Scroop Patterns

The inspiration behind the Angelica Gown

We thought you might enjoy seeing some of the inspiration behind the Angelica Gown.

Every Scroop + Virgil’s historical pattern starts with research.  We look at extant garments in private collections and museums.  We assemble huge inspiration boards of items from online databases, noting details and similar design and construction elements.

Then we start parsing and sorting.

What elements are commonly seen together?  What aesthetic features do we really want to include?  What construction features do we really want to include?  Is there a particular garment that is the starting point for the whole design, or are we mixing common elements?

Here’s what we ended up with for the Angelica Gown!

The Scroop Patterns + Virgils Fine Goods Angelica Gown 1775-1790

The Angelica Gown pattern is available as a digital download from, and as a paper pattern from Virgil’s Fine Goods.

View A Front:

This was an easy pick!  I absolutely love the neckline of this gown, and the waist edge, with its sharp curve and truncated point.  This shape shows up on other extant garments, and in fashion plates, so it was a great starting point.*

I’m fascinated by the tabs on one side of the bodice.  What’s the story there?  Why only one side?  I rather hope someone makes an Angelica with those silly tabs!

View A Back

The closest inspiration for the View B back is an Italian Gown that Amber was able to study and photograph in person.  Unfortunately we aren’t able to share those photos with you.  But it wasn’t the only dress we used as a basis:

We really liked the high back neckline of this Italian gown from the met, and the way the side-back panels match the straps – such an elegant design feature!

However, the very narrow back point panels of this dress are rather tricky to sew, and didn’t work well when graded out to a range of sizes.  So we looked at other gowns, with side-back seams with more exaggerated curves, set further towards the sides:

This Italian Gown is right here in Wellington, and it’s one I’ve been able to study in person.

View B Front:

Many of you will have recognised the inspiration behind the View B front:

Those spikey tabs!

This gown also helped inform the front-laced closure.

The long pointed front, sans points, shows up on some of the other inspiration gowns, including the silk brocade gown from Te Papa, and the chintz gown from the Met:


View B Back:

As beautiful as a four-panel back is, there are times when a simpler two panel back is just a better design choice: less seams to interfere with stripes or a print, and less work.

Look at that fabric above!  Obviously you wouldn’t want to interrupt it with another seam!

In addition to having a two-panel back, 1991.204a,b also influenced the overall design of the back.  We really wanted our Italian Gown pattern to have a very exaggerated, deep back point, just like this gown.

Other features:

While pinning was still the most common closure method in the last quarter of the 18th century, the number of extant garments that have a hidden front lacing closure suggest that it was reasonably common.    We thought that would be a really fun element to include!


(yes, the dress above is laced wrong)

We also thought it would be nice to have a one-piece sleeve, since the Amalia Jacket has a two-piece sleeve.

One thing we did keep from the Amalia pattern is the side seam.  It makes fitting and construction so much easier than a front panel that wraps all the way around to the back to without a seam, and it appears on quite a few of our inspiration gowns:

Being pale coloured was not a requirement for our inspiration gowns – that’s just a weird coincidence!  (the primary inspiration that Amber studied is actually a glorious red!)

The Angelica Gown pattern is available as a digital download from, and as a paper pattern from Virgil’s Fine Goods.

The Scroop Patterns + Virgils Fine Goods Angelica Gown 1775-1790

* (haha)


  1. Veronica says

    On the subject of sleeves – is the armscye of Angelica and Amalia the same? If so could the sleeves from Amalia jacket be used on the Angelica dress or vice versa? My gut is saying that’d be unlikely but I thought I’d ask anyway.
    Also all of the inspiration garments are just gorgeous, I’m a particular fan of 1991.204a,b and the Te Papa dress.

    • Unfortunately the armscyes are quite different, and the sleeves aren’t interchangeable. We thought about making that possible, but we really couldn’t get the look we wanted for the Angelica while making that work.

  2. nofixedstars says

    that broderie anglaise gown has my heart. the one in the palazzo pitti is beautiful too.

    as for the coromandel fabric gown that was made up in the netherlands, with its odd tabs on one side/none on the other bodice front…is there any chance it might have been a dressmaker’s sample? or someone thought about updating it by removing the tabs, and then changed her mind? i’d love to be able to examine it up close. so interesting.

  3. The one-sided tabs is driving me nuts. I kept wanting to find the tabs for the other side.

Comments are closed.