Sep 8, 2011

1780s Gowns

From June-August 2011, I travelled to the US, UK and Denmark to study historical costumes, teach dance workshops and to join dance activities where I could.

My first 18th century gown was discovered quite by accident in Historic Deerfield, MA in the US. I was so excited by this round gown because at first glance it looked like a gown and underskirt in the same fabric. Upon closer examination I saw it was a 1-piece dress.

In the UK I went immediately to Berrington Hall, where Althea Mackenzie showed me sections of the Snowshill Collection. In 2009 I was shown the regency collection, but this time I had requested to see the 1780-90s and 1830s.

One garment that I was very keen to see close up was a gown shown in Costume In Detail by Nancy Bradfield.

I have always loved the late 18th Century lines of this gown and its simple decoration. My gowns are worn for dancing and dance displays, so I am very interested in ornamented silk gowns.

The same gown is shown and patterned in Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion I, except the petticoat has a flounce around the hem.

I was able to view this gown close-up and took many photos, except that I do not have permission to publish them in the public domain, sorry.

I saw a picture of a gown today that had a design very similar to some silk fabric I have from Duran Texiles, and that I plan to use for my version of the Snowshill gown at our 1780s Costume Weekend in Canberra on the 1-3 October 2011.

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