Sunday, May 8, 2011

1840s Fan Front

I just completed this project to attend a Gold Rush living history event this weekend where I gave a presentation on material culture and foodways of the California miner in the 1840s and 1850s.  Here's the inspiration images:
Wool Dress and Pelerine, August Auctions.

Left side dress, source:

Pelerine front
Pelerine back
Without the pelerine
Full view

Detail view of fabric and fan front gathering
I used the Truly Victorian 454 German Day Dress Pattern with the fan front variation.  The fabric is a reproduction cotton print from Windham Fabrics that I bought at Mill Ends in Reno, Nevada.  I cut the neck wider (which was a pain and I'm not 100% satisfied with it yet) and I drafted the pelerine myself.  The pelerine edges are bound with self-fabric bias strips, like the wool dress above, and lined with white polished cotton.  I also took in the sleeves a good two inches from the TV 454 pattern and also brought up the armscyes, since I thought they dropped too much.  There are three bones at the bodice front and two the side seams.  Overall I'm fairly pleased with my new dress and received some very nice comments.  One little girl wanted to come over to "meet the princess," which I thought was a crack-up!


  1. Two words for this; *SWEET* and *ADORABLE*! Very nice job!!
    ~ Samantha Jane

  2. Most beautiful - and the fabric is amazing. Very well done!

  3. De-lurking to say that your dress looks fabulous!! I really love the fabric you chose for it as well -- it's perfect.

    My dream is to someday make the amazing dress that Ms. Emily Dickinson is wearing in her famous portrait:

    Your fan-front with smocking is quite an inspiration! :)

  4. How lovely! I have that pattern (it was a gift), but I wasn't sure what it would look like finished. I love your version.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.