Portfolio: 1850s Raspberry Swirl Gown

This 1850s Raspberry Swirl gown with evening and day bodice is still in progress.

The Idea and Inspiration:

To create an 1850s dress with a tiered, ruffled skirt, and alternate day and evening bodices.   I was inspired by some lovel raspberry paisley muslin gauze which I got on sale for $2 a metre:

and these dresses:

Fabric and Materials:

Cotton muslin with a self-stripe weave and a pattern of paisley designs in raspberry pink.   Skirt lined in brown paisley cotton muslin, bodice lined in cotton calico/muslin.   Plastic boning, metal hooks to fasten.


The nougat and paisley corset

The hoopskirt

The petticoat

The Dress Diary:

Planning the dress

The dress design

Draping the bodice and matching fabric

Sewing the skirt ruffles

Corded skirt ruffles, a tutorial

Musings on hoop widths

Pleating and gathering the skirt

The evening bodice toile

Fitting the evening bodice

Cutting and assembling the evening bodice

Trying on the evening bodice and the skirt

Drafting the sleeves for the evening bodice

Evening bodice boning and fasteners

The Raspberry Swirl gown in the garden

The Raspberry Swirl gown at tea

The Raspberry Swirl gown at tea…again

The Raspberry Swirl Gown on Theresa

The Raspberry Swirl gown in the park with Theresa

Research and references:

Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion 1660-1860

Demode, The Eugenie Project

Waugh, Norah.  The Cut of Women’s Clothes: 1600-1930.  Faber and Faber: London.  1968

1 Comment

  1. Mary says

    Not sure my first comment went through. This dress is absolutely gorgeous. I would love to make something even close to it. I’m making my first hand-sewn quilt so have plenty of opportunity to practice my stitching. Can you recommend a modern pattern that I could start with? I’ve very impressed with your designs!

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