Historic Costuming, History, Just for Fun

From Winter…: 18th Century 2 for 1 Costume Special

This week and next week, I will be treating you all to some more of my 18th century costumes. Each post will feature a dress that can be worn two different ways, so they are literally 2 for 1 costumes. This week’s costume is a winter gown/jacket and skirt. I originally made this dress back when I was around twelve, but it has undergone quite a few changes since them. Although the two styles of the dress are technically made of a separate skirt and bodice, each style is meant to emulate the Robe a l’Anglaise (French for English Gown) style or Italian Gown. Historically, this gown style, which became popular in the 1770s, had a fitted bodice that was attached to an over skirt which would then be worn over a petticoat/under skirt. The back of the bodice would have a few seams as it was cut in separate sections and would usually end in a point at the center back.

This is one way my dress can be worn:

This version of the dress was loosely inspired by this one worn by the Princesse de Lamballe, a friend of Marie Antoinette:

I originally had it with long sleeves, but then I shortened them awhile ago. I also detached the skirt so that I can change the top.

This is the second way the dress can be worn, as a jacket and skirt with faux fur trim, ready for winter:

You may notice that the fabric looks different between the two styles. The fabric is a type of moleskin that is reversible. One side has more of a satin look and is darker in color and the other side has more of a soft, suede-like feel to it. The suede side I used for the winter style dress. I made the skirt reversible so that it can be turned inside out to wear with either top.

The back of the bodice is made from four sections and ends in a point to emulate the Italian Gown style.

While items of clothing, especially cloaks and coats, in the past were fully lined with fur for warmth in the winter, my gown is only trimmed with fur. Here are a few examples of the use of fur trimmings in 18th century dress:

Queen Marie Antoinette
Fashion plate from the 1770s
Portrait of a Lady by François Hubert Drouais
This is the dress without the muff and fur collar.

The hat, which I also redid to fit with the winter version of the dress.

I did a quick DIY 18th century hairstyle too.

Watch out for next week’s post “…to Spring: 18th Century 2 for 1 Costume Special.”

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