List of Materials and Creating the Pattern

For a background on the purpose and examples of the working gown during the mid 19th century, click HERE . 


Before you begin cutting out the pieces you need, make sure and take your basic measurements with all the undergarments you are planning to wear.  This ensures a good fit and less to take in as you make the bodice.  To see an overview on common undergarments worn in the 1860’s, here is  blog post I created several years ago:  click HERE


Materials Needed:




Materials Needed

7-8 yards of main gown fabric

1-2 yards of lining (depending on whether you are lining both the bodice and the sleeves)

Pattern Pieces (self drafted or Period Impressions 450  – bodice font, back, side back and collars only)

A dressform (especially if you are going to drape and draft the patterns yourself.

Sewing Machine


Pins, Needles, Thimble

Buttons, Hook and bars/ hook and eyes

Scissors, seam ripper

Interested in Self Drafting your own Bodice pieces?  Watch to learn how!  Already have your pattern pieces?  Scroll down to learn how to cut your gown…



Cutting out the Gown Bodice pieces :

Many gowns from the 18th-19th century have a technique added into the bodice called flat lining.  Flat lining is used to give the bodice extra shape and support.  Simply put, it is an extra lining.  While I prefer not to use flat lining for my working gowns (I sweat enough as it is), you may decide you wish to add it in.  To flat line your bodice, cut out additional bodice pieces in a twill or similar medium weight cotton.  Baste to the wrong side of your main fabric bodice pieces, and treat like one piece. 





How to Cut out the Bishop Sleeves:




Cutting out the Skirt/Petticoat:




Now that we have cut out our gown….lets move on to making the skirt!