Monday, July 23, 2012

An 1840 Fondue.....
  No. Not the eating variety. Everyone so enjoyed Mary's bottle green silk gown I posted earlier, I thought that I would share this one with you too~ as early prints are my absolute favorites....and of coarse, my favorite colors are blue and brown, so this c1840 fan front printed cotton dress is very dear to my heart and I know you will enjoy it as well.

 The fan front was a cunning use of optics that the dressmakers utilized to make our waists look smaller~ the close tight gathers at the base of the fan, elongate the torso and draw ones eye downward, taking the focus off the horizontal width of the waist and placing it at the center where the gathers are.

  As you can see from the side, the waist is actually quite broad, nearly in line with the width of the shoulders.
 Wonderful piping is another detail of early handwork that I, personally, dont think a person could ever over~do.  I love piping.  The waist is 'gauged', meaning tiny perfectly evenly spaced gathers, each stitched to the waistband with a single perfect little whip stitches.

 Narrow pagoda shape sleeves, I would say 3/4 length~ white mull undersleeves would have been worn underneath to cover the arm to the wrist.

Back closure of hidden brass hook and eyes~ by hidden I mean set back from the edge about an inch, so when fastened, there is a flap of fabric that covers them keeping ones back nice and tidy and totally covered!

 Of coarse all is stitched by hand in weensie little stitches. I have a couple other childrens gowns in similar really vibrant Prussian blue ombre prints~ the period correct term for the shading of light to dark is fondue.  I love fondue...and this type has no calories ;)
 Inside the bodice is lined with a single center busk pocket. The skirting is unlined.

 The back is a little more vibrant than the front, but overall, there is not so much fading. These electric blues were all the rage in  1840s and early 1850s.

 The fondue prints were highly prized for their shaded colors, and offered quilt makers nearly an entire palette of colors to choose from in just one fabric~ by the way they cut the pieces, all different looks could be achieved. Many gowns like this one ended up cut up into pieces for patchwork and applique quilts, making actual surviving garments of fondue printed cottons somewhat uncommon

 Size? Well, as you can see, this is an even more extra special dress, as it is a mere 12" from shoulder to hem, sized for a very special dolly.  One has to wonder, if her Ladye Pet had one to match......


Sherri Farley said...

A quick check of the computer as I am off to work...what do I find but this lovely gem! I will think of fondue and anxiously await a closer sutdied look!

Robin's Egg Bleu said...

Well upon immediate gaze, I knew full well this was a doll's dress. An AMAZING doll's dress! Just absolutely perfect in every way. And that fabric is to die for. I can never find anything this dynamic in the repro room at my local quilting fabric store, and she has lots in stock. Just not this fabulous!

Sherri Farley said...

Rachel, I knew instantly that this was a dolly dress. It nearly took my breath away. I studied up on fondue at work today, (shame on me) what stunning fabric! I make little hand sewn mid 1800's cloth dolls and I am trying to sew as historically accurate as I can. As much as I love the primitive look, I know in my heart they were not all poorly sewn. Women took great pride in their sewing skills and making a dolly for a beloved child would have been done with great care. One question I have had on my mind is whether a doll bodice would be lined like an adults. Imagine my surprise at seeing this lovely dress with a lined bodice! Question answered. It is also very nice to see the term gauging used. When I started doll making the term cartridge pleating was totally unknown to me. I do have a couple questions. Was it common for the hems to be done with a running stitch that shows? How are the armcycles finished? I use flat felled seams or whip stitch the edges but, I am not sure how to treat the arm seams. Does the busk pocket still have something in it? Would it have been bone?
It is such a joy to come to your historical site. I have learned so much!!! I appreciate the extra photos you have posted and this dolly dress..... I will look at many times! Thanks so much.

Rachael Kinnison said...

I knew you all would enjoy seeing it~ thankyou so much for taking the time to leave me a note :)

To answer your questions Sherri, YES. ha. I could make an entire blogpost to answer them~ there was no computers....we are talking about a time when a job worth doing, was time well spent and worth doing well. Many girls actually learned clothing construction and stitching techniques by sewing clothes for their dollys~ both in schools and at the home. Whalebone is used for stiffening, and all seams, especially in this era, are piped~ even side seams of the skirts are sometimes piped~ as well as armcyes, neck edge, waist edge, sleeve cuffs & front/back openings. Hems were done with the typical hem stitch, NOT a running stitch. Sometimes it may seem like a running stitch, because they are so tiny and close together, but a good hem was never done with a simple running stitch. Seams were typically back stitched. Happy HAPPY stitching! xoxoxo rachael

Sherri Farley said...

Rachel, Thanks for your reply. Basically you are saying the same methods used for adult clothing would have been used in doll making. There are lots of on line museum photos etc of doll clothing but, virtually none of them show nor describe actual interior constructions techniques. Most of the techniques I use are correct, but it's nice to have confirmation.
Of course, I come here and learn all kinds of things! I am making a little dress right now that has piping. I will incorporate it more in the future. Your posts are much appreciated. Happy Sewing!

Sandra Evertson said...

Hello Dear!

Keep doing what you do!
It is so important to share your amazing knowledge and talent with the world!! It is SO very much appreciated!

Best Regards,
Sandra Evertson