A Gown – The Shortened Hot Mess
In 2016 I thought I had lost a gown. It is one of my early gowns. I had drafted the pattern myself. Although there was a lot wrong with the construction I was very fond of it. This image of me in it was the first time I had ever done laundry publicly. That brown linen gown had been with me through experiences. I was very upset that I had lost it.
A couple weeks after the event it was found. It had gotten stuck under the spare tire in a black bag in the trunk. Everything in the bag was moist. It looked like was going to have to be tossed. Stubbornly I decided to clean it up and cut all the remaining mildew out salvaging what I could.
Knowing better than to let my emotions get involved I put it to the side. I would decide at a later time what to do with it. It was the same gown I had previously modified the gown. It had added a second set of robings, cuffs and wider sleeves. In doing this I had made it more appropriate for some of my French and Indian War events. Time passed, the gown sat in my sewing chest. I pulled it out after a year.
Here is an image of me in the gown before the adjustments to it for F&I and before the recent issues. With the new modifications I changed the folds in the back to be more curved.
I began working on the gown last autumn, September 2017. Since my initial drafting of this gown in 2014, I had learned that there should be a strong curve on the back pleats. There were a lot of random things I tried to remember to adjust when I was doing this patch job. So much of the fabric is still unstable. I did not redo all of the seams. Some of the seams still have quick patch jobs I did at events. The cuffs were removed, and the sleeves taken in and patched extensively. The lower skirt had to be removed. Shortening a gown is an option that many people discuss could have been done in the period. I have found it in writing once, The Pennsylvania Gazette, 05 Oct 1758, Thu. This ad is pictured at the end of the article.
I have not had time to get pics of me in the remade gown. I gave it a test run in late September and found a lot I had to reinforce and stabilize. I wanted to post this project in Historically Sew Fortnightly (now monthly) for January 2018. I did not get the chance because I did not have any images of me in it completed yet and I was not feeling well.
My gown has been through the ringer. I used unbleached linen thread to patch it and sew up holes over the last several years. The hot mess far from being a beautiful garment with a wonderful example of my skills. I believe it is a good example of making what you have work.