In our age of t-shirts and jeans, folding clothes is a fairly straight forward process that can be done while watching T.V. or some other form of media. Yet, the art (because it is an art) of properly folding and packing away gowns of multiple yards of fabric is a skill that we reenactors can benefit from today! With a few practice runs, any gown, of any decade, can be folded neatly and securely to ensure safe travel from reenactment to reenactment or simply to stay clean and safe on a shelf. I have created a visual representation of the French method described by Sarah Josepha Buell Hale in her book titled:
“The workwoman’s guide: containing instructions to the inexperienced in cutting out and completing those articles of wearing apparel, &c. which are ususally made at home : also, explanations on upholstery, straw-platting, bonnet-making, knitting, &c.”
Yes, this is the title….No guessing at what the book will be about with a title like this!
First, the text taken from the section of her book titled “Care of the Lady’s Wardrobe”
And now a step by step visual:
1. Lay the gown out flat, front side down.