The dress was made specifically for a Christmas program at Macktown in Rockton, IL. I will write another post about that event, but our time period was 1843. In researching, I looked at photos from the movie and then I realized that the November challenge was about movies! So I realized that I would finally be able to complete another challenge. Sadly, had I not needed this dress for an event, I’m not sure I would have made it so quickly (in about 4 weeks) and had it done by the time Nov was done.

Construction photos here.



Here were some of my inspiration; fashion plates from winter 1842 found on the Digital Collections, Thomas J Watson Library, The Metropolitan Museum of Art NY:

Women 1842, Plate 085 :: Costume Institute Fashion Plates:

And from 1843…

Women 1843-1845, Plate 046 :: Costume Institute Fashion Plates:


What the item is: A navy/white striped 1843 wool dress

Challenge #11 Silver Screen

Onscreen inspiration: 2011 Jane Eyre movie (I also read the book in college and loved it).

Fabric: Wool from WM Booth Draper (got the last 6 yds on the bolt!)

Pattern: Costume in Detail, Patterns of Fashion, modified 1830s dress I already made

Year: 1843

Notions: thread (of various types and colors (cotton and linen only) depending on where/what part I was sewing, hooks and eyes (which are too big, so I’ll be replacing those)

Historical Accuracy: I’m going to say pretty a lot because I used two books where the patterns are based on original garments. I’m not entirely certain that some of my construction techniques were *exactly* period correct. I did what I could given my time and given my understanding of the pictures in the two books. Because of time, my ridiculous amount of piping was sewn on the machine as well as the longer skirt seams. If I had not done that, there was no way I would have made my deadline. But everything else was done by hand.

Hours to complete: As usual when I’m under deadline, I end up dedicating several weekends of about 8 hrs of sewing, followed by as many hours as I can squeeze in here and there throughout the week. But I bought the fabric Oct 31, started sewing cutting out the pattern the following week.

First worn: Sat Dec 5 for our special Christmas program

Total cost: Around/just under $100.

Here are a few more photos…

Without the fur collar so the neckline is visible. (I know everyone is their own harshest critic, but I’m not entirely sure why that weird ripple is occurring on my left shoulder. I must be more uneven than I thought……oh well.)




Underneath I’m wearing my “all encompassing Victorian era” corset, a lightweight cotton petticoat, a corded petticoat, and a new quilted petticoat on top of that. (Yes, I’m standing on a chair to take this photos because, believe it or not, we do not have a full length mirror in the house).


For the petticoat, I purchased a twin bedspread quilt from Kohl’s on sale with a bunch of coupons. I don’t have a ton of petticoats for other eras, so getting the poofy bell shape of the 1840s was a bit of a challenge. Soon, I need a tiered petticoat that is a little stiffer. I’ll make one eventually.

I did not get to wear my dress the entire day, but overall, I really like the style. I like the tighter sleeves and different neckline. I was also quite pleased with my ability to line up stripes for the center front as well as make the pointed “V” at the front. I did not have time to dress it with any trimmings etc, so while the spirit is still moving me, I’d like to jump back to it and make some thing.ย The first inspiration fashion plate shows the brown dress with minimal trimmings, so I took that as a hint to give myself permission that my dress didn’t have to be trimmed to excess in order to be finished. I needed that otherwise I would not have made my deadline of Saturday!!ย I don’t know why I’m getting that goofy ripple near my left shoulder and above the V. Given that this was the first 1840s dress I made, without a pre-purchased pattern, and I had the sewing teacher at my school help me with the fitting, and I’ve never really put a dart in anything, I’m quite proud of myself. There’s a first time for everything and I’m glad this dress pushed my limits and comfort level. After the forensics season is done in April, I’m ready to tackle something new. (Or maybe I can crank something out over Christmas break).