1851 Day Dress in Cotton

1850s Day Dress with Ruching

This costume was a commission for Dickens Fair.  It is a 3 piece outfit that the peformer can put on herself without assistance, as the bodice hooks up center front.  To make the ruching trim I cut several yards of navy blue cotton into strips, joined them into several longer strips, hemmed both sides, then ran them through a ruffler machine.

Johnson ruffle machine

I had plenty more of this navy cotton, so I made it into a skirt to mix and match with the bodice.

The underblouse was gathered in rows across the front, in imitation of smocking.

Cotton Blouse for 1851 day dress

Here is one of my references, showing most of the historical fashion elements I used in this project.  The 1851 fashion plate shows the deep V neckline, the smocked-front underblouse, and sleeve shape on the left dress; and the right dress has 3 rows of vertical trim down the skirt (rather than having 2 rows like the bodice).

1851 fashion plate day dresses

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