1660s Restoration Inspiration

I’ve had a bit of a stall (already!) because I’ve thrown out my back – hard to start drafting patterns when you can’t walk or stand at the table! So, more research talk for this one, and as yet, no vlog, but hang in there, it’ll get done. So, starting with looking at my inspiration picture-


(This, I think, has been the inspiration for a lot of people, but hi, it’s pretty and simple so, I’m not surprised. )

I love the color, first off, and I’m assuming that this is a very common color for gown in this era since there are so many portraits of women wearing this, or similar, shades of blue. Also, I like that it is not as adorned as some dresses were- per my more recent research in Patterns of Fashion and Seventeenth Century  Women’s Dress Patterns it was very common to lay lace or trim over the bodice seams, which isn’t really my thing. Working with the color, now it’s time to figure out the fabric.

I have really no physical experience with a lot of different fabrics- I wear cotton a lot, so to me it’s just cotton, albeit thinner or thicker etc – so when I started my research and all these different fabrics came up, I didn’t have a good idea what they actually felt like. My mother, genius that she is, suggested in order a lot of different swatches of fabric to get myself familiarized with them. And let me tell you, I’ve never spent that long reading and shopping in my life for something so little, a 4″ square of fabric. I ordered about 15 different fabrics (I can include a separate post about that later) and I can say, I love fabric lol. Some of these swatches make me want to order bolts of fabric so I can roll around in them- hankercheif linen is SO SOFT and silk is AMAZING! ….ahem.

I’m attempting to stay as historically accurate as I can, so linen, wool and silk for anything prior to the mid-18th century-though that could change if I decide to focus on reproduction of American pieces as cotton was available here more readily than in Europe at those times. Also, a little wary of wool as I live in Arizona – hot hot HOT 89% of the time, so even though I’ve heard wool is great for keeping cool in lighter weight weaves, we’ll have to see how it holds up to 120F (48C) weather.

So, fabrics linen, wool or silk – silk seems to be the more obvious choice for this type of dress if we’re trying to stick to the portrait, and I’m just going to have to bite the bullet and do it, so it may be a while for any post re: construction on the gown since it’s going to be something I have too save up for – baby still needs clothes and the hubby’s gotta eat lol.

Next will be a post on the construction and thoughts on the chemise I’m almost done with for this dress – starting from the “skin out” seems to be the best way to go, and just makes sense to me.

For anyone actually reading this, thanks! and let me know if you have anything specific you want to know or see in posts to come. 🙂


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