A Revelation About Late 18th Century Dress

I’m still looking at the late 18th century for an ensemble. I wanted to go with common dress, not the upper class stuff. But the colors I kept finding for the very low classes were so…blah. Then, last night – a breakthrough!

After finding the cotton twill tape I want on Amazon.com (I’m getting a 55-yd roll at a great price – yay!), I Goggled “images of 18th century dress” and nearly fell over when I saw this:

1770s - 18th century - woman's outfit with mixed print fabrics (jacket, skirt, and apron are each a different floral pattern)

1770s – 18th century – woman’s outfit with mixed print fabrics

Prints! Colors! Nothing blah about it! Where has this been hiding? It’s from “An album containing 90 fine water color paintings of costumes.” Turin : [s.n.] , [ca.1775], in the collection of the Bunka Fashion College in Japan.

I realize they are Italian, not American. But I love them. They speak to me. So I’m going with ’em. My rationale? Italians were living in colonial America and had been for a few decades before the Revolutionary War. Hundreds of Italians fought alongside the colonists, too.

And then there’s this bit of trivia:

“The official seal of the state of Maryland reads Fatti, Maschii, Parola Femine, which is Italian for “Manly Deeds, Womanly Words.” It is the only state motto written in Italian, and Maryland also was the only state that was home to a signer of the Declaration of Independence who was of Italian heritage.” http://www.examiner.com/article/italians-america-william-paca-and-the-american-revolution

So I’m feeling good about deciding to go this way. I know I’ll be much happier with the outfit when it’s done and more comfortable wearing it, too.

Even better, I already have fabric that will work for either the jacket or the petticoat (skirt). It’s 100% cotton with a woven-in design and a nice mid-weight that drapes nicely.

2014-12-10 14.29.23

back of fabric

back of fabric

In the meantime, it’s probably going to take a while for the Amazon order to get here, what with all the mountains of holiday mail, so I’m going to cut out my Regency day cap and see if I can get some more hand sewing done.


3 thoughts on “A Revelation About Late 18th Century Dress

  1. Wow! What combinations of prints! Shocking to the modern eye, but definitely fun. Calico prints were new and exciting during that period.

    Love the green fabric, and I’m not normally a green person. 🙂

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