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Short Gown late 18th/early 19th century

  • FL219
  • FL219 back
Calculated at checkout

Product Description

Widely worn throughout the United States, the short gown was easy to make and comfortable to wear. It was related to the English “bedgown” and French “manteau de lit” (literally, bed gown, though slightly different in construction), both loose, unfitted garments worn extensively by working-class women throughout the 18th century. The body of the short gown was made of a single piece of fabric extending from the front to the back over the shoulders, with a curve cut out under the arms, a slit up the front, and a neckline cut out in the middle. If, as usually occurred, the fabric’s width did not allow for much in the way of sleeves or flare over the hips, those were pieced in. The short gown could be held in place in the front with a pin, and at the waist with either a drawstring or simply by an apron tied over it.
The short gown was worn by women of nearly every class, from enslaved women and servants to rural and well-to-do women for everyday informal wear. Easily adjusted and front-fastening, the short gown was also ideal for pregnancy and breastfeeding, which took up a large part of many women’s lives. A turn of the century woodcut with a baby on the lap of a woman wearing a high-waisted, hip-length short gown implies this uses follow fashion: many extant examples are clearly from the turn of the 19th century with fashionable high waists.
Enclosed are two graded patterns: a plain high waisted short gown with a back facing and a lined, high-waisted short gown with long sleeves and collar.

Sizes 8 - 18 or 18 - 28

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