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Thursday, May 25, 2017

My Sister's Much Worn Pink Plaid 1890's Dress

Last August I was in the middle of planning my 1890's dress. I was re-watching Tales of Avonlea for some costuming inspiration, and my sister's birthday was coming up. Due to this combination of things, I really wanted to make my sister an 1890's dress. So, I paid special attention to the tween girls' dresses in Tales of Avonlea and started browsing Pinterest for 12 year old girls' dresses from the 1890's.

1890's silk girls'  dress, Philadelphia Museum of Art
As I looked at dress after dress I began to see that while the materials and trimmings of the dresses varied from cotton, to wool, to silk, most of the dresses were very similar in cut. More gathers toward the back of the skirt, full sleeves, some pleating or gathering on the bodice, maybe a bodice yoke, and typically a high collar.

1890's girl's dress, Wisconsin History Museum
So, I pulled a few patterns out of my stash, mixed them together and adapted them until I had what I wanted, then I went fabric shopping in my stash.


 In my stash I found yards upon yards of pink plaid homespun that I'd picked up at a thrift store once upon a time. Perfect. I sat down one weekend and turned that pink plaid into a lacy, ruffled, 1890's dress for my little sister.


She unwrapped it on her 12th birthday about a week later and was thrilled! She immediately ran to change into it before cake and ice cream! 


Then a week later she wore it for her American Girl Tea Party themed birthday party, where she received a bunch of fun hats as gifts. . .



. . . made flower crowns with her friends. . .


. . . and led her friends in the fun activity of bottle-feeding baby goats and gathering chicken eggs. (what else would you do at a tea party?)

And that was not the last of the activities this dress saw. In September my sister, mom, and I dressed up (all in different eras) to go to the "Walk Back in Time" Festival.


I took this opportunity to wear my fan-front 1840's dress, my mom wore a "prairie dress" she'd made when my sister was a baby (How can that really be over 12 years ago now?), and my sister donned on her birthday dress and the bonnet we'd made her the year before.


Then in November my sister auditioned for the Church Christmas play, set in the 1890's, got a roll, and was delighted to tell the director that she already had a costume! Only one issue, she was playing the part of an old woman and her dress was clearly a girl's dress. 


This was fact was most evident by the short length of the dress. So, since my sister really wanted to wear this dress, I just added an extra ruffle to the hem, making this tea length dress ankle length. 


She looked pretty grown up in it, especially when the gray hairspray was added to complete the outfit.


Thankfully, the gray hairspray wasn't permanent.

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Though I think the dress will keep its new longer length, as my sister was pretty darned pleased with it.


Personally, I love how this dress turned out, both in the original length and with the extra ruffle.


I'm incredibly pleased with all the opportunities my sister has had to wear it.


It's just been a lot of fun for my little sister and I to have dresses from the same era! I'm so glad I've got a sister who enjoys dressing up in historical clothing as much as I do!
















   

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