Must have from the 1830s

I’m liking the general shape of the 30s very much but most of the photos I could find had a horrendous tendency towards beige.  Not my favorite color! The irony is that 2 out of the four dresses I have made have been beige.  It is a safe color.  I’m not likely to have a time when it is pointed out “that particular color dye was not invented during the period you are sewing for”.  Also, no one else loves that color so in the sale racks, it is the only color that has enough yardage to make a full dress.  If the color is pretty (and suitable for a woman of my slightly advanced years) I’d have to buy it at full price if I hope to have enough.

There is this really wild yellow dress at the Met that I’d love to show you but for some reason I can’t convince my computer to load the photo on to my blog.  You’ll just have to get there via this link.  I really like that dress but I’m not thinking I can pull off that yellow!  If I made that dress I go for a softer yellow.  Or a mauve.  Or a more sedate shade of blue like this dress.

Front of an 1837 dress from the Met.

I refuse to believe that the other color in this dress is beige.  It is grey…ish.  The sleeves are really fun aren’t they?  The poof below the elbow is so different from what we are used to now that they seem almost counter intuitive to me.  The smocking or pleating at the upper sleeve is really interesting too.

Close up of the sleeve.

I do wish the bodice had more pleating like they yellow one in the previous link.

Here is the back.

It seems to be gathered in the back rather than fitted so it would be easier to make (unless you factor in the hand sewing I’d have to do if I was aiming to make a reasonably accurate 1830s dress).

So to sum up:  I’d make both of the dresses I linked to-just no beige and no wild yellow.  I don’t mind the pattern in this blue dress just may be not so drab.  I wonder if it is drab due to fading and if originally it was a bit more vibrant?  This blue dress would look very nice with some white collar, cuffs and apron.  A big poke bonnet with bright ribbons would help too.


4 thoughts on “Must have from the 1830s

  1. Em Scott says:

    I love the yellow dress you linked to! It’s so cheery and “ooh look at me, I’m so pretty yellow”. Beige is a safe color because it looks good on most people and it’s also harder to tell whether or not its dye has faded somewhat.


    • That yellow dress really does say that doesn’t it!

      • Em Scott says:

        Oh yes! I wish more people were brave to wear colours like that. I think we stick with duller colours because they’re “safe”

      • I usually don’t have issues with being “out there” on display. In fact I like it and actively seek the attention but some how yellow stands out to much for me. I have a bit of a post traumatic stress reaction to the idea of me wearing yellow. I flash back to the days that I was an awkward teen trying to blend in and yellow was my enemy. It’s weird. I may have to one day just face my fear.

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