you may have noticed an item of wear recurring in mention multiple times: a basic red cotton daydress, which, when worn without hoops, can serve well enough as a camp or work dress.
- Type: Civil War style daydress
- Date made: Just before Memorial Day, 2013
- Pattern: Simplicity 4551, plus alterations. I actually ignored the gathered front, and just used the lining pattern for both the in and out, and thus made a darted bodice.
- Fabric/Materials: A red cotton calico print, just over 6 yards, 42" wide
- Trim: None
- Time to finish: About a week
They are white with a dark (black?) center. This color combination meant that I could wear "Red, White, and Blue" for the Memorial Day church choir concert, civil war-themed, that I was going to be dressing for.
I found out later that the fabric is fairly thin, and not exactly colorfast.
Here with the sleeves pinned on.
Unfortunately, I noted some fit issues when I put it on:
Note also that the neckline was too tight and was pushing on my neck. Also, the sleeve seams were dropped too much with respect to my shoulder line. And the sleeves were too wide on the lower arm.
his is a piece of fabric on the inside, where you can't see it, that makes the skirt hang more steadily and absorbs the brunt of my toes kicking the skirt. This means that the skirt itself takes less wear and will last longer.
I attached it while the skirt was still a flat rectangle.
The stitches are about 1 cm long (between 1/3 and 1/2 inch), and are made with two rows of double-stranded 100% cotton thread that has been waxed with beeswax.
Gauging, from the outside, after the bodice has been whipped onto the waistband.
Note that the gathering has formed perfect ripples of fabric.
You can see that the bodice comes down all the way to the gauging, and that the bodice waistband covers the separate skirt waistband. If you look really closely, you can even see the small whip-stitches holding the "pleats" of the gauging, and the small tacking stitches in the waistband, holding the skirt to the bodice!
...Aaaand from the inside. Note that those perfect ripples of fabric kind of just hang there. The bottom edge of the waistband is whip-stitched to the "valley" of every "pleat". The things that look like horizontal puckers in the waistband are actually a slightly darker red large thread stitch, holding the bodice waistband (not visible) to the skirt waistband.This doesn't sound solid, but I promise, it is. Also, if you use short pieces of thread, and use a lot of them to go around the skirt, then if one section breaks, you don't have your whole skirt falling off, and it's easier to fix.
Note: You can see daylight between the pleats, which means that each gather was too wide and the pleats are too big. If I had made the gathering stitches smaller, then the pleats would be more numerous and closer together. I ended up flattening them all to one side and whipping them down to eliminate the gappage, though if I were to redo the dress, I would repleat with smallter gathers.
This is the assembled garment! It still needs closures, though.
The necktie. I borrowed the way of tying it from another reenactor - who got the method from Godey's Lady's Book.
Though I have heard that cutting the necktie on the bias means it will lie flatter, I cut this one on the straight - perpendicular to the grain. This had to do with fabric restrictions (and it is also due to the time restriction - I didn't have the time to piece a bias tie from smaller sections).
From the side you can really see how the back of the neck was pushing forward. The tie is basted on, but will eventually need a white collar to be under.
And on Memorial Day! The dress was a hit.
LINK: Hale farm in August. Different neckwear! And you can see that I'm still pinning it shut.
LINK: Gettysburg again. By this time, I've added buttons, but am here wearing it with a Sontag (Bosom Friend) for warmth, so they don't show! Later in the day I added a wool cloak, and was actually wearing a sweater beneath, as well: it was quite cold, and very windy!
Here you can see the buttons and the collar. The collar is borrowed: collar and cuffs are on my list of "to do"s! The buttons are shell. This picture was taken at the LINK: ORMB this year.
Most sincerely yours,