Fig Leaf Patterns Work Dress c.1795
This gown features a raised waistline and two back drawstring closures. Many construction details are from earlier 18th century techniques, such as the side seam shifted to the back, in the style known as “en fourreau,” and the separate shoulder straps. This Fig Leaf Patterns Work Dress c.1795 pattern was drafted from an original gown in the collection of the South Carolina State Museum.
While the original shows signs of alterations, they appear to be contemporary. Two sets of patches are on the shoulders: an under patch sewn to the main shoulder strap, and a top patch. There are also areas of darning on the back shoulders, indicating the gown was well used.
This gown is designed to be worn over a shift, period stays, and petticoats. The drawstring bodice allows the wearer to adjust the fit of the garment.
Included in the Fig Leaf Patterns Work Dress c.1795 instructions is an analysis of the weave structure of the fabric.
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