sunnuntai 13. lokakuuta 2013

C. 1790 silver-plate embroidered English nightgown

"...In the Evening I went to the Ball. I had an English Night Gown of muslin with silver sprigs and all white..."
Extracts from correspondence, Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, 1784, 18th Century Embroidery Techniques, Gail Marsh





Last year I was looking for a design for a new party frock. I was intrigued by the quote of Georgiana wearing a white, silver sprigged, gown. We often have very low lighting in our local balls so I thought a glittering white gown might be the very thing to wear. I started looking for extant gowns and fell in love with this gown, cutaway front English gown with silver-plate embroidery. Heileen very kindly shared the patterns for this dress and the project was born. I was finished with the embroidery and main construction a year ago, but then I fell out of love of with the dress. All the whiteness begun to bore me. After a year of sitting in the closet I finally dug it out and made the finishing touches. This is one of those dresses that are almost impossible to photograph. It's so much nicer in person. The only thing that makes it stand out is the glitter when light hits the embroidery, but it's hard to capture with a camera.

The skirt and bodice are made from white duchess silk sateen with an over layer and over sleeves of silver-plate embroidered light weight cotton. The gown skirts are a single layer of cotton. It has a linen lining and it's hand sewn with linen and silk thread. Neckline and sleeves are trimmed with roll hemmed silk gauze ruffles and silk ribbon bows. It's worn over shift and stays, a false rump and two linen petticoats.







"Georgiana" and the gambling table.














A brilliant seamstress once wrote "What makes a “meh” dress fabulous?  HAIR, MAKEUP, TIARA, and a COCKTAIL!!" I took that advice to photograph this gown at home in candlelight. I failed the tiara part, but the rest is there.













Construction:

I knew that I would never have enough time to make the embroidery pattern as elaborate as in the original, so I settled with small scattered sprigs and simple borders. 



c. 1785-93 Womans dress, Indian export fine cotton plain weave with silver foil embroidery in stem and satin stitches; silk satin; sized fine cotton plain weave

After patterning the dress I made the embroidery. I found 1 mm wide silver plate but to my surprise it was too wide to look nice. However it was easy to cut in half with scissors. The plate isn't sewed on with a needle. The end of the plate string has to be cut diagonally to make it sharp to go through the fabric. It's somewhat soft so you have to turn the work as you come through from the underside. Turning the work makes it slow, but I think it's the most attractive form of metal embroidery on thin fabrics. When the embroidery is done it's hammered flat.

A finished front bodice piece:


I cut all the skirt panels to period width and sewed them together with mantua maker's stitch. I like having enough seams in my skirts and the narrower width was also practical for embroidering.


The dress is sewn together by making the lining first. Then I put the silk and cotton layers on top of each other and mounted them on top of the lining and sewed them down from the outside. It has bones in the back seams and center front.

My new pretty fan is from Aurora. I think it suits the simplified style of the late century gown very well.

All but the candlelight photos are taken in Tuomarinkylän kartanomuseo or the surrounding park. It'll be closed down on the 17th of November so if you have planned a visit, you better hurry. It's a lovely place with a friendly staff. I'm so sad to loose it.







23 kommenttia:

  1. I can't find the words for describe my ravishment! You know I love your gowns. They are always beautiful and perfect! :)

    VastaaPoista
  2. BEAUTIFUL! do you use patterns? I love your gowns as well! I guess you can tell, right? :D Beautiful work as always!

    VastaaPoista
    Vastaukset
    1. Thank you very much! I like to use patterns taken from extant gowns as an inspiration, but I like draping too.

      Poista
  3. Amazing, with all that silver embroidery. Embroidery is a skill I have not learned, so that makes it seem more amazing! It's beautiful in its simplicity.

    Best,
    Quinn

    VastaaPoista
  4. Your white dress is so stunningly beautiful! I love how it glows in the candlelight and then again in the photos taken outside! I am sure that at any event you will be the belle!

    Blessings!
    Gina

    VastaaPoista
  5. Utterly beautiful! I'm particularly fond of the pictures in candlelight, because those reveal how delicate the muslin fabric is.
    And I'm very sorry to hear about the closing of the museum. Is it because of lacking funds? Such a pity that it currently happens all too often with cultural institutions. It's like loosing a piece of history each time it occurs...the house looks really lovely and inviting, but it seems today's museum visitors ask for more media and especially quick entertainment at the houses, rather than be open for details and simplicity. I'm glad you've managed to capture some happy memories in the photos to share with all of us.

    Sabine

    VastaaPoista
    Vastaukset
    1. Thank you very much!

      I believe it's because of lack of funds. And you are right. It happens far too often these days. As a frequent visitor I'm really sad to see it close down.

      Poista
  6. Truly lovely. I so love the silver-embroidered, sheer cotton gowns of the era. It's wonderful to see one come to life!

    VastaaPoista
    Vastaukset
    1. Thank you! I've followed your posts about these silver on muslin gowns. I only wish they weren't so time consuming. I can only dream about doing enough silver-plate embroidery to make something like that gorgeous saque.

      Poista
  7. Ah, it's so exquisite and beautiful! I don't know anybody else who can wear white as well as you. The museum looks like a lovely place and I'm now intrigued to know what's the instrument beside the clavichord in the second to last picture. Do you know? It looks like a giant lute-harp. So sad that they're actually closing down :/

    VastaaPoista
  8. I forgot to say that the embroidery is lovely and the technique sounds very interesting! :)

    VastaaPoista
    Vastaukset
    1. Thank you very much!
      I didn't find any information about that instrument. It's very curious. Strings in it are more complex than can be seen in the photo. I've never seen anything else like it.

      Poista
  9. girl - i´m impressed.
    i spend the last 2 day reading your blog. your dresses are the most perfect i have ever seen.
    i dont know much about historical correctness - this dresses are perfect by themself - in proportion, colors, detailing. even your first one! you are very talented!
    thank you for sharing your beautiful clothes with us and heartly greeting from saxonia switzerland - beate

    VastaaPoista
  10. You're incredible! my jaw is on the floor, better than even big budget hollywood historic epic costumes, I haven't seen re-enactment pieces this good since Gone With the Wind and Norma Shearer's Marie Antoinette! And those movies had a team of seamstresses and unending budget.

    Okay I have a challenge for you, a request more like, something that you should do, the popular book series Outlander is being made into a show, I challenge you to made the character's Claire's 1740s Highland wedding dress and look, oh pretty pretty please.

    VastaaPoista
    Vastaukset
    1. Thank you very much!

      I'm making an 18th century court gown and a 1740's evening dress next spring. I hope one of them would fit your challenge. :)

      Poista
  11. Plus you look like the character of Claire so even more reason :)

    VastaaPoista
  12. I am just totally blown away by your talent at being able to make these just by looking at a photo or a painting. Awesome!

    VastaaPoista