A Round Gown and Some Deep Thoughts.

Having plans to meet some reenactor friends down in Colonial Williamsburg early December,  I had given myself a few weeks to make a 1780’s style round gown. For this project I used some red stained & printed linen I snagged from the Golden Scissors yard sale. I duplicated the method used to make my linen plain blue center-front closing gown this past summer, which is a mash-up between the Larkin & Smith English gown and the Fig Leaf 101 gown c. 1771-1785.

It took me a while to visualize how to take the earlier-era open front gowns and stick in a panel to make the skirts go all the way around. I assumed the ties from front to back would work like a standard petticoat, but there were some fitting issues. There *is* a blurb in the back of the Fig Leaf pattern about altering this aspect, but I still couldn’t quite wrap my mind around it.

Decorative star added to disguise nippleage.

So basically you need to make the front panel shorter. The front ties behind, I added ties to the bodice, which tie in front, and then the bodice covers all the ties. Add a huge fake bum (and sleeves, duh) and it’s ready to go!


Since this was a holiday-ish trip, I thought it would be nice to press gang bring my dear mother with me, since she’d never been to Colonial Williamsburg. While walking the dark and chilly streets back to our car (I saw a shooting star!), I remarked about the cycle I feel trapped in with regards to this hobby ~ I agree to an event or a trip. I decide nothing I own will do, and start obsessively researching and planning, spending money I shouldn’t and speed-sewing. Finally get to said event after spending an hour getting dressed and more hours driving. Inevitably at some point ask myself why the hell am I doing this? Either because I’m experiencing slight social anxiety, or pins are jabbing my boobs, or my reproduction shoes are hurting, etc. Spend about a week feeling totally worn out. A week later I’m eagerly looking forward to the next event/trip.

I think because tied up in this whole cycle is the selfishness and guilt that I feel. I feel guilty for being so drawn to a hobby that my husband and sons don’t relate to and the time I spend away from them. I feel selfish for the money and time I spend on sewing things for myself. I feel guilty for walking around interacting with the public in these clothes when I still know so little about 18th century history politics, life and material culture. I’m no historian, educator, student, bright thinker.

I’m not sure what the point of this is. Maybe it’s to inspire other people to just keep getting up and following a dream, even if it makes you uncomfortable or other people think it’s silly. To put yourself out there even though you’ll never be “ready”. To keep learning and self-critiquing and growing.

Lovely, frilly cap, wool neckerchief and apron graciously lent by a friend.



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