Gown and Petticoat in a Week: Or How I Almost Died.

So, as you know my cry for help came a couple days ago. Let's just say...things were getting rough. (Special Thank you to Cherry for volunteering to help me, I'm sorry I never emailed you back, it was just way too hectic!) Luckily, I survived. And tomorrow I'm back to Sapphire's gown.

This weekend (it ends today) was "Under the Redcoat" at Colonial Williamsburg. It's a mass re-enaction of when the British took over Williamsburg during the Revolutionary War. Lots of people come and dress up.

It's fun. Especially Saturday night, but that's a different story. This is about how my new stays changed my shape so much that nothing fits me anymore and the only thing that probably would fit me is more 1791 instead of 1781. Obviously, that's an issue.

So, not to be left out of the fun, I decided to make myself a gown.

In a week.

Do you know how long it takes to hem a 240" petticoat flounce on 2 sides?

A. Long. Freakin'. Time.

Long time.

Sarah, the apprentice Milliner/Mantua maker, did my draping and I did the jankiest sewing of all time. She also was sweet enough help me sew one evening while we watched House of Elliot and ate pizza.  My friend Katie who came down from DC to surprise indentured servitude and sewed the hem to the gown. I need to point that out to you, because if I don't. She'll hate me.

But it came together at 12:30 yesterday afternoon. I didn't have time to trim the gown properly as I would like, but I did put my necktucker and elbow ruffles in to make it fancier and prettier.

Overall I'm happy with it and the fit, there were some stupid mistakes and things I needed to fix, but I was pulling 17+ hour sewing days (I sew at work all day) and I have a cold, so it was just a miracle that I didn't actually keel over.

The fabric is a changable silk taffeta for the gown and a silk satin organza for the petticoat. Everything is hand sewn. And all fabrics (minus the hat) come from Burnley and Trowbridge.

I am their walking advertisement.

The gown is an English gown with a fitted back with center front closing. The skirts have been tied up in the back and I have a bum roll underneath to help hold out the fabric. The hat is not mine, I borrowed it from the Margaret Hunter Millinery Shop. I'm sorry I don't have more pictures. I was totally spaced, and as a CW employee and not a re-enactor (even though I was on my own time in my own clothes) I didn't walk around taking pictures, etc. There are rules about that sort of thing. If more photos of me and the girls pop up from our afternoon walk, I'll link them up.

Finally, if you want to check out more photos of the Silk Saturday Walk go to the Marget Hunter Millinery Facebook Page. Sarah has been awesome and has already posted photos! 

Alright...that's it for now...I'm going to go back to eating ice cream and watching movies in my pjs. Apologies for the choppy blog post. That's kind of how things are working for me at the moment....


  1. Lovely! The great thing is--you can trim more elaborately later, and then have a second debut!

    And...as a reenactor...I loathe how beautifully dressed people will whip out a camera during public hours and start snapping. It's not the sort of thing one can really *say* anything about, but I can kvetch to you, right?

  2. Very pretty! I love the soft green color of the silk. I haven't done re-enactment in a long time, but I agree in a public, place where we are trying to get folks to let go of the future and get an infusion of the past it is very disengaging when costumed folk whip out cameras. Yet, there have been events that I have gone to and my friends or family will go, 'so where are the pictures?' Oops. Anyway, very lovely gown!

  3. Really beautiful for a one week project! I love the tucker, something I've not tried and would like to see closer or how it's done.

  4. You did a great job, and you look fantastic! We hope to be there next year with our regiment...
    You must have had a great time!


  5. Ooo crikey it's lovely. If I sewed something that quickly it would look like a hessian sack!


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