Wednesday, October 1, 2014

What year is it?

In preparation for making my purple plaid dress I've been trying to find pattern reviews and such on the internet by people who have used the same pattern I'm using, Butterick B5832.

I haven't found much, except for a lot of people saying the pattern isn't historically accurate because it doesn't exactly match any fashion plates from one particular year. Apparently the dress can't be from the late 1830s because all the fashion plates from those years had very full lower sleeves, like this,

 where as the lower sleeves in the pattern are very slim fitting. This concerned me as I really wanted this dress to look historically accurate. I began to wonder if I should change the sleeves! So I starting looking at photos of actual dresses of the time, here are a couple I found
The sleeves on this dress are very similar to the ones on the pattern!
Those lower sleeves look pretty slim fitting to me!

Due to the slim fitting lower sleeves in some ways the dress seemed more similar to dresses from the early 1840s, than the late 1830s, except for one thing, all the fashion plates from the 40s showed a bodice that ending in a point at the waist, like this
While the fashion plains may have shown pointed waistlines for the era, it seems some people stuck with straight waistlines, for a little while at least, into the 1840s. 
Neither of these waistlines appear pointed to me!

The pleating on the bodice of the dress I'm making is asymmetrical, another unusual detail, but once again a historically accurate detail as shown in this original dress from c. 1838.

So no the dress I'm making isn't directly patterned after a fashion plate, but it is patterned after actual historical dresses of the time, which I believe is a much better indicator of what people actually wore. From looking at the actual dresses I figure my dress could have been worn any time between 1837 and 1842, but it is most similar to dresses between 1839 and 1841. 
One thing I will attempt to change on my pattern is where the sleeves sit. Through out most of the Victorian era the sleeves began off the shoulder, rather than right on the shoulder as they do now, so in an effort to make my dress as historically accurate as possible I will try to make my sleeves sit a little lower. Now, on to actually working on this dress rather than just talking about it!!!

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