I hadn't really intended to make a new gown this spring.
But then I got some sort of Congested Sinus Yak that lasted forever and a half, and the only thing I wanted to to do was sit on the couch and sew. So I sewed. And sewed and sewed and made a gown and two stomachers and a petticoat.
I had been wanting to try the Larkin and Smith pattern--I'll write a full post later about using the pattern and the sewing techniques used and how it's REALLY FUN I PROMISE, because I definitely want to make another one of these. For now, I'm struck by how awesome this gown is at playing high-low.
I used a cotton print, which is a nicer fabric for 18th century, but if you spend some time playing in 18th century images and runaway ads (and if you want to, Don Hagist's excellent Wives, Slaves, and Servant Girls is now available), you find that cotton prints do show up among poorer people, too. Second hand clothing plays a part in this, as does the fact that people were not either magnificently wealthy or rolling in mud in the period--people with lesser means could still afford some niceties.
Still, seeing the striking difference that a different set of accessories makes--it's pretty nifty.
Dressed down, the gown with a plain linen petticoat, a checked apron, a very battered straw hat, and with the tails rucked up out of the way (retrousse, as it were, dans les poches). No jewelry, no extras. (Adorable tiny human not included in ensemble, sold separately.)
And, for a full 180, with matching petticoat, silk-covered hat, paste jewelry, and an organdy kerchief. (Dashing officer not included in ensemble, sold separately.) For what it's worth, the cap is the same in both images.
I wasn't sure if it would work, honestly, to pull it off both ways, but I really enjoyed how I was able to play quick-swap and have not only two different outfits, but really, two different personas for the weekend.
As a just for fun, I also made a plain stomacher, which takes the look even more firmly into the "I'm here to work" category. (More on that plain stomacher another time!)
Long story short--this has been a great addition to my 18th century wardrobe on many levels. Happy squeaks.