The Colonial Dress Project
March 13, 2022
My youngest daughter and I were invited to participate in a 4th of July celebration at a local historical house this past July. This is the dress I made for her. It wasn't my first try at this style. I had made her an 18th century dress a few years ago but while that one was crafted from two old tablecloths this one was quite a bit more involved. I tried, as much as I could to keep it historically accurate but in the end time constraints (i.e. I waited too long to start and had limited time) meant I often went for "good enough". I made myself a dress for the day too, but though I wore it that day it had many issues that need addressing so I will just show you hers. Of course I had to take photos too. I think she looked very beautiful. We did the photoshoot several days after the event as there was no time before the event and we were too tired immediately after. If you are a die hard costumer you will see many mistakes. Have mercy please.
Our hats are flat straw hats which would be called a bergère. They can be worn different ways.
Side note: In an historical context a lady would simply never be out of doors without a hat.
A few close ups. Note the hand stitching. I am quite proud of it. Even if it did cause my hands to cramp.
Also, I added a sash to her dress as some sources suggested it was a popular thing with the younger women of that time. It is chiffon and though silk chiffon would be more accurate to the period, this one is polyester.
Her hair being shoulder length I had to use some clip in hair pieces to give it an 18th century look. I think it suits her. Flowers in the hair, drop earrings and ribbon necklace all accurate to the period.
So, my dress? I'm remaking it. I'll share more when it's done. Questions? Ask away. I'm not an "expert" but I'm happy to share. That being said, as much as i like making dresses I enjoy photographing people in historical dress even more!