Open robe and muslin gown

I’ve been slow in blogging about this outfit as I don’t have good photos, but I’ll go with what I have and maybe get to do better photos later!

The muslin dress was very loosely inspired by this Danish wedding dress. The pattern diagram provided by the museum has detailed pleats running from the back bodice to the front, and I’d love to do these sometime, but I didn’t have time on this occasion to draft and fit them without assistance. So, I adapted the Sense and Sensibility wrap-front dress, making the shoulder wider and gathering it instead of pleating it, and reshaping the front for a centre-front closure instead of a crossover. I cut the front skirt as one width of fabric and cut and narrowly hemmed a slit in the centre-front. The dress closes with a drawstinr channel in the front.

The fabric is the premium muslin from Spotlight – it is a lovely fabric, with a sheer even weave. It is very sheer – here it is, over my petticoat, stays etc. I decided, as a result of this photo, that I needed a sleeveless chemise! (Yes, I also need to tidy my work room . . .!)

Regency muslin gown - front view

As with the block-print round gown, I used two widths of fabric for the back skirt and tightly pleated the centre back – here are the pleats sewn in before the lining is turned over and stitched down. I put a (wonky) row of tacking (basting) i below the seam line to hold the pleats in place while the dress is being made.

Detail of back pleats

And here is a side-view of the dress, showing that full back (it’s not just my butt!)

Side view of muslin gown

Next up was making an open robe to go over the dress. By this stage, it was the day before I had to fly out . . .

In the ultimate of stash-busting, I used a poly(?) satin damask that I’ve had in my stash since buying it in New Zealand in about December 1980 – yes, you read that right. I had made a skirt from some of it but there were still metres of it on a roll I had carried through numerous house-moves over 35+ years.

I didn’t base the open robe on any particular image or pattern, but I think it still works reasonably well for the 1790s. I did bring the skirts around a little further at the front than many open robes; that was a persona stylistic choice to increase the slimming effect.

Once again, I adapted the S&S pattern pieces, because I know how they fit on me and could adapt them relatively quickly. I lined the bodice with fine cotton voile. The pewter brooch I used to close the robe is a Celtic one I bought in Wales in 1983 – not an accurate closure, but a reasonable hurried make-shift one!

I wore the outfit for the Georgian evening on the Friday night of JAFA – but unfortunately didn’t get many photos. This one was upstairs in the Albert Hall, where the lighting was very strange.

Open robe over muslin gown

I’m very happy with the outfit and am looking forward to wearing it again next year! (Or maybe for Jane Austen’s birthday picnic later this year….)


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3 Responses to Open robe and muslin gown

  1. Aylwen says:

    Bronwyn, can we have a photo together in our Danish-inspired gowns at JAFA this year? I will probably wear it on Saturday as I plan to wear mid-late Georgian on Friday.

    • Bron says:

      We can certainly try to arrange it! I might be wearing mine on Friday evening though – it will depend on what else I get made. I’m hoping to get my 1817 fashion plate Opera Gown made for the Saturday night. But I’m sure we can work something out!

    • Bron says:

      Aylwen, I’m going to be in Canberra from Feb 19th to 22nd – ie the week after next. I will have this outfit with me so maybe we can get together for some photographs sometime during those few days?

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