This pattern was pulled, with permission, from an extant garment in the Christen Collection in Detroit, Michigan. The gown has no known provenance. It is a day dress and dates to circa 1858-1864. Pictured below is the dress fabric, a brown cross-barred cotton muslin with either a resist, a discharge, or a white pigment design of a mixed floral wreath, perhaps daisies and roses, with ivy leaves and tendrils.
The pattern package contains Background Notes that describe sheer dresses, when they were worn and by whom, and the variety of linings used in sheer gowns. Sheer dress fabrics popular in the mid-nineteenth century are also described, with photographs and illustrations from Godey's and Peterson's magazines. Hook and eye tape, which was used to fasten the original bodice, is documented by patent records and advertising. Also included are the use of a "let-out" seam, a modern method of altering a pattern by increasing the bust, as well as instructions to fit the lining in a period manner using scrap fabric. In addition is a section on making and using a sewing brick, recommended by Miss Leslie's Lady's House-Book; a Manual of Domestic Economy (1855): "All manuta-makers and seamstresses should be provided with a brick pincushion. They can be made at a very trifling cost: and, with renewed coverings, will last twenty years or more" (385-6). All the sewing instructions are fully illustrated in great detail.
Order this pattern in multi-sizes 8-26 with a B, C & D cup.
To make the dress with the original skirt panel widths using 45" wide fabric, purchase: 9-3/4 yds. for sizes 8-14, 10 yds. for sizes 16-20, and 10-5/8 yds. for sizes 22-26.