Wednesday, August 30, 2023

My Crazy Paisley 1830’s Pelerine

 1830’s day dresses were often (mostly actually?) worn with little capes. These were called pelerines. 

They could be made of lace, or white work embroidery, or out of the same fabric as the dress.

This last option seemed to be the preference for cotton day dresses, like the one I made.

1832-35 Cotton Dress. Met Museum 2009.300.948a–c

The Met Museum dress that inspired my 1830’s dress had just such a matching pelerine, but I didn’t love the style of it. I wanted (needed?) a pelerine to go with my dress, but I didn’t want to replicate that one particularly. Instead I started looking at other cotton dresses and pelerines on Pinterest to find one I did want to replicate.

I fell in love with this one (from the Tasha Tudor Collection). I particularly liked the scalloped petal design over the shoulders. It was fun and interesting - and would be quite straightforward for recreate!

I started by drafting a fairly basic pelerine from a diagram in the Workwomen’s Guide.

Then I traced my pattern onto some linen, which I would be lining my pelerine with, and free hand drew the scallops. 

I used a Frixon pen, which could be ironed off later, and tweaked the scallops until I was pleased with them. Then I cut out the lining and used that as my pattern to cut the pelerine out of my orange paisley cotton.

I made a bunch of piping for the edges, and then machine sewed the pelerine, bag lining style. (Sewn right sides together around the edges, then flipped right side out.)

I finished the neckline with a bit of matching bias binding, and added a hook and eye for closure.

And with that it was done - a very quick project, even with drafting the pattern.

It adds just the right touch of authenticity to my dress.

And I love the piped scallops!

What the item is: 1830’s Pelerine

The Challenge: Neck and Shoulders - the pelerine covers the neck and shoulders and is worn over day dresses in the 1830’s

Material: Cotton paisley print, lined with linen

Pattern: The base pattern is from “The Workwoman’s Guide. I altered it to match the shape of an extant early 1830’s pelerine from the Tasha Tudor collection.

Year: 1832-1835

Notions: thread, hook and eye, cotton yarn for piping.

How historically accurate is it? The sewing techniques are mostly modern, it’s primary constructed by machine with just a bit of hand finishing. The shape, closure, linen lining, and printed cotton outer are all pretty good for the era, though the print isn’t absolutely perfect. It would be recognizable in the era for what it is. 50-60%

Hours to complete: 2-3, including patterning.

First worn: My sister’s birthday tea last August!

Total cost: The fabric was $3 a yard, and this took just over half a yard. I believe the linen was $6 a yard. The notions were all stash/ left over from previous projects. So $5-$10


  1. Fun shape! A matching pelerine feels so very 1830s. :)


  2. Beautiful work as always

  3. Absolutely gorgeous. The whole outfit looks so accurate and fitting. I love it!