Beautiful dress, no? I have spent 3 years (searching 3 countries and 4 states) trying to find fabric for it. As I mentioned in a previous post, it doesn't exist. You can find blue with white stars, white with uneven blue stars (not appropriate), red and white with blue stars, etc. I did end up finding a white with navy stars fabric but it was in no way fine enough for this project.
I could have had it custom printed onto white fabric but I had trouble finding a place with a voile sheer enough for the project. Not to mention that custom printing is expensive.
I still wanted the dress. Therefore, I bought 10 yards of Indian voile on Etsy. It came in super nice and fine-perfect for what I needed. I wish I had bought more for other projects the stuff is so nice! Also on Etsy, I bought a star stamp. Mine is 2 inches across. It looks like the original may be 1 1/2, but there are no measurements. I did my best.
Finding ink was a problem. The fabric ink pads didn't work. I went through about 5 ink pads before finding one that worked. The color was a little bit more navy than I would have liked, but it worked and it didn't bleed so I used it.
The process was fairly simple. I measured out the stars so that they would be 5 1/2 inches apart tip to tip. I put them in the same design as the original (rows). Some I had to stamp 2 or three times to get enough ink on it.
It took a fair while. It got easier towards the end and I was just cranking them out but it was still a lot of work. It turned out nice, though.
My next step was making the dress. This really takes no time at all. I've done so many of them now it's just second nature. I have my own pattern that I have drafted and I know how to make it up so it was super simple. I lined it with a nice 200 thread count cotton since I didn't have any cotton sateen on hand. I did half high lining like the original. I considered adding some lace to the top of it but then remembered that I'm trying to do a faithful reproduction so I ended up leaving it be. I only did hooks and eyes up to where the lining ended. The top will be closed with a brooch.
The skirt is unlined, just faced with more of the 200 thread count cotton. I did not add a pocket because I felt it would be too see through. I know original sheers had them, I just didn't see it working out. I might go back and add one later.
The sleeves are bishop, much like the original. They are fitted to the arm hole but fuller on the bottom.
The collar and cuffs I had embroidered using an 1850's pattern from Peterson's Magazine. I didn't do the full collar, just the top part with the flowers and the beading. I tried putting a plain collar on the dress but because the dress is so plain to begin with, it didn't look right so I felt I needed to add some more detail.
To top it all off, I made a sash to go with the gown. Mine is made of silk habotai (8mm) because I couldn't find any silk taffeta in navy that would get to my house in time for me to make the sash before Liendo. I thought about using a ribbon, but couldn't find a thick enough ribbon that didn't look totally synthetic. I used 1861 Godey's to help me with reproducing the sash.
It's not a stitch for stitch reproduction, but it is the closest I have come to copying an original and I feel pleased with the result.