Monday, August 12, 2013

A New 18thc Gown Pattern Coming Soon!

After years of holding 18th century gown workshops the team of  Larkin and Smith decided it was time to get an historically accurate 18th century gown pattern in the marketplace.   We have created a new website for the Golden Scissors and the pattern will be available there soon.

At the Sign of the Golden Scissors

Yes, a new18th century gown pattern.

Not only new but different.

 The instructions are focused on period construction.  No work arounds for a sewing machine.  This gown is made like the original it is based upon.  A beginner, who has never sewn anything will be able to create an historically accurate and beautiful gown with step by step instructions and color photographs provided in the pattern.  A workshop in an envelope!

It is a Stomacher Front English Gown.  An enfourreau back, with variations for cuffs c1760s-1770s.  This gown works for all impressions by using different fabrics and sleeve treatments.  Upper, middlin and lower class gowns can all be made using this pattern with the variations in cuffs and sleeves provided.

We have engineered a fool proof method to pleat the back.  Anyone can do it, first time out of the gate. Not a sorta enfourreau or a pretend enfourreau, the real deal.

The pattern is drafted from an original gown in my personal collection.  The major changes to the extant gown were adding an additional 1 1/4 inches in length to the bodice and 1/2 inch width to the back in order to fit a modern woman.  The original fits me with these changes.  So I ended up being the fit model.

Finally finished with the final photographs. (maybe)  This purple chintz gown has been the model for the new pattern.

Hand sewn throughout.

We are working on the final edits of the instructions and expect rollout of all sizes by the end of August.  The next iteration will be petite, tall and plus size patterns of the gown.

Making this gown has been a process.  Stop and go, take photos, go back, redo the photos.  Next step, take more photos.  etc etc.  But what that means for the pattern is full color photographs of all the steps.

Yes, the directions will have color photographs.

We are making a gown in each size to test the pattern pieces, ensuring each piece actually fits together.   A concept we embrace.

The purple chintz fabric is one of the Dutch Chintz fabrics and was chosen for practical as well as historical reasons.  First, the color photographed well.  Silk is often too shiny for the camera.  Second, it has an easily visible right and wrong side, which is helpful for the instructions.  And last, purple cotton printed fabrics were available here in the colonies in the 18th century.  So I can document the use of a purple printed fabric.

My next few blog posts will also be focusing on the gown, which to be honest has been the focus of my life for the last three months.


  1. Wow, this is so exciting! I would have loved to have a pattern like this when I first tried 18th century. I'll be very excited to see this!

  2. Congratulations -- super cool!

  3. Of course, I want one! Can't wait for the pattern :)

  4. Dear Hallie,
    Am I excited about this...I'll be among your early pattern orders. Most appreciative, given I've no way to get to gown workshops.

    Was planning later this year to modify a 1790s gown I'd fitted on myself, changing the pattern pieces in all kinds of ways for 1760s fit, but now I won't have to, but yet have a proper gown. Hooray-bob!!!!!

    Thank you so kindly,


  5. This is awesome! You and Steph are doing an amazing job. :)

  6. Counting the days to Pattern Publishing. The clock is probably ticking too fast for you, but it's tocking *ever* so slowly for me. My needles -- and glasses -- are polished and ready!

    Very best (again),