A simple dress can be used for so many time periods that it is an essential for any girl or young lady who loves historical costumes. When the dress is completed, the costumes are half done! Then add the accessories for each costume.
There are different ways to get a dress that will work. It may be sewn using a pattern (like the blue dress and the pink dress below), or you may make over a dress you already have (like the green dress below). The green dress was a size 12 lady’s dress that has been altered to fit an eight-year-old girl.
If you find or make a solid color dress, then the accessories may be of a printed fabric (or vice versa if the dress has a pattern on it). Instead of a dress you may use a blouse (white is always a good choice) and a long skirt for some of the time periods. Garage sales and second hand stores often have dresses that work for the simple dress that is just calling for accessories.
If using a pattern it should be a basic and simple dress. The easiest way to get a dress for a child is to find an adult dress and take up the side seams, hem, and sleeves. The dress and sleeves can be made with deep hems to be let out as the girl grows. Let your imagination soar!
Things to look for in a pattern:
- no collar
- simple sleeves
- full skirt
- long skirt
- Shortgown, Petticoat, Pinner, and Chemise by Rocking Horse Farm (make the skirt longer)
- 1835 Romantic Gown (make without the collar)
- 1840 Day Dress (make without collar)
- 1860’s Day Dress by Rocking Horse Farm (make without collar)
- Day Dress from Period Impressions
- Ladies 1850-1860’s Work Dress from Period Impressions
Other helpful websites
Fugawee Corporation – http://www.fugawee.com
Beautiful historical shoes!
Miller’s Millinery – http://www.bonnets.com
Gorgeous Antebellum and Civil War Bonnets!
Sense and Sensibility – http://www.sensibility.com
Beautiful costume patterns including some from the early 1800s. The costumes look like dresses right out of a Jane Austen book.