Inspiration: 1860’s Tea Dress

Well, it has been a rather busy week and I finally had time this evening to begin drawing up the pattern and piecing together the new dress. This is a rather complicated endeavor since it involves different pieces from different patterns and it requires very precise measurement for the skirt. I am still debating on the color and the material of the sash, as well as whether this will be a one piece outfit or two. I will need to get further into the construction of the gown to decide which will give the best look.
But here is what I have so far…

I decided to go with a heavy cotton so that way the trim will hold its shape on the gown. I was only able to get twelve yards of the fabric so we shall see how much trim I am able to put on the dress. I also love navy (it doesn’t look like navy in the picture but it is!) and think it will be a great choice for a summer dress (just think ocean!)


I decided to use Past Pattern’s #709 Garibaldi shirt pattern for the main part of the bodice. The bodice has extra fullness and has no visible darts that I can make out. The Garibaldi pattern, when normally constructed, has more fullness that will allow for the pleating on either side of the center front. The sash can then take in any extra fullness.

I LOVE and I mean LOVE this Peachtree Mercantile pattern (#206)! It is such a elegant style of gown and is such a great and easy pattern to make! I have made this gown several times and really like the sleeve pattern this gown has…so I am going to use it for this dress.

Oh this skirt!….it is going to be a wee bit time consuming. So I have divided the skirt into three parts: front (1 panel), side front (2 panels), and back (2 panels.)

Front Skirt:

Front skirt is going to be a regular width (exact measurements TBA) but will have 5″ of extra length to accommodate the pleats. I am going to do 4 pleats (3/4″ per pleat) all around the bottom of the skirt.

Side Front:

The side front panels will attach to the front panel and will have trim going down the side seams as seen in the picture. The bottom panel will be separate from the top portion of the panel and will be slightly wider. This will then be gathered and then attached to the top portion of the two side panels.

Back Skirt:

The two back skirt panels will be made up in the same fashion as the side panels except no trim down the side seams.

Soooo… that is what I have been able to accomplish so far. Hopefully, I will have the measurements completed and the gown cut out, and ready to sew!
Will keep you updated as I go! If you have any questions or need clarification as to what I have done so far, just let me know!

Enjoy your Friday night!

Leave a Reply