Mittwoch, 8. März 2017

18th century dress: the undergarments (Part 4)

As I'd like to avoid making this an endless series of blog posts about this project, this post will be about all the undergarments belonging to this dress.

A common 18th century outfit would consist of (in hierarchical order):

1. a shift
2. my 1780s stays
3. pockets
4. a bumpad
5. an underskirt

1. the shift

Shifts were worn under the stays as they wore much easier to wash and maintain than stays. Shifts are loose-fitted and the pattern for those really just consists of rectangles and side gores. My main source of help and inspiration was taken from


 A small laceband was attached to the neckline to give it a nice finished look.
Small underarm gores were inserted under the sleeve. Every piece was sewn together with a French Seam.
The hem was neatly sewn down with
a catch stitch.

2. my 1780s stays

3. the pockets

4. the bumpad

So a bumpad was something you would tie around your waist to get a bit more volume on you sides and the back. I did the pattern myself by measuring the half of my waist and adding a few centimeters. At the end I added ruffles to make the dress lay out more smoothly, even though I don't think this would make much of a difference.
The bumpad was stuffed with old white fabric scraps, that I would cut to small pieces, which worked just fine.

5. the underskirt

So for this skirt I used the fabric I had originally bought for my Chemise à la Reine dress, which is a nice, rather loosely-woven cotton fabric. Underskirts at that time would consist of two large rectangles sewn together at the sides, leaving the seams open at the top for about 30cm. This would allow the person to grab into the pockets (that were laying underneath. Each rectangle would be pleated and sewn to one waistband. 
I made the back rectangle a bit larger in width, as I need more volume in the back of my skirt. As a result, the pleating is much narrower than in the front.
I hope the photos make it a bit clearer.

Technically, this underskirt would by perfect for wearing it under my polonaise dress, which is obviously a gown with an open front skirt.  Still the fabric, that I used for this gown came together with a nice white/beige-coloured fabric that I'd like to use for the visible underskirt (which I haven't made yet). So this skirt is simlpy to give the dress more volume and to serve as a an opaque material, as the other fabric is a bit transparent.

So that's everything, that completes my polonaise dress. Of course I forgot mentioning the pair of thighs, that women would wear underneath all of this, but I won't make these by myself as I'm a bit to lazy for that :)

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