In May, I made an 18th century round gown to wear to Colonial Williamsburg. I’ll post photos later from the trip (assuming I ever catch up on photo processing), but I wanted to post a couple of quick photos of the dress.
A lot of people in the historical costuming community have made dresses using duvet covers and curtains from IKEA. I needed a breathable fabric for the heat of Williamsburg and I didn’t want to spend a ton of money on fabric, so an IKEA duvet cover was a perfect choice.
I decided to dye the fabric because I don’t really like white. I washed my fabric to pre-shrink and wash out any sizing. The next step should have been to dye the fabric before cutting, but I didn’t have a pot big enough to dye an entire duvet cover. I decided to cut all my pieces out first and serge the edges to prevent any fraying. It was a tight squeeze but I was able to make the entire dress out of one king sized Stenört duvet cover. I did have to use the pillow covers too… those became my sleeves. =D
I didn’t have a pattern for a round gown, but a round gown is just an open robe dress with a front panel added to the skirt. I used a modified J.P. Ryan Robe l’Anglaise pattern. I found Koshka the Cat’s post about how to put on a round gown super helpful in figuring out construction.
I constructed the dress like a standard robe l’anglaise, then I sewed on the front panel, leaving a 10 inch opening at the sides. Because I was worried about the heat in Williamsburg, I tried to keep the dress as light as possible and skipped putting in a lining. I finished the neckline using a facing instead. So yeah, don’t look at the insides of this dress for anything remotely resembling historical accuracy. (Please also note my very non-historically-accurate hook and bar closures.) =D
When putting on a round gown, you tie on the front first, and then close the bodice over that. I made my ties long enough to wrap them back around to the front, because it’s a lot easier to tie in front versus the back.
Random aside: that bone in the center front is really jarring because of how visible it is. I’m going to have to remove it…
I feel compelled to show the back because it took me 8 tries to get the pleating right because I can’t do math. =D
And if you want to see more photos of the dress in Williamsburg, they’re on the costume page.