Fig Leaf Patterns Surplice Dress c1810


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This simple dress attests to American women’s ability to keep up with European fashions while modifying them to suit simpler middle-class American taste and budgets--and to update garments to keep up with fashion. A cheerful print of good quality but modest cost is made up with a fashionable crossover (surplice) bodice, apron front skirt, and a small flounce. Hem accents appeared late in the first decade of the 1800's and increased in volume and complexity as skirts began to widen after 1810. This dress’ relatively narrow skirt (84 inch hem circumference) may place its current construction closer to 1810.

This pattern was taken from an extant example in a private collection but featured in the DAR exhibit "An Agreeable Tyrant". We also had an opportunity to personally examine the garment and duplicate the scale of the print as well as the fineness of the original textile.

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Size: 8-18