Sunday, February 24, 2008

1795-1800 Crossover Dress

It is good to finish a dress, well in advance of it being truly needed. Although I am sure I will wear this before the next dance I am glad I won’t have to be spending the evening prior to it hastily sewing up hems, attaching hooks and making trim!

I am pleased with the finished dress although it is not exactly the same as I originally intended. It was supposed to be a copy of the half-robe in Patterns of Fashion 1, but I ended up making a few changes along the way besides just lengthening it, as I described in my previous post.

The first change I made was the shape of the bodice pieces. I didn’t feel like scaling up the pattern and then adjusting it to fit me. Rather I used the ‘eyeball’ method and drew out the pattern shapes based on my measurements and the appearance of the shapes in the book.

Although this worked very well for me I noticed half-way through making it that the side back pieces are too narrow at the bottom and the back pieces are too wide. It’s not a huge deal to me, but it’s a difference from the original pattern.

Another change I made was making tucks in the bodice pieces to fit my “waist” (below the bust) since if I did not do this the waist would be very loose. I also made the front skirt pieces a little wider so I could ease them onto the bodice, giving me a little fullness in front in case I ever am pregnant again and wish to wear this during that time.

I also did not follow the pleating diagram on the original pattern but used the eyeball method again. It’s what I do for my Civil War style dresses and it usually works out well for me.

As far as the actual construction of the dress, you can see my comprehensive picture-illustrated journey HERE (see titles and descriptions) I wasn't sure how to put it together in a period-correct way but this was the only way I could figure out how to sew it. Since I wasn’t sure how to put it together correctly I felt it was no big deal if I machine sewed most of it. Finishing work was done by hand but 75% of the dress was sewn on the machine. I did, however, use cotton thread. No shiny synthetics!

I also deviated from the original in my choice of trim. I found instead a picture of an original crossover dress that had a self-fabric ruffle at the neckline for trim so I took my inspiration from that. The trained skirt on my dress came from the illustration of the gown worn under the half-robe in Patterns of Fashion 1.

In these pictures I am wearing the dress over my regency style chemise, which is based upon the chemise instructions at Across the Ages, and my short stays. I plan on making a petticoat soon for another dress in the works but in these pictures I am not wearing one. I don’t really see a need to, at least right now.

I also had to make a neckerchief since the neckline was a little too low to suit my tastes. It is a square of sheer silk, folded in half and tucked into the neckline.

My new regency reticule goes perfectly with this dress! Now I just need to make a spencer and a new bonnet and I’ll be set for springtime!

Here are a few picture of the dress that David helped me take earlier today. He was not very happy about taking them but did oblige me; so here they are.

Off to bed. I’m tired.


  1. Your sewing is amazing. I worked at a historical village years ago and we could've used your talents. I was a living historical guide, weaver and potter. It was the best job ever (just didn't pay well enough) and now the village (Waterloo Village in Stanhope, NJ) has been shut down. It breaks my heart to even think of it. Should it change hands and reopen, I'll be sure to mention your shop!

  2. Thank you! Your ex-job (is that a term? LOL) sounds wonderful. I did something similar as a costumer/interpreter/guide a historical courthouse where Lincoln used to practice law here in IL. It's too bad the village was shut down. I used to live in CT and didn't get to see many of the historical places there when I did live out east. It's sad some of them are going away.

  3. How much material did you use for this dress?
    I have 2 metres of fabric I could use.

  4. I had a go at trying to use this pattern. Yours sits how I want mine to go...but mine doesn't.
    Mine ended up with no shape in the crossover and my shoulders stick out (this is before I've added sleeves). And I couldn't figure out how to close the 'lining' bit in the middle.

  5. I have been searching for some pictures of a crossover regency-ish dress, and I didnt even think of the Patterns of Fashion one... how silly of me!
    I also especially like the frill on the neckline, so I think I will have to give this a go!

  6. I have been looking for a crossover regency-ish dress for a while and I never even thought to look in Patterns Of Fashion.
    I love the frill around the neck too! This will be my next dress to try!


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!