The 1830's time period was never my favorite, that is, until I saw the wonderful screen adaptation of Wives and Daughters. Who wouldn't like to put on a lovely frock like Molly Gibson's or Cynthia Kirkpatrick's? I couldn't resist it any longer, I had to have one of my own. To get even more inspiration, I looked at pictures of original 1830's gowns and fashion plates of this era. I couldn't decide whether or not I wanted to have a gown that looked like Molly's or Cynthia's. So, this gown I sort of mixed the two together. I also wanted it to be historically accurate, and looking at originals helped me a lot with that. There was only one problem. I didn't have a pattern for this time period, and I didn't want to spend the money at the time to purchase one. After thought, I decided that my Civil War era bodice pattern would work perfectly, after I made some changes. I used the aluminous gigot sleeves pattern from Janet Arnold's book, Patterns of Fashion 1. The patterns in this book are taken from originals, so I was sure of their accuracy. There are patterns for bodices as well, but I had a different type of bodice in mind and I knew my Past Pattern's bodice pattern would work just fine for this. Besides, that meant I didn't have to enlarge another pattern!
Here are some pictures that inspired me during the dressmaking process:
Pictures from the movie Wives and Daughters:
I liked the style of Cynthia's dress (the first two pictures of the girl on the right) but I wasn't sure if I wanted to make the bodice darted or gathered. I decided on the latter. I love the look of the gigantic gigot sleeves on both Molly's (pictured at far right) dress and also Cynthia's. So, that was definitely a must for this gown!
Original 1830's gowns:
The first gown I saw on a wonderful Antique website called Vintage Textiles and I just love the look of this dress. I like how the second gown's bodice gathered. It's a small picture, but I just love this gown. I wish there was a better picture of it. Oh, and I simply adore the fabric! If I ever find fabric like this, I'll be sure to make another 1830's gown with it. The third gown is actually a wedding dress, but I liked the look of it and the fourth gown is very similar to what I wanted my gown to look like. Although, I don't have exactly the same type of sleeves.
Above painting: Portrait of Two Sisters, 1840 by Louis-Edouard
Courtesy of CGFA.