Round to Open Gown

My first mock-up of the round gown confused me. After I got it on Pollykin, I was trying to find out how the dress should open. The bodice of the flat pattern I was working off of (in Patterns of Fashion 1 by Janet Arnold) was apron-style.

An apron style bodice separates at the front shoulder and falls forward like this:

Because of the way the fullness goes high up on Polly’s shoulders, unlike the gown in Patterns of Fashion, I think the back will be taking a lot of tension. For this reason, I worry about a back opening being secure enough. If you look closely at the dip in the front of her dress, it seems possible the neckline comes to a point, and could be a wrap bodice in the style of an open gown. I found a 1797 pattern for an open gown in Nora Waugh’s The Cut of Women’s Clothes 1600-1930:

I tried it out and i think i can work with that shape. Here is my mock-up following the pattern exactly:

It needs to be sized up a little, and the front isn’t nearly full enough.

Also, it still wasn’t clear to me how the front opened – was it open all the way down the front? The sketch seemed to suggest an petticoat showing.

With lots of new questions, I headed out to my primary research appointments at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History and the Valentine Richmond History Center.

 

Go to next post: ‘Primary Research…”

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Published in: on June 16, 2011 at 5:37 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. thank you for putting up the pattern. that helped me understand better that the picture. very nice. good work. i like your attention to detail

  2. This was really interesting. I’ve made a start on a ’round gown’ with a crossover front (draped it from scratch then a lot of guessing/trial and error). So seeing your reserch and mock ups is helping me.
    I’m going to make an open robe to go over the top.
    My neckline has ended up closer to your mock up level. I’m wondering if I should add a frill….

    • Glad to be of help! If you decide not to add a frill, you can always use a fischu. That way you have options!

  3. it would be really helpful if you could make a video tutorial on how to make this gown. for dyslexic people like myself.


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