A Pair of Printed 1790s Round Gowns: Doing it Properly this Time!

In which I take my pair of 1790s printed cotton round gowns, and this time, I finally do it right.

Tabubil turns towards the camera, holding up the hem of a printed cotton 1790s round gown

Once I knew what the hell I had been doing wrong with the bodice pattern for my 1790s round gown, drafting a proper bodice for my 1790s round gown was straightforward. I had it drafted, mocked up and tweaked in an hour.

(At which point all forward momentum stopped. I sagged with relief and collapsed on the sofa to spend an afternoon eating frozen fruit juice popsicles and watching the new Qantum Leap reboot. Frozen fruit juice and time travel TV: two of my favorite recreational substances.)

I had plenty of printed cotton left over, so I unpicked the skirts and sleeves from the old gowns, cut new bodices –

Sewed the bodices together, sewed the bodices to the sleeves and skirts – and by the time I got to Williamsburg last August, the only thing left to do on these printed 1790s round gowns was the hemming!

A very nice person marked the level where the front of my gown brushed my toe tips.

A woman is sitting on  a floor marking the hem of a green 1790s gown. The gown is held out by an extremely large bustle.

Okay – I also had to make a new bustle for the small of my back. On account of my swayback, my original bustle pad (the 1790s butt-bustle in the American Duchess Dressmaking book) was too small, and gets lost in in the hollow of the sway.

My first replacement was an over-correction (as per the photo above!) so I downsized a little – settling for a bustle about 50% larger than the AD one.

Hemming was lovely and straightforward.

I folded the entire gown in half along the center back seam. I pinned the bodice and waist to so that the waist seam was perfectly lined up all the way around the gown.

Tabubilgirl sits on the floor next to a spread out 1790s round gown

Then I smoothed and pinned the skirts, and when the entire skirt of the gown was perfectly symmetrical, I marked my hem.

Taking the level marked at center front by the nice person, I dropped down an inch to allow for a hem allowance. From here I drew a line straight across until it was below my underarm side-seam, and then I curved the line down to a center point that I was comfortable with – long enough to trail slightly across the floor without being enough of a train that I’d trip or step on it!

The hem of a green floral gown being cut with a pair of scissors

And then I cut my hem.

A 1790s round gown lies spread out on the floor

And sewed it up.

And you know what? It all worked. The skirt didn’t sag, the bodice didn’t pooch, the armscyes and sleeves did exactly what they were supposed to do –

Good heavens, is this what happens when your pattern actually FITS?

Tabubilgirl stands in a garden wearing a floral cotton 1790s round gown

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