Faux Historic Dress

April 27th, 2011

You’re probably wondering why I spent a good chunk of this evening cutting out this dress:

From upholstery fabric no less.

But I do have a good reason. Believe it or not, with a few minor changes, McCall’s Costume Pattern M4548 is an adequate approximation of a mid-19th century dress. Most importantly, it creates a reasonably good look without the need for historically correct undergarments. This makes it ideal for costuming the occasional interpreter at an historic house museum. If you’re aiming for a serious living history impression, this obviously isn’t for you. But if you’re trying to make a dress that will fit multiple people, who have never worn historic clothing, it’s a great find! A dear friend and amazing costumer shared this secret with me, and I hope she won’t mind that I am now sharing it with you.

In case you’re still wondering, WHY am I making a “faux” historic dress, kindly remember that in order to stay neatly hooked or buttoned into a truly accurate 1850s dress, you also need to wear an accurate 1850s corset. Which means you need an accurate 1850s chemise. And in case you have to use the loo in between tours, you’d need a pair of accurate 1850s drawers. Plus petticoats to hold it all out. Did I mention that someone needs to wear this outfit two weeks from today (at this event), and I have only a couple of sewing days between now and then?

Maybe, if you are very good, I will tell you why I can only squeeze a couple of sewing days out of two whole weeks in my next post. It has to do with something very exciting that is happening this weekend…

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