Hope you enjoyed the weekend because I’m back with day five of the Sew Comfortable series. It took most of Saturday and part of Sunday to get this night-gown finished so I hope you understand why there was a sight hiatus in the blogging. Unlike the night-cap, this is definitely cozy enough for regular winter wearing! Like the night-cap, the nightgown was made from instructions printed in the 1840 edition of The workwoman’s guide, containing instructions in cutting out and completing articles of wearing apparel, by a lady which can be read via Google Books. My version was made from one of the better white quilting cottons available at Jo-Ann Fabrics. (It was either that or make it from blue elephant print flannel… I opted for the traditional route.)
Day five: Most Desirable Night-Gown
This is one of several night-gowns described in the book, and although this one (illustrated in Plate 8. Fig 5.) is indeed described as being ‘the most desirable’ on many accounts, it’s not for the reasons you might suspect in the 21st century.
First and foremost, it’s pretty economical to cut out, with relatively little waste, even when only cutting one. The sewing also goes pretty quickly (assuming you don’t run into having to attend holiday parties in the middle of your sewing time!) and I used a mix of hand and machine sewing in my version. However, what the author is most desirous of is having a nightgown that’s easy for the sick and invalid to wear. Yep – this is a nightgown for the weak and bedridden. The wide neckline and option wristbands makes it easy to access chests and arms for applying those leeches and blistering treatments that were so popular back in the day!
Being neither weak nor invalid, I’m still liking this nightgown for that neckline in particular. All of the other night-gowns, night-dresses, and night-jackets illustrated in the book have collars that are tight to the neck – basically turtlenecks that button closed. Thank you, but no. This wide collar is much more comfortable for me and the frill (ruffle) is surprisingly flattering. Well, flattering for a giant white nightgown anyway!
- 4 yards of tightly woven white cotton or linen. The example is made of cotton broadcloth, but a nice flannel would be even warmer!
- White hand-sewing thread. My favorite is Gutermann’s cotton quilting thread.
- Hand sewing needles
- Pair of small button for the cuffs (optional)
- For the neck closure, either one small button or 1 yard of narrow ribbon for ties
Once again, the nit-picky sewing details for this project are on my costuming blog: The Mantua-Maker at Midnight. You can also find the full transcription from the original instructions as well as the original illustrations.
Tomorrow’s project spans the centuries and keeps the feet warm. We’re talking slippers!