More Of The 1834 Yellow Dress (HSM #9)

Today’s post is going to share more details about and photos of my new 1834 yellow dress. If you missed my last post about this dress, it was a lengthy one sharing oodles of construction details and photos. You can read that past post here.

Here is a reminder image of the fully accessorized dress!

The biggest accessory is my newly completed 1831 bonnet. There is a recent (lengthy) post about the construction of that here, if you want to learn more about it.

I also added smaller accessories, in the form of a petersham belt and brand new reproduction buckle. The wide petersham is a length of ribbon I purchased from The Sewing Place–I highly recommend their many colors and widths! The buckle is a fabulous reproduction buckle from Ensembles of the Past. It’s a bit hard to see the wonderful detail in this photo, but there’s a photo later in the post that shows the detail much better! The Ensembles of the Past blog also has a post sharing how to easily use ribbon to make an endlessly (and easily) adjustable belt out of ribbon! I highly recommend both the buckles and a read through the blog post!

Back to the dress itself. Let’s start off with the Historical Sew Monthly details. Challenge #9 is Sewing Secrets:

Hide something in your sewing, whether it is an almost invisible mend, a make-do or unexpected material, a secret pocket, a false fastening or front, or a concealed message (such as a political or moral allegiance).

In this dress, I have two secrets, both of which I mentioned in the dress construction details post. One is pockets in the skirt and the other is that the bodice of this dress is detachable.

First, the pockets. Yay! My pockets are made from the dress fabric. They are French seamed and set into the side front seams of the skirt. On the inside, they look like this.

On the outside, they look like this. They’re a secret because they camouflage so well that you really can’t see them at all unless I pull them open or my hand is disappearing inside!

Second, the bodice detaches. This is very unusual (and possibly unheard of) for the 1830s, though it becomes common practice by the 1850s and 1860s. This system allows me to attach the current bodice, which I’ve dated 1834, or a second bodice that I have in the works which is dated 1838. That opens a whole world of possibilities in terms of showing changing bodice and sleeve styles without needing to create an entire second dress!

A bit closer up, you can just barely make out a loop on the skirt waistband that connects to a hook at center front. There are hooks and loops all around the skirt and bodice waistbands to connect them together.

Now that we’ve seen the relevant dress features, let’s look at the other HSM facts:

Fabric/Materials: 7 ¼ yds of reproduction print cotton, 1 yd muslin, a scrap of canvas for the waistband of the bodice, and a scrap of flannel for the cartridge pleats.

Pattern: Adapted from Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion 1, with adjustments for fit and style, as well as The Workwoman’s Guide.

Year: 1834.

Notions: 2 ½ yds narrow cotton yarn for cording, 2 ½ yds of narrow white lace, and about 23 hooks and loops.

How historically accurate is it?: 95%. The pattern, silhouette, construction methods, and fabric are all quite good, but there is machine sewing on the interior seams.

Hours to complete: 25.75 hours.

First worn: In early October, for an apple picking outing, picnic, and photos!

Total cost: Approximately $60.

In addition to the HSM details, I want to share some more photos as well. These photos were taken during an all day outing in October. There’s still a post coming that will share apple picking photos from the outing, but there were many good ones from our later in the day photo shoot as well.

These next photos were taken in a neat conservation area that has beautiful, varied scenery that includes a pond area, open fields, wooded paths, huge rhododendrons, a meandering river, and this lovely row of pine trees.

I enjoy the line of trees and the interesting perspective they provide. So here you go, a front and back view of this ensemble.

Farther along our walk through this beautiful area we stopped to take some artistic detail shots of the sleeves of this dress. First up, the mancheron on the shoulder of the dress. There’s some pretty good pattern matching to admire and it’s fun to see the gathers up close, too.

Here’s another view of the mancheron and sleeve puff, with the zig zag cuff trim in the background.

I can’t decide if I like that photo or this next one best! The next one is similar, but the focus of the photo is on the zig zag cuff trim instead of the mancheron.

The last detail photo shows the cuff trim in even greater detail, as well as my new belt buckle from Ensembles of the Past!

I purchased the ‘antique gold’ color. I love it! It’s substantial in weight, has precise and delicate details, and will probably outlast me in terms of durability. (This is just my opinion–I’m not paid to say these nice things!)

The last photos I have to show you are a bit of a teaser for the apple picking photos that are still to come. We had the most gorgeous autumn New England day!

The sky was a brilliant blue. The temperature was wonderfully comfortable–neither hot nor cold. The leaves were changing and were starting to crown the trees in vibrant red, yellow, and orange.

And a fresh breeze lifted our spirits and our bonnet ribbons! I’ve so missed events and outings. This was much needed (socially distanced) relief for weary souls. I hope that you have also found relief and joy in these trying times!

