Project 12: Sewing - 18th Century Girl's Gown

At last! I finally finished the project for March - an 18th century girl's gown for my 5 year old daughter. The dress itself wasn't too difficult to sew. I just kept getting distractions - namely the novel I'm working on! That's been sucking away a lot of time and it's hard to focus on more than one major project at a time.

I have to say I'm very pleased with how this dress turned out! The fit on her is just right and I'm so glad I nailed the length! Whew! I'd say the hardest part of the dress was that front point. I had to tack the bodice down to the skirt with the pleats put in already. I've done this before when it was a straight line for my 1860s dresses, but never a point! Man, it was tedious! I was paranoid about not getting the bodice to lay down flat - that it would bunch up or something. I went really slow and pinned everything down extra well, even fitting it on her and pinning just to make sure.

The only weird thing I might need to fix is the back. I only had velvet ribbons to tie the back, so some linen tape is on my list of things to buy at the Market Fair. I'll need to add another tie to the very bottom so the big gap in the back doesn't show.

Now all she needs is a cap and a petticoat and she'll be set! :-)

My little girl loves her dress and that's always a relief! I really loved this linen the first time I found it. It has a beautiful color - like a natural green dyed linen, and the feel is lovely and finer than most linens you can find at JoAnn Fabrics. I had been saving it for a dress for me, and I might have enough left, but I think it worked very well for my daughter's dress. The color is so good with her red hair too. And that makes me happy! Sometimes it's hard finding the right colors for red-heads (trust me - I have 3 red-heads to buy clothes for!).

For April's project I need to make my 8 year old son's shirt and fall front breeches. I've got all the fabric. I just need to bust out the patterns and get to work. I only have a week left!! My only sadness is that I don't think I have a waistcoat pattern for him yet, so strictly speaking he'll be running around undressed! Aack! :-)

Here are some more pictures of the dress modeled by my cutie pie!
Back with ladder bows.
The pattern suggested this as a closure - just so you know I didn't make it up! 
I never would have thought to do it this way, but I like it!
I think it will look better with a green or dark brown linen tape, though.

Close up of the front of the dress. You can see her shift showing, which is good.
She'll need the sun protection!
Haha! I love her expression!

Side view

An appropriately serious expression for an
18th century girl posing for her portrait!
I love her little shoe peeking out. :-)

March's Project
Clothing: 18th century girl's gown
Pattern: Mill Farm Patterns (purchased from Burnley & Trowbridge)
Fabric: 100% linen, cotton thread, velvet ribbons (soon to be replaced with linen tape)

P.S. It's my dream to dye my own fabrics, ribbons, and tapes. Even to get a tape loom and weave my own tape! It just sounds like so much fun! For me, it's kind of like the 18th century version of that rubber band magic loom trend that's waning right now. Haha!


  1. You did such a great job! The dress is beautiful and suits her perfectly! I love seeing her wee shoe peeking out as well.


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