Saundra Ros Altman's Past Patterns

How to order #812: A Sheer Muslin Dress with Bishop Sleeves, Oversleeves & High Lining Circa 1858-1864

How to order #812: A Sheer Muslin Dress.

#812: A Sheer Muslin Dress with Bishop Sleeves, Oversleeves & High Lining Circa 1858-1864 $28.00 (US dollars)

The #812 pattern was pulled, with permission, from an extant garment in the Christen Collection in Detroit, Michigan. The gown has no known provenance. It is a day dress. Pictured below is the dress fabric, a brown cross-barred cotton muslin with either a resist, a discharge, or a white pigment design of a mixed floral wreath, perhaps daisies and roses, with ivy leaves and tendrils.

The pattern package contains Background Notes that describe sheer dresses, when they were worn and by whom, and the variety of linings used in sheer gowns. Sheer dress fabrics popular in the mid-nineteenth century are also described, with photographs and illustrations from Godey’s and Peterson’s magazines. Hook and eye tape, which was used to fasten the original bodice, is documented by patent records and advertising. Also included are the use of a “let-out” seam, a modern method of altering a pattern by increasing the bust, as well as instructions to fit the lining in a period manner using scrap fabric. In addition is a section on making and using a sewing brick, recommended by Miss Leslie’s Lady’s House-Book; a Manual of Domestic Economy (1855): “All manuta-makers and seamstresses should be provided with a brick pincushion. They can be made at a very trifling cost: and, with renewed coverings, will last twenty years or more” (385-6). All the sewing instructions are fully illustrated in great detail.

Order this pattern in multi-sizes 8-26 with a B, C & D cup.

To make the dress with the original skirt panel widths using 45" wide fabric, purchase: 9-3/4 yds. for sizes 8-14, 10 yds. for sizes 16-20, and 10-5/8 yds. for sizes 22-26.
To make the dress with the full width of 45" wide fabric, purchase: 8 yds. for sizes 8-14, 8-1/16 yds. for sizes 16-20, and 8-1/3 yds. for sizes 22-26.

Special thanks to Glenna Jo Christen for allowing Past Patterns to make a pattern from a dress in her collection, and for the Sheer Dress Background Notes; Elizabeth Bowling for editing the Background Notes; Peggy Falk of Falk Designs <> for the cover art and freehand art in the Before Cutting section; Isabelle Lott of Pattern Works International <> for editing the #812 Sheer Dress pattern in the larger sizes; and Holly Turner of Holly’s Custom Sewing for testing the pattern and instructions. Thanks also to Catherine Bishop <> for supplying period illustrations and descriptions; Barbara and Patri Pugliese; Nancy Rexford, costume historian and author of Women’s Shoes in America, 1795-1930; the Ohio Historical Society; the Western Reserve Historical Society; Evelyn Montgomery, curator of exhibits and collections at the Dallas Heritage Village; Virginia Mescher; K. Krewer; and Vicki Betts.

This pattern is copyrighted and is for personal, non-commercial use only. Dressmakers and other professional commercial users contact Past Patterns for an annual license fee of $20.00.

Phone us at (937) 223-3722 or use the Order Form to order by fax or mail.


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