14 thoughts on “More Of The 1834 Yellow Dress (HSM #9)

  1. This is magnificent! You always rock the 19th Century. It’s wonderful to see one of Janet Arnold’s exquisite patterns fully realized.

    You’ve been fearless with the wacky but unmistakable shapes for the chosen date, including those long, sloping shoulders and monumentally puffed sleeves. No compromises here for the modern eye.

    When out of doors, since you’ve created the bonnet, might it also be appropriate to add one of those cape-like attachments, to close the neck and cover the décolletage? In the unlikely event, of course, that you end up with a sufficient expanse of that fabric after finishing the1838 bodice!

    Cartridge pleats! Who doesn’t love cartridge pleats?

    1. Thank you for the wonderful compliment, David! Cartridge pleats are great fun for costume enthusiasts, I agree!

      Wacky is a great descriptor for 1830s styles. 🙂 It’s fun that you’ve picked out all those details and my desire to replicate them as best as possible without adapting them for our modern perception.

      You bring up a great question about adding another layer. I did think about adding one for this dress but, at least for this first photo shoot, wanted to emphasize the shape of the dress and the lace trim. The idea of a matching pelerine doesn’t appeal to me for this particular fabric pattern, but I’ve taken up embroidery as another interest and have great plans to (someday) make a whitework pelerine to do just the job you mentioned–covering the shoulders. Embroidery is quite time consuming, though, and I have many other projects on the table as well, so who knows when that may actually happen? But, perhaps, someday, there will be a post about it!

      1. I agree completely with the reasons for the outdoor photo session. In any case, I assume the garment will be worn mostly to indoor occasions.

        In the rural setting of these pictures, you’re in any case not actually stepping out to travel or be in society. The scene is pastoral, suggesting some neighboring parkland, or even your own family’s property. The apple harvest will be straight-out agriculture.

        If you ever did see the need to cover up, I should think a shawl or similar would be fine. No need to wait until you go blind, embroidering several acres of whitework. I imagine the enormous pélerines of the period must usually have been cumbersome and unflattering in reality, specially on women not graced with the anatomically impossible proportions of the models in the fashion plates.

        I hadn’t realized that interchangeable bodices for a single dress were a mid-century innovation. Those inventive Victorians, at it again.

      2. I love that you’ve created an entire narrative for this outing and concurrent adventures! I am completely on board imagining that this is a neighboring parkland and that the apple harvest is agriculture at its finest! 🙂

  2. A separate bodice! OMG what a great idea; could you do a mini-construction piece on just that part of the 1834 dress?
    I’m just starting to dive into the 1820s myself but I like the notion of changing out bodice and skirts since I need to be mindful of costs and practicality on the outfits.

    1. Yes, the 19th century dressmakers had figured out how to make the most of their expensive fabrics! I love reproducing their ideas!

      The 1820s are great fun. I think that with some ingenuity you could easily make separate bodice and skirt combinations for that decade as well.

      Thanks for your question. Do you have specific questions I can answer about the separate bodice and skir? Some of them may be answered in my detailed construction post about this dress:

  3. Just love the “sewing secrets!” I will have to think of one for my next sewing project. The hat is to die for, and the belt buckle exquisite. The time and place of your photo shoot enhances your wonderful ensemble.

  4. Oh, oh, oh! That pine grove. Very Romantic era, although the golden sunny skies are more Enlightenment, yes?

    Particularly like the detached skirt and bodice. Part of costuming is experimentation, and you now have a perfect chance to morph a look by several years but not expend much more fabric. Okay, 1838 sleeves could still eat fabric, but perhaps not so badly.

    Quinn, had you ever thought of doing one of those mid-thirties dresses with the sleeves divided into shirred vs puffed sections, with complex shirring on the bodice? A Romantic look back at the Renaissance? It could be done in white voile or mull, and I suspect would be stunning on you.

    Hoping Thanksgiving was pleasant. There were six of us dressed warmly to eat in an overcast, damp outdoors. Masks proved to be cozy – unexpectedly and wackily pleasing.

    Very best indeed,


    1. Yay! I’m so glad you enjoyed the pine trees! Yes, it is a mixture of moods, isn’t it? 😉

      Haha, yes, the 1838 sleeves each take a yard of fabric, just like the 1834 sleeves. But not having a new skirt saves about 3 yards, so that’s nice! And it saves space in the closet, too! 😉

      Thanks for your further 1830s dress suggestion (because I definitely need more, lol!). The particular style (or fabric for it, because sometimes the fabric comes first, as with this dress) you described has never called out to me enough to undertake it. It does sound grand, though… 🙂

      Thank you for the Thanksgiving wishes! I’m glad you had a good Thanksgiving. I’m amused and pleased that your masks were more fun than I would have expected! My Thanksgiving was pleasant, indeed. We did not have a traditional meal… instead we made enchiladas from scratch (though the tortillas were store bought).

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