HSM: Challenge 6 Out of your Comfort Zone


For this challenge I made a “muslin” round gown, this was my first go at a full pre 1900 ensemble. I made this look for an upcoming Bastille Day festival I am vending at. I will also be addressing the details of my hat in my Challenge 7 post. First Some inspiration and historical photos then I’ll get into the little details. You can view the Pinterest board for many more examples.

Art examples

Examples from Art


Extant Examples

When I first started thinking about this challenge I was going to make a Chemise a la Reine but I personally find them to be frumpy. I am rather short waisted and think the round gown’s more fitted bodice suits me better. Since I will be wearing this outfit and be working I decided to make it walking length. It will also be 90 degrees and humid in Florida at this time of year so a muslin gown is perfect.


Once I found the most perfect fabric ever I was set to go. The fabric came from a long closed tailor shop and I can’t even capture how fine the texture and feel is in photos. I am of course counting on the seller to be truthful, but this fabric truly unlike anything modern I have seen. I also did a burn test to determine fiber and I believe it is a cotton silk blend. The silk net is from a possibly Edwardian hat that was so moth ridden and shabby I removed all the trim. This is what I used for the cuffs. The petticoat is from modern 100% cotton broadcloth and the bumpad is made from a dissected pillow. For construction information I consulted many many round gown examples in the Met and V&A. I saw that many had hook and eye from closures in the front, I am not sure if the way the bodice attaches to the skirt in the back is accurate. Koshka the Cat’s blue linen gown helped a lot in showing how to wear and construct a round gown. I also looked at some of Janet Arnold’s diagrams for information on petticoats and dress construction. Demode Couture was hands down the best recourse I found on skirt supports that were not panniers. I decided to make a quilted bumpad like hers from Encyclopédie Méthodique, 1785. I will be following up this post with the details of getting dressed. Keep scrolling for more photos and the challenge details.

RoundGown9 RoundGown8 RoundGown6 RoundGown3 RoundGown1

The Details

What the item is (and why it was out of your comfort zone): A “Muslin” Round Gown, Belt, Petticoat, Bumpad
The Challenge: Out of your Comfort Zone
Fabric: The Gown; 8 yards antique cotton silk blend sheer fabric that came out of a closed down tailors shop, 1 yard cotton poly in navy blue for the belt, a length of pin tucked silk net that came off of an unsalvageable edwardian hat. The Petticoat; 100% cotton broad cloth. The Bumpad; an old pillow for the stuffing and covering.
Pattern: Self-drafted
Notions: Hook and eyes and zip ties for boning at center front and back.
How historically accurate is it? The look is pretty spot on and my visible seams are had stitched. However because this was such a daunting task I sewed the long seams by machine and the underpinnings by machine. I am also wearing my transitional stays circa 1795-1800 underneath instead of earlier stays and a modern slip instead of a chemise GASP. I would say about 75%
Hours to complete: Hmm I lost track sorry.
First worn: To take photos, but I am going to be waring it for a Bastille Day street festival that I am going to be vending at.
Total cost: $37

4 thoughts on “HSM: Challenge 6 Out of your Comfort Zone

  1. Jeannine July 2, 2015 / 2:32 pm

    The close ups of the sewing details are gorgeous photos.
    They should be framed. You really showed the fineness of the fabric as well. Thanks for sharing.


  2. erinandsophia July 6, 2015 / 8:02 pm

    Thank you so much! Yes I loved how the back turned out I am using those photos in my portfolio for sure.


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