Here it is- a gown made from that gorgeous pink and white striped linen I purchased from Rancocas Merchant. The stripes are so narrow that it almost has a mottled effect. I love it!
I'm calling this my Pennsylvania gown because it is inspired by two gowns from the Chester County Historical Society's collection, which are featured in Sharon Ann Burnston's wonderful book, Fitting and Proper, as Gowns #1 and #2. It is a robe a l'Anglaise with a center front closure, which can be pinned or basted shut (I'm using pins). The back is done in the en forreau style, meaning the back of the bodice and the skirt are cut from one long piece of fabric. This back panel is pleated and stitched down to fit the wearer. (You can see the pleats in the back view here [link]
The center front closure and wide skirt pleats and back pleats would date the gown somewhere in the 1770s, but it also features wide pleated cuffs, which were fashionable in the 1750s and 1760s. This outdated feature reflects Quaker and Pennsylvania German influences. Quaker styles often lagged behind the fashion by about 10 or 15 years, because of the religious emphasis on plain, simple clothing. Cuffs were also apparently still popular on women's garments in Germany at this time, even though they had gone out of style elsewhere. I've basted the cuffs on so I can remove them and replace them with flounces later if the mood strikes me.
The bodice and sleeves are lined in white middle-weight linen from fabrics-store.com, in the period manner, with lapped seams (as opposed to the modern technique of making the bodice and lining separately, sewing them together with the wrong sides out, then turning the whole thing right side-out). As always, all of the visible stitching was done entirely by hand- in fact, very little of this gown was done on the machine because I used entirely period methods of construction.
I've paired this gown with a petticoat made from a chocolate brown linen from fabrics-store.com, which has been pleated to an unbleached linen tape waistband. I'm also wearing an underpetticoat of ginger linen, also from fabrics-store.com, a shift, and my half-boned stays. The neckerchief is a hemmed triangle of white linen. The cap is from Rancocas Merchant. The shoes are not period appropriate, unfortunately, because I still haven't bought a good pair of shoes yet!
This picture was taken in the Christ Church Cemetery in New Brunswick, NJ. The church was established in the early 1700s, but the building dates to the early 1800s. The graves date from the 1750s (perhaps earlier) and onward.