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Full size paper patterns for 1670s-1690s Bodiced Gown based on extant English examples. Trained and non-trained versions included. Fits busts 30½"-48" and waists 23"-41". All sizes included in one envelope. Embellishment suggestions included.
silk satin, taffeta, or tissue
lightweight silk or fine linen for lining
5oz. linen for interlining
Bodice 1 yd at least 45" wide
lining 1 yd at least 45" wide
interlining 2 yds at least 45" wide
sleeves 1 yd at least 45" wide
Skirts (no train) 3 yds at least 60" wide
lining (optional) 3 yds at least 60" wide
Skirts (trained) 4 yds at least 60" wide
lining (optional) 4 yds at least 60" wide
7mm or ¼" half oval or round reeds or ¼" corset boning
silk ribbon, cloth tape or leather for binding
wood or horn busk
ribbon or metalic braid trim to taste
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Below is an excerpt from the historical notes you will receive as part of this pattern:
The Bodiced Gown
By the middle of the 17th century, the high-waisted silhouette of the previous decades had had its day and was passing out of fashion. Waistlines were returning to natural levels and the shape of gowns was changing to accommodate them. By the 1660s, an exaggeratedly narrow and pointed bodice blossomed into pleated skirts over the hips. This was achieved by lengthening the front and back pieces of the bodice and further stiffening those areas. Side seams angled towards the front and back center points served to shape the body further into the ideal slender shape. This severe redistribution of the natural form required strong support and gown bodices were heavily boned to accomplish this end. As a result, no stays were required under this stiffly-bodiced gown.
An ivory satin bodice dating to the 1660s housed in Claydon House in the UK, and an almost identical specimen in silver tissue in the Museum of Costume, Bath, demonstrate the early evolution of the Bodiced Gown. Their center fronts are nearly 18” long even though the front necklines are low and off the shoulder. This places the bottom of the busk far below what we would consider comfortable. The center fronts carry a wooden busk in a special pocket and the bodices are boned all around at ¼” intervals. Both bodices carry similar designs of lace or pinked silk decoration. The designs follow the center front and center back seams and branch out in a curved Y-shape front and back, meeting presumably in the armscye. Vertical decoration adorns the sleeves. The sleeves are shorter than elbow length. By the 1670s, the sleeves will become little more than epaulettes and the wide, beribboned shift sleeves will supply the interest on the arms.Both bodices close at center back with lacing.
Thread bars on the waist tabs of the Claydon House bodice are thought to be for attachment of the skirts. Although the bodice and skirts are always worn together, the skirts are a separate piece and the two are not sewn together permanently. They hook over the tabs in back but under the front busk point. The Bath gown is sewn closed in front, but many gowns of this period were split and showed under petticotes. The Bath gown’s skirts carry the bodice decoration onto the front of the skirts in four vertical stripes center front that run horizontally along the hemline and meet in back. The Claydon House bodice does not have a skirt extant.
In the 1680s, not only are the sleeves miniscule, but the skirts of the gown are drawn back with brooches or ribbons, making a showpiece of the front of the petticote. This encouraged the elaborate decoration of the petticotes. First, brocades were highly prized, as demonstrated by the illustration (at right) after S.D. de St. Jean of Madame la Dauphine from 1670. Her trained petticote is a beautiful all-over brocade. In the 1680s hardly any of the gown skirts are visible from the front as we can see in the illustration (at left) of The Courtesan and Her Black Boy from Marcus Laroon’s Cryes of London in the collection of the Duke of Marlborough. Her petticote is not trained to match her gown skirts. It appears to have an even hem all the way around. The hem is decorated with a 2” wide fringe. Above the hem a 12-18” wide embroidered band decorates the petticote. Other pictures from the time period show petticotes striped both vertically and horizontally with embroidery, brocade strips, and even wide applied lace.
With the weight of the gown skirts concentrated towards the back, the balance of the garment is thrown off. However, women in the 1680s had a unique solution to this problem. They draped their skirts backwards and caught them on a belt or chain hanging from their waist in back. This arrangement kept the heavy skirts from swinging forward and getting in the way of the wearer’s feet. And the drapery this produced was rather pleasing to the eye.
The Bodiced Gown was typically worn with a shift with elbow-length sleeves (the pattern for which will be included in RH713, 1670s-1720s Accessories, coming in summer 2006). The neckline of this shift was often edged with a wide lace border that was turned down over the top of the bodice, as seen in the illustrations in these historical notes as well as on the front cover of this pattern. The sleeves of the shift were seen, and were highly decorated with lace and bands of ribbon.
Arnold, Janet. Patterns of Fashion 1: Englishwomen’s Dresses and Their Construction c1660-1860. 1964: Macmillian Publishers Ltd., London.
Cunnington, C. Willett and Phillis. Handbook of English Costume in the Seventeenth Century. 1972: Plays, Boston.
Leloir, Maurice. Histoire du Costume. On: http://www.costumes.org
Payne, Blanche. History of Costume. 1965: Harper Collins, New York.
Shesgreen, Sean. The Criers and Hawkers of London. 1990: Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA.
Waugh, Norah. Corsets and Crinolines. 1954: Routledge, New York.
Waugh, Norah. Cut of Women’s Clothes 1600-1930. 1964: Routledge, New York.
For more, purchase this pattern.
This information © 2006 Kass McGann and Reconstructing History