section on “Gowns” has information about ladies’ gowns on pages 106-113, and images on plate 14 (which falls just prior to the section in the OSV reprint of the book). The section is quite brief, and rather vague, but explains why at the opening:
  • “Gowns being a part of dress much influenced by the fashion or custom of the day, will not be fully entered on in this work, as it would be impossible to give the variety of form and size which is seen in them, and equally impossible, were such a selection attempted, to please all tastes, or suit all figures: a few simple patterns for those kinds which are independent of fashion, and especially for those worn by servants, and persons engaged in laborious employments, with a very few other plain ones, will alone come within the limits of this work.” (page 106) [Note that all of that was one sentence.]
  • This book actually dates from the late 1830s, so in that respect, it is an excellent resource, but it is also difficult to understand and difficult to use, and as noted, the section on gowns is quite limited. However, combined with other sources, it becomes somewhat more comprehensible.

Grimble, Frances, Edited, Translated, and with Additional Material by. The Lady’s Stratagem: A Repository of 1820s Directions for the Toilet, Mantua-Making, Stay-Making, Millinery & Etiquette. San Francisco: Lavolta Press, 2009.

  • “Chapter XV. The Art of the Mantua-maker or Cutter of Gowns” on pages 305-407.
  • This book is primarily from/about the 1820s, so it would be somewhat out of date for late 1830s fashions, but much of the information is still relevant.

Clark, Elizabeth Stewart. The Dressmaker’s Guide; 1840-1860. 2nd edition, Revised & Expanded. Idaho Falls, Idaho: Elizabeth Stewart Clark & Company, 2009.

  • “Stocking a Workbox” on pages 69-73
  • “Stitch & Technique Library” on pages 78-102
  • “Chapter 8: Bodices: Draping & Patterns” on pages 195-247
  • “Chapter 9: Bodice Construction Details” on pages 249-264
  • “Chapter 10: Skirt Techniques” on pages 265-275
  • This book is intended for the period 1840-1865, so it slightly post-dates what I am working on, but much of the information is still helpful, especially since this revised and expanded edition offers substantial coverage of the 1840s, which has a great deal in common with the late 1830s, in terms of fashion and construction.

Crossover (surplice) style bodices, with or without darts:

Olian, JoAnne, Ed. 80 Godey’s Full-Color Fashion Plates: 1838-1880. Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1998.

  • “Plate 2. February 1838 and July 1838” – figure B (the first image shown above) – a striped gown, no darts. On page vi, quoting from the original issue of Godey’s, the figure is described thus: “Morning dress of Jaconet muslin. Tight sleeves with a single puff above the elbow; lace ruffle at wrist. The skirt has a deep flounce. Plain body crossed in front, showing a cambric handkerchief, with a lace frill.”
  • “Plate 4. April 1840.” – figure B (the left figure in the second image shown above) – three darts on each side. On page vi, quoting from the original issue of Godey’s, the figure is described thus: “Changeable silk dress. Tight corsage crossed in front. Bishop sleeves with four bands at the top, each trimmed with a button; the skirt is trimmed with five narrow flounces. Straw hat.”

Blum, Stella, Edited and with an Introduction by. Fashions and Costumes from Godey’s Lady’s Book; Including 8 Plates in Full Color. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.,  1985.

  • On page 3, figure A, from a May 1838 fashion plate in Godey’s Lady’s Book, with accompanying text: “Robe of summer material; hat of leghorn straw.” No hem flounce this time.

Bradfield, Nancy. Costume in Detail: Women’s Dress 1730-1930. Hollywood: Costume & Fashion Press, 2009.

  • Styles of the late 1830s are pictured in schematic drawings, with detailed notes, on pages 163-172, including one crossover-style bodice on pages 169-170. It does not have darts, nor a hem flounce.

Johnston, Lucy. Nineteenth Century Fashion in Detail. London: V&A Publishing, 2009.

  • Photographed extant “Day dress of silk lined with linen and glazed cotton” on pages 174-175, lower right of each page, dated “1838-40,” accession number T.51-2002. Made of solid-colored silk satin; very deep V crossover neckline, left over right, with functional closure and stitched pleating; no darts; round waist; directionally knife-pleated skirt with section in front left plain, lopsided possibly due to odd closure; no hem flounce.

Non-crossover bias-cut bodices, other than off-the-shoulder styles:

Johnston, Lucy. Nineteenth Century Fashion in Detail. London: V&A Publishing, 2009.

Large sleeves with fullness controlled at the tops with pleats/gathers:

Fukai, Akiko, Ed. Fashion: A History from the 18th to the 20th Century (The Collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute). 2006 edition published by Barnes & Noble by arrangement. Köln: Taschen, 2006.

  • Photograph of extant sheer or semi-sheer gown on page 195, dated “c. 1837,” with this caption: “White plain-weave cotton with woven plaid pattern; lead-pattern embroidery; gigot sleeves; gathered to shoulder at upper sleeve. Inv. AC2231 79-10-4

Johnston, Lucy. Nineteenth Century Fashion in Detail. London: V&A Publishing, 2009.

  • Photographed extant “Dress of printed cotton lined with cotton” on pages 104-105, dated “1838-40,” accession number T.75-1947. Made of floral printed cotton with a wide, rounded neckline; piped center front opening, piped neckline edge, etc.; diagonal pleating across front; single dart at either side; even shirring at tops of sleeves to control fullness; round waist; gauged skirt; no hem flounce.
  • Photographed extant “Day dress of challis printed with flowers and lined with glazed cotton and linen” on pages 192-193, dated “1837-40,” accession number T.184-1931. Made of floral printed wool challis with a wide, scooped neckline; ruching around bodice near neckline; contrast piping at center front seam, sides, cuffs, etc; single dart or shaping seam at either side; soft pleating held with bands at tops of sleeves to control fullness, fullness at wrists simply gathered into cuffs at back of wrists; round waist; skirt has wide directional knife pleats with section of gauging in back; no hem flounce.

Skirts with one or more flounces at the hem (especially extant):

Woman’s Day Dress” of cotton muslin with a printed check design on a woven zig-zag pattern, dated “1837-41” with the note that it was “perhaps altered in the 1850s,” at the Bowes Museum in the United Kingdom, accession number 1998.10.1/CST.3.196. There are three even hem flounces, of a style popular in late 1830s fashion plates, on the dress, but they appear somewhat skewed due to the way the dress is displayed (it needs more petticoats).

Gowns of this general style, in muslin or other lightweight cottons:

Brown cotton print dress, dated “1837-39,” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, accession number 2009.300.915.

Resources containing multiple extant high-fashion gowns from the late 1830s, with absolutely no incidence of flounces:

Fukai, Akiko, Ed. Fashion: A History from the 18th to the 20th Century (The Collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute). 2006 edition published by Barnes & Noble by arrangement. Köln: Taschen, 2006.

Bradfield, Nancy. Costume in Detail: Women’s Dress 1730-1930. Hollywood: Costume & Fashion Press, 2009.

Johnston, Lucy. Nineteenth Century Fashion in Detail. London: V&A Publishing, 2009.

1830s bodiced petticoat of white cotton


1830s tucked petticoat of white cotton

Unlike many of the overly ambitious plans around here, this project did actually make it to completion! But I haven’t written up my notes or taken pictures, so there’s no evidence of it. Eep! Soon…

Until then, this basically blank post shall continue to be sad.