To Fit Close to the Back Without Pleats: Italian Nightgowns and Chemise Gowns for the 1780s & 1790s


Friday afternoon, July 21st - Sunday, July 23rd

This workshop is sold out. Please email to be added to the waiting list.

"The Ladies almost universally appear at all  public places in the Italian nightgown, with very long trains. They are made with whalebone in the back, to fit quite close to the stays without plaits."
- The Magazine a la Mode, October 1777

During the last quarter of the 18th century, nightgowns (a fashionable gown that was worn for during the day)  experienced a revolution of their own with rapidly changing fashions that caused a number of new styles of nightgowns to emerge in the beau monde. Composed of a well-fit bodice with a two to four piece back, the fronts of these gowns varied by taste and could both meet in the center front or even include several drawstring casings to create a softer look with a more flexible fit.

This  2 ½ day  workshop, led by Brooke Welborn, Mantua-maker, will include:

  • An examination of images of these styles of garment, and the varieties of ways they can be finished.
  • Examination of how basic lining shapes are modified to the cut and fit of these styles of gown.
  • Demonstration of all stitching & construction techniques needed to hand stitch and finish the garment.
  • Participants working with a partner to fit their garment, using the methods of the 18th c. Mantua-Maker. 

Due to time restraints, participants are required to bring with them previously cut and fit basic 18th century shapes in muslin for BOTH bodice & sleeves.  These “shapes” can be from a previous Burnley & Trowbridge workshop on cutting shapes or copied from a patterned garment that fits well. These “shapes” will then be adapted for the fit of a 1780s-90s gown. 

An 18th century shift, under-petticoat, and a well-fitted 1780-90s pair of stays are required for this class,  in order to properly  fit your gown.   By the end of the workshop, participants will have their gown well under construction, and will have the knowledge to complete it on their own. Please be prepared for “homework” on both Friday and Saturday nights!

This workshop is an Intermediate Level 2. Participants are expected to have good hand sewing skills, as well as, experience producing an article of 18th century clothing using a pattern (or cutting to the figure) and have fitted that piece of clothing.   Please read more about our current Workshop Levels here.

Workshop cost of $295 includes: 2 1/2 day workshop and muslin for fittings.
Those wishing to bring a "model" to make this garment for will need to pay an additional $40 fee.
Class size will be limited to 12 Participants

Because of the nature and enrollment limitation of our workshops, we regret that we are unable to give a full refund for a cancellation.  If you cancel 30 or more days prior to the workshop, we will refund your fee less a $50 cancellation fee. If you cancel less than 30 days prior to the workshop, we will have to charge the full amount of the workshop unless we are able to fill your slot, in that event you will be charged only the $50 cancellation fee.  In the event of the workshop being canceled we are not responsible for any costs by the attendee for cancelled reservations.